Conservative firebrand Ann Coulter appeared on a Los Angeles radio program and ridiculed the president’s recent inspection of border wall prototypes, calling the photo-op “a ridiculous waste of time.”
Law of unintended consequences: McConnell’s meddling in Alabama Senate election may have cost Kentucky Toyota-Mazda
Last week’s big announcement that Toyota Motor and Mazda Motor Companies would make north Alabama their choice for a $1.6 billion manufacturing facility that would create 4,000 jobs for the region was indeed a shot in the arm for the region’s economy.
Reportedly, Alabama’s primary competitor was North Carolina, which was at a disadvantage due to geography according to experts that watch economic development projects for that region.
Almost immediately, members of the political commentariat in Alabama speculated one of the reasons for Alabama’s victory came because voters chose not to elect Roy Moore to the U.S. Senate last month.
“I don’t know whether anyone will answer the question, but I’d like to know whether Alabama would have won the Toyota-Mazda plant had Roy Moore won the #ALSen race last month,” tweeted AL(dot)com’s Kyle Whitmire, who is waging a “war on dumb.” “Word in the grapevine a month ago was no.”
I don’t know whether anyone will answer the question, but I’d like to know whether Alabama would have won the Toyota-Mazda plant had Roy Moore won the #ALSen race last month. Word in the grapevine a month ago was no.
— Kyle Whitmire (@WarOnDumb) January 10, 2018
That wasn’t just a theory brandished by left-wingers wanting an “I told you so” moment. Wednesday on his Birmingham Talk 99.5 radio show, the reliably conservative Leland Whaley said outright Moore’s defeat was a factor.
“The mistake we made was isolating that race and the whole country being fixated on us with that kind of candidacy,” Whaley explained. “And so, in no uncertain terms, and they didn’t say that out loud because they didn’t want to spook the field, they couldn’t tell anybody — I mean, they just all looked at their shoes when confronted with the possibility of him representing our state. But anybody that’s involved in that project will privately tell you that would have killed it. It was so marginal that anything takes this off the table and killed it.”
“And not only that – there were two other deals that suddenly were announced once we got past that election,” he added. “There was the Delta order for the Airbus planes – a hundred Airbus planes. A bunch of stuff started happening right about that time. I don’t think that’s coincidental. I think they were holding back because these corporations are very sensitive to image. They’re very politically correct. They don’t want to be associated with any of that nonsense. In that delicate world, which I don’t live in, but I’m connected to – I can see the rationale.”
There were all types of Monday morning quarterbacking that occurred on December 13, 2017, the day after Doug Jones’ election win. Many believe Moore was already at a disadvantage because of the war waged upon him by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s Senate Leadership Fund in his runoff race against Luther Strange.
Moore limped into last month’s election without much money and would later, as we all know, be plagued by sexual harassment allegations. Yet, he still only lost by 1.7 percent, roughly 21,000 votes.
Let’s suppose Moore had not had to face millions of dollars in attacks from the McConnell camp with everything being the same. Let’s also assume it was still Moore versus Strange in the GOP primary runoff. And let’s also say The Washington Post report about Leigh Corfman’s allegations was still published a month out of the December special election as it was.
Moore would have likely gone into Election Day without a fractured Alabama Republican Party. His contest against Doug Jones might not have been quite as prominent of a story, which might have meant lower turnout.
And without McConnell’s meddling, Roy Moore might have been elected U.S. Senator.
If indeed Alabama’s prospects were diminished with a Moore victory, the chances that Lexington, Ky. would have been the site of this week’s Toyota-Mazda announcement and not Montgomery, Ala. significantly increase.
Thanks for your help, Mitch McConnell. Every little bit counts.
Jeff Poor is a graduate of Auburn University and works as the editor of Breitbart TV. Follow Jeff on Twitter @jeff_poor.
Report: Group seeks Alabama Republican Party censure of Richard Shelby
According to a story from Politico’s Alex Isenstadt, a group is seeking a censure resolution from the Alabama Republican Party’s executive committee against Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Tuscaloosa) for declining to support Roy Moore in last month’s special election against Doug Jones.
Jones defeated Moore by a 1.7 percent margin, nearly 23,000 votes, to become Alabama’s junior U.S. Senator.
