While the Hamilton County Democratic Party is launching disgraced former Senators like Tennessee Waltzer Ward Crutchfield back onto the campaign trail and just generally becoming more and more irrelevant, a rash of young Republicans have stepped forward to start running for city council. And they just might get elected.
Here's some of the contenders who have stepped forward:
George Jackson for District Two
Ken Smith for District 3
Ryan King for District 4
In the recent Metro Nashville elections, the Davidson County Republican Party ran a highly organized and well financed slate of candidates. They even sent out mailers to over 14,000 households to encourage voters to support a slate of 24 council candidates. This is how the Republican Party, which is renowned for its socially regressive, racist, homophobic, and over-all vicious and evil policies and practices has managed to ascend to power and take over institution after institution in Tennessee. They get organized, they get financed, and they get their people to the polls. The Hamilton County Democrats, it would seem, are still stuck on the Good Old Boy method of doing things: street cash and cronyism with a side of opportunistic pandering and vicious back-biting.
What we need in Chattanooga is an infusion of young, progressive leaders who speak not to the tired and divisive message of the middle-class, but to our city's burgeoning poor and working class, the large numbers of struggling families, students, and young people who do not own assets (much less development companies) but have debt. These are people who do not have connections to the Chattanooga Chamber of Commerce or the local philanthropic foundations but have deep ties to their community and churches. These are people with a powerful voice and progressive values, but no political organization to find their expression.
In the near future, we might find that the shift in power in Chattanooga has gone even further to an entrenched class of corporate and business insiders who steal everything for themselves and leave us with nothing.
UPDATE 9.23.2012 And now this Sunday Times Free Press story has the Democratic Party chairman just keeps providing more and more evidence that the local Party is a force for reactionary Good Ol' Boy politics:
Smith, a longtime local Democratic insider, refused to apologize last week, claiming he was misunderstood. He said the women he offended within the party were "troublemakers" who should have discussed their concerns with him instead of going to the media.And that's just what they print on agendas. Imagine what they really say behind closed doors.
UPDATE 10.22.2012 The Chattanooga Times Free Press has confirmed that both the Hamilton County Republican Party and the Chattanooga Tea Party are actively seeking to recruit candidates, but the Hamilton County Democratic Party are remaining "hands off" and are not actively working to recruit, train and support local candidates in the upcoming election. A notable exception, of course, would be the obvious attention, support and love being shown to disgraced state senator and ex-felonWard Crutchfield:
Two political groups acknowledge they actively have been recruiting potential candidates for the March 13 nonpartisan city election
Marty Von Schaaf, chairman of the Hamilton County GOP, said Friday the party has talked to individuals about running; some have picked up election petitions, and some have not.
. . . Mark West, president of the Chattanooga Tea Party, also acknowledged that his group has been recruiting for the election and said he has spoken to some potential candidates, as well.
But Paul Smith, chairman of the Hamilton County Democratic Party, said his party is taking a hands-off approach to the nonpartisan race and will continue to stay out of it.