By Joey Kennedy
Alabama Political Reporter
I don’t know what I was expecting; I guess I’m the eternal optimist.
But Alabama Republicans again decided not to change. Not to step forward and do something exciting and new. Disgraced former Chief Justice Roy Moore and US Sen. Luther Strange are in the Republican runoff for the Senate seat once held by now-US Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
As my Alabama Political Reporter colleague Josh Moon writes in a fabulous column Wednesday, “The bar was too high. So we’re going to set it on the ground.”
Moon believes that of the two Republicans, who will have their runoff in late September, Moore is the better candidate.
“Moore’s much better than Strange, who has proven over and over again that he’ll sell out anyone and any office for his personal gain. … So, that’s where we are – hoping the guy who’s bat-guano crazy but at least not a crook will win a seat representing Alabama and governing our country.”
Moon doesn’t give Democratic nominee Doug Jones a chance. The math doesn’t work, Moon says, pointing out that more 400,000 Republicans cast ballots Tuesday while the Democrats had 160,000.
And Moon may be right. Hell, he probably is.
Still, maybe it’s me who is “bat-guano crazy,” because I believe Jones can pull off an upset.
Unlike the primaries, in the General Election in December, anybody, regardless of whom they voted for in the primaries, can vote for whomever. That means Republicans can vote for Democrat Jones, who would, as Moon pointed out, make an excellent US Senator.
I don’t know if the odds change much no matter who wins the Republican nomination, but my sense is that Republicans are much more disaffected by Moore than Strange. I know, I know, Moore thumped Strange pretty hard Tuesday. He’s twice been elected Chief Justice (and twice been tossed out of that position for bad acts).
But, see, Moore has this solid base of supporters who will choose him over Apple Pie, if Mr. Pie were running against him. Not a majority of voters, though. Low voter turnout, like Tuesday’s, strengthens Moore’s hand. When voter turnout is that bad – and it’s likely to be that bad or worse in December – the result depends on who gets his voters to the polls.
If Moore gets the nomination, there’s much more for the bulk of Republicans not to like about him than perhaps Strange, and maybe they’ll vote for Jones to keep Moore at home. Could this mean we’d have a Purple Christmas? Maybe that’s as much of a longshot as having a White Christmas.
Jones has six weeks’ head start – he doesn’t have to worry about a runoff, or the negative political ads that we’re bound to see over the next month and a half before the Sept. 26, Republican runoff.
Who knows what might happen in the upcoming campaign up to the Dec. 12 Special General Election?
Jones certainly has a great record on which to run, whereas neither Moore nor Strange can point to much joy in their backgrounds.
However, Moon is probably being more realistic than I am. The reality is that this is a Trump state, and Trumpier than most. Moore and Strange are both good at pressing those hot buttons that Alabama voters so often respond to. They’ll work to make voters angry and mean, not vote their own best interests.
At some point in Alabama, though, we must come to our senses and vote FOR our best interests, regardless of party. Vote FOR what’s best for us, not AGAINST a group or idea that doesn’t matter a whole lot.
Isn’t that right?
Or am I just bat-guano crazy?
Joey Kennedy, a Pulitzer Prize winner, writes a column ever week for Alabama Political Reporter. Email: [email protected]