State Sen. Bill Hightower (R-Mobile) will air his first TV ad in his campaign for governor next week. An advance look at the commercial, which focuses on term limits, a flat tax and cutting spending, can be seen here:
DNC DISUNITY: Alabama and Delaware delegates square off over seating arrangements
“We’re short five [chairs],” said Delaware Democratic Party Chairman John Daniello, according to Delaware Online. “We’re not gonna be.”
“This is our row,” an Alabama delegate responded.
The Delaware delegation insisted that someone moved Alabama’s sign down an additional row, thereby encroaching on Delaware’s allotment.
“The whole row is not yours,” Daniello said.
Eventually, convention officials intervened to stop a fight from breaking out. After discussion, the Alabama Democrats decided to give Delaware, Vice President Joe Biden’s home state, the seats. “I knew that was coming,” said Daniello.
Chairs are far from the only thing that has divided Democrats this week. The DNC has been rocked with sizable protests from supporters of Bernie Sanders who feel that Hillary Clinton is nothing more than a corporate shill that the party colluded with.
Several speakers have been booed by the “Feel the Bern” crowd, and protestors have even surrounded the arena in Philadelphia chanting “Hell no DNC, we won’t vote for Hillary!”
Earlier this week, the DNC was exposed by WikiLeaks when the group released tens of thousands of emails revealing collaboration between the national committee and Hillary Clinton’s campaign. The leaks forced Chairwoman Debbie Wassermann Schultz to step down before the convention even began.
Whether its seating chairs or committee chairs, Democrats are struggling to get it together at the event that is supposed to unify them.
And in the ultimate show of disgust, the AP is now reporting that “supporters of Bernie Sanders plan to hold a ‘fart-in’ at the Democratic National Convention to protest the party’s primary process.”
Democrats call Alabama’s voter ID law ‘racist’ but require DNC delegates to show ID to vote
PHILADELPHIA, Pa. — In a twist of irony, the Democratic National Convention is requiring delegates to show photo ID to receive their official credentials. While the Democrats require an ID to get into their convention, they have consistently fought against voter ID laws requiring citizens to show one when they vote.
During the 2011 Regular Legislative Session Governor Robert Bentley (R-Ala.) signed a voter ID law that went into full effect for the 2014 primary elections. Act 2011-673 requires an Alabama voter to have a specific type of photo identification at the polls in order to vote. Since that time, Democrats across the country have decried the law as “racist” and “hateful”.
The 2016 Democratic Party platform declares, “we will continue to fight against discriminatory voter identification laws, which disproportionately burden young voters, diverse communities, people of color, low income families, people with disabilities, the elderly, and women.” Yet, at their own convention, it seems like a different set of rules apply.
In an October 2015 visit to Hoover, Hillary Clinton slammed Alabama Republicans for requiring proof of citizenship to vote and for shuttering driver’s license offices in the wake of state budget cuts. The Democratic presidential nominee insisted that both issues were examples of Republicans trying to return Alabama to its Jim Crow past.
“We have to defend the most fundamental right in our democracy, the right to vote,” she said. “No one in this state, no one, should ever forget the history that enabled generations of people left out and left behind to finally be able to vote.”
Before that, Vice President Joe Biden chided supporters of voter ID laws in light of liberal defeat in the Supreme Court case of Shelby County v. Holder which stemmed from a legal challenge in Alabama. “These guys never go away,” Biden said. “Hatred never, never goes away. The zealotry of those who wish to limit the franchise cannot be smothered by reason.”
Shelby County, Ala. sued the U.S. Attorney General in 2011 claiming that portions of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 were unconstitutional. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled by a 5-to-4 vote that the formula used to determine which areas were subjected to pre-clearance was unconstitutional, effectively gutting that portion of the law.
“Alabama has made tremendous progress over the past 50 years, and this decision by the U.S. Supreme Court recognizes that progress,” Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley said at the time. “We will not tolerate discrimination in Alabama.”
Despite calls of racism, Alabama’s implementation of the voter ID law does not seem to have suppressed turnout.
There are currently at least 10 different types of ID that are acceptable to use at the polls (including a driver’s license) and the Secretary of State’s office also offers free Alabama photo voter ID cards and free non-driver IDs for purposes of voting.
Meet the Alabama woman who is the youngest delegate at the RNC
CLEVELAND, Ohio — One Alabama woman is making history at the Republican National Convention this week as the youngest delegate in attendance. Kathleen Moore, 18, is a student at Auburn University and the daughter of State Rep. Barry Moore (R-Enterprise).
Despite her young age, Kathleen wanted to make a difference in this historic election.
