Free Advice to the TNDP

From here on out, just let Sean Braisted speak to the media and, when he speaks to the media, go ahead and let him do that chagrined laugh of his and say, honestly, “It’s a clusterfuck, isn’t it?”

Because this?

Well, Tennessee has a very low threshold of 25 signatures to get on the ballot. So it’s not difficult to offer yourself as a candidate. We have a very small window of five days after candidate paperwork is filed and there are 99 House seats, 33 Senate seats, nine congressional seats. So we have five days to withdraw or not allow a Democratic candidate to be placed on a ballot. And it’s also a slippery slope to keep a candidate off the ballot.

This is terrible. And guess what? There isn’t a slippery slope from “You can’t run as a Democrat and belong to a hate group” and anywhere else. It’s not slippery. There is no slope.  There’s just looking at who your constituents are and then not letting the people who are actively working for their elimination run as fucking Democrats. That is a flat, smooth, safe surface for a motherfucking party to walk on. I mean, why would we be embarrassed to be dismissive of people who want to get rid of our constituencies?

And then this?

Well, I certainly spent a lot of time and the staff spent a lot of time talking to prospective candidates. It is difficult when the Republican has a $10 million war chest and a personal checkbook that is in excess of that, to recruit a candidate against that kind of campaign war chest is difficult.

We did not get involved in the primary, we don’t get involved in primaries, so we had a number of candidates that filed and it’s a difficult mountain for us to climb when your Republican opponent has that kind of financial resource.

This is so hilarious I can’t even be mad. “We’d have kept the dude from the hate group off the ballot as a Democrat if we’d had more money, like those fancypants Republicans”? So, it’s your donors’ fault now?

That sentiment doesn’t really make people want to open their wallets, I’d guess.

Like I said, send Braisted. Let him cuss. But don’t bullshit.

10 thoughts on “Free Advice to the TNDP

  1. He and the rest of the party have no interest in even running the race. They take no interest in who is running for a US Senate seat, make absolutely no effort to reach out to or educate voters, and now that this happened, their plan is, “Well, just write somebody in.”

    Yes, even a legitimate nominee would have no chance of defeating Corker. But does the TNDP plan to ever compete? Do they think that they can just sit it out until the Tea Party goes away? If they say, “many Democrats in Tennessee knew nothing about any of the candidates,” doesn’t that mean they should do absolutely anything to have an actual race, and not let Clayton stumble into the nomination for a federal election?

  2. If the TNDP had any combination of brains, guts, and organization, they would choose someone to be the party’s write-in candidate of choice. And then they would spend the next three months convincing the state’s Democratic voters to write that candidate in so that s/he would at least end up with more votes than Clayton. But as far as I can tell they don’t have any of any of those things.

  3. I could get behind a long-shot Democratic campaign if the candidate was actually saying something at least slightly more interesting than “vote for me.” The only one out of the lot who I’d even heard of was Larry Crim, but he’s never been elected to anything in his life and he makes Harold Ford Jr. look like Franklin Roosevelt.

    The point of supporting a candidacy like that is to build the base for the next candidate who might actually have a shot at winning. In order to accomplish that aim, said candidate needs to be an ass-kicking, take-no-prisoners progressive Democrat. We haven’t seen one of those at the state level in Tennessee since before I was born.

    Take Ron Paul as an example. Everyone knows he doesn’t have a fart’s chance in a cyclone of being elected president, but his campaign has built up a national organization that will wheel into action the next time a serious libertarian candidate appears on the stage, nationally or locally.

    Howard Dean was pretty much personally responsible for the Democratic wins of 2006 and 2008, primarily because he could see past the next election. When his campaign folded, it transformed into DFA, which I am a proud member of and which later became the model for OFA.

    The TNDP is suffering from a lack of vision, and they’re ignoring one of the first organizing principles of planning a major campaign: begin with victory and work backwards to the present. We all know that any statewide Democratic victory in 2012 is hopeless, but that doesn’t mean we can’t look past this election cycle toward a candidate who will eventually win, and prepare the way for them to get us out of what promises to be a long, dark night in Tennessee.

  4. I think the smart thing for the Democrats to do is strip him of the nomination and put Sean in as their candidate. I hope they won’t so I am suggesting it. Sean is a major improvement over Mike McWherter and Harold Ford Jr and Bob Clement {note to Chip Forrester, Clement is available and willing to run for the office of ___________} combined.

