Lawrence was very, very upset!


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.)


  1. The second amendment is evil.

  2. Actually, Lawrence was upset, and has been upset, about the Republican refusal to ban AR-15’s. He has done a number of segments about the destruction that this weapon causes, capable of decapitating children. Last night was no exception. That is the context surrounding this event in Nashville.

    1. In fact, Lawrence has shown the pictures of the three children murdered in Nashville recently several times on his program. He has expressed outrage over this and many other school shootings including the one in Uvalde, Texas. it’s an ongoing theme of Lawrence‘s show.

  3. The woods are lovely, dark, and deep. If Justice Kagan accepted luxurious travel and lodging from Soros, David in CA would say that’s just fine and dandy.


  4. Oh, dear.

    What was that all about, dear Bob? A stream of consciousness smoothly transitioning into mindless drivel, that's what it sounds like to us, we're sorry to say...

  5. “ Everyone memorized the point:

    They voted to kick the black guys out but to let the white lady stay!”

    It’s funny, because that’s exactly what happened. Maybe the Repubs aren’t racist, but they sure looked that way. I guess it’s everyone else’s fault for noticing what happened.

    Also, the additional point made last night that Somerby ignores: Republicans refuse to do anything about guns, and go to great lengths to stifle debate, including unnecessarily expelling legislators they disagree with.

    1. It's not the case the Republicans refuse to do anything about guns. Republicans pass laws making gun ownership legal in more circumstances. This reduces crime by allowing honest citizens to protect themselves and others.

    2. Today Gavin Newsom pointed out that despite having more restrictive gun laws, CA has lower crime rates and fewer shootings than FL does. If your theory were correct, David, the stats should be the opposite of what they are.

      Here is what he said:

      "California: Some of the strongest gun laws in the country.

      Florida: Some of the weakest gun laws in the country.

      The results: Florida has significantly higher firearm death rates, violent crime rates and property crime rates than California.

      Strong gun laws work. Don’t believe the GOP nonsense. What Ron DeSantis is doing is weak, pathetic pandering."

    3. David, if Justice Kagan accepted luxurious travel and lodging from Soros, that would be OK, right? You’d defend from criticism, right?

    4. The logical answer to this country's rampant gun violence problem is more guns. The NRA loves tools who believe this shit. Spouting right wing memes without any supporting facts is the god given right of conservatives. Their elected representatives in Florida have the mendacity to state that it is the people's will to pass a law putting guns into more hands, when over 75% of the population polls against such. But here is the good news. There are classrooms full of students who have watched their contemporaries gunned down routinely while republicans either do nothing about assault weapons or advocate for more guns. Their time is coming.

    5. More passive aggressive shit from DinC.

      We have GW to thank for allowing the assault rifle ban to expire. And the subsequent explosion of mass killings with this military weapon.

      "making gun ownership legal in more circumstances."

      Pure gibberish. WTF does it even mean?

  6. “ In 2000, Gore/Lieberman lost the state by four points.”

    I could let this stand without comment, but Somerby’s “red/blue” history is, shall we say, lacking in substance.

  7. The American dream:
    Every little girl or boy can grow-up to some day own a Supreme Court judge.

    1. In the very justified criticism of the Thomas’s we seem to have lost that Ginny was fantasizing about torturing President Biden, for which She never apologized.

  8. Bob ignores a fairly obvious element that was hardly ignored at the time: even after the voting rights act, the Dems still had a shot in some of these states if they were running a white guy from the South. The candidate probably caught it on the other end from snobby northern progressives, Bill Clinton certainly did.
    O”Donnell and others are probably a bit over the line due to outrage over the school slaughters. Maybe that’s wrong, but since Bob doesn’t even care about these shootings he’s not much one to judge. The outrage from the black community is laudable, though we should bare in mind some of the ugliest slaughters HAVE been race based, murdering blacks.

    1. And my point above, at least partially, was to show that Somerby completely ignored the discussion about guns and gun control that precipitated this event in Nashville in the first place. It was a major part of last night’s discussion.

    2. Worse, he ridiculed the movement of student survivors in a very mean spirited way.

    3. Aside from disappearing MSNBC’s discussion of guns, I knew he’d find the right wing spin:
      “ we'd have to say that we saw all three of the "Tennessee Three" wandering off the rails.”

      And there it is.

  9. The entire South used to be Democrat. What happened? Is Somerby as big a moron as he seems?

    1. anon 5:48, you come off as smug an ignorant. The south did turn republican after the passage of the civil rights act - in the deep South, the democrats were pretty much like republicans any way. But Tennessee elected all these Democrats in the 1990's, after Reagan and long after the Civil Rights laws were passed. TDH asks a valid question - why did Tennessee change to such degree (like West Virginia) - could one cause conceivably be the fault of democrats? Suggesting that this might be the case doesn't make someone a "moron."

    2. After the birth of Right-wing AM talk radio, Fox News, and the consolidation of media ownership.

    3. AC/MA-
      "Losing Power: African Americans and Racial Polarization in Tennessee Politics," written by Ray Block Jr., associate professor of political science and African American studies at Penn State has a different take, AC:

      As Tennessee has become more politically polarized, it has also become more racially polarized, which is both one of the causes and one of the consequences of black Tennesseans’ recent loss of political power,” Block said. “This has contributed to anti-minority rhetoric, racially regressive policy making, and an increasing number of barriers facing African Americans who are able to win political office.”

