Are you ready for a good ol’ fashioned Trump-off?
If not, well, prepare yourself for four weeks of an endless stream of TV ads, radio commercials and candidate interviews in which Jeff Sessions and Tommy Tuberville try to convince you that one of them definitely loves Trump the most.
It’s like “The Bachelor,” except instead of roses you get coronavirus.
This month-long living hell was made possible by Tuberville’s surprise win on Tuesday, taking 33 percent of the vote in a race that Sessions was predicted to win fairly comfortably. A runoff was likely always in the cards, but the conventional wisdom heading into Tuesday was that it would be Tuberville and Bradley Byrne who would be fighting to for second.
Instead, it was Sessions, who has to be wondering just what the hell is going on. How can a guy who held this seat for 20 years, who went to work for Trump as U.S. Attorney General, who has always been the racist, xenophobic representative of Confederate values that so many ALGOP voters cherish, possibly lose to a first-time candidate who just two years ago was cutting videos talking about how much he loves living in Florida?
Rural voters. That’s how.
Sessions did well in Alabama’s major cities, where the GOP establishment resides. His highest vote percentages came in Madison County, and he did well in Montgomery and Mobile.
Tuberville, in the meantime, sucked up votes pretty much everywhere else, except for a small area around Mobile and along the Florida panhandle.
The former football coach, who has never uttered a word of policy ideas or provided a specific plan for doing anything if elected, apparently connected with voters by riding around in a large bus with Trump’s name on the side and telling everyone he was Trump’s best friend.
Apparently, if you’re a struggling farmer or live in a county where your rural hospital just closed, that’s enough to get your vote.
Unless your name is Bradley Byrne.
Byrne tried a similar tactic as Tuberville, invoking Trump’s name as often as possible and then following it with awful comments about decent people.
No one bought it. And now the guy who was once the sane option in the state GOP will be sitting at home with no ID at all.
Sessions will be back in the fight with Tubs, and praying that Trump doesn’t send a tweet about him. Because no matter how much Sessions grovels and begs, it is widely known that Trump hates his little guts with the same white-hot passion Trump normally reserves for exercise and paying his bills. All because this one time Sessions did the appropriate, legal thing and didn’t break the law for the president.
And for that, the rural Alabama voter hates him.
It’s a weird state, man.
Perfect example: Jeff Coleman won the race for Alabama’s 2nd congressional district, but he was forced into a runoff (apparently) by Barry Moore. (Only 96 percent of the vote was in by late Tuesday night.)
If you’re wondering why that’s weird, well, here’s why: It was widely reported during the campaign that Coleman’s moving company was caught defrauding the U.S. military a few years ago and paid $5 million to settle the charges. The details were … quite awful.
Not to be outdone, Moore, a former state representative, was arrested on felony perjury charges a few years ago after prosecutors said he lied during the Mike Hubbard investigation. Moore was eventually acquitted by a jury, but … you know, there’s not guilty and then there’s innocent.
Coleman picked up just under 40 percent in the seven-person race, which would ordinarily be an almost insurmountable advantage. But the voters for the other candidates, and the other candidates themselves, were so united against Coleman, it is unlikely that Coleman can pick up many of them. That could make it a very competitive runoff.
It likely will not be more competitive than the race in the 1st Congressional district, where, at the end of the night, Jerry Carl led Bill Hightower by just over 1,000 votes in a race where almost 100,000 votes were cast.
There was a reason for the split.
Carl is a county commissioner in Baldwin County and a small business owner and entrepreneur, and his website says he wants to build that wall along the southern border. Hightower is a former state senator and successful businessman who is a super-Christian, and his website doesn’t say anything about the wall or Trump or immigrants.
Hightower is more qualified, but he was out-Trumped.
And in this state, where Republicans have ruled for a decade without even a semblance of a plan, that’s all that’s really left.
Merrill gives guidance on straight party, write-in voting
Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill issued guidance Wednesday on straight party and write-in voting.
“Voters who wish to vote straight party for all of the Democratic or Republican candidates on their ballot may do so by filling in the bubble next to their party preference at the top of their ballot,” Merrill explained in a statement.
“If a voter wishes to vote for any candidate outside of the selected party, however, he or she may do so by filling in the bubble next to the preferred candidate’s name. In doing so, the candidate(s) voted on outside of the voter’s designated party ballot will receive the vote for that particular race.
“In addition, if a voter wishes to write-in a candidate, he or she may do so by filling in the bubble next to the box marked ‘Write-in’ and then printing the name of the preferred candidate on the designated line.
