Sunday, August 20, 2017

If Ole Trumpanzee Doesn't Even Have Any Coattails In An Alabama GOP Primary...


The final count in the Republican primary in Alabama was 164,524 (38.87%) for crackpot Roy Moore and 138,971 (32.83%) for Trump and McConnell-backed establishment incumbent Luther Strange. Another crackpot, Rep. Mo Brooks took 83,287 votes (19.68%) and a scattering of 7 vanity candidates split another 30-some-odd thousand votes between them. Moore and Strange will face off in a runoff on September 26, the winner of which will then face Democrat Doug Jones, former U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Alabama, who won his 8-person primary with 109,105 votes (66.12%) on December 12. The only poll out for the GOP runoff shows Moore beating Strange 45-34%. As of August 18, Strange and PACs backing him spent had spent $3.4 million and Team Moore had spent $127,000. Much of Strange's money came from McConnell and Trump.

So how will Trump and McConnell handle the runoff? Trump is already trying to protect his own tarnished image by claiming Strange only did as well as he did because of the Trumpnazee seal of approval. McConnell will spend more millions of dollars.
And while Moore has plenty of detractors in-state who see him as a fringe rabble-rouser, even Strange’s allies admit the race is an uphill battle-- one where heavy attacks from Washington-based outside groups risk backfiring on their candidate in a state where voters detest being told what to do.

“Luther’s liabilities are how he got there and that the McConnell Washington crowd have been so heavy-handed in supporting him,” said one Alabama Republican strategist who supports Strange in the race.

“We’re a state full of folks who like to fight, who are defiant, we don’t like following rules, and that’s why Roy Moore is popular,” said David Azbell, a longtime Alabama GOP strategist. “A lot of folks think he can shoot off a lot of fireworks in D.C. while not doing a lot of harm.”

Alabama voters are also furious over a series of scandals that have rocked statehouse, and that taint got all over Strange with his appointment to the Senate. Strange had been the state attorney general in charge of the investigation into disgraced Gov. Robert Bentley (R)-- until Bentley appointed him to fill Sessions’ seat shortly before Bentley was forced to resign over a sex scandal.

Some saw Bentley’s support as a quid-pro-quo to get Strange out of his business. That’s a problem when paired with the association with McConnell, who has become a bogeyman on the right.

“Any time you’re the incumbent and 70 percent of people voted against you it’s hard to bounce back,” said Alabama GOP strategist Chris Brown, who ran the campaign of the fourth-place finisher, state Sen. Trip Pittman (R), and is neutral in the runoff.

Azbell, who backed Pittman in the primary, dislikes Moore enough that he’s never voted for him, skipping his line on the ballot both times Moore was the GOP nominee and working against him in past primaries. But he’s ready to break with precedent.

“I really don’t want Mitch McConnell and Robert Bentley telling me who my senator is going to be,” he said.

Moore is already looking to jiu jitsu McConnell’s backing, blasting the “silk-stockinged Washington elitists” supporting Strange.

It’s not the first time that’s worked for him: Moore won back his judicial seat by running against, and handily defeating, another Bentley appointee in 2012.

Strange’s allies argue that Moore will struggle to grow his appeal outside of his intense core of loyal followers. But the combination of an off-year primary, voters’ intense dislike of the traditional GOP establishment both in-state and in D.C. create the perfect climate for a Moore insurgency.

“Roy Moore has the intensity,” said GOP strategist Jon Coley, a Strange supporter. “Roy will turn his people out. Luther’s got to turn his people out and find a bunch more.”

The big question is how to do that.

The appointed senator will need to boost his support in a big way in the state’s more urban business communities-- especially in and around Huntsville, Brooks’ base-- and his allies worry that a deeply negative race may just turn off voters and convince them to stay home, leaving Moore with his rabid but limited base of support with the upper hand.

