Message to all Cumberland County Democrats from Dennis Gregg, Chair

Dear fellow Democrats,

There is little to celebrate from the August 7th election.  Only one Democrat won a contested race, Ron Thurman, and that was because his opponent was so ill-equipped that even Republican leaders campaigned against him.  In contest after contest, more experienced, better qualified Democratic candidates with proven track records were passed over in favor of men with “R” after their name.  In the non-partisan county commission and school board races better decisions were made with a couple of exceptions, highlighting the impact of party loyalty on the Republican side.

The failure of our candidates can be traced to two things – the intense loyalty of hard core Republicans fueled by their hatred of President Obama, and the lack of enthusiasm among traditional Democratic voters.  We can’t do much about the Republicans, and many voted for Thom Hassler and Randy York, but we need to face the challenge of the Democratic voters who did not vote.  We need to engage with family, friends, and acquaintances who should have voted Democratic and find out if they voted, and if not, why.  We need to really listen to what they say so we can figure out how to engage them.  We need to talk to the normal allies and find out whether we are getting the union votes and the teacher votes and the state employee votes, all of whom should be voting straight Democratic.  But again, we need to listen first.  If a teacher tells you that they vote Republican, even though the Governor and the Republican legislature have made it clear that they want to privatize the public schools in TN and turn them over to corporations, we need to understand what they think the Republicans are offering that is more important to them than losing public education.  Let’s have these conversations so we can learn how to do better.

I want to end by thanking all our Democratic candidates for their committed efforts.  Lots of money, time, sweat, and tears by the candidates, their families, friends, and supporters were expended by good men offering themselves up for service to the community.  Aside from the ugly things that get said about you, it is painful at the end of the election to be rejected by the voters in favor of another candidate when you believe in your heart that you can do the better job.  Some of the candidates I have known for a long time, others I got to know through this campaign season.  Every one reflected the positive values of our community and conducted themselves in ways that reflected their high moral standards.  They represented the Democratic Party without apology and their personal integrity shown through and at least in some cases cut through the negative stereotypes that have been perpetrated by the Republicans.  After the Forum, one tea party person came up to me and said, ‘I didn’t know that these kinds of people were Democrats,” meaning she was impressed.  We DID have impressive candidates from top to bottom.  Thank you all!

Dennis Gregg, Chair


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