Dear Tennessee Democratic Party

I love you. I do but sometimes folks have to practice tough love with the things they care about.
You guys, well, I thought you knew better but you don’t, and what I’m talking about is that I think you need to come to Hooterville and talk to some of the people I’ve been talking to the past few days. Go to all of the Hootervilles, not just mine.

You are blowing it, in my opinion, when it comes to rural voters and in many ways, you are disenfranchising younger voters here.This isn’t good, Nashville leaders.

There is a world outside of Nashville.

And, I mean this, you guys act like there isn’t sometimes and that’s a damn shame. You have young people here that want to be involved in the political process, are talking to me, and yes I work at a newspaper, that they are constantly not getting their needs met. But, with that said, the GOP is doing dandy here. New building, an air of excitement, recruiting new members, selling McCain buttons enthusiastically and creating new partnerships by reaching across the aisle to a large degree.
Heck, I’m a liberal and I’ve had a great time with the local GOP. They are rocking it.
Earlier this week, I talked to several people in their 20s and 30s who lean to the left who do not feel comfortable with the college democrats due to their age and in the local democratic party because there tends to be too much established fellowship. This isn’t your fault and I’m not blaming you but a little updated training might help from your end. They wanted to put up signs, they wanted buttons, they wanted a rally.
But, and this is just dang unforgivable, is that between 20,000 and 30,000 people were here for the Tennessee Soybean Festival and other than a handful of kids from the college running a voter registration drive, the democrats were invisible. Thousands and thousands of college kids were at the Corey Smith outdoor free concert where there were dozens of vendors when you could have come and made a huge splash and, umm …
You get my drift?
You missed a huge opportunity. Rural communities want to be involved. Engage them and pay attention.
Several years ago, I went to several meetings at the local party and was one of those young voters who felt left out. I wanted inspiring conversations, events to feel excited about. As I recall, I went to one meeting with now Sen. Lowe Finney. I can’t speak for him but I can say that I didn’t get my needs met. After a while, I gave up.
This is the county that has Ned McWherter and his legacy. But there are other counties just like mine that need leadership from the state office. I set up a website for these young voters yesterday. Have you not sent out instructions to rural communities who need your guidance about online networking, talking points and utilizing social communication sites like Twitter or Friendfeed? I’m just asking because I know I haven’t seen them but you might have. Are you talking to established rural party leadership about how to recruit young people.

Gray, we had 4.4 percent of our registered voters vote here in August.

I don’t know about other rural counties but don’t you think you need to reach out to these places that feel that voting is a waste of time because they aren’t being engaged. Yes, McCain will take Tennessee but I’m talking long-term here, not just one race. And, quite frankly, the GOP is getting it done in rural areas in Tennessee.
One young voter called the TNDP on Tuesday and was somewhat dismissed. She was devastated. I put out a call about needing some help to the Memphis Bloggers who were Johnny on the Spot and a call out to Twitter, with many people responding from Nashville.
I had to think about it. It’s more than just this race, it’s the future of this party when it comes to rural young voters who want participating. And it’s about guiding people into a new generation.

If this race is about change, you have people who want change and are willing to work for it, give them a hand. Remember, one of them called you so they are reaching out. I realize it’s a county in the middle of nowhere but voices are of value everywhere.
Guide them.
I contacted my local representatives.

We, and I say we because I’m not just griping are taking action to encourage young voters here and we, are going to try to help some of these kids. Rep. Mark Maddox and I are on it, but you have to help too. We are putting our money where our mouth is.
Politics in this state is not just in Nashville. We are not just a bunch of rednecks who need to be dismissed. One of your rising stars in the state senate started here. He was the same young man who went to that meeting with me so many years ago.
So please, help out the little guys because each vote counts in every election.
We aren’t asking you to do it, we are just asking you to be involved with everyone and not the select few.
Keep up the good work but expand it. That’s all I’m asking. I know this area, trust me on this one. I trust you will take this constructive criticism as it was meant. Not as a slam, but as an opportunity for growth.

Tough love is hard. If I pissed you off, well, too bad.
Love hurts.


21 comments for “Dear Tennessee Democratic Party

  1. September 11, 2008 at 4:10 pm


  2. September 11, 2008 at 4:24 pm

    Good post, Newscoma.

    Unless voter registration is done door-to-door using systems that have identified unregistered voters and allow colelcting other data, registration drives can waste the very precious resource of time. When you sit in a Walmart parking lot or knock on a random door and ask if people are registered to vote, you will almost always get YES even though they are not. When you knock on a door and ask for a person you know isn’t registered knowing they are not registered you not only get results, you get an opportunity to engage a voter, id them and build resources. This is how we elected Tim Kaine Governor of Virginia and that data helped defeat Senator George Allen.

