Where the Grass Isn’t Greener for the GOP

In Nashville, there are no — count 'em, zero — Republican candidates running for county office.


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People still contend that Shelby County is the nexus of the Democratic Party in Tennessee. This is despite the fact that Democrats, who in theory have held the demographic edge locally for two decades, have had grievous difficulty winning even isolated positions in countywide elections.

This year could be different, of course. There are numerous signs that the blue wave supposedly building elsewhere in the U.S. will inundate Shelby County, as well. It’s a fact that, in the next election coming up, the county general-cum-state-and-federal primary election on August 2nd, there will be more Democrats on the ballot than Republicans.

But Shelby County is not and never has been the center of Democratic Party strength in Tennessee. That distinction belongs to Nashville. Yup, the prideful sister city up I-40, the capital city, the site of a state government that can be pretty damn laissez-faire about what happens in Memphis.

The fact is that, for better or for worse, Nashville is the last place on earth where the old Solid Democratic South still exists, where whites as well as blacks have a better chance of being elected to countywide (in their case, Metro-wide) office as Democrats.

Here’s some instructive proof of the fact — a Facebook post from Don Johnson, a Memphis transplant (and a Republican) now toiling in the vineyard of GOP Governor Bill Haslam.

April 24 at 7:53pm ·

If you are a Republican voter in Nashville you may have noticed that there are *no candidates* to vote for in the May 1 Republican primary.
Not one GOP candidate for any office.
No Republican Judges. No Republican Sheriff. No Republican Clerks. ...
Sure it would be near-impossible for a Republican to win a county-wide race here, but we've just given the Dems a free ride in August without having to even pretend that our votes matter.
The blame falls on all of us who failed to act upon the belief that every voter has a right to choose a conservative alternative.
You should absolutely still vote and make your voice heard - one way or the other - in the transit referendum. You can leave the other boxes blank or write-in your neighbor's cat.
Meanwhile in Shelby County, nearly every office has multiple qualified and competent GOP candidates to choose from. Be thankful for these men and women who have proudly stepped forward and for the dedicated and determined party organization that nurtures and supports them.

(Whereupon Johnson, to illustrate his point, prints out the Republican-primary part of the Davidson County Metro ballot. Below.)

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