By Rosetta Miller Perry
Few mid-term elections have been more crucial than the one coming this November. It should be apparent to everyone with any degree of intelligence that the current person in the White House is totally and completely unfit to serve as President, and may well need mental health counseling. While nothing can be done about the latter, there is something that can be done about the former.
If the Democrats can regain control of the legislature, they can stop the total unraveling of every good thing that occurred during the Obama administration. Trump’s already done major damage to the Supreme Court, appointed incompetents to key Cabinet positions, repeatedly tried to intimidate and silence the press (at least any press critical of his actions), and generally proven a grotesque embarrassment to the nation with behavior more befitting a teenager than the head of a sovereign nation.
Whether his actions prior to the election merit impeachment will be determined by investigative agencies, assuming he doesn’t undercut them through his puppet, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, another disgrace to his office. But in the meantime, Tennesseans can do something about it, and Black voters in particular can have a major impact. The Senate can be flipped with just a net gain of two seats. While recapturing the House is a much more difficult task, the Senate is within range. There are 26 Democratic and nine GOP seats in play. Most of the Democratic incumbents are in good shape, but there are Republicans in jeopardy.
The decision of Bob Corker to retire put Tennessee squarely in the middle of this situation. If the Democrats can take his seat and one other they will be back in control of at least one legislative house, and it will be far tougher for Trump to continue his madness. The Democratic candidate is former Governor Phil Bredesen. His opponent is eight-term Brentwood congresswoman Marsha Blackburn, a first-rate reactionary, longtime advocate for the one percent bunch, and a major Trump supporter and apologist. She’s also someone whose rhetoric on many occasions has been anti-Black, even as she tries to say she’s not a racist or a bigot.
But go to her website and it is easy to find positions and rhetoric that is at best borderline, if not overtly racist. She doesn’t think police shootings of unarmed Black citizens should be investigated by outside agencies. She doesn’t support a citizens advisory board. She has publicly backed stop-and-frisk tactics that even a lot of law enforcement people call racist and ineffective. She has no problems putting children in cages and separating them from their parents just because they’re immigrants. She’s all for super harsh penalties instead of improved treatment and preventive measures to help fight drug addiction.
There are Blacks who live in Brentwood, but you’d never know it from listening to or evaluating Blackburn’s record. She seldom even refers to either Blacks or African-Americans. They are invisible in her eyes, an annoyance to be ignored or kept in check, depending on the issue. She’s quick to talk about “law and order,” but you never hear anything about justice, equality, equal opportunity or even rehabilitation.
Above all, she’s hardly an independent, visionary or progressive thinker. What she wants to be is a rubber stamp for Donald Trump. She wants to have local police forces serving as surrogate agents for Immigration rather than doing their job to fight crime in neighborhoods. She’s also said that her idea of governance for Tennessee’s citizens is just being a Trump puppet. She supports Trump’s efforts to give more tax breaks to the wealthy, his insane tariffs that are already hurting everyone and having a huge negative impact in this state. Just ask farmers, or auto companies or exporters like Jack Daniel’s what they think about Trump.
Turnout is key. In the primary Blackburn’s voters turned out far stronger than Bredesen’s. Black voters can make the difference between winning and losing in this state, and we need to turn out very strong to defeat both Blackburn and Trump. The Senate Leadership fund has already booked $4.4 million dollars in airtime and plans to start blitzing this area with ads beginning September 11 according to The Hill newspaper. The Democrat’s top outside group, The Senate Majority PAC, has purchased $3.4 million in airtime, but their ads won’t begin until October, giving Blackburn a month’s head start.
Black voters have already helped get one racist out of politics, with the sound defeat last week of Diane Black. Thankfully she’s now out of the legislature and the governor’s race. But Blackburn in the Senate would be as much of a disaster as Black being Governor. A Democrat hasn’t won a Senate race in this state since 1990, when Al Gore won a second term. Look at the devastation this state has suffered legislatively since then.
The only way to counter the madness of Trump is to stop his crazy policies at the top. Every Black voter in this state should turn out and vote against Blackburn as their response to the lunacy in Washington. Blackburn is toxic, and needs to suffer the same fate as her partner Black, out of politics, hopefully for good.