Tennessee’s two U.S. senators, Marsha Blackburn and Bill Hagerty, were harshly judged in a snap Nashville Power Poll for their decisions—which each later reversed—to challenge Joe Biden’s election as president.
Nearly nine in 10 respondents rated the duo’s actions as “extremely poor.”
In a snap Power Poll emailed to members late Wednesday afternoon, and closed this morning, over 750 of Nashville’s political, business and non-profit leaders were asked to rate Blackburn’s and Hagerty’s decisions to challenge Biden’s victory. Both had said they would object to the certification of the Electoral College showing Biden the winner, joining some 10 other Senate colleagues. In the midst of the formal certification process, the Capitol was stormed by Trump supporters.
By the time order had been restored Wednesday night, and the Senate had reconvened its deliberations, Blackburn and Hagerty had reversed course and dropped their opposition.
Here were the question and answers to the Power Poll survey:
“U.S. Senators Bill Hagerty and Marsha Blackburn joined the group of senators challenging president-elect Joe Biden's victory as Congress met to certify the Electoral College vote. How would you rate their decision to do so?”
Extremely poor: 87.8%
No opinion: 1.5%
756 Power Poll members were sent surveys on Wednesday at 6 p.m. The survey closed at 10 a.m. Thursday morning. 328 participated, for a response rate of 43.39%. Power Poll members are listed here. They include nearly every elected political official in Nashville, CEOs of important businesses, significant philanthropists, important figures in media, non-profit heads, Music Row figures, emerging activists, and more. Power Poll is not a scientific poll, although it provides an important, non-partisan glimpse into the opinions and beliefs of the people who essentially run Nashville and cast a wide net in Middle Tennessee.
Blackburn and Hagerty are known as full-on supporters and devotees of President Trump, which, in Tennessee, has worked well. In his recent successful campaign to succeed outgoing Sen. Lamar Alexander, Hagerty suggested placing Trump on Mt. Rushmore. Blackburn has been similarly laudatory. Both have provided cover to unproven claims, lacking in evidence, that the election was stolen from President Trump.
Nashville is a solidly Democratic city, so in one sense the responses do not surprise. And yet the non-partisan Power Poll includes significant numbers of pro-business, pro-Chamber Republicans. Which makes it all the more remarkable that Blackburn’s and Hagerty’s decision to oppose Biden’s certification was viewed so negatively. Power Poll members also posted numerous on-the-record comments that left little to be determined.
“Leaders lead,” wrote Keith Simmons, former longtime managing partner of the law firm Bass, Berry & Sims. “They seek to elicit from us our better selves, not pander to the mobs and lower us to the lowest common denominator.”
Butch Spyridon, a major actor in the city who oversees Nashville’s Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, wrote: “Our senators were complicit in today’s events. They carried Trump’s water and embarrassed our state and country, not to mention endangered lives. All the while their leader hid in the White House! Never has there been a more important time for unity and true American leadership, not partisanship.”
Dave Kloeppel, the former president and COO of Gaylord Entertainment Company who is now co-founder and chairman of Evental Global, Inc., wrote that, “From Corker and Alexander to Blackburn and Haggerty, how can our representation in the Senate have deteriorated so much?”
Meanwhile, Power Poll members were also asked to submit brief, one-line remarks that they “would like Hagerty and Blackburn to know.” Those messages were posted anonymously from members. A few were favorable to Blackburn and Hagerty; most were not.
Here are all the comments, unedited for grammar and syntax. Significant numbers of Power Poll members submitted remarks, eight of which were deleted, mostly for use of foul language.
• Your actions are unAmerican.
• Do you believe in democracy?
• They are an embarrassment.
• It is time to cut ties with President Trump since he is seriously undermining our democracy.
• Keep supporting the President!
• Hagerty and Blackburn are shamefully, irresponsibly, and deplorably who are on the WRONG side of RIGHT!!
• Respect the election, respect the voters, do your job.
• What they are doing is damaging to the Republic.
