Friday, September 13, 2019

Look to these Council members to lead the push to make Nashville a more "progressive" city.

Last night's saw the election of quite of a few council members of the stripe we have never seen before.  Several "progressives" were elected.  It is not that the city government has not been dominated by Democrats ever since the Civil War.  It has. However, when I served in the Council in the 80's, many of the Democrats would call themselves "conservative Democrats."  About the only thing that could get one labeled "conservative" or "liberal', was how one stood on raising taxes and spending money.

Over time, the Democrats serving in the Council became more liberal and I suspect their views became more closely aligned with the typical national Democrat. Still however, few were outspokenly ideological. The Metro Council is a non-partisan body and for the most part, party identity has not been a factor. The most recent Council did move further to the left as evidence by some memorializing resolutions that were passed and the position of the individual Council members on issues such as favoring illegal immigration and a few other issues. Still, there were few people that one would point to as radical or liberal firebrands. Actually, there are only a few votes that one could point to and say, that person took a conservative position or a liberal position. I think with the new Council that may have changed. Why did this happen?

For one thing, the typical Democrat is much further to the left than a Democrat of the past. Another thing that happened is that Nashville has changed.  There are now probably more Nashvillians from other places than there are native Nashvillians. Many of these transplants are from places like California and they bring with them their California values or the values of where ever place it is from which they came. Many want to turn Tennessee into a place like the failed places from which they fled.

Another thing is that there was an organized push to elect progressives to the Metro Council. A few years ago, I heard that there was a concerted effort on the part of progressive forces to make Nashville "the San Francisco of the South."  I don't know the source of this rumor or if is is true and who would specifically would be behind it, but it sounds almost believable. It almost looks like Nashville was targeted.  Outside groups and local groups with a progressive agenda endorsed and funded candidates like never before.

Our Revolution  endorsed six candidates and they every one won. Our Revolution's stated mission is to "reclaim democracy for the working people of our country by harnessing the transformative energy of the “political revolution.” Through supporting a new generation of progressive leaders, empowering millions to fight for progressive change and elevating the political consciousness, Our Revolution will transform American politics to make our political and economic systems once again responsive to the needs of working families.  Our Revolution has three intertwined goals: to revitalize American democracy, empower progressive leaders and elevate the political consciousness."

These are the candidates supported by Our Revolution:

  • Zulfat Suara, Nashville Metro Council, At-large
  • Sharon Hurt, Nashville Metro Council, At-large
  • Ginny Welsch, Nashville Metro Council, District 16
  • Emily Benedict, Nashville Metro Council, District 7
  • Kyonzt√© Toombs, Nashville Metro Council, District 2
  • Brandon Taylor, Nashville Metro Council, District 
Another group that helped elect progressives is the Nashville Justice League.  It is a Political Action Committee composed of  several liberal organizations including the Equity Alliance Fund, Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition Votes, and the Central Labor Council. Their stated focus was on electing a more progressive Metro Council. A spokesman for the League said, "We’re going to fight for civil rights, immigrant rights and workers rights."  Below is a list of the people they endorsed.  They were not successful in getting Bedne or Lane elected but did elect the rest of their slate.
  • At-large: Bob Mendes, Sharon Hurt, Fabian Bedne, Burkley Allen, Zulfat Suara, and Gicola Lane. 
  • District 2: Kyonzte Toombs
  • District 13: Russ Bradford
  • District 16: Ginny Welsch
  • District 17: Colby Sledge
  • District 19: Freddie O’Connell
  • District 29: Delishia Porterfield
  • District 30: Sandra Sepulveda
  • District 31: John Rutherford
  • District 33: Antoinette Lee.

A group dedicated to electing progressive women, WTF (Women for Tennessee's Future), endorsed several candidates. All won except for Mina Johnson. Below is the list of people they endorsed:
Councilwoman Burkley Allen for Nashville Metro Council at-Large
Zulfat Suara for Nashville Metro Council at-Large
Kyonzte Toombs for Nashville Metro Council District 2
Emily Benedict for Nashville Metro Council District 7
Ginny Welsch for Nashville Metro Council District 16
Councilwoman Mina Johnson for Nashville Metro Council District 23
Sandra Sepulveda for Nashville Metro Council District 30
Councilwoman Nancy VanReece for Nashville Metro Council District 8
Erin Evans for Nashville Metro Council District 12
Councilwoman Mary Carolyn Roberts for Nashville Metro Council District 20
Gloria Hausser for Nashville Metro Council District 22
Councilwoman Delishia Porterfield for Nashville Metro Council District 29
Another progressive group supporting candidates was LGBTQ Victory Fund.  There mission is "to change the face and voice of America’s politics and achieve equality for LGBTQ Americans by increasing the number of openly LGBTQ officials at all levels of government."  All of the candidates they endorsed won. Below is the list:
  • Emily Benedict, District 7
  • Russ Bradford, District 13
  • Nancy VanReece, District 8
  • Bret Whiters, District 6
  • Zach Young, District 10.

Other progressive organizations that supported successful candidates included  Code Blue PAC and LIUNA (Laborers’ International Union of North America).

If you look at the above list you will notice that many of the candidates were endorsed by multiple progressive organizations.  Unfortunately, there was no organized effort to elect conservatives or mainstream candidates to the Council. I think it safe to say, that if a name appeared on more than one of these list, they are safely far-left or "progressive."  Look to these Council members to lead the push to make Nashville a more "progressive city."

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