“I really wanted to become a delegate because of my age,” she told Yellowhammer in an interview. “I think it set me apart and I think it shows the older generation that writes my generation off that we’re not useless and we do have a voice.”
The Auburn student turned 18 last August and decided to run to be a Trump delegate for Lee County. After having been involved with the Trump campaign on campus for about a year, she was elected to represent him in the convention without opposition.
So far at the convention, she has enjoyed “having a say in something that’s bigger than me.” She has participated in votes, roll calls, and floor action. She has even seen some of her biggest conservative heroes.
Among those she was excited to see speak were former New York Mayor Rudy Guilliani and Duck Dynasty star Willie Robertson. She said that Guilliani “rocked the house” and that she “fangirled” when she saw that big beard of Robertson walk onto the stage.
As for the mood of the convention, Moore says that she feels that overall the delegates seem united. In her opinion the appearance of disunity is a creation of the media to make Republicans look weak and vulnerable. “I hate that,” she said. “I don’t feel divided, I feel like we’re together [behind Trump].”
Not only has the 18 year-old felt the delegates are united, but she has also expressed the overwhelming feeling of safety. “Cleveland has done an excellent job. they have gone above and beyond everyone’s expectations,” she said. Going in, Moore indicated that she and her father were both very nervous about their safety given the current tone in the country. But once they arrived, she made clear that the security is top notch.
As a rising sophomore, Kathleen is motivated by her desire to “encourage people my age to stand up for what they believe in.” But this is not just a one time thing; she definitely sees a future in convention politics.
“I would absolutely do it again. 100 percent.”
The GOP convention continues tonight and will last until Thursday, when nominee Donald J. Trump will give his acceptance speech.
‘Make America Safe Again’ — Sessions to deliver highly anticipated RNC speech on national security
CLEVELAND, Ohio — The Republican National Convention is in full swing and delegates are set to nominate Donald J. Trump for President later this week. But before the big reveal and balloon drop, the convention stage will serve as a pedestal displaying the GOP’s political talent and leadership from across the country. Dozens of high profile leaders will take the stage to advocate for Trump and the GOP, including celebrities, entertainers and members of Trump’s family. But on Monday night, the world will stop to hear from Alabama’s own Jeff Sessions, who became the first U.S. senator to endorse the billionaire real estate mogul back in February.
Sessions will headline Monday’s festivities which are themed, “Make America Safe Again.” Each night of the convention will feature a different focus, but Sessions taking the lead on the law and order portion of the program comes as no surprise.
Here’s how the RNC explained Monday’s “Make America Safe Again” theme:
From attacks on our own soil and overseas to the tragedy in Benghazi, the policies of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton have left us vulnerable. Our immigration system is broken, leaving our country open to security threats and the negative consequences of illegal immigration. A Donald Trump administration will listen to and learn from our nation’s heroes who have put themselves in harm’s way and pursue a national security strategy and foreign policy that will strengthen our military and make America safe again.
Sessions has been instrumental in Trump’s campaign for months. After his endorsement of the New York Billionaire, Alabama’s junior senator was named the head of Trump’s national security advisory committee.
Sessions has long been one of the most outspoken members of Congress on several key national security issues, chiefly immigration. Most recently, Sessions pushed legislation to punish sanctuary cities, which harbor illegal immigrants against federal law.
The Senate will soon take a vote on “Kate’s Law” which would guarantee a five-year prison sentence for illegal immigrants who cross back into the U.S. after being deported. If passed, the law would crack down on sanctuary cities like San Francisco that harbor such individuals.
Sessions and others in Alabama’s congressional delegation have fought the Obama Administration’s effort to resettle refugees and immigrants in the Yellowhammer State. A Sessions-led Senate committee recently estimated Mrs. Clinton’s refugee resettlement plan would cost upwards of $400 billion.
RELATED: Sessions-led committee estimates Hillary’s refugee plan would cost a jaw-dropping $400B
In light of the current climate for law enforcement, Sessions has also introduced more legislation to protect those who protect everyday Americans. Senator Sessions has partnered with Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) to introduce the Thin Blue Line Act, which would enforce harsher penalties on individuals targeting police officers and first responders. Sessions worked closely with federal, state and local law enforcement officials for years as Alabama Attorney General and before that as a U.S. Attorney.
Sessions is likely to talk about all of these topics and more in his national security-related speech this evening.
Sessions will be joined with some other heavy-hitters on Monday, including former Texas Governor Rick Perry, Duck Dynasty star Willie Robertson, former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, Ivanka Trump, and Marcus Luttrell.