“Write-in votes must be hand-written and not stamped or otherwise artificially applied to the ballot.”
Sample ballots for the Nov. 3 general election are available online.
Opinion | For Coach Tub, no thinking required
Has Tommy Tuberville ever had an original thought? It doesn’t sound like it. Coach Tub basically spews Republican talking points and keeps his mouth firmly locked onto Donald Trump. He disrespects Alabama voters so much that he thinks that’s all he needs to do to win a place in the U.S. Senate.
Tuberville recently addressed the St. Clair County Republican Party at its September meeting. As reported by APR, Tuberville is quoted as saying the following, and I’ll offer a short rebuttal. I’m doing this because Tuberville is clearly afraid to death to debate his opponent, U.S. Sen. Doug Jones.
So here goes:
Tuberville: “America is about capitalism, not socialism. I think we are going to decide which direction we are going to go in the next few years.”
Me: We decided which way we were going to go years ago, when the federal government started subsidies for oil and gas companies, farmers and other big industry and business. That, coach, is your so-called “socialism.”
I’m not necessarily opposed to subsidies to boost business, depending on the cause, but I’m not going to let a dimwitted, know-nothing, mediocre, former football coach pretend we don’t already have “socialism” in this country.
What Tuberville really means is that he’s against “socialism” like Medicare or Medicaid or Social Security or food assistance or health insurance. He’s a millionaire already, so there’s no need for him have empathy for or support a safety net for people who are less fortunate socially and economically. That’s Tuberville’s “socialism,” and the Republican Party’s “socialism,” and Trump’s “socialism.”
That’s a cruel, mean perspective that would cast aside the great majority of Americans for the rich (Tuberville, Trump) and connected and, where Trump is concerned, the fawning.
Tuberville: “I am not a Common Core guy. I believe in regular math. We need to get back to teaching history.”
Me: I would love to ask Coach Tubby, one-on-one, exactly what he thinks “Common Core” is. I’ll guarantee you he can’t explain more than he already has. “I believe in regular math?” There is no other math. It’s math. Does he think there’s a math where 1+1=3? There isn’t one. There are a variety of ways to teach math, but there’s only math, not a “fake” math or a “Republican” math or a “Democratic” math or, God forbid, a “Socialist” math.
And when Coach Tommy said, “We need to get back to teaching history,” one wonders if he’s ever been into a classroom. We know more than a few of his former players weren’t in many classrooms, if reports are correct. But they always played the game under his uninspired coaching.
Of course schools teach history.
The history Coach T. is talking about is Donald Trump’s “white” history, the one we’ve been teaching in our schools forever. Not real history; you know, the one where the United States was founded as a slave-holding nation, where Native Americans were massacred and starved by the hundreds of thousands, where white supremacy was codified within our laws, where any color but white was subjugated. That history. The history that is finally fading away, so we can really see where we’ve been as a nation—so we know where, as a nation, we need to go.
Tuberville: Tuberville said he supports following the Constitution and appointing a replacement for Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died Friday.
Me: Well, of course he does. Tuberville doesn’t have an independent thought in his body, and Donnie told him this is what he’s supposed to think. The big question: How much will a Senator Tuberville be able to function as a member of a minority party in the Senate — with no Papa Trump in the White House to tell him what to do?
Both scenarios are real possibilities, if not likelihoods.
There is no question that Doug Jones is far more qualified than Tuberville. Jones can work across the aisle, which will be vitally important if Democrats take control of the Senate. Jones has his own thoughts, which sometimes go against the Democratic Party’s wishes. Jones is independent, smart and represents Alabama well.
Tuberville is a failed football coach who lives in Florida. That’s about it.
President Donald Trump endorses Barry Moore for Congress
President Donald Trump on Wednesday endorsed Republican 2nd Congressional District candidate Barry Moore, sharing his endorsement on Twitter.
In the tweet, the president wrote, “Barry Moore (@RepBarryMoore) will be a terrific Congressman for Alabama! An early supporter of our #MAGA agenda, he is Strong on Jobs, Life, the Wall, Law & Order, and the Second Amendment. Barry has my Complete and Total Endorsement! #AL02”
Moore met with the president in the White House on Wednesday.
“I’m truly honored to be endorsed for Congress by President Donald J. Trump,” Moore said. “I have never regretted being the first elected official in America to endorse him for president in 2015, and I’m looking forward to working with him in the next Congress during his second term.”
