Dem 51
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GOP 49
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This Week in Freudenfreude: You Know You're Right

When we read this story, sent in by R.E.M. in Brooklyn, NY, we couldn't help but think of the old line attributed to Winston Churchill: "Americans can always be trusted to do the right thing, once all other possibilities have been exhausted."

We say that because the voters of Tennessee have been pretty willing to embrace racists and fascists in recent years, up to and including giving two big victories to Donald Trump in 2016 (60% to 34%) and 2020 (61% to 37%). But, just maybe, some Tennessee voters are growing weary of such behavior. We refer specifically to the citizens of Franklin, who just held a mayoral election, and decided that Gabrielle Hanson was not their cup of tea.

What was the problem with Hanson, exactly? Well, she's got quite a few skeletons in the closet. Back in the 1990s, she was convicted of promoting prostitution. Last year, her husband ran for Congress, and his candidate paperwork described the family as being residents of Chicago. Reporters looked into it, and it turns out Chicago is not in Tennessee. Gabrielle Hanson also told numerous outright falsehoods during the campaign, most obviously posting a photo of "supporters" to her website. When the women in the photo were tracked down, they said they had no idea who Hanson is.

The thing that really got a lot of attention, however, was Hanson's choice of bodyguards. She hired from the Tennessee Active Club (TAC), which just so happens to be overtly antisemitic and white supremacist. When Hanson was asked if she was aware of her bodyguards' leanings, as well as the fact that many of the attendees at her events were white supremacists, she said she had no control over such things, that she was not interested in denouncing anyone, and that she just asked such individuals to avoid being disruptive. They apparently did not get the message, as members of TAC vandalized the offices of reporters who were covering the campaign. Hanson refused to condemn this behavior as well.

When Election Day came, Hanson was absolutely obliterated, with Mayor Ken Moore claiming 80% of the vote to Hanson's 20%. It is true that Moore is an incumbent, and that both candidates in the "nonpartisan" election are known to be Republicans. So, Moore probably would have won even if Hanson wasn't a nutter, and having his name on the ballot allowed Republican voters to avoid having to swallow hard and vote Democratic. That said, normal turnout in mayoral elections in Franklin is about 3,500, and this election drew almost five times that.

In short, it's a clear rejection of the sorts of extremism represented by the far right of the modern-day GOP. And the result gives some small glimmer of hope that the voters are out there to maybe one day return the Republican Party to a normal, center-right organization, as opposed to what it's become.

Have a good weekend, all! (Z)

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