Everything Alabamians should know about the upcoming Republican Nation Convention
This year’s Republican National Convention is set to be the most dramatic in decades. With each passing delegate contest, it seems more and more likely that neither Donald Trump nor Ted Cruz will hit the majority threshold of 1,237 delegates. With the possibly of an open or “contested” convention rising, many people are looking closely at party rules for the first time.
Each state party sets its own rules and the national committee has an overall set of rules that govern the nominations process from a big-picture perspective. In this sense, think of the GOP as operating under a system of federalism – like our actual government is supposed to.
With this very peculiar set of circumstances in 2016, it is easy to get lost in the technicalities of the situation. In fact, it can be downright confusing. Here are the essentials to understanding how Alabama’s rules fit in with the RNC’s at the upcoming historic gathering.
The National Rules Commmittee
Every time the party hosts a national nominating convention, the national convention rules committee must create a brand new set of rules. Each state or territory sends one man and one woman to the site of the convention – Cleveland, OH – a week before it is called to order. There, the representatives will write the rules for the 2016 event.
State Rep. Ed Henry (R-Hartselle) and Laura Payne were elected earlier in the month to represent the Yellowhammer state on the committee. Both individuals are pledged delegates for Donald Trump. Generally speaking, most of the rules of order adopted are the same every four years, but there are almost always “tweaks” made to address the issues of the previous cycle. That leads us to the national rules themselves.
The National Rules
The rules that go into effect this cycle will play a crucial role because they can be swayed favorably or unfavorably in the direction of one candidate or another. The biggest debate – at the national level – will be over Rule 40 and whether or not it should continue to exist.
The controversial Rule 40, which governs the presidential nominating process, has been subject to persistent scrutiny and suggestions that it may be rewritten.
Subsection ‘b’ of the rule states that a nominee must demonstrate the support of a majority of delegates from eight or more states. Before the 2012 convention, only five states delegates’ support was required. The rule was put in place by Mitt Romney’s delegates, which many GOP sources have described as an attempt to squash Texas Rep. Ron Paul’s supporters.
Both Trump and Cruz have campaigned with the goal of exceeding the eight-state threshold, and altering the rule to allow additional competitors to gain a shot at the nomination would spark outrage from Cruz and Trump supporters.
Alabama’s Rules about its Delegates
You may have heard talk about the degree to which the delegates are “bound” to their particular candidate. The term “binding delegate” means that a delegate is required to vote for a specific candidate — at least for a certain amount of time. A contested convention without the ability to unbind delegates makes no sense; if no candidate came in with a majority and no delegates are allowed to change their support, the convention would never nominate anyone.
The question then becomes how and when can candidates break their binding ties to their original candidate. This is where state rules come into play.
Under Alabama Republican Party (ALGOP) rules, delegates can be released in one of two ways:
1. The presidential candidate writes a certified letter to ALGOP releasing said delegate(s); OR
2. Two-thirds of the Alabama delegation votes for release.
It is important to note that the delegates are not released after a certain number of ballots. They can only be released if one of the above happens.
For ALGOP’s full statement clarifying its rules, you can visit their website here.
Alabama’s Current Delegate Breakdown
It is also important to realize that Rubio’s delegate will not be reallocated simply because he has suspended his campaign. Unless one of the above happens, that delegate is still bound to Rubio.
Senator Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), who is backing Trump, was elected to lead Alabama’s delegation to the convention. That, combined with Alabama’s delegate rules, will likely make the Yellowhammer State a lock for Trump, even if the billionaire businessman falls short of the nomination on the first ballot.
Regardless, of what happens this summer in Cleveland, Alabama’s delegation will play an important role. For more on how it can help Trump specifically, take a look at the article linked below.
Byrne warns Republican Party bosses not to rig nominating process to stop Trump
MOBILE, Ala. — On the heels of multiple reports that top Republican Party leaders and donors have been meeting to discuss last-ditch efforts to stop Donald J. Trump from securing the GOP’s presidential nomination, Congressman Bradley Byrne (R-AL1) warned that such machinations could be disastrous for the party.
“I am very troubled by reports that some in the Republican Party are exploring ways to subvert the presidential nominating process,” said Byrne. “Our party’s nominee should be selected by the American people, not by party bosses.”
Byrne, who has not endorsed a presidential candidate, said party leaders would do better to listen to voters, rather than scheming for ways to deny them a voice in the process.
“I have great confidence in the American people, and we should be listening to their voices and their calls for a better, stronger country,” he said. “Unity is very important as we head into a critical election in November, and I look forward to supporting the Republican nominee. I can assure you of this: any of our Republican presidential candidates would be a better leader than Hillary Clinton, who can’t be trusted, or self-declared socialist Bernie Sanders.”
