‘Freedom Day’ Dinner: Democrats talk about 2016 defeat, message for future
John Zody went to bed Nov. 8 thinking his party had done well in the 2016 general election.
However, “The last thing I heard before I left the Convention Center was, ‘Hillary Clinton may not win the presidential race.’ I literally woke up at 3 o’clock in the morning to hear Mike Pence talking. I woke up into a nightmare. I said, ‘What’s happening?’ and we all know the results.”
Not only had Democrat Hillary Clinton lost the presidential race but Democrat John Gregg lost the governor’s race.
Zody, chair of the Indiana Democratic party, told Clay County Democrats how he has spent his time since that monumental defeat at the hands of Republicans in Indiana.
“We learned from that election and built on it,” he said at the Democrats’ annual dinner at Kennedy’s Crossing bingo parlor Tuesday.
The event has been called the “Jefferson-Jackson Day” dinner for years but is now being called the “Freedom Day” dinner by local Democrats.
Zody was the keynote speaker of the evening that included speeches by Chris Gambill, who is running for the state senate seat now held by John Ford and William Tanoos, who is running for the 8th Congressional seat held by Dr. Larry Bucshon.
Zody’s parents lived in Seelyville when he was born in Terre Haute. His mother taught for years at Staunton Elementary School.
When he was age 2, they moved to Martinsville.
Zody said Democrats have been holding training sessions around the state, building on the energy developed last year. The goal is to increase turnout on election day. He quoted statistics that indicated if more Democrats had voted on Nov. 8 in Indiana, the state races could have turned out much differently.
He called for Democrats to continue to put more energy into races in 2018 and beyond. There are no elections in Indiana this year.
He identified themes for Democrats to pursue: Campaign finance reform, defend voter rights and fight political redistricting.
“It’s time voters chose their elected officials and not the other way around,” Zody said.
He said it’s important Democrats file for every available seat.
He said the White House is using distractions to avoid the real issues facing America and called Vice President Pence’s pre-planned walk out of the Colts game Sunday a “$250,000 political stunt.”
Zody said Democrats have a message while Republicans are divided.