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Opinion | A rare dose of sanity in an Alabama election

Up and down the ballot on Tuesday, when given the option, voters in Alabama chose the less radical candidates.

Hands hold a paper sheet with the message your vote matters over a crowded street background. People legal and democratic rights, every voice counts. Election campaign and electoral agitation concept.

Super-crazy had a bad night in Alabama on Tuesday. 

Alabama voters, even those on the Republican ticket, took a good, hard look at the ultra-conservative, super-MAGA, Jan. 6-was-cool-with-me candidates and said, nah. 

Mo Brooks got the insurrection kicked off with a kick-ass speech. It was his backside getting kicked Tuesday, as Katie Britt – the establishment’s darling – beat him by nearly 30 points. 

Casey Wardynski, the Trumpiest Trumper who ever once Trumped, the man who can explain to all us rubes (and all the judges, lawyers, investigators and secretaries of state) exactly how the 2020 presidential election was really stolen by Biden, he got smoked by nearly 30 points by Dale Strong, a guy who played a pretty big role in removing a confederate monument in Madison County. 

Jim Zeigler, a man who took advantage of the free time afforded by the do-nothing state auditor’s position to create a one-man, traveling political circus, and who somehow managed to insert himself into every possible political fracas, somehow turned a primary win into a 30-point loss to Wes Allen, a former Alabama football player. 

(In fairness, Allen will undoubtedly spend the next four years doing anything possible to get a guest spot on Fox News, as he seeks to up his name ID and position himself for higher office. Prepare yourself for several layers of awfulness, and to watch as voting rights are reset by several decades.)

Up and down the ballot, though, there was a clear message sent to Alabama politicians by Alabama voters: Tone it down a bit. 

Now, don’t get me wrong here. No one is saying that Alabama is on its way to swing-state status, like our neighbors in Georgia. Not even a little bit. We’ve still got more than our share of hardcore conservatives, and Republicans will steamroll Democrats in pretty much every meaningful race in this state in November. 

I’m talking about degrees of crazy conservativism here. 

And the faction of ALGOP that is a tad less bonkers, a bit more business-friendly, not openly racist and not so storm-the-capitol crazy won out over the other side. 

Nowhere was that more evident than in Britt’s win over Brooks. 

Let me be clear: I would never vote for Katie Britt over Will Boyd, or most any other Democrat. Because I know what Democrats stand for and what Democrats are expected to do if elected to the U.S. Senate, and those things translate to meaningful life changes for working class people and poor people. 

Now, I’m not saying that Katie Britt doesn’t care about poor people. I’m certain she does. However, her ideas for how to help the poorest people in Alabama differ tremendously from mine, and I happen to believe that her ideas – Republican economic ideas – have never, in the history of this country, aided the poor in the longterm. 

But see, that’s the difference here between Britt and Brooks. Between ultra conservative and just plain ol’ Republican. 

Britt is a decent person with ideas that I find flawed. Brooks, like most other ultra conservatives, is a selfish person interested only in serving his narrow interests and beliefs and the small minority of people like him. 

That’s why it was so nice to see this state make at least a small move in the opposite direction. Away from the self-involved, self-serving politics of the far right – a political belief system that is so broken that it’s currently justifying an insurrection. And towards relative sanity. 

After a legislative session dominated by the undefinable CRT and a governor’s race in which children were literally publicly mocked and ridiculed, it seemed likely that we were headed off the far-right cliff. 

But in nearly every instance, Alabama voters went to the polls and voted for the sane candidate. 

Maybe that means something. Maybe we’ve taken a look at the far edge and didn’t like the view. Maybe even for this deep-red state the fringe was too cold, too callous, too indifferent to human suffering and racism. 

Maybe there’s some hope yet.

Written By

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 jmoon@alreporter.com or follow him on Twitter.

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