      Prior to the turn of the 21st century, Block said, Tennessee was a swing state that did not guarantee victory for either Republican or Democratic candidates. But, since 2010, the state has become increasingly more conservative, much like the greater United States.

      Block said the transition was partly due to party shifts within the state legislature. While Democrats kicked off 2000 with majorities in both Tennessee’s state Senate and House of Representatives, they lost dozens of seats throughout the remainder of the decade. By 2012, Republicans had supermajority in both chambers for the first time in more than a century.

      As Democrats lost power in Tennessee, so did African Americans. By 2016, no committees or subcommittees were chaired by black lawmakers.

  10. It's fortunate for Democrats (although it's unfortunate for women) that abortion is not automatically permitted. This gives Democrats a real issue, unlike the fake issue of racism.

    1. Democrats never won any elections before the Hobbs decision. The Roe v Wade decision was in 1973. How many Democrats have been elected since then, including Clinton, Obama, Biden, even Carter. I think that data suggests your theory is full of crap, David. And based on your idea, all of the Southern states should have Democratic incumbents because they certainly have plenty of restrictions for Democrats to run on.

      My question is why you cannot see how fatuous your ideas are before you type them out here?

      If racism is such a "fake" issue, why does it motivate right wing voters the way it does?

    2. Sorry you think most black people are frauds David, because they don’t see it that way.

    3. The fact that blacks vote overwhelmingly Democrat is a bizarre and unexplained statistic that has nothing to do with right wing racism, in DIC's world, where blathering right wing trash is an art form.

    4. Well, it looks like David is getting in his passive aggressive bitchy mood again. "Unfortunate for women", eh? The abomination you voted for guaranteed this.

      David, I would say the most important lasting legacy of the Trump presidency would be him guaranteeing the overturning of Roe by sticking 3 unqualified judges on the SC and thereby turning the nation into a living hell for women.

      This gets to the point about equal justice in this country. How does it happen that one judge in Texas ends up deciding to overturn FDA approval of mifepristone which has been in effect for more than 20 years for the entire country? (Remember when abortion was going to be a state's rights issue?)

      Well, let me tell you David, not by accident. The plaintiffs who have no legal standing to even bring this case, very carefully went judge shopping and knew exactly what court to go to.

      So, I think your whining about equal justice for Donald J Chickenshit rings a little hollow right now.

    5. @7:01 AM - a small quibble.

      The 5th Circuit ruling affects Texas, Louisiana, and Mississippi (I believe). The 9th Circuit upheld (for its 17-state jurisdiction) the FDA approval of the contraceptive drug. The FDA, in anticipation of the SC upholding the 5th ruling and overruling the 9th's, are starting a new approval process that will negate the basis for the 5th's ruling.

    6. @3:25 AM - the next DiC argument in good faith will be his first.

    7. 1:15 PM,
      Thank you, but my understanding is the ruling in Texas was not from the 5th Circuit which will probably hear the appeal. It was US District Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk, and his ruling suspended FDA approval of the drug, and would apply nationwide.

  11. I’ll mention, “Red Map.” What was Red Map? Red Map was an initiative spearheaded by the Republican Party in 2009 to flip state legislatures in the 2010 mid-term election.
    The GOP surveyed the universe of state legislatures on the eve of the 2010 national redistricting and worked to turn as many state houses red so they could control legislative map making after the 2010 census and lock in Republican majorities as far as the eye could see.
    The Democratic Party being Democrats, rested on the laurels of historic wins at the federal level and did what they do: ignore down ballot races in mid-term elections.
    The 50-State Strategy was folded up and put on the shelf. State Democratic parties, now working with fewer funds and volunteers ran the mid-term races they usually do and in the Fall of 2010, watched legislatures fall to the GOP.
    With their new mid -term majorities, Republicans drew National and state legislative districts that created majority Red houses by carving up major metros and their suburbs that split Democratic voters into legislative minorities. In swing states, even if Democrats had elected representatives to seats in those legislatures in the past, these newly drawn districts made those choices almost impossible.
    When you write about liberals being asleep in the woods, remember, it wasn’t TV viewers and blog commenters who dropped the ball, it was elected officials and campaign operatives who ignored the GOP’s plan.
    The Upper Mid-West Blue Wall to competitive red red states like North Carolina fell, and locked democrats out for a decade.
    It took until last year for a state like Michigan, with the help of state courts that broke the GOP gerrymander, to take back the legislature and create a trifecta with wins in the executive branch.
    Bob, stop blaming cable viewers, blog commenters, and pundits for the lack of foresight on the part of Democratic electeds.

  12. Somerby stands with the Tennessee Republican fascists.

  13. The people of Tennessee have only themselves to blame for this situation.

  14. A Supreme Court justice is using "ignorance of the law" as his defense.
    The laziness of the Right is their superpower.

  15. Now they're crying about a rainbow on a beer can. I miss the days when Right-wing snowflakes cosplayed as tough guys.

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