Who is right? The results of the upcoming Republican Senate runoff in Alabama—heretofore known as Trump’s Kingdom—are likely to be very instructive. Trump has endorsed the Republican establishment candidate, the aptly yclept Luther Strange. (If Charles Dickins were writing a novel about Alabama politics, he would nave named this character Luther Strange. Am I right, or am I right?)
The establishment’s panicked push for Strange has allowed his even stranger opponent, Roy Moore to make these points. (These verbatim quotes give a good sense of the lay of the land.)
Roy Moore is endorsed by Dr. James Dobson, the founder of Focus on the Family; Phil Robertson of Duck Dynasty; Chuck Norris of Walker, Texas Ranger; former Vice-Presidential candidate Sarah Palin, and former US Senate candidate Trip Pittman – Luther Strange is endorsed and bank-rolled by Mitch McConnell, the one insider who has single-handedly sunk the Trump agenda to repeal Obamacare and pass meaningful tax reform.
Judge Moore is an outsider loyal only to his God and fellow Alabamians – Luther is bought and paid for by Washington insiders and elites.
Roy Moore is a proven voice for the values and people of Alabama – Luther Strange is a proven yes-man for Mitch McConnell.
Yes, there is a clear choice for Alabama. It is Roy Moore.
Either because of the fact, or in spite of the fact—you choose which—that the stranger candidate is polling ahead of Strange, Trump has at long last yielded to the cries of panic from the Washington swamp monsters, and has scheduled a rally for Strange in Huntsville.
Will Trump actually visit his kingdom in support of Strange? Will his voice be full throated, or will he hedge?
Will Trump’s Alabama subjects once again be led by the nose? Or will they absorb the message that Trump’s DACA reversal shows him to be a fraud, a turncoat, and just another critter from the Washington swamp? Will they finally understand that they have been the victims of a giant con?
Decades ago, the folks who have been Trump’s Alabama subjects were Aardvark’s people. But I left Alabama—in more ways than one—so I cannot say with any great authority what these folks are now thinking.
But here’s my sense of it.
Alabama’s white voters have indeed loved Trump, but they have loved him because he gave voice to their overwhelming sense of cultural and racial victimhood.
You have to be pretty mean to want to kick the Dreamers out of this country. I think that in Alabama, a lot of folks are that mean. (And for that, I pity them.)
I wasn’t able to find Alabama-specific polling on DACA, but there are clues. One is that Alabama’s attorney general was one of those who threatened suit to force Trump to revoke DACA. Another is that it was long time Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions who announced Trump’s decision to give in to legal pressure and revoke Obama’s DACA program.
Yet another clue is that, when Sessions made that announcement, all the elected Republicans expressed support: surely, they thought that their anti-DACA stance would please their constituents.
Do Alabama’s white voters love Trump, or do they love their litany of grievances and fear of outsiders? I think I know the answer.
Mean though they may be, I don’t think Alabama voters are stupid. I think they always knew that Trump was a jerk–they just believed he was THEIR jerk. But now, strong and loud voices from the extreme right are telling them that Trump is a con man.
Time to burn those MAGA hats.