Outgoing Tennessee Democrat Representative Jim Cooper says the Democrat party is “facing extinction” in his state and relies on “blind hope.” Cooper warns that the party has no strategy to appeal to voters in rural areas.
In a recent interview, Cooper said, “As usual, Democrats are not alert to future dangers. The biggest danger we face in an off-year election after we won the White House is the 100-year trend toward the other party. Redistricting is small potatoes compared to that historical trend.”
When asked if he believed that Democrats would prove competitive in the long term, Cooper responded that he continues to hope so but that “hope is not a strategy.” He then criticized the party’s management in Tennessee and stated that the Democrat party in Tennessee needed a new direction.
According to Cooper, “Their strategy is blind hope. Many of the folks you’re probably listening to have probably never visited these countries. They’re not kin to these folks. Their best friends don’t live out there. I had the advantage of being born in Nashville but raised in Shelbyville.”
Rep. Cooper insisted that while he is retiring from office at the end of his current term, he doesn’t plan to discontinue working. While he said he plans to focus more on his projects, he is willing to help the party if possible.
He explained, “I always want to be available and helpful, but I plan on getting a job and being a productive citizen. It can’t be handed to you. You’ve got to study it and work at it and be good at it. And then we can put on some finishing touches.
“There are many people today who want this stuff handed to them, and life doesn’t work like that. It’s important to make money. It’s important to be productive. It’s important to pay taxes. Work organizes life. I plan on working until the day I die because work is fun, work is interesting, work is important.”
“It’s important to be in communication with your constituents, not to be their boss,” Cooper continued. “You’re their representative. We’ve got to get this formula right. The Democratic Party in Tennessee is basically facing extinction.
“We’ve been on a long downhill slide for a long time. Tennessee has fewer statewide elected offices than I think any other state, and now the only path upward will be through Memphis, which is not nearly as successful as Nashville. That fits Republican strategy very well. Their intent is to ghettoize the state Democratic Party.”
Rep. Cooper clashes with left-wing progressives
Representative Cooper has frequently clashed with left-wing, more progressive Democrats. He has faced removal attempts from some within the party, who have tried to remove him from office and replace him with a candidate of their own.
A progressive candidate backed by Justice Democrats, Odessa Kelly, sought to defeat him in 2020. Kelly gained endorsement from some key Democrats and had a history of inflammatory posts on social media, including calls to commit violence against Republican lawmakers.
While challenging Cooper, Kelly posted on Facebook a list of suggested agenda items for President Biden to accomplish in his first 100 days. Her agenda included wishes for packing the Supreme Court and student loan forgiveness, as well as joking about attacking Republican leaders.
Part of her post read, “Day 9: Allow Pelosi to hire the best pimp that Memphis or Detroit has to offer to Smack tha (emoji) outta Ted Cruz and the rest uv ’em (y’all know the ones)!”