NEWS: Roy Moore allies pushing censure + robocall campaign targeting SHELBY. Looking to retaliate https://t.co/FJehf4hkL1
— Alex Isenstadt (@politicoalex) January 13, 2018
“This week, three Moore supporters submitted a resolution to the Alabama Republican Party executive committee calling for Shelby to be censured,” Isenstadt wrote. “It argues that Shelby ‘publicly encouraged Republicans and all voters to write in a candidate instead of voting for the Republican Candidate Judge Roy Moore,’ and that his ‘public speech was then used by the Democrat Candidate in robocalls to sway voters to not vote for Judge Roy Moore.'”
According to Isenstadt, the effort is being financed by Dallas investor Christopher Ekstrom. Isenstadt describes Ekstrom as “a prolific GOP donor who has contributed nearly $300,000 to conservative and anti-establishment causes since 2012, according to federal records.”
Shelby’s decision to publicize his decision not to vote for Moore last month was used by Jones’ campaign in online, radio and TV ads against Moore.
According to the bylaws set by ALGOP’s executive, the rule governing support of candidates is as follows:
“Denying Ballot Access: This Committee reserves the right to deny ballot access to a candidate for public office if in a prior election that person was a Republican office holder and either publicly participated in the primary election of another political party or publicly supported a nominee of another political party. The provisions of this Rule shall apply for a period of six years after such person so participated. (This rule does not include all of the reasons for denying ballot access.)”
Shortly before the election, ALGOP party chairwoman Terry Lathan described Shelby as “a very good and supportive friend to the Alabama Republican Party,” adding that he was “a staunch conservative on issues.”
Jeff Poor is a graduate of Auburn University and works as the editor of Breitbart TV. Follow Jeff on Twitter @jeff_poor.
How Paul Finebaum paved the road for Doug Jones to the U.S. Senate
Saturday morning, the Montgomery Advertiser’s Brian Lyman made a tenuous argument that current U.S. Rep. Bradley Byrne (R-Fairhope) could be blamed for the election of Doug Jones to the U.S. Senate earlier this month.
According to a thread initiated by Politico’s Daniel Strauss, the indefatigable Lyman postulates Byrne’s lackluster effort in the 2010 Alabama gubernatorial race led to the election of Robert Bentley.
In an interview with the Decatur Daily, Bentley blamed current Gov. Kay Ivey in part for Jones’ upset election win over Roy Moore.
“Changing the date of the election was the biggest factor in Doug Jones getting elected,” Bentley said to the Daily’s Mary Sell.
Strauss countered Bentley’s claim by saying it was actually Bentley himself that made the Jones’ victory possible.
There’s an argument that Bentley, not Ivey, was the first domino to fall in the series that ended with Doug Jones getting elected. https://t.co/9fUfZ0rKfr
— Daniel (@DanielStrauss4) December 29, 2017
Lyman followed up by offering an Alabama politics-style version of six degrees of Kevin Bacon and tied what he called “a generally lackluster campaign” from Byrne as why Bentley ascended to the governorship and was able to set all of this in motion.
Best argument I’ve seen on this front: That then-gubernatorial front runner Bradley Byrne’s decision in 2009 to attack the Alabama Education Association was the 1st link in the chain (because it contributed mightily to Bentley’s unexpected victory). #ALSEN #alpolitics https://t.co/LxaSOZsCqd
— Brian Lyman (@lyman_brian) December 30, 2017
Short version: The AEA was the backbone of the state Democratic Party and a bete noire for the GOP. When Byrne went after them, they retaliated with spots (funded through a shadow group) that called him a trial lawyer & questioned whether he believed the inerrancy of the Bible.
— Brian Lyman (@lyman_brian) December 30, 2017
That, combined with a generally lackluster campaign from Byrne; blistering attacks between him and Tim James and an uncomplicated message of job creation from Bentley (during the Great Recession) got Bentley into the GOP runoff and then the party nomination.
— Brian Lyman (@lyman_brian) December 30, 2017
However, there was one factor that Lyman completely ignored in his synopsis of the forthcoming blockbuster movie “How we got here with Doug Jones in 2017.”
In the 2014 book “My Conference Can Beat Your Conference: Why the SEC Still Rules College Football,” sports talker and SEC Network personality Paul Finebaum credited himself for Bentley’s successful 2010 bid for governor.
Finebaum recalled that having Bentley on his radio show as a guest during the 2010 election cycle to discuss how he was once the “personal dermatologist” to legendary former University of Alabama head football coach Paul “Bear” Bryant.