The strategy from the pro-McConnell Senate Leadership Fund of playing for a Strange runoff with Moore by destroying Brooks paid off. And while they’re off TV right now, they offered a glimpse of how they plan to attack Moore going forward, with ads attacking him for taking a $1 million salary from the Christian organization he runs and for flying on private airplanes with the organization’s money. A Washington Republican strategist said the group is now finalizing their strategy for the runoff.

Moore has deep support on the hard right for his repeated stands athwart the tide of social change-- in a state whose official motto is “We dare defend our rights.”

Moore has twice been forced from the state Supreme Court bench for disobeying court orders, first for installing, then refusing to remove, a monument to the Ten Commandments outside his courthouse, then just a few years ago for ordering his state to ignore the Supreme Court’s ruling legalizing gay marriage nationwide.

And Strange faces another challenge, with one of his best surrogates sidelined and another being notoriously unpredictable.

Sessions is a close ally-- Strange helped on his campaigns and followed him as state attorney general. But Sessions doesn’t plan to have any involvement in the race because of the ethical constraints of his current job.

And while President Trump’s endorsement was a huge boost for Strange in the first round, it’s unclear what he’ll do going forward.

Trump’s tweets and a late robocall backing Strange likely helped boost him to second place and kept alive his hopes of staying in Washington. But Trump hasn’t been unequivocal in his support. The president’s reaction to the runoff result was a pair of tweets congratulating both candidates-- and himself.

“What Trump does from here will be interesting to see. Luther must be holding his breath that Trump doesn’t have another post-Charlottesville and start flip-flopping on this. I’m holding my breath if I’m in his camp that this thing sticks for six weeks,” said the Alabama strategist supporting Strange.

It’s unclear how the next six weeks will shape up. But one thing’s for sure, according to Coley: “It’s going to be nasty.”

So what about the Democrat Doug Jones? A friend of mine active in local Alabama politics told me that "Jones is not the Joe Manchin of Birmingham. Doug Jones is a progressive, and I don't mean 'the most progressive candidate you can hope for from Alabama.' Doug Jones is a progressive in Alabama and he'd be a progressive in Maryland or Oregon or California or anywhere else. Jones was US Attorney for the Northern District of Alabama during the Clinton administration. He reopened the dormant case of the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing and sent two klansman to jail for it. He was on scene at the Birmingham abortion bombing within minutes and brought the indictment against Eric Rudolph for it. Take a look at his issues page. He isn't hedging. He lists as 'priorities' strengthening public schools, paying a living wage, affordable college, affordable child care, combatting climate change, rejoining the Paris Accords, preserving access to contraception and abortion care, funding Planned Parenthood, equal pay for equal work, preserving and expanding ACA, and healthcare as a right. Doug Jones," he continued in an e-mail, "is a quality candidate who can raise money and stands for our values. I'm not being pollyannaish. This is going to be hard. We're still the underdog. But if we organize and direct overwhelming national resources, this can be done and we can take one more vote away from Mitch McConnell."

I tried confirming Jones' progressiveness personally but haven't heard back from him or his campaign yet. Jonathan Lee Krohn, writing for The Intercept, reported that "In the Deep South state of Alabama, Jones isn’t shrinking from a fight against white nationalism. 'Fifteen years ago, I actually went up against the Klan, and we won,' Jones began his victory speech Tuesday night. 'I thought we’d gotten past that, but obviously we haven’t.' All of a sudden, it matters who Doug Jones is."
So who is he? Best known for his work as U.S. attorney here in Alabama, Jones, in 1998, famously re-opened his office’s investigation of the 1963 Birmingham church bombing. Before he left office in 2001, Jones brought murder charges against two of the surviving Klansmen responsible for the attack, ultimately seeing both men convicted and sentenced to life in prison.

Republicans in Washington see Jones as a major threat-- the perfect candidate to take down Moore. The question is whether there’s a state party behind him.

Once upon a time, Democrats controlled Alabama.

