Inevitable, Until It Isn't
The Inevitable Outcome- Until It Isn’t
Eric Keller, ACDP Chair
I am a stranger here. Arriving in 2011 with my beautiful wife, I started my doctorate immediately at UT and didn’t come up for air until I graduated in 2015. Yet, I paid attention to the 2012 & 2014 elections here in Anderson County. What I heard, over and over, from many, many people, was a message that went like this; “This county is deep red and Republicans always win. Don’t bother trying to support a Democrat, just support the least distasteful Republican.” The inevitable outcome – reinforced over and over by the power of a narrative- a story told by many people here.
Indeed. Certainly, the election results would seem to point that way. Trump won by a solid 64.29% in 2016 while Republican Congressman Fleischmann won by 62%. Hence, the Republican campaign to turn Anderson County “red to the roots”. Inevitable- until it isn’t.
In 2012, Jim Hackworth (Democrat) lost a state House race to the Republican by a few hundred votes (Democrat = 12,126 & Republican = 12,828). In 2016, the State House Democrat candidate withdrew after the primary, but his name was still on the ballot. Despite that, Democrats received 8000 votes. No campaigning, no visibility, just a name on the ballot. We lost by 2 to 1 votes without even trying.
As we approach 2018, the same inevitable narrative is still strong. Many still believe it- a Democrat cannot win in Anderson County. It is wrong.
The Anderson County Democratic Party is better organized then its counterpart. Its membership is more active and enthusiastic. Despite the huge disadvantage in campaigning dollars, we have actual Anderson County people making phone calls rather than the hired guns of the Republican Party. Campaigning research clearly shows the advantage of county people have over hired guns - folks respond better to neighbors. We have more people joined every day for many reasons; disgusted with Trump, worried about healthcare, wanting to fight for a fair and just economy, or realizing that Democrats plainly govern better than Republicans. Just come to one of our events (see events page). See for yourself.
Bernie Sanders used small contributions and enthusiastic volunteers to shake up the 2016 election. Anderson County must do the same. Republicans have the narrative (for now). Republicans have millions of dollars from here and outside sources. Republicans hold most of the elected offices here. They seem to have all the advantages.
To loosely use an analogy, Goliath had size, armor, and a large sword. David had a slingshot. We know who won. When it comes to taking care of the people of this county, Democrats have both the energy and the ideas to make our lives better. Like David, we should inevitably lose. Until we don’t.