• You are traitors and should resign.
• Have you no shame?
• They should apologize for spreading the election "theft" lies, they should condemn Trump for his sorry and childish behavior, and they should promise to read the Constitution under the supervision of a law school dean.
• While I didn't vote for either of them anyway, it's really disheartening that they care more about President Trump's opinion of their performance than the people they serve.
• Fix the presidential election process
• I believe it is a terrible mistake for Tn. and the USA, particularly so after the tragic events of today.
• I am ashamed to be represented by them
• They have disgraced Tennessee and the nation.
• You both are a complete embarrassment, arrogant and cowardly.
• This is a loaded question and confirms where powerpoll politics lean
• You represent is a dangerous trajectory. This is not leadership.
• I think they exhibited extremely poor judgement in the best case, and I actually think they should be unseated for sedition.
• Your backing and promotion of the conspiracy theories around the Presidential election is directly tied to the violence at the Capitol.
• To what end did they believe
• By promoting false narratives about Biden’s election, you bear responsibility for what happened today.
• What motivated them to take that action, when the results had been determined?
• Their reckless extremist rhetoric helped today happen.
• The election is over.
• Kindness to everyone in your path and within your ambit will accomplish more than all the speeches, strategies, votes, and politics.
• How are you going to help fix the current on the street violence?
• I support them.
• Right now, America needs leaders to bring us through this national chaos: • Will you rise to the occasion?
• What were you thinking?!?!?
• They helped author a never again moment for our nation- and we will never forget.
• Facts matter..there was no widespread voter fraud
• Place welfare of people of Tennessee before your political self-centerness.
• Read Tom Cotton's position on this situation and realize how poorly you contemplated this matter. Tennessee has a tradtion of being moderate politically and this was embarrasing ]
• Biden won. Take that fact and fight to bring our country back together.
• Mr and Mrs Trumpeter, there's blood on your hands today.
• Put America and the citizens first, above your self interests, political parties, and your biases.
• Despicable to be represented by these clowns.
• Do you have no shame? None at all?
• Don’t believe everything you think. Review the Constitution and the Bible.
• You either support the constitution or you don't.
• Not a question- just a comment- this is on you, you’re directly responsible for what happened today.
• Bill Hagerty and Marsha Blackburn are co-conspirators and instigators of an un-American insurrection and should be tried for treason.
• Trump won; figure
• You are both unfit for the office you hold and have utterly failed to uphold your oath to protect and defend the Constitution.
• Both of you helped to stoke the fire the President started , you cannot disavow the resulting damage to our nation.
• I’m embarrassed to be a Tennessean.
• Confirm the Joe Biden is the duly and fairly elected President-elect.
• Extremely disappointed in our elected officials failure to support the valid election of the President-elect and by their actions reducing our standing in the world and makes other countries worry about our strength and standing.
• Totally disappointed in both. A meaningless disruption to our democratic process just to appease a narcissistic President who can not accept a loss by 7 million votes. Disgraceful
• This election did not follow normal standards with the solicitation of ballots not normally allowed, it should be legislatively corrected.
• Stand for truth, not Trump’s maniacal self absorption
• Both must rise to the occasion and defy this tyrant Trump. We have never had this and we need to move on.
• Tennessee deserves better: resign.
• Read the constitution
• What they are doing is nothing less than treason. They are an embarrassment to the rule of law in our great country.
• It is entirely fit and proper to ask questions particularly when told to shut up because someone is afraid of what may be discovered.
• I’d respect them more if they both resigned their positions. Embarrassing to state and nation.
• You don’t represent our state you represent your party
• Treasonous sedition- unforgivable!
• A nakedly political stunt designed to put on a show - truly an affront to democracy, civility, dignity and humanity. I am personally appalled.
• Care more about the health of our democracy than your cultish devotion to a autocrat
• The clock is ticking.
• Its pandering to the lower level of your base. It's time to be Senators,not politicians
• How can you condemn this insurrection and not condemn the instigator?
