FRIDAY, APRIL 7, 2023
Mr. Gorbachev, build up that wall: Tennessee wasn't always bright red.
In 1992 and 1996, the Clinton/Gore ticket won the state, though it did so fairly narrowly. In 2000, Gore/Lieberman lost the state by four points.
On the presidential level, it's been all bright red from there:
Tennessee presidential elections:
2004: Bush 56.8%, Kerry 42.5%
2008: McCain 56.9%, Obama 41.8%
2012: Romney 59.5%, Obama 39.1%
2016: Trump 60.7%, Clinton 34.7%
2020: Trump 60.7%, Biden 37.4%
Earlier, though, the state had been blue! Here's where matters stood as of 1992:
Tennessee, January 1992:
Governor: Ned McWherter (D)
United States Senate: Al Gore (D), James Sasser (D)
United States House of Reps: Democrats 6 seats, Republicans 3
Pepperidge Farm remembers! From there, it's been straight downhill.
Today, it's nothing like that. Tennessee is blazing red and is likely to stay that way.
What accounts for all that change? We can't exactly tell you. We'd be inclined to say that much of the commentary on cable last night didn't seem likely to help.
Tennessee's giant shift to the red virtually defines the political problem our own blue tribe currently faces. We'll guess it may not gigantically help when cable shouters, along with Tennessee Democratic pols, spend an evening dointhis:
Comparing current Tennessee pols to Bull Connor; remarking that Tennessee is where the Ku Klux Klan was born and where Dr. King was murdered; referring to "lynch mobs" and "lynching trees;" comparing their own "assassinations" to that of Dr. King; and also saying lots of other high-octane stuff.
"Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall," an American president once said. Last night, it seemed to us that our cable shouters were happily working to build a certain wall up.
Should the Tennessee House have voted to remove two members? Everyone in our blue tribe knows how to answer that question.
We also know what we should say about why the racist rednecks did that, and about why the racist rednecks let the white woman stay.
We all know exactly what we should say about why she got to stay. That said, and just for the record, the numbers break down like this:
Only seven (7) of the 75 Republican members of the Tennessee House voted to let the white woman stay—and two of the seven also voted to let one or both of the black guys stay.
(Rep. Charlie Baum (R) voted to let all three Democrats stay. Rep. Bryan Richey (R) voted to boot Rep. Jones but to let the other two stay.)
In other words, only five of the 75 Republican members voted to boot the two black guys while letting the white woman stay. The giant majority of the Republican pols voted to boot all three.
That said, everyone from Joe and Mika's sidekicks on down knew that the different outcomes in those cases showed that the Tennessee House is just a pile of Republican racists. Everyone memorized the point:
They voted to kick the black guys out but to let the white lady stay!
The white woman, who survived by only one vote, told the story that way herself! Given the way the game is now played, it tends to be the only thing our blue tribe knows how to say.
The woods are lovely, dark and deep. That said, a major continental nation can't survive if it splits into a wide array of increasingly self-referential identity groups and at least two warring political tribes.
Mr. Gorbachev, build up that wall! That's what we heard Lawrence and them happily saying last night.
We suspect that you may disagree, but please remember this—we've long said that there seems to be no obvious way out of our growing mess.
A continental nation can't survive as a collection of warring identity groups and siloed political tribes. Meanwhile, for better or worse, the "democratization of media" makes it harder and harder to avoid breaking apart in such ways.
On the brighter side, those young black Tennessee pols were reacting to the murder of three 9-year-old white kids.
That was a very advanced version of the classic "black and white together" stance. On the basis of that virtually unmentioned fact, we'll praise them to the skies!
Elsewhere, we'd have to say that we saw all three of the "Tennessee Three" wandering off the rails.
There's no obvious way out of our failing nation's growing political mess. Putting it another way, there's no obvious way for our team to win, and there are roughly a million ways to continue to lose.
Remember when Tennessee was blue? We leave you with this question:
What has happened in the years since then? How the heck did we ever get all the way from there to here?
(Feel free to mention Rush and Sean, but also Fox News and Tucker. Feel free to mention the Internet and the rise of social media.)