Tennessee Dem slams rioters and vandals: "Peaceful protest ends peacefully. Anarchy ends in chaos."

This speech was given a few weeks ago and picked up a few days ago in righty media. I missed it at the time, but it’s breaking big online today after what happened in Kenosha this week.

I’m surprised John DeBerry isn’t a bigger name politically. Anyone who can uncork a stemwinder like this extemporaneously, without missing a beat, has serious talent. He was cursed to have been born a Democrat in a red state, I guess.

Or, rather, an ex-Democrat. It turns out that the Tennessee Democratic Party executive committee kicked him out of the party back in April for having affronted Democrats’ sensibilities too many times. That was a big deal, as it meant that DeBerry wouldn’t be his party’s nominee on the ballot this fall. And since the deadline to re-register as a Republican or an independent had passed by then, it appeared that his political career would be ending after 26 years in office. “What happened yesterday was basically unprecedented,” he said at the time. “Without notice, without warning, without time to garner a defense or allow people from my district to make any type of comment, I was removed by a tribunal.”

What had he done that was so awful that necessitated purging him from the Democratic ranks? A complaint filed against him with the state party last year noted that he had supported a Republican as speaker of the Tennessee House, had accepted contributions from Republican outside groups, and — gasp — had voted for school vouchers. But one wonders if the real explanation doesn’t have to do with some of his more notable heresies against leftist orthodoxy. DeBerry is a preacher in his spare time, prone to saying, “It’s not about the elephant. It’s not about the donkey. It’s about the Lamb.” That’s led him to some un-Democratic policy views:

But to opponents, including Planned Parenthood, the LGBTQ Victory Fund and the Tennessee Democratic Party’s executive committee, the 13-term incumbent is an out-of-touch relic. In their view, DeBerry’s conservative positions on issues such as abortion, gay rights and school choice make him unfit to remain in office…

DeBerry made national news in July as a lead signatory on a letter organized by the anti-abortion group Democrats for Life…

But last year, DeBerry drew the ire of the political arm of Planned Parenthood in Tennessee for supporting a bill banning abortions after detection of a heartbeat at about six weeks, the Commercial Appeal newspaper in Memphis reported. The group announced an ad campaign targeting DeBerry.

He apparently gave the speech below in support of a bill to raise the penalties for assaulting a police officer and vandalizing property. So, I don’t know: Given the way Democrats are drifting, maybe they would have kicked him out of the party for that it they hadn’t kicked him out already.

The good news is that he’ll be on the ballot this fall after all. After Democrats booted him, the GOP passed a bill that allows him to run as an independent despite having missed the registration deadline. He’ll be facing a Democrat in November (there’s no Republican on the ballot) and stands a good chance of winning given how well-known he is locally.

Here’s the speech. In lieu of an exit question, read this post from Reason’s Robby Soave reminding lefties of what happened to political analyst David Shor. Shor committed the ideological sin of reminding progressives back in June, after the first burst of rioting following George Floyd’s death, that peaceful protests for a just cause tend to attract voters to the Democratic Party while violence in the name of that cause tends to alienate them. That wasn’t Shor offering an opinion; he was pointing to research that had been done on the 1968 election that suggested it. Some lefties were so outraged at his discouraging words about the righteousness of riots that he ended up being fired by the data firm he worked for. Ironically, per the research cited by Shor, the ex-Democrat DeBerry is pointing his old party here towards a position that’s much more likely to help them in November than the approach favored by the idiots in charge of Portland.