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Power Poll: Biden Will Win

Senate Will (Barely) Go Democratic

Nashville, TN  |  October 23, 2020 10:00am  |  By Bruce Dobie

Nashville Power Poll members, even some of whom are voting for Donald Trump, overwhelmingly think that Joe Biden will win the presidential race.

More disputed is which party will end up in control of the U.S. Senate. Just under 60% of Power Poll members believe Democrats will take the upper chamber; the remainder—just over 40%—believe Republicans will maintain control.

Meanwhile, not that this ought to be breaking news, but significantly more Nashville Power Poll members are voting for Biden than Trump.

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Akia Thompson Awarded $10,000 Power of We Scholarship

Belmont senior and Nashville resident Akia Thompson has received a $10,000 scholarship from the BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee Foundation.

The BlueCross Power of We Scholarship was introduced in 2012. Each year, the BlueCross Foundation awards $10,000 each to three outstanding minority students pursuing careers in health care. This year, as part of our larger commitment to address systemic racism and injustice within our communities, the BlueCross Foundation doubled the number of scholarships – awarding 6 total.

Here’s what led Akia to pursue a career in health care and her plans for the future:

 “As a minority in a low-income area of Nashville, I grew up seeing health problems in my family and my community,” she says. “After studying determinants of health, I know the roots of those problems. There are so many things that determine health — where you live, your access to care, your ability to afford nutritious food or to get to places that sell that food. I want to dedicate my career to serving people who face those challenges.”


While her family members and role models during her childhood played a part in Akia’s decision to pursue a career in health care, it was a summer internship at Meharry Medical College that gave her a specific goal.


“Shadowing health professionals in multiple roles was so educational, and now I’m pursuing a career as a family nurse practitioner,” she says. “I like that I’ll get to spend time with patients, get to know them and deliver hands-on, holistic care.”


“I love the public health program at Belmont because I know it will make me a better nurse,” she continues. “Eventually, I want to open my own clinic in an underserved area. I hope to give people not just access to care, but also the knowledge and tools to live healthier lives. I want to be an agent of change.”


Akia believes the BlueCross Power of We Scholarship is the first step.


“I still have a lot of school ahead of me, and this scholarship does more than help me pay the bills,” she says. “It makes me feel more secure about pursuing my dreams.”


Other recipients of the $10,000 Power of We scholarships from across the state were:

Marcus Barksdale, Senior, Nursing Major, University of Tennessee at Chattanooga (UTC)
Alanis Burton, Senior, Health Science Major, Lee University
Brianna James, Junior, Exercise Science Major, University of Memphis
Sydni Lollar, Junior, Honors Biomedical Engineering Major, University of Tennessee Knoxville
Deja Walls, Senior, Biology Major, Rhodes College

“The BlueCross Power of We Scholarship is one way we’ve been working toward health equity,” says Ron Harris, vice president of diversity and inclusion at BlueCross. “We believe it is our responsibility to promote equality in all aspects of life.”

For the past three years, BlueCross has hosted the Power of We Diversity conference, an event where individuals and businesses come together to learn best practices for promoting diversity and inclusion in the workplace. This year’s two-day virtual event was held earlier this month.


Related stories from BlueCross:

Meet the 2020 Power of We Scholars (Video)

Why we Must Recognize Racism as a Public Health Threat

Racism Must End, by BlueCross President and CEO JD Hickey, M.D.

Why We’re Ranked as a Forbes top 100 Employer for Diversity

Here are the specific questions and results in the survey:

The Power Poll is not a scientific poll. We survey the most influential, prominent people in the city of Nashville (and a number of other cities across the country) to gain insight into what the people who run their cities are thinking. Power Poll is non-partisan. In this survey, 382 people responded out of 953 surveyed, for a response rate of 40.08%. For a look at the Nashville Power Poll member list, click here.


