What a mess
Since I’m back to blogging, I might as well talk about the Mark Clayton debacle as well.
I have never seen anything like this.
It’s really sad.
The “top of the ticket” effect has long been discussed when it comes to races pitting unknowns against unknowns. I’ve heard varying theories about how much it actually helps a candidate to have the alphabet on their side. It’s hard to disagree with the Democratic Party’s insistence that the only reason Mark Clayton won the primary is because he was at the top of the ticket.
Clayton is an interesting fellow. He claims to be a Democrat because of his belief in the working-class people of Tennessee. He is extremely anti-gay and pro-life. That said, there are Democratic state lawmakers that are against gay rights and pro-life. Being against gay marriage and abortion isn’t enough to consider someone “not a Democrat” in the state of Tennessee.
Of course, it his association and leadership role in Public Advocate takes it to a little bit different level. The Southern Poverty Law Center has classified the group as an anti-gay hate group. Mother Jones reported that Clayton believes the government is building a 400-yard wide superhighway from Mexico to Canada. You get the point.
I’m no longer idealistic enough to believe that the majority of people who go to the polls actually know who and what they are voting for. That’s why I say this event is really sad. There are probably 48-thousand people around Tennessee who are too embarrassed to admit they voted for the guy without knowing a darn thing about him. Clayton says that’s not the case. He believes the votes are actually because of his hard work and people talking to people. It appears he has also studied some other politicians. At both press conferences he’s held, he has had little anecdotes about people who voted for him: a lady at the Dollar General and some guy at the Waffle House who told him to “stay strong”.
The story continues to be strange. Perennial candidate Larry Crim wants a redo. Mark Goins, TN election coordinator, claims Chip Forrester had an opportunity to remove Clayton from the ballot. The Democrats dispute that, but admit they need to fix the way they research candidates who want to run under the party banner. Then, Crim’s lawyer, Michael Rowan, shows up at Clayton’s press conference. There, he gives a statement about the legitimacy of Clayton’s candidacy while helping Crim attempt to have another primary. Does any of this make sense?
It doesn’t. It feels like a bad joke. But this is a real situation in Tennessee, where the blame game has just gotten started.