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Opinion | Are Alabama voters really as hateful, shallow and scared as the GOP Senate field thinks?


Tommy Tuberville’s former players have no idea who this current version of Tommy Tuberville is. 

Bradley Byrne’s longtime friends in the Alabama Legislature have been bewildered by Byrne’s full-on embrace of fear tactics and hate-mongering. 

Jeff Sessions’ longtime supporters are confused by his spineless groveling to a president who quite clearly can’t stand him. 

So, here they are, Alabama: the frontrunners for the GOP nomination for the state’s second U.S. Senate seat. 

A pack of lying, phony, weak men who have been willing to turn their backs on everything they’ve ever done or believed in, became unrecognizable to the people who know them well and turned this race into a contest of who could win the favor of the man who will forever be viewed as not just America’s worst president but as the flaw in the Democratic process that will serve as a cautionary tale for all of time. 

Quite the field. 

And really, you have to ask yourself: What do these candidates say about you? 

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What does it say about you, as a conservative voter, that these men believe they have to behave as they have for the past six months to win your vote? 

Does the racism of Byrne’s ads make you like him more? 

How about Tuberville’s racist and xenophobic rhetoric about immigrants? 

What about Sessions’ pleas for love from a man who has publicly humiliated him over and over and over? 

Do these things make you want to vote for them? Do they make you think they’ll serve the state and the country well as a United States senator? 

Because these men, and their highly paid campaign staffs and advisors, believe these are exactly the things that will win your votes. That’s why they’ve dumped every ad dollar into these themes. And not a single, solitary dime into explaining to you how, in any way whatsoever, these men will solve any actual problem. 

Nothing on health care. 

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Nothing on workers’ wages. 

Nothing on climate change. 

Nothing on public corruption. 

In ads and in public appearances, these guys just hammer the same things over and over: Trump is great, immigrants are bad, some famous non-white people don’t love America, Trump is great. Close with a video of them walking and carrying a gun and wearing a red hat. 

Are y’all really this shallow and stupid? 

These people don’t believe any of this crap. But they’re shoveling it as fast as they can because they believe it’s what you’re buying. 

Tuberville is so phony that his former players, even a Republican, no longer recognize him, several former players told the Washington Post. His words of late — criticizing immigrants and drag queens and using fear and hateful rhetoric — don’t mesh with the coach they knew and kept in touch with even after leaving Auburn.

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Hell, his words don’t even match the guy he was when the campaign first started — the guy who was critical of Trump’s treatment of veterans and critical of the effect Trump’s tariffs were having on Alabama farmers. 

But somewhere along the way, Tuberville came to believe that his pathway to victory was this current version that leans heavy on hate and never, ever criticizes Trump. 

Not to be outdone, Bradley Byrne has been willing to alienate even his church to win the “Trump voter” in Alabama. 

Byrne drew national attention when he aired a TV ad that featured the faces of prominent minorities seemingly burning in a fire. He drew the wrath of his church when he told people at a campaign stop that Democrats aren’t “Christians like us.” (In his defense, Jesus also wasn’t a Christian like conservative Christians.) 

Once considered a moderate Republican who held across-the-aisle friendships with numerous Democrats, Byrne has transformed into almost a conservative caricature — it’s so phony and off-putting that even most Republicans see through the facade. 

“It’s like Bradley’s trying to play a role — like he has this idea of what a Trump voter wants and he’s tried to put all those traits into this character that he’s playing,” said a longtime colleague who served with Byrne in the Alabama Legislature. “Anyone who knows Bradley … this ain’t him. And he ain’t foolin’ no one.” 

Speaking of fools … perhaps the most surprising transformation has been that of 20-year U.S. Senator and former U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who has become a groveling, sniveling, begging weakling in an effort to convince everyone that he loves Trump and Trump loves him. (Although, clearly, neither of those things is true.)

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And no one — absolutely no one — can understand why. 

Why this man, at this point in his life, would subject himself to this level of public humiliation, which could end with him losing to a first-time candidate that football fans nicknamed “wingnut,” for a seat he already held for two decades. 

But regardless of why he’s doing it, you should still take note that this is how he’s doing it. 

And really, the how is the most important part of this race, for all of the candidates. And particularly for the voters. Because the how of their campaigns is how they believe they’ll best connect to you. 

These shallow, hateful, idiotic, groveling campaigns. 

Is that who you are?


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Josh Moon is an investigative reporter and featured columnist at the Alabama Political Reporter with years of political reporting experience in Alabama. You can email him at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter.

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