As a matter of fact, Democrats controlled state government in Alabama for over 100 years-- from Reconstruction until 2010-- and near the end they seldom agreed with each other on much of anything. But that didn’t seem to matter; they were in charge.

“Alabama’s Democratic Party, it was just an umbrella,” Jones told The Intercept. “You had people standing for civil rights, and at the same time you had people standing in the schoolhouse door.”

Around the turn of the century, the main dispute was between the white, socially conservative Blue Dogs from up north and the more progressive-minded, largely black representatives from the cities. The salve that kept everyone together was patronage, the party’s deep war chests, a voter turnout machine that bussed thousands of Alabamian Democrats to the polls, and the fact that they just kept on winning.

“[T]he party at the time was really just a confederation of factions that elected whoever they’re going to elect. And the only time it was really important was when a president was elected and there was patronage,” former Jones continued. “You know, U.S. attorneys and judgeships, that sort of thing.”

The bombing case was the only major civil rights case Jones worked on. Since leaving public service in 2001, while Jones has worked on the occasional corporate civil rights case, he’s primarily worked as a defense attorney for businesses and white collar criminals.

That included one particularly high-profile defendant: In 2004, Jones defended former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman, a Democrat, in his first trial regarding bribery charges. Legendary District Court Judge U.W. Clemon dropped the case, saying the allegations against Seigelman were unfounded, but in 2006 the Bush administration’s Department of Justice again began vigorously pursuing Siegelman, claiming he had used the governor’s office to benefit campaign donors.

Siegelman has long claimed his case was the result of a political hit ordered by Karl Rove, who had previously worked as a consultant for the Alabama GOP and was pushing for his conviction in order to help Alabama Republicans. Local politicians in both parties condemned the prosecution, but he was convicted and sentenced to seven years in prison.

Whatever Rove’s intention, inside Alabama, the fall of Don Siegelman was a major blow to the state’s Democrats, helping contribute to the party’s ultimate collapse in 2010. The GOP picked up eight Senate seats and 18 House seats in 2010, winning a supermajority in both chambers in the national tea party wave.

Once Republicans had taken over, they began doing what they do so much better than Democrats: tilting the rules so they can stay in power. In December 2010, just a month after the Republicans had won both houses of the State Legislature, Gov. Riley called a special session. Immediately, the Republicans introduced legislation making it illegal for professional associations to take money for dues out of state employees’ paychecks. This made it impossible for the Alabama Education Association (AEA) to collect membership dues from teachers’ paychecks.

The ban decimated the AEA and similar organizations that had bankrolled Democrats for decades. Suddenly, the state party was in free fall, with no money to cushion their fall.

Nancy Worley became party chair three years after the cataclysmic events of 2010. “I came into this office in 2013 and we were broke,” she said. “In fact, people were here waiting to turn off our power, that kinda thing.”

After Siegelman’s conviction, Jones continued to fight on on his client’s behalf. In 2007, Jones testified in front of the U.S. House Judiciary Committee that he believed Siegelman’s conviction was “driven by politics” and not by a pursuit of the facts.

“There is no question in my mind,” Jones told the committee, according to a contemporary report in The Nation, “that the Justice Department in Washington was behind the investigation.”

While Siegelman was finally released from prison earlier this year, and has recently begun speaking around the country in support of a documentary about his trial, he has not yet appeared on the campaign trail or publicly endorsed Jones.

After his victory Tuesday night Jones said he wants to let Siegelman take care of himself and revisit with friends and family before concerning him with the rat-race of Alabama politics again.

The last candidate to come close to winning as a statewide Democrat in Alabama was a little-known circuit court judge named Bob Vance, who ran for chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court in 2012.

The man he lost to-- by a mere 2 points-- was Judge Roy Moore, the current front-runner in the Republican primary for the U.S. Senate... Vance finished the race with 48.2 percent of the vote, unheard of for a Democrat in Alabama these days. But in the end, Mowrey says, the campaign couldn’t overcome the fact that many Alabamians support Moore’s bigotry, his “states rights” stance on gay marriage, and his distaste for federal interference in what he deems religious affairs.

