A Lesson for Minority Democrats in Mike Kernell’s Memories?

Rep. Mike Kernell, defeated in last week’s Democratic primary by fellow Rep. G.A. Hardaway, looks back over 38 years in the Legislature in the Memphis Daily News.
Kernell won his first two-year term in the year of Watergate and President Richard Nixon’s resignation.
Democrats were ascendant – Republicans were on the ropes and Kernell remembers the Democrats getting elected knew it.
“People walked around like we’ve got the power. But it still broke into factions. That’s human,” he said. “What the Republicans did was, they made friends with the Democrats and actually became very influential.”
Kernell added there are some lessons there for the Democratic minorities who will return to Nashville next year without him. Democratic leaders have had real problems adjusting to life as the minority party in both chambers over the last four years.
“I’ve been trying to tell them to make friends and just withhold judgment. When two people become friends, then they start trusting each other,” he said. “When another person stands up on the floor and you eat out with them every once in a while, they are going to listen to you and they are not going to vote to cut you off. That kind of relationship is needed.”
And Kernell said there are already signs that Republicans on Capital Hill are beginning to do what Democrats did after they got used to being in the majority.
“It’s going to factionalize. That stuff happens. The honeymoon is over,” Kernell said.
But that doesn’t mean life will be easier for Democratic legislators, especially those from the most Democratic city in the state.

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