INTERESTING FACTOID: Participation in this survey was down just a bit from most of our polls, in spite of the fact that early voting turnout in Davidson County is smashing records. I can only guess that perhaps some moderate Republican voters did not take part in the survey because they don’t plan to vote for Trump. And our question only offered up Biden and Trump as options. So they chose not to participate. That’s all I can come up with. I could be completely wrong.


The Nov. 3 election includes not only the presidential race but races for the state House and Senate. As well, we will be electing Lamar Alexander’s successor to the U.S. Senate.

Republican Bill Hagerty is a shoe-in to follow Lamar. He is running against political neophyte Marquita Bradshaw from Memphis. He has run an “I Love Donald Trump” campaign and it will work.

But the news this election cycle is not all lopsidedly good for Republicans. A handful of state legislative contests are in play. These races may flip Republican seats and turn them Democratic, which will provoke some talking points for the long-suffering state Democratic Party and its efforts to claw its way to respectability.

One tight race locally is the state Senate contest between incumbent Republican Steve Dickerson and Democratic challenger Heidi Campbell, the former mayor of Oak Hill. The district meanders through Belle Meade, Goodlettsville, Berry Hill, and more. Dickerson swiftly dispatched his last Democratic challenger four years ago. But the city hasn’t gotten any more Republican since then, Trump hasn’t done Dickerson any favors, Democratic turnout is expected to be high, and Dickerson has experienced some ugly headlines when his business partners in a healthcare company did some unsavory stuff. It’s a highly negative contest. If Democrats are going to get anywhere in the near future, this is a seat they must have.

As to the presidential race, nobody thinks Biden has a prayer in Tennessee, although the political junkies among us will be looking at Trump’s margin against Hillary Clinton and comparing the Trump-Clinton numbers (61% to 35%) to the Trump-Biden numbers.

Regarding the overwhelming support among Nashville Power Poll members for Biden, we live in an ever increasingly blue city, mirroring trends across the country of dense urban areas leaning heavily Democratic, rural areas leaning heavily Republican, and the suburbs in an existential quandary over what in the hell is going on. Regarding one such suburban area—Rutherford County—state Democrats have been hoping that the concentration of blue-collar and union voters there might be rich hunting ground. (Keep your eyes on the state House race between Republican incumbent Mike Sparks and Democrat Brandon Thomas.)


Tennesseans mirror the increasing divisiveness of American political discourse, with most of us dug in hard, on both the left and right, at a time when the need for public policy compromise has never been greater. Nerves are frayed; tempers short. Sadly, we seem to even be experiencing a spillover effect, with extremism at the federal level reaching down to our very own local politics. Witness the efforts to repeal Cooper’s property tax increase, or remove him from office entirely.

Which makes it all the more important that Power Poll members, who are so capable of finding common ground on the way to higher ground, commit themselves even more to our fraying institutions. Even if Biden wins, and the rancor of Trump goes away, the patient is still in triage. Ill words and hard attitudes don’t just evaporate. It’s going to take years for the ugliness in our democracy to melt.

After Trump’s election in 2016, the conservative writer Andrew Sullivan wrote what he thought was needed from civic actors--he calls them the "elites"—who, frankly, are a lot like Power Poll members. His words are taped above my desk and I’d like to end with them:


"Elites still matter in a democracy. They matter not because they are democracy’s enemy but because they provide the critical ingredient to save democracy from itself. The political Establishment may be battered and demoralized, deferential to the algorithms of the web and to the monosyllables of a gifted demagogue, but this is not the time to give up on America’s near-unique and stabilizing blend of democracy and elite responsibility. The country has endured far harsher times than the present without succumbing to rank demagoguery; it avoided the fascism that destroyed Europe; it has channeled extraordinary outpourings of democratic energy into constitutional order. It seems shocking to argue that we need elites in this democratic age—especially with vast inequalities of wealth and elite failures all around us. But we need them precisely to protect this precious democracy from its own destabilizing excesses."


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