Vance finished the race with 48.2 percent of the vote, unheard of for a Democrat in Alabama these days. But in the end, Mowrey says, the campaign couldn’t overcome the fact that many Alabamians support Moore’s bigotry, his “states rights” stance on gay marriage, and his distaste for federal interference in what he deems religious affairs.

“It’s very hard to communicate that [Moore] puts himself above the law,” he explained, “because there’s this section of the Alabama electorate who says there’s nothing wrong.”

Jones said that moderates like those Vance appealed to voters in the Birmingham suburbs of Shelby and Blount County-- which in 2016 went 72 percent and 89 percent, respectively, for Trump-- are the key to “narrowing the gap.” And while he admits he has no chance of winning most voters in these heavily white, Republican counties, he says he’ll consider his campaign a success if he can simply make inroads.

“I don’t have to win Shelby County or Blount County, I just have to narrow the gap and get people rethinking how they’re gonna vote,” Jones said, his Birmingham drawl getting stronger as he gets excited, “And when you start narrowing that gap in those counties you’re gonna start narrowing the gap on a statewide basis and people are gonna have to take you seriously and they’re gonna have to talk to ya.”

The reason Jones is so optimistic about getting his message out there is that the Republican Party of Alabama has given him a very good reason to be.

The two top contenders, Moore and Strange, are both damaged goods, and are widely reviled across the state. Moore, who says that trans women are just trying to get “special treatment” by identifying as female, has a strong base within the state’s massive evangelical population. But outside of those voters, even within the Republican Party he is seen as a liability. A staffer for a competing campaign compared him to Todd Akin, a former GOP candidate for the U.S. Senate in Missouri whose odd thoughts on “legitimate rape” cost him the race.

Strange, meanwhile, was appointed to hold this Senate seat in February after Jeff Sessions became Donald Trump’s attorney general until this special election could be held. At the time of his appointment by Gov. Robert Bentley, however, Strange was the attorney general and his office was investigating Bentley for alleged use of state resources to cover up an extramarital affair he’d been having with a senior staffer.

Many Alabamians thought at the time there must have been a quid pro quo between the governor and Strange, but he took the seat anyway. Subsequently, Strange has also come under investigation for alleged campaign finance violations in both his Senate campaign and his prior AG campaigns. A hearing is scheduled for Wednesday, August 16, the day after the primary.

Both of these candidates would, in an ideal world, be perfect opponents for the squeaky-clean Jones. But, despite being well-liked by every Alabamian I meet, Republican and Democrat, he has one fatal flaw.

“He’s got one big issue,” Strange’s campaign manager, Michael Joffrion, points out. “He’s got a ‘D’ after his name.”

In a state Donald Trump won with 62 percent of the vote, Jones knows victory is a long-shot. On Tuesday night, Moore alone got roughly as many votes as all of the Democrats combined. But the Jones campaign is still ebullient.

“Do not let anybody ever tell you Doug Jones cannot win this special election,” said Jones’ son-in-law, who introduced him Tuesday night. “What you will find if you look at the numbers tomorrow-- this is gon’ be close-- right now in Jefferson County, this county, … right now he has as many votes in this county where you worked as Luther Strange and Roy Moore combined.” (Jefferson County is an urban, solidly Democratic county.)

While Jones won comfortably, his vote total would have only been enough to finish third in the GOP primary. To win, he’ll have to bring new voters to the polls in December, and win votes from Republicans who despise Moore-- which, fortunately for Jones, exist in healthy proportions.

Jones, the former U.S. Attorney who prosecuted two Klansmen responsible for the 1963 Birmingham Church bombing, has begun pushing the issue of Charlottesville onto his Republican opponents. Endorsed by a plethora of national Democratic figures, including Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., the Congressional Black Caucus, and former Vice President Joe Biden, Jones is attempting to appeal to the heart of a deeply conservative state with his record on civil rights.

