November 8, 2018

GEORGE KORDA: Phil Bredesen knew – in advance, and why – for whom the bell tolled.

Phil Bredesen knew what was coming, and said so before the bell tolled.

In an interview with MSNBC two days before the Nov. 6 mid-term election, the former Tennessee Democratic governor said, “If I lose, I think it will be because the national Democratic brand is a problem in general for me, and it will be because I haven’t succeeded in making the case I’m different enough from that to be considered.”

Candidates who know they have a good chance to win don’t concede two days in advance that they might well lose, and why.

Internal campaign polling must have shown Bredesen that he would lose to U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn. A pragmatic and gifted problem-solver with a lifetime of achievement, Bredesen might well privately lament having accepted the siren song of national Democrats who encouraged him to run.

Bredesen after two terms left the governor’s office in 2011 as the sole Democrat since 1994 to win statewide office. He probably had two objectives in stating his pre-election gloom: save face and send a message to Tennessee Democrats: the national party’s ever-sharper left turn has driven us into a ditch. A deep ditch.