    Vince and I are doing something this year I hope to replicate in a bigger project in coming elections. We have personally identified 3 people who have not voted regularly and need to be re-registered in their respective county (Williamson and Rutherford). We have scheduled time to register and drive them to early vote to make an experience out of the entire day for all of us. The unintended effect is to have a solid and personal connection with real people that would otherwise not vote. The intended effect is our vote is doubled. Now our 2 votes are 5 votes. If everyone did that one simple thing we could double the voter turnout. It doesn’t take hours of time phone banking, knocking on doors, or doing stuff that might seem overwhelming to potential volunteers. What it does do is make voting an experience and inspire those you take to do the same thing the next time around or become more involved in volunteer efforts.

  3. newscoma
    September 11, 2008 at 4:27 pm

    Christian, great advice.
    I will have a blog up by the end of the week for the local kids here. It’s not my blog, it will be theirs.
    That’s what these kids wanted to do is exactly what you are saying. They wanted to be involved and work hard.

    Man, I would love a sit down with Gray for just 30 minutes. Or have these kids have a sit down with him. He might learn something.

  4. September 11, 2008 at 6:37 pm

    Quite honestly Newscoma, the TNDP screws up everything it touches so badly that I think you ought to be on your knees thanking God Almighty that they haven’t come to your county. Your hometown would be 100% Republican when they got through with it.

  5. Lee
    September 13, 2008 at 10:54 pm

    Hmm, normally I come here from my own little blog (*cough* Digital Nicotine *cough*) as opposed to one from Instapundit.

    * Yes, I’m shameless.

  6. Proud Democrat
    September 13, 2008 at 11:13 pm

    Don’t listen to him, Democrats. The way to win is to make fun of gun owners and to attack their families. My proudest moment as a Democrat was when Clinton bravely incinerated the children at Waco. My second proudest moment was when we went after Sarah Palin’s family. My third proudest moment was when Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi tried to cut off those troglodytes in the military, who think they’re better than me just because of their sacrifice.

  7. dthistle
    September 13, 2008 at 11:28 pm

    What kind of work do you do at a newspaper? I hope it is not reporting. Everything you write should be considered an op-ed.

  8. newscoma
    September 13, 2008 at 11:30 pm

    Lee, I am too. We are the shameless ones. It’s why we get along. :)
    Dthistle, this blog is just for my own enjoyment. They are two very different things, for the record. Hell, I talk about Bigfoot most of the time. Thanks for dropping by.

  9. Bob
    September 13, 2008 at 11:39 pm

    Maybe they’re turned off by the realization that, at the national level, the Democratic Party has gone Eurosocialist. A lot of folks in the rural areas still hold American values dear.

  10. Kevin Murphy
    September 13, 2008 at 11:47 pm

    I’m to the right, but I hear your pain. My only advice: Stop begging the state party to help you. They are obviously not interested.

    Instead, organize the people that they don’t think they need and TAKE IT AWAY FROM THEM. Elect some folks locally, if you can. Make networks with similarly situated people elsewhere. Obviously you have the Internet and know how to use it (Instapundit linked). Do they? Beat them over the head with it until they understand.

    But if you want the organizing done, and the big guys can’t be bothered, you will just have to do it yourself. It’s America.

  11. Person of Choler
    September 14, 2008 at 12:12 am

    SOYbean Festival! How unforgiveably tacky. Next time, make it an Arugula Festival. The Messiah Himself might grace you with his presence.

  12. JohnMc
    September 14, 2008 at 12:45 pm

    “…You have young people here that want to be involved in the political process, are talking to me, and yes I work at a newspaper, that they are constantly not getting their needs met. But, with that said, the GOP is doing dandy here. New building, an air of excitement, recruiting new members, selling McCain buttons enthusiastically and creating new partnerships by reaching across the aisle to a large degree.”

    Young people not getting their needs met? Like what? Tickets to a concert? Insufficient sex? Gold Blackberries? When I was young, if my needs were not being met I went and got what I needed. If that meant getting a job as part of it, well so be it. There is nothing stopping a 18yo from getting what they want. That includes lowering the drinking age if they organize.

    Oh you are talking politics. Hate to tell you but the 18-25 demo generally could care less about politics regardless of party. Those that do who have a problem. Like they can’t whip out the cell and call the party headquarters? Pleeeze. That single paragraph destroys the balance of your whole article.

  13. Lou Gots
    September 14, 2008 at 12:45 pm

    PROUD DEMOCRAT: Surely you can find some pride in your heart for when Janet Reno’s jack-booted thugs grabbed up little Elian Gonzales and whisked him off the the paradise of workers and peasants.

  14. Hale Adams
    September 14, 2008 at 7:57 pm


    It’s in the nature of any bureaucracy for the older personnel to move up in the organization, and so I suspect that the folks at the Tennessee Democratic Party headquarters are in their 50s and 60s.

    What does that have to do with the price of tea in China, you ask?

