Veteran political operative James Carville was keynote speaker Saturday at the Tennessee’s Democratic Party’s Jackson Day Dinner in Nashville, attended by a crowed of about 750, according to The Tennessean.
Carville was introduced on Saturday by former Nashville Mayor Karl Dean, a possible Democratic candidate for governor in 2018, and for whom the ballroom for Saturday’s event is named after. His successor, Mayor Megan Barry, also spoke. Former University of Tennessee football coach Johnny Majors, a Democrat, led the crowd in the Pledge of Allegiance.
Carville, a longtime Democratic operative who emerged on the national political scene in 1992 as manager for Bill Clinton’s first presidential campaign, told the audience of partisans Saturday, “You reap what you sow.”
That what’s happened with the Republican Party and Trump, Carville said, as some establishment Republicans opt not to endorse the polarizing billionaire real estate mogul in the days since his final two opponents dropped out of the primary.
Carville said rhetoric of conservatives — that President Barack Obama was born in Kenya, that global warming doesn’t exist and that tax cuts balance budgets — fueled Trump’s rise.
“When the people rise up and start believing all this madness after you’ve given them the green light, why are you surprised? You started all this.”
To win in November, Carville said Democrats need to make their arguments more “cogently and more to the point” — and he said the polarizing Trump will help Democrats make their case.
“Trump is going to help us, and there’s no doubt about this,” Carville said. “We should not kid ourselves. We’re looking at a 162-year-old political party literally cracking up right in front of us. And they’re cracking up because they deserve to crack up.”
Further, from WPLN:
Craig Fitzhugh, the Democratic leader in the state House of Representatives, shares Carville’s optimism. He predicts middle-of-the-road Tennesseans will wind up casting their votes for the Democratic nominee.
“And I think they will continue to vote that way on down the ticket,” he said.
Fitzhugh says pulling off just a few upsets in statehouse races would help his party. Democrats hold only about a quarter of the seats in the state legislature — so deep in the minority that they have a hard time getting their ideas on the agenda.
“We need to have enough gravitas with our votes, so that we can stop an argument, start an argument and let our voice be heard,” Fitzhugh said. “Because that’s part of the problem now. With the supermajority, they’re just overwhelming us sometimes with their votes.”
Tennessee Democratic Party Chair Mary Mancini boasted that 114 Democrats have registered to run this year for the state legislature and Congress.
“We have so many folks that are stepping up to say, ‘Enough is enough in the state of Tennessee. Enough of Tennessee Republican supermajority rule.'”
But Mancini doesn’t expect to take back the reins of government this year either. She, like other Democrats, simply hopes this year might the one in which the electoral tide finally turns.