Republican presidential candidates seem to share Byrne’s concern.
“That would be an absolute disaster and we need to respect the will of the voters,” Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tx.) said during Thursday’s debate when asked about the possibility of a brokered convention.
Several media outlets have reported on semi-secretive GOP leadership meetings that have taken place in recent weeks.
The Washington Post reported that one of the gatherings took place during a Republican Governors Association meeting in Utah. A slide show was reportedly shown during the event that showed how Trump could be held below the 1,237 delegate threshold needed to win the nomination.
“It’s one thing if [Trump] goes to the convention and he’s got 48 percent, 49 percent of the delegates,” Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam said in response to the presentation. “Then it’s a hard thing to see if there’s a convention floor battle. But if he goes to the convention and he’s got 35 or 40 percent, that’s a whole different thing.”
A second meeting reportedly took place at an American Enterprise Institute meeting in Georgia that was attended by Apple CEO Tim Cook, Tesla Motors and SpaceX founder Elon Musk, Google founder Larry Page, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker Paul Ryan, among others.
Although the meeting was off the record, Bill Kristol of the Weekly Standard was in attendance and summed up the conversations.
“The key task now, to once again paraphrase Karl Marx, is less to understand Trump than to stop him,” said Kristol. “In general, there’s a little too much hand-wringing, brow-furrowing, and fatalism out there and not quite enough resolving to save the party from nominating or the country electing someone who simply shouldn’t be president.”
Whether Trump can be stopped from winning the nomination outright will likely be determined on March 15th when voters go to the polls in important winner-take-all states like Florida and Ohio.
Young Republican National Convention set to hit Mobile
Today, the 2013 Young Republican National Convention will convene in Mobile for GOP-centric speakers, events, and meetings that will last through Sunday.
The convention will feature keynote speakers Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Mobile, and Gov. Robert Bentley, as well as luncheon events with U.S. Reps Martha Roby, R-Montgomery, and Kevin Yoder, R-Kan.
“I am grateful for this invitation and thrilled that this event will be hosted in Mobile,” Sessions said in a statement. “As a former Young Republican myself, I look forward to discussing with these young men and women of conviction what our party must do to bring more young people into the movement – especially pushing for the kind of economic reforms necessary to create opportunity for all young Americans.”
Young Republican National Federation chairwoman Lisa Stickan echoed Sessions’ sentiment. In an interview Tuesday afternoon, she touted Mobile as the host site and its local GOP apparatus.
“Our organization is excited to come to Alabama for our biennial convention,” Stickan told Yellowhammer. “The Alabama Young Republicans are a strong federation and I know they will be great hosts for all the Young Republicans around the country. We have great southern representation in the YRNF, so it’s always nice to be hosted by one of our groups there. Additionally, when I came for the preconvention visit, everyone in the party there, including your senior party, your county party, the in-state party — the dignitaries sort of speak, really rolled out the red carpet for us. They’re very excited to have us there and I think that really sends a good message in terms of us trying to court younger voters and just the excitement that a convention can bring.”
Stickan explained that beyond just electing new members, which happens on the last day of the event, there are a number of projects and working meetings for various events ranging from outreach to international organizing.
Stickan assumed the chairperson duties in 2010 after her predecessor Audra Shay resigned. That gave Stickan the unique opportunity to head the organization during both a midterm election in 2010 and a presidential election in 2012. She explained how this event can be a jumping-off point for upcoming national elections.
“Obviously the midterm election is to be very significant for us,” she said. “I think there is a swing of momentum there to our side, sort of speak just in terms of the IRS misconduct, in terms of Obamacare — in terms of all these recent developments. Additionally, the economy, particularly Young Republicans and other young Americans are finding themselves struggling to find employment. And given that need to find economic, I think we have a good message for 2014 and I think we’re going to have some exciting gubernatorial, senatorial and congressional races.”
Stickan said part of that effort was getting boots on the ground in certain areas, not on behalf of a candidate, but on behalf of the party.
Event chair and Grand Bay native Nikki Carey-Nicholson, told Yellowhammer of the importance of the convention, including showcasing the local area.
“YRNC is the gathering of present and future leaders of the Republican Party ages 18-40 from all over the country and some internationally,” Carey-Nicholson said. “We elect our new administration during this convention, have the opportunity to meet elected officials, and hang out with fellow YRs. YRNC is also a chance for us to showcase the beauty, culture, and history of the Alabama Gulf Coast.”