...For Jones, though, this campaign began more as an opportunity to spread the Democratic message to the farthest reaches of Alabama than an attempt to turn Alabama blue. “We’ve got to get back into areas where we’ve been traditionally losing races and we’ve got to start narrowing the gap,” he told The Intercept. “For our campaign, our goal is to reach as many people as we can.”

But “narrowing the gap” in Alabama is a big ask.

Since 2014, Democrats have retained control in just eight of the state’s 35 Senate districts. While these districts comprise less than half the state’s population, they include a whopping 94.3 percent of Alabama’s black population and just a quarter of the state’s much large white population.

That means Doug’s gap exists somewhere among that vast majority of white Alabamians who live outside Democratic districts and voted overwhelmingly for Trump last fall. The problem is, these are the very voters Alabama Democrats have done precious little to court in recent years.

The chair of the Alabama Democratic Party, Worley, seems resigned to the party’s fate.

“You need to look at the demographics in North Alabama,” she said. “I don’t have to tell you that there’s a huge racial divide in the state of Alabama, along with the whole south. I mean, LBJ predicted that when he signed the Civil Rights legislation, you know, that he was crossing out the south.”

During the last legislative election cycle in 2014, in Worley’s second year as chair, Democrats lost seven seats in the state legislature, and didn’t even bother to field a candidate against Republican incumbents in another 58 districts.

Instead of attempting to compete, Worley’s strategy has been to stay put. Democrats now only have four legislative districts in North Alabama, for example, where they once had a majority of seats. The Democratic retreat to Birmingham and Black Belt is a microcosm of the national Democratic retrenchment on the coasts and in cities. More than a decade after former DNC Chair Howard Dean launched his 50-state strategy, the party is effectively nonexistent in many parts of the country. That makes capitalizing on an opportunity like the one Moore presents that much more difficult.

One of those remaining North Alabama Democrats is Rep. Craig Ford, the former minority leader in the state House. He has just two words for Worley and her fellow Democratic leaders who have given up on white Alabamians. “Party leadership,” he said. “I’m tellin’ ya man, I can’t tell ya enough: Party leadership is everything.”

Craig blames the leadership in the party that “made it all about race” and failed to tailor their message to a changing state. He also blames Worley, by name, for not encouraging Democrats to compete outside Birmingham and the Black Belt.

Doug agrees that the party is in shambles, though he refuses to go after Worley and the leadership. He traces things back to 2010, when the Democrats lost majorities in both houses of the state legislature for the first time since Reconstruction, ushering in seven years of complete Republican control.

“When folks started losing their base, their offices, people didn’t know how to respond,” he said. “They didn’t know how to be a two-party state so instead of gelling around a cohesive party theme-- not that it’s check the box, check the box, check the box, but general themes of Democratic party politics-- they tried to outmaneuver Republicans to the right and you can’t do that. And so they continued to lose races, and then you get demoralized.”

Up until this point, Democrats have “never really had a party,” Jones continued. Instead, it was a coalition of politicians in a one-party state who called themselves Democrats for political necessity.

“I think if we can get those candidates out there, we will end up with a party structure,” Jones concluded, optimistically. “The rest will kind of fall into place.”

Ford is even more optimistic. With the right party leadership and the right candidates, he thinks Alabama’s Senate seat could turn blue.

“A Democrat could win that U.S. Senate seat,” he said, though he clarifies himself with the help of a friend. “Somebody besides a Republican could win that race.”

UPDATE: Sometimes I Get Crazy Email

This one, very badly formatted by someone who is unfamiliar with how to work online, came from Roy Moore's campaign:

"Being within 10 points or less, (Strange's supporters) may pour another $3 million to $5 million into the runoff. There will be a negative onslaught on Roy Moore that he's never seen before."
-- Alabama Veteran Political Analyst Steve Flowers


After Tuesday night's first-round victory over Mitch McConnell, all eyes nationwide are focusing in on the battle brewing for U.S. Senate in the upcoming September 26 run-off election.

