Conservatism in Alabama is more splintered than I thought.
I recently outlined how differently younger and older Alabama conservatives are reacting to the sexual misconduct allegations against Roy Moore. Aside from that, another division continues to form as indicated by the Shoals Young Republicans’ resolution – approved unanimously by the group on Sunday – declaring support for Roy Moore.
In an interview with Yellowhammer News, Josh Dodd, who is the Shoals Young Republicans’ press contact, challenged the notion that young conservatives do not or should not support Moore.
“I kind of want to set the record straight,” said Dodd. “You can single people out all you want to and talk to a handful of people just to try to spin an article the way you want it, but it’s not true that all young people are not supporting Moore.”
This comes just days after one of the Shoals’ sister groups, Greater Birmingham Young Republicans, withdrew their support for Moore, citing the sexual allegations against Moore, as well as his “failed governance and jurisprudence.” Even more, the state-wide cohort of young Republican groups – Young Republican Federation of Alabama (YRFA) – announced that the organization no longer supports Moore and asked him to step aside.
As part of YRFA’s steering committee, Dodd voted against the resolution. When it passed, he decided to call a meeting for his own group and urged members to support him. He said members of his group share Moore’s values.
“They understand that Moore is pro-life, that he is pro-traditional marriage, pro-gun. He’s going to go down there and support Trump’s tax plan, the border wall, and a repeal of Obamacare, and he’s not going to compromise.”
Dodd acknowledged a division between conservatives, and particularly, a division within his state’s Young Republicans.
“There’s definitely a lot of tension. I do think they were a bit presumptive,” he said of other Young Republicans, “because Moore is innocent until proven guilty.”
I challenged Dodd on the presumption of innocence standard, noting that it is a standard for court sentencing but perhaps not a valid standard in this case. He responded: “You’re right. We’re talking about the court of public opinion. Here’s the problem we run into: if you look into the allegations, these were from 38 years ago and I honestly don’t think we can get real proof one way or the other and then it’s just he said, she said. And you can’t believe everything the media says. If we don’t challenge the media, then the media can fabricate stories and publish them as hit pieces.”
Dodd expects more groups to release statements in support of Moore.
“Since we came out with a statement, there have been other young Republicans across the state contact us and thank us for taking the stand that we have. I’ve had representatives from all the clubs in North Alabama. One from Baldwin County. I had Northeast Alabama, Huntsville, and I actually had someone from Greater Birmingham contact me as well.”
As promised, the Baldwin County Young Republicans released a statement late Tuesday evening calling on Alabama voters to elect Moore in December.
“The Baldwin County Young Republicans have unanimously decided to continue support for Judge Roy Moore,” the group said on Facebook. “We are subject to change this decision going forward if compelling evidence comes out.”
Jeremy Beaman is a Huntsville-native in his final year at the University of Mobile. He spent the summer of 2017 with the Washington Examiner and writes for The College Fix. Follow him on Twitter @jeremywbeaman.