If your politics are anywhere to the left of Pat Robertson, the two major parties offer no viable option in the Tennessee Senate race.
Consider the Republican incumbent, Bob Corker. Corker may have good hair, but he’s got a nasty policy record. In 2011 Corker blocked a move to end special tax breaks for big oil corporations at a time when big oil reaps huge profit. Months after the BP oil disaster, Senator Corker cosponsored a bill to automatically approve oil drilling applications without review. Bob Corker voted to reauthorize the Patriot Act without reform and without debate. Net Neutrality? Bob Corker’s against it. Indefinite detention of Americans without charge? Bob Corker’s for it. Repeatedly for it. Bob Corker is an authoritarian oil whore.
Then there’s Mark Clayton. Clayton is the Democratic Party nominee competing to take Bob Corker’s seat. Clayton is Vice President of a group called Public Advocate of the United States that opposes equal rights for gay and lesbian people and wants to require Americans to practice compulsory Christianity.
What’s a reasonable person to do? Refuse to be limited to these unacceptable alternatives. Look for other alternatives. One place to cast your vote in protest is with Jim Maynard, a write-in candidate for Senate. A veteran progressive activist in Memphis, Maynard mounted a surprisingly strong write-in campaign challenging conservative Democratic incumbent Harold Ford Jr in 2004. After Clayton’s outrageous nomination this year, Jim Maynard has put his name forward as a write-in candidate, a receptacle for all the people who refuse to roll over and play patsy for the conservative agenda. Maynard offers a pretty succinct reason for people to write him in: you want to oppose anti-gay theocratic bigots? Write in me: I’m a humanist gay man! You can read about Maynard’s principled prior write-in bid here, you can follow Maynard’s platform and candidacy right here, and you can find bumper stickers, buttons and shirts to promote the Maynard for Senate write-in campaign over here.
Tennesseans, some people would rather you didn’t know it, but you do have a choice in the Senate. One good choice is to write in Jim Maynard for Senate.
Update, August 10: Jim Maynard has rolled out an official Maynard for Senate web page.