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Opinion | Let’s vote against dysfunction and disaster

Joey Kennedy

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Hey, you! Yeah, you, that person out there thinking your vote doesn’t matter.

It does.

On the cusp of state elections in Alabama and vital midterm elections nationally, your vote matters more than ever. Dear nonvoter: You cannot sit this one out. You need to get registered to vote if you aren’t, and you need to make plans to actually cast that vote if you are.

The election for governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general, chief justice of the state Supreme Court and other statewide offices is Tuesday, Nov. 6. A new Alabama Legislature will be elected, too. Alabama and the nation will choose a new Congress that day, 435 members of the U.S. House of Representatives (seven here in Alabama) and 35 members of the U.S. Senate (33 regular elections and two special elections).

Alabama doesn’t have a U.S. Senate race; we decided ours in December of 2017 when Democrat Doug Jones won in a special election against Republican Roy Moore, an accused child predator endorsed by just about every Republican in Alabama and nationally, including President Donald Trump, an accused sexual predator himself. Jones is completing the term of now Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

If you’re still wondering how important your vote is, look no farther than the disaster of Donald Trump.

Just this week, Trump was mocking Dr. Christine Blasey Ford at a political rally. Ford is the woman accusing U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault when she was 15 years old. Ford’s account during a Senate Judiciary hearing last week was very credible, while Kavanaugh came off as a, well, drunken teen.

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Regardless of Ford’s accusations, it’s clear now that Kavanaugh lied to the Senate multiple times, about multiple issues, yet he’s still in the running for a seat on the Supreme Court.

Leave it to a sexual predator (Trump) to nominate another sexual predator (Kavanaugh) to a lifetime position on the nation’s highest court.

And Republicans, who apparently haven’t met a sexual predator they don’t like, appear poised to confirm Kavanaugh, even as additional reports prove that not only was Kavanaugh a heavy drinker in high school and college, but a belligerent, obnoxious heavy drinker who helped start at least one bar fight while a student at Yale. It looked like he wanted to start a fight with Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee last week. Rarely has white privilege been on display like it was when Kavanaugh showed his unjudicial temperament to a nation watching on TV. Plus, he’s whiney, especially about his calendars.

Your vote matters. It matters a lot. Even in disturbingly Red Alabama it matters. That was underscored no more clearly than in Jones’ victory in December.

Even with child sexual molestation accusations hanging over his head, Moore nearly beat Jones, a person of high integrity with no hint of scandal on his record. Moore, even before The Washington Post outed his proclivity for teenaged girls, had already been kicked off the state Supreme Court twice for failing to follow the law. But if not for a high turnout for Jones, especially from African-American women, Moore would have won.

The Republican nominee this year for chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court, Tom Parker, is a close Moore associate. That alone should give voters pause, especially considering that Judge Robert Vance is the Democratic nominee. Vance is a well-respected judge who is superbly qualified to lead the state’s court system. It should be no contest.

Indeed, there are many well-qualified Democrats running against Republicans across Alabama, but perhaps none more qualified than Vance. We should be bone-weary of a Supreme Court led by megalomaniacs who won’t even follow the state and national constitutions they swear to uphold. Dear voters, Moore and Parker have emerged from the same mold.

For governor, Democrat Walt Maddox, the accomplished mayor of Tuscaloosa, is vastly more qualified than current Republican governor Kay Ivey, who took over for another disgraced Republican, Dr. Dr. Robert Bentley, boob grabber. Except for ribbon cuttings and highly controlled events, Ivey has been invisible during this campaign.

Ivey, almost literally, is a ghost.

You don’t think one or two votes matter? Consider where we are today: A White House in disarray, with a conspiracy-theorist president who is racist, misogynous, xenophobic, homophobic, in love with Russia and North Korea, a pathological liar, a tax-scam criminal, and an embarrassment to decent people.

If you’re not embarrassed by Trump, you need to seriously self-examine your own perspective of decency.

And here’s the kicker: Trump lost the popular vote to Hillary Clinton in 2016 by 3.5 million votes. Trump won the Electoral College, but if just 80,000 more votes across Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin had gone to Clinton, she’d be president today and we wouldn’t be deluged with all this disorder day in and day out.

Clinton ran a horrible campaign – she took those three states for granted, and that mistake gave us our current, (mostly) man-made, unnatural disaster.

Had Clinton just done one point better in each of those states, she’d have won the Electoral College, too. Yet, there were tens of thousands of likely Clinton voters who just stayed home and didn’t vote.

You don’t think your vote counts? Well, dammit, it does.

It truly does!

When we don’t vote, and vote smart, we often get what we deserve: Confusion, corruption, mobocracy, and more bad stuff.

We can begin to end our disturbing dysfunction one month from now. Let’s do this.

Joey Kennedy, a Pulitzer Prize winner, writes a column every week for Alabama Political Reporter. Email: [email protected]

 

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