Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Carol Swain is exploring running for mayor again.

by Rod Williams - Carol Swain, African-American conservative author and former Vanderbilt professor, is exploring running for mayor again. She is forming a campaign staff and has let it be know she may run. She ran for mayor last year in the special election to fill the remainder of Megan Barry's term who resigned in disgrace after her affair with her police bodyguard and the misuse of public funds came to light.  Upon Barry's resignation, Vice Mayor David Briley became acting mayor until the special election to elect Barry's successor.  Bailey won that election with 54% of the vote, Swain got 23% and the remaining vote was split among eleven other candidates. 

I think Briley is vulnerable.  Employees did not get their promised pay raise and they are mad, our schools are failing, the city is rocked by scandals of cronyism and misuse of funds, we have the second highest debt burden of any city in America and we are the fourteenth most dangerous city in America. Our police department, fire department and schools are understaffed and our roads are filled with potholes.  People see massive growth and yet the city is broke.

Briley has already picked up a challenger in State Rep. John Ray Clemmons (D-Nashville) who in mid-January announced his candidacy.  Clemmons appears every bit as liberal as David Briley, but he has more charisma and is better looking and while those things maybe shouldn't matter, they do.  A person who it was assumed would seek the office but who has since stated he would not run, is Councilman-at-large John Cooper. I was disappointing that he will not be running for the office.  He is one of the council members most knowledgeable about the city's finances.  I don't know if he is as liberal on social issues as is Briley and as was Barry, but he is fiscally responsible and I thought he would be a good person to get the city's debt under control and our fiscal house in order. I would have supported him if he ran.

It is expected that Bill Freeman, a major national Democrat Party fundraiser, Nashville Developer and owner of the Nashville Scene will seek election. If he does, he will probably be the top challenger to David Briley. In the 2015 election which resulted in a runoff between David Fox and Megan Barry, Freeman came in, in third place.  Another potential candidate is African-American Councilwomen-at-large Erica Gilmore. Neither of those appeal to me. If Briley, Clemmons, Freeman and Gilmore were the only choices, I might could be persuaded to vote for Freeman, but probably not.  If those were the only choices, I might write in a name or just not vote in the mayor's race. 

If there was a sensible pragmatic fiscally responsible challenger to Briley, such as John Cooper I would support such a person even if they mouthed liberal platitudes. Since, I see no such person running, I will be pleased if Carol Swain runs.  I will vote for her.  Unfortunately, I would not expect her to win. Her conservative view are too well known. She is often labeled as homophobic and Islamophobic by her critics.  She describes her political affiliation as "a Christian first, a conservative second and a Republican third." Nashville is not a hospitable place for Christians, conservatives, or Republicans.

My perception is that Nashville is even more liberal now than in 2015 when we elected Megan Barry.  As the demographics shift to younger people and more Northeastern and California immigrants, the chance for a conservative candidate to be elected mayor dims.  Many of these newer immigrants to our city may not care a lot about the details of local governance and particular policy positions but they will vote for the candidate that they perceive as the most liberal. Issues like being pro-abortion, pro-gay rights, pro-illegal immigration, pro-Green New Deal, favoring removing confederate names and monument (not that we have many) and racial "social justice" are going to be more important than the city's debt, tax rates and an adequately funded pension plans. I hate to be so pessimistic but I do not see an opportunity for a path to victory for any conservative, especially an outspoken social and cultural conservative.

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