Overheard in Murfreesboro: Voting

Let our journalists help you make sense of the noise: Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter and get a recap of news that matters.

Primary Season: Congressional races get all the ink, but thousands of people will vote for people like Pam Hurst in the Tennessee primary. Will they find out who she is first? (Photo: Tim Murphy)Primary Season: Congressional races get all the ink, but thousands of people will vote for people like Pam Hurst in the Tennessee primary—whether or not they know who she is (Photo: Tim Murphy).We left Murfreesboro, Tennessee a few days ago, but since it’s stuck with me, and since I’ve had some down time for the first time this trip, I thought I’d put up this stray bit of overheard wisdom. To set the scene: Murfreesboro is a small-sized city with an old-fashioned downtown square centered around the county courthouse. With the retirement of long-time congressman Bart Gordon, a Democrat, the upcoming Republican primary has taken on an added significance this year; the inside of the City Cafe is cluttered with literature for the various candidates lining up to replace him. In the corner by the window, five elderly women are studying up on the races not just for Congress, but down-ballot positions as well.

“Oh, he’s very niiiice,” says woman #1. Then she drops her voice: “He talked for quite a while.” They talk it over and agree not to let the latter become the enemy of the former. Moving on, now: “This here means they’re independent,” says friend #2. She’s referring to, I think, the box that says “independent.” “They don’t go either way, really,” explains woman #3.

And now they plunge into the unexplored places: county clerk, register of deeds, jailer. “I don’t even know who this is,” says woman #3, perplexed.

“Oh, that doesn’t matter,” says friend #2. “You just check one and keep on going.”


Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

payment methods

We Recommend