Republicans risk outrunning voters

Sandra ClarkLet's Talk

The Republican Party is running hog wild. But to where and for what purpose?


Let’s make the case for GOP overreach that could have short- and long-term consequences:

Partisan election of school boards. Got a problem with the school board? Vote them out. Board members are not under term limits, but few stay past two terms. Who runs for the BOE? Concerned parents for the most part. We’ve had retired educators and some business types, but few flat-out politicians.

It’s a stretch, but Democrats could win a majority here with partisan elections. Districts 1, 2, 3 and 4 (currently Evetty Satterfield, Jennifer Owen, Daniel Watson and Virginia Babb) could easily go Democratic with the right candidate. Just one more seat will form a majority. And school board races typically turn on issues, not political party.

TN Amendment 1. A woman’s right to terminate her pregnancy has been contentious since 1973, when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled, 7-2, that the U.S. Constitution protects a pregnant woman’s right to have an abortion without excessive government restriction. Every woman of child-bearing age was born after 1973; they know no other legal situation.

In 2014, the state legislature put Amendment 1 on the November ballot. It basically said nothing in the state constitution grants a woman the right to choose. Crafty legislators like Bill Dunn had prevailed, setting up Tennessee to revert to no legal abortion if Roe vs. Wade were overturned.

The amendment passed statewide, but it did not pass in Knox County. Considering the organized efforts of the “Vote Yes” side against the non-existent campaign to “Vote No,” it’s surprising that countywide Amendment 1 lost with 54,124 against and 50,635 for. Almost everybody voted, too. Total voters here were 107,275; 104,759 voted pro or con on Amendment 1. At the same time, three other amendments carried with margins ranging from 66 to 73 percent in favor.

Also, on the same November day in Knox County, Bill Haslam got 78,571 votes; Lamar Alexander got 66,093; and Jimmy Duncan got 71,955. These numbers say several thousand Republicans voted against Amendment 1 on a day when it didn’t matter.

Conclusion: State and local GOP leaders are not the dog that chased a car and wondered what to do when he caught it. These guys have chased the car, passed the car and swerved sharply to the right. The car rambles on down the middle of the road.

Stuff I don’t get
  • Why is unemployment so low and jobs go a-begging?
  • Why does Tim Burchett want to team up with The Crown College to bring discarded statues to Powell for a memorial garden. Who needs 58 sculptures of Robert E. Lee?
  • If the anti-Covid vaccine had been named the Trump vaccine, as suggested by Sean Hannity, would the sides have shifted, with the Trump supporters taking the vaccine while the Biden supporters declined?

Sandra Clark is editor/CEO of Knox TN Today.

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