CW: Mentions of pedophilia, racism, homophobia, transphobia, and misogyny.
After a lengthy break from writing about electoral politics, I have decided to return to the fray so I can put my new knowledge to the test. I fully admit that I did not know as much as I do now about the political process, and I was still forming my new beliefs as I went along when I was writing my 2020 Senate pieces. I’ve decided that I may need a different approach to this series, so I’ve decided that I will write one piece covering the elections of note in each state. Granted I cannot guarantee I can write a piece for all 50 states, but I will try to take care of the most significant ones.
Also unlike last time, I’m waiting until the registration deadlines to write my piece so that they don’t end up hideously outdated in less than a year. Thus far two states have passed the registration deadline, and those are Alabama and Arkansas. Fittingly enough, Alabama is the first state in alphabetical order and has the earliest deadline, so both of these series will start with this state.
I have made a habit of tracking the emergence of progressive Bernie Sanders esque candidates announcing their congressional campaigns across the country. I admittedly am writing this series partially so I can draw further attention to their campaigns and cover them fairly, as opposed to most media who will completely ignore them. Alabama is one of the handful of states that does not have a major progressive candidate in any race, which means that a lot of my follower base of leftist catgirls won’t be as interested, but the situation in Alabama is certainly interesting, and I did not go into nearly enough detail the first time around.
I think it goes without saying that Alabama is one of the most conservative states in the country. It is frequently the butt of incest and redneck jokes for a reason. Most recently, it has been known for a draconian abortion law that bans abortion at five weeks, and for refusing to air an episode of Arthur that featured a gay wedding. I can’t speak for its people, but it’s politicians are especially scummy and bigoted.
The current incumbent is Doug Jones, a corporate centrist Democrat who has voted in favor of many of Trump’s cabinet nominations, including Mike Pompeo and William Barr. Doug Jones also voted against the resolution to create a Green New Deal, which I’m sure has nothing to do with him taking $64,837 from fossil fuel companies since 2018.
Despite this, the most notable thing about Doug Jones is that he got elected to the Senate in the first place, and that it’s going to be difficult as fuck to keep him there. A major reason why he won election to the senate in his 2017 Special Election is due to the Republican nominee Roy Moore having multiple allegations of sexual misconduct under his belt (two of them from teenage girls), in addition to already being seen as an enormous scumbag even by fellow Republicans.
As a military commander, he insisted his troops endanger themselves by saluting him on the battlefield and was so hated that he had to sleep on a sandbag because many of his men threatened to throw a grenade under his cot. As a judge, he was suspended twice. Once for refusing to remove a ten commandments statue because he doesn’t believe in separation of church and state, and the second time because he’s such a blithering homophobe that he ignored the supreme court ruling to let gay people get married and said that it was a worse ruling than the Dred Scott case.
On top of his homophobia, he refused to debate Doug Jones in 2017 because of his support of trans people having rights, accepted donations from a Neo Nazi group, fought against the movement to remove segregation from the Alabama constitution, has been a major figure in the Obama birther movement, has pushed conspiracy theories that Obama is a secret Muslim, and even went as far as to praise Vladimir Putin to own the libs.
To provide an insight of just how conservative Alabama is, Roy Moore still managed 48.4% of the vote and his loss prompted right wing conspiracy theories of voter fraud; and who can forget the attempts to claim that Roy Moore’s victims were lying and their claims were politically motivated? Because it is apparently just too hard to believe that a bigoted old man whose values are stuck in the 1850s may have been a bit morally backwards.
I feel the need to go into detail about Roy Moore for two reasons, the first being the way that Alabama Republicans reacted. Predictably there are a ton of conspiracy theories and excuses for why it’s actually okay that a potential US Senator tried to fuck a 14 year old girl, but what sticks out to me are some of the names listed in that piece. One of them is Alabama state auditor Jim Ziegler who gave us the scorching hot take of “well The Bible says kiddy fucking is okay so it’s no big deal” along with the excuse that it was 30 years ago so it’s okay. It’s worth noting that Ziegler had initially formed an exploratory committee to run for Senate in 2020, but has thankfully not followed up on that.