• They are undemocratic thugs
• We are better than this, and it is both left and right that have to be better and demand better from their constituents!
• Shame on you both!
• You know better.
• The success and majesty of the United States is that we support and honor an idea...not an individual.
• They are a repugnant disgrace to truth and human decency.
• Their disgraceful behavior & poor judgement will never be forgotten.
• They are responsible for the violence of today.
• They violated their oaths and the Constitution. For Hagerty all in his first week.
• That they should resign
• Use the power of a safe “red” seat to show leadership and solve problems, not to throw gas on a partisan fire.
• Get off the Trump train. As of today, it’s irretrievably derailed.
• You are shameful. You are a disgrace to Tennessee.
• You bring shame upon the state of Tennessee
• Stop. Now. Thank you.
• Sedition is never a solitary offense. Declare your allegiance or be prepared to suffer the consequences
• Resign. You are poor excuses for Senators.
• Your pathetic allegiance to Trump and his fabrications endangers our safety and the future of our nation.
• Watch the 2013 inauguration of Barack Obama, the 2 minute speech by Lamar Alexander needs to be on repeat in your office on Inauguration Day.
• No way to express my disgust in a way you could print.
• Follow the law. Protect the Constitution.
• They should both resign.
• They could have followed the example of Alexander or McConnell, but history soon will judge Hagerty and Blackburn horribly.
• They are complicit in the sedition and violence that happened today.
• Stop embarrassing Tennessee!
• They share the responsibility for what occurred at the Capitol today. I'm ashamed that they're the best Tennessee has to offer.
• Trump's actions are unpatriotic and against Judeo-Christian values.
stop thinking about yourself and think about what’s best for America.
• Your actions show that you care more for retaining personal power than for the people of Tennessee and our constitution.
• Their actions are causing irreparable harm to our Democracy.
• States certified the election, not the Congress.
• They are an insult to the republic.
• Bad judgement political pandering not leadership not Tennessee
• Disappointed in them as leader of TN
• That I want to vote them out of office
• Bill, if you want to maintain any shred of integrity, you must disavow the Trump clan.
• Deeply disappointed in Hagerty especially - what the hell has happened to him?
• If you love our country and our democracy, act accordingly while the world watches for leadership.
• They should resign immediately
• “Rule of Law” is more than a catchphrase.
• In 1970, in an unprecedented move, Tennessee swore Lamar Alexander into office three days before scheduled because our Governor at the time was making poor, illegal decisions. Trump should be replaced early, as his behavior and actions are not fit for a democracy.
• I’m deeply sorry you two are our representatives in the senate. You are as stupid and despicable as our president. Oh, and you right up there with our governor in the Trump in the stupid category. Im disgusted with all of you. Allow me to rant some more and I will!
• They should Step down!
• A disgraceful and thoroughly unconservative position.
• Please don’t think you can appear at cocktail parties and social events in Nashville as if nothing happened - we all know what you are, and we don’t want to see you.
• Blackburn is predictably slavish to Trump. Hagerty is smarter but maybe worse, a hypocritical politician who should know better.
• You are a disgrace to democracy and to the Republic!
• Behave like you believe our democracy is precious and demands our protection.
• Common decency is a Tennessee value
• How could you?
• As a Tennessean, I’m embarrassed by their behavior.
• Both should resign or face a recall petition.
• We will remember.
• Please do what’s morally correct as opposed to acting in self interest — your conduct is embarrassing to our State.
• You do not represent Tennesseans
• Their decision was beyond extremely poor. It revealed their self-serving, childish pandering to the types of thugs that over ran our Capitol.
• Public leadership is not fear of a primary challenge; it's the courage to defend American ideals. The President's behavior and its consequences are on you.
• Grow a backbone or better still, RESIGN NOW. You are both an embarrassment to Tennessee.
• They have no interest in our opinion
• These actions are below you and certainly Tn
• I suggest you apologize to the country for your decision to challenge certification of the presidential election.