    I was born in 1962, and so I have a foot in both the Baby Boomer camp and the Gen-X camp. It’s my experience that folks older than I am (especially people my parents’ age– they were born in the late 1920s) tend to look to central authority for guidance, whatever the setting might be. It’s not that they can’t exercise initiative, they’re just reluctant to use it; they tend to defer to guidance issued by “experts”, which is presumably better than their own judgement. I think this has to do with having grown up in a world that was “run by experts”– whether it was the Great Depression, World War II, the Fabulous Fifties, or the Sixties, it was a world run (for better and sometimes worse) by an elite that was seen by many to have all the answers. And for a while, that world worked pretty well, especially after 1945.

    People my age or younger grew up in a world in which it seemed the “wheels were coming off”. The economy basically went sideways (or worse) from the late ’60s through the early ’80s– the Seventies weren’t anywhere near as bad as the Thirties, but my father lived through both eras and was getting pretty nervous and cranky by 1980, watching this country go down the tubes, as he saw it. As I see it, looking back, it was a time when the “rule by experts” failed to deliver the goods, because it had reached the limits of what it could do.

    Ronald Reagan, for all his faults (and he had many), was such a breath of fresh air after the Suffocating Seventies. His message of smaller government and more reliance on individual effort and initiative was music to many people’s ears, including my own. And his message worked. The ’80s were Good Times:

    1) a roaring economy (which is still roaring, MSM doomsaying notwithstanding. Anybody out there remember the “misery index” from the Carter years? And do we hear about it now? I thought not, and I think we all know why);

    2) a Soviet Union in full retreat, after it seemed unstoppable just a few years before, and on its way to the dustbin of history; and most importantly of all,

    3) ordinary people finally getting the message that they were indeed masters of their own fates, instead of being told that they were mere playthings of the experts.

    Reagan’s message reverberates to this day, I think– young people still want to “get involved”, but they’re not receptive to the “vibe” of “central direction” coming out of high places, a vibe leftover from the ’50s and ’60s that failed so spectacularly in the ’70s.

    All of which, I suppose, is just a long-winded way of saying that if young people aren’t “getting their needs met”, it may be because the TNDP HQ and its field personnel are stuck in the past, and their message is turning off the young.

    And the worst part of it is that the senior folks in the TNDP just don’t get it– the old ways worked for them, and now they can’t understand why they aren’t working today, or understand why those old ways are so repellent to young people.

    It’s sad, really.

    Even if I wouldn’t be caught dead voting for the Democrats, at least on the national level, it’s still sad. (Some of us remember how we, at the urging of the Democrats, sold the South Vietnamese down the river in 1974-75.)

    Now, if the Republicans weren’t so authoritarian, and the Libertarians weren’t strung out on 9-11 Truther Kool-Aid, there would be someone I could actually vote for.


    Hale Adams
    Life Member, Libertarian Party
    People’s Democratic Republic of Maryland

  15. L.V. Grose
    September 29, 2008 at 10:31 pm

    Here is an email I recieved yesterday….I think it has merit.

    This is not my thought, but it obviously is from someone who understands money.

    Well Now Here’s A Thought!)

    I’m against the $77,000,000,000.00 bailout.

    Instead, I’m in favor of giving $77,000,000,000 to all Americans as a ‘Dividend’.

    To make the math simple, let’s assume there are 200,000,000 bonafide U.S. Citizens 18+

    Our population is about 301,000,000 +/- counting every man, woman and child.
    So 200,000,000 might be a fair stab at adults 18 and up..

    So divide 200 million adults 18+ into $85 billion that equals to a hefty $380,500.

    My plan is to give $380,500 to every person 18+ as a ‘Dividend’
    Of course, it would NOT be tax free. So let’s assume a tax rate of 30%.

    Every individual 18+ has to pay $114,150 in taxes. That sends $22.8 Billion right back to Uncle Sam.

    But it means that every adult 18+ has $266,450.00 in his or her pocket.
    A husband and wife have $532,900.00.

    What would you do with $266,450.00 to $532,900.00 in your family?
    Pay off your mortgage – ‘housing crisis solved’
    Repay college loans – ‘a great boost to new grads’
    Put away money for college – ‘it’ll be there’
    Save it in a bank – ‘create money to loan to entrepreneurs’
    Buy a new car – ‘create jobs’
    Invest in the market – ‘capital drives growth’
    Pay for your parent’s medical insurance = ‘health care improves’

    Remember this is for every adult U S Citizen 18+ including the folks who lost their jobs at Lehman Brothers and every other company

    If we’re going to re-distribute wealth let’s really do it…instead of trickling it out

    If we’re going to do an $77 billion bailout, let’s bail out every adult U S Citizen 18+

    Here’s my rationale. We deserve it and we were not
    invited to the last 10 years of ‘party time’ .
    And remember, That this plan only really costs $54.2 Billion because
    $22.8 Billion is returned instantly in taxes to Uncle Sam.

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