The same can not be said for Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill who flat out said that the women “might be lying” because “People make things up all the time.” Unlike Ziegler, Merrill is in fact running for Senate, and so is US House Rep and insufferable Trump sycophant Bradley Byrne, who said he was “concerned for Alabama’s images” due to Moore’s candidacy, but went ahead and voted for him anyway.
Update: John Merrill has dropped out of the race shortly after this piece was posted. Sadly I don’t think I had anything to do with it, but it would be awesome if I did.
But perhaps the absolute worst Roy Moore apologist to run for Senate in 2020 is Roy Moore himself. There are two possible thought processes that one could have in regards to this. The first is the obvious “OH GOD WHY???” but the second is the more optimistic perspective of “he might get the nomination and lose to Jones again.”
Roy Moore is at the very least not the front runner in the race, and he has mostly polled in 3rd or 4th place with the most recent poll having him tied for 3rd with the aforementioned Bradley Byrne. The two front runners are former Aubern Tiger’s head coach Tommy Tuberville who is running with the endorsement of former Trump Secretary Sean Spicer, and former US Senator and United States Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
What is most interesting about Jeff Session’s candidacy is that it was his appointment by Trump that started this entire mess. The 2017 Special Election was called due to the vacancy he left to be Trump’s AG. This is hilarious in hindsight because Trump only hired Sessions because he was one of the first people to support him in his Presidential campaign, and he thus thought Sessions would be loyal to him. Once Sessions resigned because he didn’t want to go to jail, Trump reacted the same way he does to anyone who doesn’t obey him and threw a ton of petty childish insults at him.
So through Trump’s own hubris, he allowed a Democrat to hold a US Senate seat in Alabama for three years… at least. If polling is any indication, Jeff Sessions seems to be the most likely candidate to receive the nomination, but that is only as long as Trump doesn’t go running his mouth about Sessions again and their feud sparks up. Thus far, Sessions has simply resorted to kissing Trump’s ass in an attempt to avoid receiving the President’s scorn and thus having his chances at the nomination implode, which has resulted with Trump refusing to endorse Sessions, but not demanding he step down either.
It’s fitting how Trump keeps taking stupid risks all for the sake of his own ego. He has stated that he views Roy Moore’s candidacy as a liability, yet if he would just endorse Jeff Sessions and swallow his pride then he’d be assured that Moore would not get it. What actually happens will remain to be seen. Currently Jeff Sessions is the front runner, but recent events should remind us how quickly that could change. It is entirely possible for Moore or Bryne to go after Sessions for his disloyalty to Trump and (rightfully) accuse him of sucking up to Trump just so he can keep his career.
Roy Moore would not be a viable candidate if he did not have a dedicated following of people who genuinely believe his ideas. There is an almost poetic irony to the fact that Trump views Moore as a liability despite the fact that they represent the same type of far right conspiracy driven fascism that draws a strong following from terrible people. Trump got elected precisely because a lot of shitty people held enthusiastic support for him and thought he would change things.
And in the case of both Trump and Moore, they have followings of shitty people who genuinely believe the things he said. They believe Moore when he says that his sexual assault allegations are a Democratic plot the same way that Trump thinks every investigation into his crimes is a lynching or a witch hunt. The GOP has long exploited these people while also secretly viewing them with scorn, and it has gotten to the point where these people don’t want your standard old conservative white guys, but instead want someone who says the quiet part loud.
And because of this, it is not entirely impossible for Roy Moore to get the nomination again, because as much of an asshole as Moore is, he at least believes the things he is saying. So because of this, we could see another heated Republican primary that drags every candidate through the ringer and leaves Jones to deliver the killing blow.
