As the new year begins, so does a Presidential election year.
For several decades, in fact for most of the twentieth century, Alabamians were more interested in state and local politics than presidential politics. In fact, from 1901 through the 1950’s, there were more people voting in a Democratic Primary for Governor than in a presidential General Election.
The interest in national politics is a fairly new occurrence for Alabamians, and it seems to have been in correlation to the party change in the state. Donald Trump carried Alabama by over 63 percent in 2016. You can pretty much bet the family farm that he will do the same to whomever the national Democrats offer up in the coming year.
The country is divided like never before in our history. You either live in a red Republican state or a blue Democratic state like California. You might say, “the hay is in the barn,” in all but about 10 battleground swing states. There are 40 states that it really does not matter who the Republican or Democratic nominee is, that party’s candidate is going to win that state and get all of that states electoral votes.
As I always say, if Mickey Mouse was the Republican nominee for President, he would carry Alabama and by the same token, if Donald Duck was the Democratic nominee, he would carry California.
The election is won or lost in the swing states of Florida, Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. The candidates will not even campaign in these safe 40 states. We will not see the presidential candidates, but neither will California or New York. Although, the Democratic candidates will go to California and New York to raise money. In fact, that is where our anomaly, short-lived Democratic Senator Doug Jones is getting his campaign money. He raises his funds in the most liberal zip codes in America, especially the left coast of California.
Our national politics, especially Congress, has become nothing more than an extreme partisan show. The theater is acted out in childlike petty gamesmanship. The Democratic charade of the impeachment inquiry is a perfect example. They are having a childlike food fight.
Swing voters are really turned off by this partisan circus. It is an obvious political vendetta. The votes are exactly along party lines. That in itself tells independent voters that it is a tribal squabble that is obsessing the tribally aligned politicians instead of important economic issues that affect them and their families.
The Democratic CNN/MSNBC/Stephen Colbert watchers gleefully boast of a coup that will never occur. An impeachment vote by only Democrats in the House of Representatives will never be approved or given any credence in the United States Senate, which has a Republican majority. It would need a 2/3 vote in the House of Lords and the U.S. Senate has a Republican majority. It appears that all measures, movements, and votes in Washington are cast along party lines.
All of the Republicans watch Fox news and consider the whole theater as an illegitimate political sham. My guess is that the fair minded, independent voter sees this show as a political act to appease their partisan zealots and they are making a mockery of a time-honored institution.
The Democrats will be the losers in this scenario. Voters reacted unfavorably to Republicans when they impeached Bill Clinton. Although they seemed to pay more attention and enjoyed that show more because the proposed misdeed was a lot more salacious.
As we begin the New Year, let’s not forget that we have some governing to do in the Heart of Dixie and not just politicking. The 2020 Legislative Session begins on February 4. The paramount issue to be addressed is our prison overcrowding problem and prison reform. Gov. Kay Ivey will come forward and offer to the Legislature a comprehensive plan to address this dilemma which has been building up for over a decade.
The Governor deserves a tip of the hat for working with the Justice Department on this issue. In turn the Justice Department and our U.S. Attorneys deserve accolades for their due diligence in working harmoniously with the Governor’s office and guiding them in the directions necessary to avoid federal interference.
This discourse and harmony is quite a contrast to the political rhubarb and catastrophe illustrated and orchestrated by the George Wallace vs Frank Johnson scenario of the 1970’s.
See you next week.
— Steve Flowers is Alabama’s leading political columnist. His weekly column appears in over 60 Alabama newspapers. He served 16 years in the Alabama legislature.