by Judson Phillips
On December 18, 2019, Tennessee Governor Bill Lee announced Tennessee would accept more refugees under President Trump’s executive order. As anyone paying attention might guess, that decision did not go over well with conservatives in Tennessee.
Both the Speaker of the House, Cameron Sexton, and the Lieutenant Governor, Randy McNally, objected to the decision and objected to the fact the governor did not consult them before making the announcement.
On Facebook and other social media, keyboard conservatives raged about this decision. Those who never supported Bill Lee responded with, “I told you so.”
While the anger flowed on social media, the question is, what are conservatives going to do about this betrayal? If history is any guide, nothing. But the sad truth is, there is a lot that can be done, and it isn’t that hard.
First, call your state representative and state senator and set up a meeting with them. Unless you are a complete jerk, they will meet with you. Most have designated times and places where they will do constituent meetings.
When you meet with them, explain your concerns about the refugees and why you do not want the governor to resettle refugees here in Tennessee. Be polite, even if you do not get the answer you want.
Conservatives need to strategize to send the governor a message. He is not up for reelection until 2022. He cannot be recalled. The only way to remove him would be impeachment. The chances of the state house impeaching him are less than zero and even if that were to happen, Article V of the Tennessee Constitution requires a 2/3 vote for removal. It simply isn’t happening.
But there is another way to send a message.
In January, the governor will unveil his agenda for 2020. One of the best ways to strike back, is for conservatives to pick a couple of the governor’s pet projects for 2020 and go lobby the legislature not to approve them. When legislators hear from just a few people on an issue, unless it is a red-hot issue such as abortion, they pay attention. Speaker Sexton and Lt. Governor McNally were not happy they were blindsided by the governor on the refugee issue. While they may not be inclined for revenge, they might well be interested in sending the governor a message that he does not act alone.
Finally, the other thing conservatives can do in 2020 is to help defeat incumbents who support refugee resettlement. State Senator Steve Dickerson has come out in favor of the refugees over Tennesseans. He is always voted as the most liberal Republican in the State Senate. The United States government has also sued him for his ownership in a company that allegedly engaged in Medicare and Medicaid fraud. Conservatives need to work to find a candidate in that district who will run and support that candidate. Defeating him will send a message to encourage the others.
Too many conservatives simply sit on the sidelines and are simply happy to complain. Sometimes I think that is all they really want to do. If you are unhappy with what Governor Lee did, you can either be a Facebook keyboard commando and accomplish nothing, or you can get involved and make a difference.
2020 is upon us. What is your choice?
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Judson Phillips is a long time conservative pundit and founder of Tea Party Nation.