Democrats Power Stripped With Republican Super Majority
NASHVILLE, Tenn- For the first time since Reconstruction, Republicans have a supermajority in both state chambers; basically stripping Democrats of their power to influence legislation.
"The Democrats don't have enough to make it," NewsChannel 5 Political Analyst Pat Nolan said. "They don't have enough to pass legislation. They don't even have enough to stop business. They'll basically be somewhat irrelevant to the process."
It's a low moment, it what's been a slow decade-long decline for Democrats. Republican redistricting didn't make their fight any easier. On Wednesday Democrats remain optimistic.
"This is the beginning of our move forward," Chip Forrester, Tennessee Democratic Party Chairman said.
Democrats celebrated the re-election of their incumbents and what may be a Republican upset in the 60th House district. It's not nearly enough muscle to leverage when necessary, but Democratic leaders say it's a start in regaining control.
"We're going to identify those Republicans who are far to the right and find candidates to take them out," Forrester said.
A supermajority doesn't necessarily roll out the red carpet for Republicans either.
"It is both a blessing and a potential curse for the Republicans because they're going to have to make sure they stick together in order to get things done," Nolan explained. "And if anything doesn't go right they can't blame the Democrats."
Potential legislation concerning creating a statewide charter school authorizer, school vouchers and guns in parking lots could create divisions within the party.
"I think our Republican caucus is as united as I've ever seen it," House Speaker, Beth Harwell stressed. "I think we take seriously this awesome responsibility Tennesseans have given to us to lead and govern this state."
Now that the votes have been cast- the work has already begun.