And Howie, the pundits all seem to agree on one thing -- It’s going to get nasty over the next 6 weeks

Can I count on you to stand with me by chipping in a generous contribution of $1,500, $1,000, $500, $250, $100, $75, $50, $35 or $25 to my campaign’s “Conservatives United” Money Bomb to help me fight back and win?

Howie, the September 26 run-off election is THE ultimate national showdown between the Washington insiders and conservative Republicans who are sick of Mitch McConnell, Paul Ryan and the rest of the establishment in Washington.

Unless conservatives rise up and deliver the final blow to the Washington establishment on September 26, you and I could be staring down the barrel of Mitch McConnell entrenched as Senate Majority Leader.

That means ZERO chance at REPEALING ObamaCare!

 ZERO chance at securing our border and building Trump’s wall.

ZERO chance of cracking down on illegal immigration.

ZERO chance of rebuilding our military.

And ZERO chance of restoring respect for the Constitution and the rule of law in Washington.

You and I must not allow that to happen.

That’s why I’m counting on your immediate financial support to help my campaign finish the job and DEFEAT Mitch McConnell on September 26.

You see, my establishment backed opponent begins the run-off with MILLIONS of dollars in his campaign coffers.

And that doesn’t include the tens of millions of dollars Mitch McConnell and Karl Rove plan to spend viciously attacking me and my campaign.

Friend, the situation is dire.

According to my Finance Team my campaign coffers are exhausted from yesterday’s election.

Based on current budget estimates, the first Phase of our Two-Phase Voter Contact and Outreach Victory Operation will cost roughly $150,000 to execute effectively.

And the bad news is, the deadline to fund this critical program is midnight on August 31.

So won’t you please stand with me in this all-out fight against McConnell and the establishment by chipping in the maximum amount you can afford to donate to my campaign’s "Conservatives United" Money Bomb immediately?

Of course, I understand only a few people are able to afford $2,700 ($5,400 per couple) -- the maximum legal amount under federal law.

If you are such a person, I believe this run-off election is an investment worth making. The future of the U.S. Senate -- and our country -- depends on the outcome.

But I also understand that $250 or $100 may be all many folks can give.

In fact, I know for some, $25 or $35 is a stretch.

And for others -- $10 or $15 can be a major sacrifice.

Whatever amount you can chip in to help out at this time, your contribution is greatly appreciated and will be put to immediate use to fund our Voter Contact and Outreach Victory Mobilization Program.

You and I are on the verge of defeating the establishment and taking our country back.

But Howie, Mitch McConnell and Karl Rove are ruthless.

Rumors are circulating they’re already scheming to pull the same dirty tricks on me that they pulled on Chris McDaniel in the 2014 run-off election for Senate in Mississippi.

This includes spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to buy Democrat votes in the September REPUBLICAN run-off.

To defeat McConnell and the establishment, I must be able to count on your immediate support.

So please stand with me in this historic fight against Washington by chipping in a generous contribution to my “Conservatives United” Money Bomb.

Thank you in advance for your support!


Judge Roy Moore

Labels: , , , , , ,


At 6:41 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

There are two disparate posts in this post. The first one listing the horrible Rs, one of whom shall win (IT'S FUCKING ALABAMA FERKRISSAKES!) is self contained and complete.

The second one about the Ds trying to lose by the least possible double-digit score is pointless and a waste (IT'S FUCKING ALABAMA FERKRISSAKES!!!).

Shouldn't waste space on DWT with this kind of thing. Moore will win by 20-30 points no matter who the opponent is, and the better the opponent, the bigger moore will win. it's fucking Alabama. Ugliest christianest (meaning most anti-Christ-like) white people on earth.


Post a Comment

<< Home