• I am highly disappointed that our Senators would support the baseless accusations of a fraudulent election. It embarrasses me to have them representing me, Tennessee, and America.
• Shame on you.
• Stop trying to further your political careers by pandering to Trump's base.
They are treasonous.
• I would like to ask Bill Hagerty how he can square the principles of his two sons who were awarded Eagle Scout this year both in Japan and Nashville with his apparent devotion to and respect for D. Trump?
• I hope that you are not going to continue your support this evening after the President incited a riot. That would make your extremely poor decision to challenge Biden’s victory to be sheer insanity.
• Your white supremacy has consequences.
• They should be removed from office for violating the oath of office.
• Stop supporting a president who is lying about the election results.
• I want them to apologize for their irresponsible attack on the Constitution and our country
• How extremely disappointed I am that they can't get their head out of Trump's ass. Sad thing it doesn't surprise me.
• Their conduct in enabling Trump has been appalling.
• Read the constitution, especially the 14th Amendment
• Challenging the certification of the electoral college results was a futile gesture, and an affront to our democracy.
• One of the hardest challenges I’ve had in a long time is to try to convince my daughter that you are really good people.....not sure I succeeded.
• I disagree with their position & have no respect for their having participated in this action.
• Their eager willingness to undermine the confidence of Americans in a free and fair election, in subservience to a delusional and corrupt president, will be their legacy. They share responsibility for this day. I hope they help in rebuilding our country and uniting people.
• Their leadership lacks integrity and appears selfserving instead of serving their constituents, their state, their nation.
• They have pledged to support the constitution not a leader who is clearly working against it.
• This is what happens when you placate and coddle despots for your own gain.
• Law & order?
• Follow in the path blazed by Howard Baker, Bill Brock, Fred Thompson, Bob Corker, and Lamar Alexander.
• They are an embarrassment to TN...
• That their disgraceful conduct will be the single thing for which they are forever remembered.
• Not printable.
• It’s good to have conversation about questionably legal voting practices.
Now let’s try and work together
• Certainly within your right but probably not a good idea
• What was the ethical decision to support before the insurrection and drop support after? What changed if they truly believed there were legitimate issues?
• Bill Haggerty is pathetic. He is a good man who has been totally corrupted by politics. Reminds me of Bill Frist who has certainly redeemed himself of late. Our country and state is in deep doo-doo as long as we rely on leaders like Marsha and Bill
• Expect it from one, shocked and sadden by the other.
• Fight on, why should the only happy people be in Teheran and Beijing and the Democratic party?
• You are an embarrassment to our Democracy.
• They should resign.
• I will do everything I can to help someone defeat them. John Lennon is establishing residency here
• Although they ended up voting to approve the electoral votes of AZ (and hopefully will do likewise on the remaining challenges) they and already done great damage to our country and shamed the legacy of TN Senators like Howard Baker and Lamar Alexander. They are both smart enough to know that what they were doing was pandering to the most deluded or irresponsible elements of the party. Very sad.
• They are asked to uphold the constitution and not a particular person.
• You should resign
• This poll did not wear well did it?
• You are an embarrassment to our fine state and on the wrong side of history.
• After Georgia that you, your caucus and McConnell should learn that Black Lives Matter now that you are a minority.
• If you lie down with dogs, you get up with fleas.
• We are embarrassed.
• They are traitors to America.
• Resign now.
• Grow up by putting the citizens ahead of petty party politics
• You out our country at risk and you should be ashamed of your behavior.
• You can't light the fire and then say you aren't responsible when the house burns.
• Every time, choose country over political party. What's the best for our nation is best for your constituents.
• Their integrity is called into question and loyalty to Trump should not compromise that integrity.
• They are making poor, embarrassing and irrational decisions.
• Cut all ties to Trump
• They represent all of us, not just the hard core Trump supporters.
•They need to apologize and denounce their demi God 45!
• Glad they backtracked on their initial decision but too little too late. Their initial choices helped to stoke the riots.
• Play hardball like the dems do
• they are required to follow the law.