Do Democrats — in the wake of the Claytonstroversy — really want to make support for gay marriage a litmus test?
Combine that voter sentiment with the Democrats’ Tennessee unsuccessful election experience of the past 18 years and the party’s future problem is obvious: will Democratic candidates be required to affirm support of gay marriage, or opposition to Campfield’s bill, to be considered a Democrat worthy of being on the ballot? If not that, will there be other issues for which Democrats must proclaim ideological purity? Global warming? Obamacare? You name it.
If the answer among Democratic Party activists is yes, or even remotely close to yes, history and evidence suggest continuing misery for Tennessee Democrats seeking elected office. A party already reeling will find itself eating its own, the sort of thing abortion supporters often hope will happen to anti-abortion conservatives.
Smart Tennessee Democrats will do everything possible to avoid such an issue-related litmus test for office seekers and get their colleagues to quiet down. It’s not as if Clayton has a great chance to win anyway.
A better option than moaning about a party heretic being on the ballot is to raise the money, find winning issues, run a campaign and beat him or her in the election. A quaint idea, but it’s worth a try.