In talking to candidates since the City elections last week, one thing was notably absent that many contend could have helped the chances of candidates across the ballot…the Shelby County Democratic Party.
Before early voting started, the Shelby County GOP released this little nugget that effectively informed their voters who was either a Republican, or in the absence of a Republican, someone they could live with.
By contrast, the SCDP did nothing…nothing at all. In fact, there is no evidence of the SCDP even thinking about the possibility of doing something, perhaps…maybe. The much maligned Memphis Democratic Club released a ballot, as did several other Democratic and non-partisan groups in the city, so why not the SCDP?
Some insiders would argue that in the contentious Mayoral race, the many interests that are represented in the SCDP could have never come to a consensus. I agree, which is why that race shouldn’t have been the focus. People went to the polls knowing who had their vote for Mayor and didn’t need any help from the SCDP. They didn’t necessarily know who to vote for in the Council races, and that’s where the SCGOP got ahead of the game.
This is not about endorsing any one candidate over another, this is simply about informing the voters. In the absence of any information or guidance from the SCDP, voters were left to their own devices in the heavily laden contests that were the 6 Super District positions. Had the SCDP chosen to merely highlight those candidates who have worked for Democratic causes, voters wouldn’t have had such an uphill battle in making an informed decision.
Secondly, the absence of anything from the SCDP, and the presence of guidance from elsewhere, reinforces the notion held by many that the SCDP is a fractious body, crippled by its inability to come together on something even as simple as taking a soft position on the vitally important, though non-partisan races that make up the city elections. Way to maintain that perception folks!
The worst thing is that this could have been an opportunity for the SCDP to raise funds for the body. The GOP Ballot featured 4 full color photographs of candidates. Surely those candidates paid for the right to be featured so prominently. Even if the SCDP couldn’t afford to mail these out to members, making a printable version, like the SCGOP did that could be emailed, would have been a viable option and would have cost virtually nothing to produce. Additionally, the candidates featured on this list, particularly those purchasing premium placement, would have had some motivation to promote the document, thus raising the profile of the SCDP to voters and possibly bringing more money into the organization.
Inaction is the occupation of defeatists. I don’t know if that’s a quote, but it is now. In making the choice to do nothing during the city elections, the SCDP lowered its profile, and missed an opportunity to help shape the future of Memphis.