Barry Moore (@RepBarryMoore) will be a terrific Congressman for Alabama! An early supporter of our #MAGA agenda, he is Strong on Jobs, Life, the Wall, Law & Order and the Second Amendment. Barry has my Complete and Total Endorsement! #AL02 https://t.co/hlrWU7Drr2
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 23, 2020
“President Trump has already accomplished so much and kept so many of his campaign promises despite all that the establishment and the Democrats have done to obstruct him, but he knows there’s still lots to be done,” Moore continued. “We must contain and control the COVID pandemic, restore our economy to the pre-pandemic level of growth and prosperity we enjoyed during his first three years in office. We must restore and maintain law and order on our streets and in our cities. We must finish building the wall, and then fix our broken immigration system.”
“We had great meetings at the White House with the president’s domestic policy team,” Moore said. “Larry Kudlow, director of the National Economic Council, was also there. We discussed a new health care plan being introduced, economic recovery, trade with China and expansion of opportunity zones in depressed areas. The president has a bright vision for America.”
“I’m convinced that Donald J. Trump is the president we need to lead us for the next four years, and I hope the people of Alabama’s 2nd District see fit to elect me to work with President Trump as their congressman on Nov. 3,” Moore concluded.
It was an honor to visit the White House and meet with President @realDonaldTrump and VP @Mike_Pence – These are two great men who care about America and the people of Alabama. I look forward to working with them! #MAGA #Trump2020 #BarryMoore2020 #WhiteHouse #alpolitics WH PHOTOS pic.twitter.com/sK3SUXPZg6
— Barry Moore (@RepBarryMoore) September 23, 2020
Moore served two terms in the Alabama House of Representatives from 2010 to 2018. Moore is a graduate of Auburn University, a veteran, a small business owner, husband and father.
Moore is running for Alabama’s 2nd Congressional District in the Nov. 3 general election. Incumbent Congresswoman Martha Roby, R-Alabama, is not seeking another term. Moore faces Democratic candidate Phyllis Harvey-Hall.
Jones introduces bill to encourage investments in minority-serving banks
“One of the biggest hurdles for minority entrepreneurs is access to capital,” Jones said.
Alabama U.S. Sen. Doug Jones, D-Alabama, on Tuesday introduced legislation that would encourage investments in banks that serve minority communities.
“One of the biggest hurdles for minority entrepreneurs is access to capital,” Jones said in a statement. “That’s why this bill is so important. Increasing access to capital at the banks that serve minority communities will help expand financial opportunities for individuals and business owners in those communities.”
Jones, a member of the Senate Banking Committee, in April urged the Federal Reserve and the U.S. Treasury to support Community Development Financial Institutions and minority-owned banks disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, and he threw his support behind more federal funding for small community banks, minority-owned banks and CDFIs during the recent Paycheck Protection Program replenishment.
According to a press release from Jones’s office, the bill would attract investments to those financial institutions by changing rules to allow “minority-owned banks, community banks with under $10 billion in deposits” and CDFIs to accept brokered deposits, or investments with high interest rates, thereby bolstering those institutions and encourage them to invest and lend in their communities.
It would also allow low-income and minority credit unions to access the National Credit Union Administration’s Community Development Revolving Loan Fund.
“Commonwealth National Bank would like to thank Senator Jones for his leadership in introducing the Minority Depository Institution and Community Bank Deposit Access Act. As a small Alabama home grown institution, this proposal will allow us to accept needed deposits without the current limitations that hinder our ability to better serve the historically underserved communities that our institutions were created to serve. We support your efforts and encourage you to keep fighting the good fight for all of America,” said Sidney King, president and CEO of Commonwealth National Bank, in a statement.
“The Minority Depository Institution and Community Bank Deposit Access Act is a welcomed first step in helping Minority Depository Institutions like our National Bankers Association member banks develop the kinds of national deposit networks that allow our institutions to compete for deposits with larger banks and to better meet the credit needs of the communities we serve. The National Bankers Association commends Senator Jones’ leadership on this issue, and we look forward to continuing to engage with him on the ultimate passage of this proposal,” said Kenneth Kelly, chairman of the National Bankers Association, in a statement.
A recent report by the Brookings Institute highlighted problems minority-owned businesses had accessing federal COVID-19 relief aid from PPP loans. Researchers found that it took seven days longer for small businesses with paid employees in majority Black zip codes to receive PPP loans, compared to majority-white communities. That gap grew to three weeks for non-employer minority-owned small businesses, the report notes.
The report also states that while minority-owned small businesses, many of which are unbanked or under banked, get approximately 80 percent of their loans from financial technology companies and online lending companies, fintechs weren’t allowed under federal law to issue PPP loans until April 14.