    Obama / Braisted. It has a ring.

  5. I have heard tell that they didn’t tell Clayton ahead of time he couldn’t run as a Democrat because they were afraid Crim would therefore be the nominee. I hope this is not true because it would indicate that they KNEW Clayton was unacceptable, but felt he was somehow less problematic than Crim.

    And it indicates a failure of imagination because, if you know you have some enormous clunkers on the ballot AND you know that, because of the alphabetical arrangement of candidates, they’re liable to get votes, maybe even enough votes to get the nomination, then how could they not think to run someone whose name starts with a “B”?

    As a semi-serious candidate or just as a candidate whose presence isn’t a fucking mortifying embarrassment, they should have put Braisted on the ballot, if they weren’t going to take the time to educate voters on the other candidates.

    And then, they should call up Dan Auerbach and tell him “Congratulations! When you’re not busy, we need to put your name on every race where we’re challenging someone who cannot lose and where we want to crowd out the embarrassments. Sure do hope you’re a Democrat!”

    And autoegocrat, absolutely we should start building toward the future, but it’s going to take someone willing to be a hard-ass that no one likes to pull the party together into doing that.

  6. It’s also going to take someone willing to think beyond bullshit immediate points-scoring, someone willing to put effort into the long game. Like nm, I will not be holding my breath for that shit.

  7. Their excuse of primary neutrality is pure BS.
    A nod, a wink, a hint to a big-money donor could have gotten Overall’s campaign a win. We talked about that B and unfortunately your pessimism was right.
    Remember how they toiled tirelessly to push Kim McMillan out of the primary in 06 so we could have a winner in Ford Jr? How’d that work out?
    I’ve voted D since McGovern, I’ll be voting Green from now on–they can’t win, neither can the D’s but the Greens have principles I support and are not shaking in their boots anytime some GOP fascist says Boo!

  8. Yeah, I’m sorry to have been right about that. But the TNDP doesn’t support female candidates. I think Overall knew she didn’t have a chance in hell of winning against Corker, but you know who would have been a less embarrassing candidate to have lose to Corker?


    I just don’t think they can imagine a woman willing to take one for the team. As evidence by the fact that they, over and over again, don’t treat female candidates like they’re on the team.

  9. Kosh,

    Excellent point about the treatment of Kim McMillan. Of course, at that time there was more than a little speculation that the National Democrats and the powers that be in the Tennessee Democratic Party wanted Ford to get the nomination to prove that the Party wasn’t ignoring him because of race. Since there are far more female Democratic Senators than black Democratic Senators, Ford was a better nominee than McMillan.

    Aunt B.,

    “I just don’t think they can imagine a woman willing to take one for the team. As evidence by the fact that they, over and over again, don’t treat female candidates like they’re on the team.”

    Women in the TNDP have been taking ones for the team for ages. Just not in major elections. They took them by being quiet about the crappy treatment elected women got in terms of committee chairmanships and other elements of power. However crazy Rosalind Kurita may have been {and there was lots of speculation on the upside}, she and Jo Ann Graves were shunted to the back benches. So to with Charlotte Burks. And on and on.

    Where were the Democratic Women in key positions in the House? Kim McMillan was Majority Leader briefly. Did women head any of the major committees?

    Republicans have two women Congressmen and might have had a third if Robin Smith’s campaign team hadn’t alienated so many people by treating them as enemies. And none of the three followed a husband into prominence.

    Republicans have a woman as Speaker of the House, a position that wields as much power as Governor or Speaker of the Senate.

    Republican women chair Senate Education, Senate Judiciary, and other important committees.

    Good Democratic women in the Legislature took more hits for the team than all the villains in a ‘Dirty Harry’ film festival.

    Perhaps Democratic women should look at how the Tea Party has become influential in shaping the Republican leadership and agenda in TN. Forget policies and concentrate on the tactics. Target incumbents who have been poor on women’s issues particularly in issues of leadership and power in the cauci. Focus on those races and the importance of demonstrating the power of Democratic women. Ignore other aspects of an incumbent’s record. After all, being a Democrat means prioritizing women’s issues as well as education and health care.

  10. “doesn’t have a fart’s chance in a cyclone” — that’s the best turn of phrase I’ve heard in a very long time!

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