The National  Memo Logo

Smart. Sharp. Funny. Fearless.

Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

Reprinted with permission from

In one of the biggest surprises yet in the battle for control of the Senate, former Democratic Gov. Phil Bredesen has taken a 10-point lead over GOP Rep. Marsha Blackburn in the new Middle Tennessee State University Poll. This is the latest of multiple polls giving Bredesen the lead.

But an even more significant finding — and the key driver of Bredesen’s polling strength — is that 20 percent of Republican voters prefer Bredesen.

This is a staggering amount of cross-party support. To put that in perspective, exit polls showed Doug Jones won the Alabama Senate special election with only 8 percent of the Republican vote. And Republicans are the same percent of the electorate in Tennessee as in Alabama.

While the candidate contrast is not quite so extreme as in Alabama, with a prosecutor who locked up Klansmen running against an accused child molester, Tennessee is a similar case of Democrats recruiting their dream candidate and Republicans being stuck with a nightmare.

Bredesen, a businessman who served as mayor of Nashville before becoming governor, is the last Democrat to have won a statewide race in Tennessee. He remains a popular, well-recognized figure in the state and is running as a moderate. His platform calls for strengthening Obamacare and providing relief for the opioid crisis. Central to his message is his desire to fix the partisanship in Washington.

By contrast, Blackburn delights in a partisan agenda.

She helped lead a crusade in Congress to ban Medicaid patients from going to Planned Parenthood, and one of her Senate ads touting that work was so toxic that Twitter took it down. She has promoted the “birther” conspiracy theory, says she opposes gun control because “hammers” and “hatchets” are just as dangerous, and authored a bill that wiped out President Obama’s rule protecting Internet privacy.

Blackburn is so toxic, in fact, that Republican officials privately begged retiring Republican Sen. Bob Corker — who currently holds this seat — to change his mind and run for another term. Blackburn responded with a campaign statement calling the Republicans trying to prevent her nomination “sexist pigs.” Ultimately, Corker stuck with his decision to retire, leaving Blackburn as the presumptive nominee.

Tennessee Republicans can see the warning signs. Their own voters are abandoning them — and it could cost them the Senate.


Start your day with National Memo Newsletter

Know first.

The opinions that matter. Delivered to your inbox every morning

An aerial view of post-tornado Mayfield, Kentucky at Christmas, 2021

In its ranking of business values, corporate America proudly provides a special place for elevated moral behavior. That place is the trash can.

Indeed, several years ago, free-market extremist Milton Friedman actually decreed that the only ethical obligation a corporation has to society is to deliver as much profit as possible to its big investors — everybody else be damned. Any awfulness caused by their self-indulgent policy of profit maximization is excused by claiming that their iniquities "broke no laws." But — hello — they write the laws, intentionally defining corporate immorality as always technically legal.

Keep reading... Show less
{{ }}