Another glimmer of hope comes with the fact that Jones’ net approval rating has yet to dip into the negatives, and in September his approval rating has actually gone up for the first time since he took office. Compare this with the slightly downward trend of Senior Alaska Senator Richard Shelby, and the drastic drop of Governor Kay Ivey in response to the previously mentioned abortion laws. While both Shelby and Ivey’s overall approval ratings are significantly higher than Jones, the fact that they are on a downward trend while Jones is on an upward trend could indicate that Jones has a stronger chance than we thought. Not to mention that Jones has raised over $30,000,000 million dollars for re-election. That’s more than some Presidential candidates have raised.
So yeah, I’d highly recommend showing up to re-elect Jones even if you don’t care for centrist Democrats. The reason being that Jones could be an obvious springboard to a more progressive movement in Alabama, and considering that it’s Alabama, it needs all the help in can get in that front.
3/29/2020 Update: The Republican Primary will be decided by runoff between Jeff Sessions and Tommy Tuberville. Trump also went back on his promise to not get involved by endorsing Tuberville, so it’s safe to assume that Sessions’ career is as good as dead. The runoff is set for July 14th
On the subject of elections that are not Senate related, there are 7 House seats up for re-election, and only a few of them have candidates of note. One of these is Nathan Mathis, who has previously managed a decent performance against Martha Roby in 2016 where he got 40.5% of the vote. While it may not seem like much, it should be noted that this was in 2016, which was not a very good year for Democrats (in addition to being in a state that’s not good for Democrats). Despite this, he actually performed better than the 2018 Democratic nominee who only managed 38.4%, which made him the only 2016 Alabama House nominee to outperform their 2018 counterpart.
In addition to this, Mathis has since drawn much more attention due to his Pro LGBT activism and his protests against Roy Moore. He’s not different from any other Democrat policy wise, but he seems to be the best shot Democrats have at flipping an Alabama congressional seat in 2020.
3/29/2020 Update: Mathis has lost the Alabama 2nd Congressional House Primary to Phyllis Harvey-Hall.
The other noteworthy challenger is progressive independent candidate Kaynen Pellegrino, who is challenging US House Rep Gary Palmer. While I’m unsure how much of a shot he has at this point, it is nice that we even have a progressive candidate in Alabama to begin with, and thus it is my queue to plug his page and ask any progressive supporters or activists out there to do their best to help him out.
One last thing worth mentioning are some of the ballot measures up in 2020 in Alabama look rather questionable. It’s likely that I’m speaking to a brick wall on this considering that ballot measures are much harder to push back against even in states that are nowhere near as conservative as Alabama, but I feel it is important to at least draw attention to the more concerning ones.
The first of these is the Alabama Appointed Education Board Amendment that will be up on March 3rd of 2020. This amendment would require members of the state Board of Education to be appointed by the Governor and approved by the Senate as opposed to being elected. This is concerning considering that it would allow the Governor to appoint Republicans to the Board of Education even in districts that are normally Democratic, and is quite clearly a blatant power grab.
3/29/2020 Update: In a pleasant surprise, 75.13% of voters have voted against the amendment, meaning that elections will continue.
The second of these is the Citizen Requirement for Voting Amendment, which is another blatant attempt to suppress voting for a marginalized group that typically votes Democratic. If this ends up combined with a Trump re-election and DACA recipients have their citizenship revoked, this could remove any remaining hope that Democrats have fighting back against Alabama’s corrupt as fuck state government. This amendment is up for a vote on November 3rd of 2020.
This just goes to show you that there may be a stronger Democratic presence in Alabama than we may have first assumed. Otherwise we would not be seeing so much push back against any Democrats in the state. That doesn’t guarantee a win for Democrats in 2020 though (unless they nominate Moore again), I don’t want to be unrealistic, but the fact that Democrats have a chance at putting up a fight in fucking Alabama does set the tone for the rest of the country. If the reddest of the red states need to put serious effort into pushing back against Democrats, what does that say about any purple states?
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