The much-anticipated battle between former U.S. Senator and U.S. Attorney General, Jeff Sessions and former Auburn football coach, Tommy Tuberville to capture the GOP nomination for the U.S. Senate was the marquee event on Tuesday. Unfortunately, my column for this week had to go to press prior to the primary votes being counted.
Polls indicated that Tuberville would win for one reason and one reason only, Donald Trump endorsed him. President Trump is extremely popular among Republican voters in Alabama.
There is no doubt in anyone’s mind that Trump does not like Sessions. Trump has tweeted negative comments about Sessions, not only during this race but consistently for the last three years. Therefore, the message was clear.
Tuberville to his credit ran a very simple campaign and said he is Trump’s man. He never deviated and never delved into the issues. He stayed the course and stuck to the script.
There is a tried and true adage in Alabama politics that more people vote against someone or something than for someone or something. If Sessions lost this race to recapture this Senate seat he held for 20 years, it is because Alabama GOP voters were so enthralled with Donald Trump that they voted against Sessions because Trump asked them to. It certainly was not because Coach Tuberville is more qualified to be our junior U.S. Senator than Jeff Sessions.
It really does not matter which one won. Either one, Tuberville or Sessions will win in November against liberal Democrat Doug Jones. It is almost comical that you have a liberal Democrat who has a three-year voting record of voting straight down the line with the Democratic leadership led by Chuck Schumer, Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders and Nancy Pelosi representing one of the most Republican conservative states in America.
Indeed, Jones is the only Democrat in a U.S. Senate seat from the South. Jones has millions of dollars of left-wing California and New York money in the bank for his fall campaign, as well he should. Californians figure they have stolen our seat and have three senators. He has an identical voting record as the aforementioned liberals, but also identical to California’s two Democratic senators, Kamala Harris and Dianne Feinstein. That is why I refer to Jones as the “California Kid.”
It really does not matter whether Tuberville or Sessions is the one that takes Jones out in November, either one will vote conservatively and straight down the line with the GOP Senate leadership. Both will be older freshman senators and will have very little power. The seniority system prevails in the U.S. Senate and House, which brings me to this point. Why in the world would Donald Trump spend precious time and energy getting involved in a U.S. Senate GOP Primary in Alabama, other than for spiteful vengeance towards a man who simply would not do his bidding and bend the law, his principles, and integrity.
Trump is in a very difficult uphill battle to win a second term as president. He should be focused on campaigning for his own re-election in the five pivotal, battleground states. Under the Electoral College System of selecting our president, these are really the only five to ten states that matter.
We in the Heart of Dixie are irrelevant in the election, as is California. As I have often said, if Mickey Mouse were the Republican nominee, Mickey would carry Alabama. Conversely, if Donald Duck were the Democratic nominee, Donald would carry California.
Folks, the election for president in November will be decided in the states of Florida, Ohio, Minnesota, Michigan and Pennsylvania. Under the Electoral College numbers, Trump must carry all five of these states. Currently, polling has him losing all five of these states. He is behind by double digits in Michigan and Pennsylvania.
On election night, as his advisors are lamenting a landslide massacre, they may pose this question to the egocentric, brash, New Yorker, “Why on God’s green earth were you campaigning in a Republican U.S. Senate race in Ruby Red Alabama rather than for yourself in the swing state of Florida?”
The media is one of the primary reasons the nation has become so deeply divided along partisan lines. Today, people vote for a party rather than for the individual candidate. You are either in the conservative Republican column or the liberal Democratic corner. CNN and MSNBC, and to a large degree CBS and NBC, are unabashedly the Democratic channels. Whereas FOX News may as well be broadcast from the Republican National Committee headquarters.
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.