We’re preachin’ to the choir asking you to fight back with your votes. If you are reading this page you are likely a loyal Democrat committed to voting. You are aware of the dismally low number of Democrats who voted in the August 7th election which cost us dearly when some of the best-qualified candidates were defeated simply because too many Democrats stayed home. In Cumberland County, the Republicans and the Tea Party have created a climate where we feel more outnumbered than we really are. We have enough Democratic voters to win elections, but only if they vote. Poll after poll show that the majority (even some Republicans) agree with us on key issues like raising the minimum wage, equal pay for women, overturning the Supreme Court’s decision that corporations are people with “free speech” rights to buy elections, keeping public schools public, and protecting the environment, particularly clean water and clean air. When Democrats say we don’t like the direction the country is heading, we are referring to the Republican dominated legislature at the state and federal level that behaves as if they are employees of the billionaires instead of representatives of the majority of Americans. In 94% of elections, the candidate with the most money wins and the billionaires are making sure that their candidates have the most money.

Sounds depressing, but we have the only tool that can win over big money, the power of people. In the 1890s, the government of the states and the country was controlled by a handful of extremely wealthy people. US Senators were elected by state legislatures and represented the dominant economic interests of their state. People openly referred to Senators as the Coal Senators, the Iron Senators, the Timber Senators, because it was not a secret who was pulling the strings. But people all across the country rose up in what became known as the Progressive Movement and fought back against this concentrated power and eventually this stranglehold was broken and constitutional amendments were passed to prevent it from recurring. Minimum wage laws were passed, 40 hour work weeks, child labor laws, worker’s safety laws, and the food and drug laws to protect the public from unhealthy products all came about because the system was not working for the majority of Americans. Out of these reforms came the greatest development the world had ever seen, the rise of the American middle class. All these reforms are now under attack. Many of the laws designed to limit the power of wealth have already been repealed which led to the Great Recession of 2007 that we are still trying to recover from. Their agenda is clear – fewer laws to control the power of the super-rich, less government to regulate them, break the promises to our seniors and our veterans to care for them, to our children to educate them, and to the poor to offer a hand up. They want to change the war on poverty to a war on the poor. They complain about the number of people on food assistance, but have no plan for how working people can earn enough so they don’t need food assistance. We must Fight Back. We cannot allow them to send the country back to the 1890s, while claiming that the majority wants what they want. Only votes for the Democratic candidates sends a message that they understand.

We must also vote NO on the four Amendments to the Tennessee Constitution that are power grabs by the current administration and legislature, and cast votes in the Governor’s race. Passing the Amendments requires they receive Yes votes that total more than 50% of the total votes cast for Governor, so the more votes cast for Governor the higher the number of votes it would take to pass these Amendments. By casting a No vote on each of the four Amendments and voting for a gubernatorial candidate we can defeat these dangerous Amendments – if Democrats vote in large enough numbers.

There is something you can do to help the Democrats win in November. Each week until election day please call or talk to in person at least three Democratic relatives, friends and neighbors and explain to them the importance of voting, either by early voting which begins on October 15th, or on election day on November 4th. Encourage them to commit to vote, and ask them to talk to at least three of their relatives, friends and neighbors and explain to them how vital it is to get the Democrats to vote.

Michelle Obama has a commit to vote initiative website, and the AFL CIO is running a call a friend campaign to increase voter turnout. Cumberland County Democrats can do this also. We can increase the number of Democratic voters in November in Tennessee, District 6, and Cumberland County with one phone call or conversation a day, or even every second day. Those few minutes spent on get-out-the-vote conversations can, and will, make a difference in our county, our state and our country.

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