At the time, Finebaum’s show was syndicated throughout the Southeast, but it had more of an Alabama focus and was still broadcasted out of Birmingham, as opposed to Charlotte, N.C. where it is now.
Finebaum, in his book, claimed that the Alabama football coach was more influential in the state than the governor. The radio host contended that Bentley’s appearance on his show was what propelled Bentley to a win in that election.
Finebaum wrote about Bentley, “When people ask him about me, he says, ‘That’s the man who got me elected.'”
If Finebaum (as he claimed) was indeed the reason Bentley was elected, and Lyman has an argument with his chaos theory of what led to Jones’ win, then couldn’t it be said Finebaum was responsible for now Sen.-elect Doug Jones?
Jeff Poor is a graduate of Auburn University and works as the editor of Breitbart TV. Follow Jeff on Twitter @jeff_poor.
$$$: Roy Moore can spend his leftover campaign cash in a variety of ways
Failed Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore may have solicited funds for a recount that never happened, but federal election law gives him wide latitude in deciding how to spend it.
Paul S. Ryan, vice president for policy and litigation at Common Cause, said Moore could refund that money to the people who gave it.
“If I were a donor to Mr. Moore, I think I’d want my money back,” he said.
But nothing in the law requires Moore to do so. Those funds, along with any other money left over from the Senate campaign, can be used for a wide variety of purposes.
“Some candidates out of good faith give it back,” said Brad Smith, a professor at Capital University Law School in Ohio who previously served on the Federal Election Commission. “But as a general matter, when you give to a candidate, you are giving for him to spend. … There are some who have done that (returned money) from time to time. I would not say that’s common.”
Campaign finance law experts said about the only bright-line restriction is that Moore cannot convert the money for his personal use.
“That, you definitely cannot do,” said Hans von Spakovsky, a Heritage Foundation senior legal fellow who previously served on the Federal Election Commission. “That would get you in a lot of trouble.”
It is unclear how much money Moore has, and a spokeswoman for the former state Supreme Court chief justice did not return a phone call seeking comment. According to Moore’s last campaign finance report on Nov. 22, he had $636,046 cash on hand in his race against Democrat Doug Jones in the special election to fill the seat once held by Attorney General Jeff Sessions. A solicitation email sent by the campaign a few days ago claimed to have raised $71,375 for its “election integrity” effort.
Ryan said losing candidates typically do not end campaigns with much money. But depending on how successful Moore was in generating additional contributions to support a possible recount, his coffers might be healthier than the typical candidate.
Moore has lots of options.
“The list of what he cannot do is much shorter than the list of what he can do,” Ryan said.
The options include keeping the campaign account active for use in a future race. If it is another federal race, according to experts, there are few restrictions. Transfers from a federal campaign account to a state campaign might be limited based on state law. But Alabama lightly regulates campaign spending and has no restrictions on how much money donors can give.
Moore could give the money to a party or leadership political action committee, although given his contentious relationship with GOP leaders, that would seem to be an unlikely choice. He could give to a university or charities. He could contribute money to other candidates, subject to normal limits on campaign contributions.
Or he could convert his campaign fund to a super PAC, which has fewer regulations on how money can be spent. Ryan said that is a popular route for ex-politicians who go into lobbying. The ability to dole out campaign contributions makes a lobbyist all the more effective, he said.
Moore could also do something that seems quaint in modern politics — he could return the money to the people who donated it.
“It doesn’t happen a lot, but it does happen,” Ryan said.
Smith said Moore could donate the funds to a university or a nonprofit organization.
“It’s fairly common to give to a private nonprofit or some entity aligned with the candidate’s views,” he said.
For Moore, that could mean transferring the money to the Foundation for Moral Law, an organization he founded to promote Christian values in the law.
FEC regulations would allow the transfer as long as the donated money is not used to pay salaries of Moore or his wife or benefit them personally in some other way. Ryan offered an example of a prohibited use that would involve a campaign endowing a position at a university and then the school hiring the candidate for that position.
Smith said a circumstance in which Moore contributed leftover campaign funds to his foundation and then took a salary would constitute a legal gray area.
The foundation became an issue in the campaign, dating to the primary. Moore’s opponents accused him of using the foundation to enrich his family.
Ryan said that at the very least, the receiving organization would have to demonstrate a separate stream of revenue that would be sufficient to pay the candidate’s salary. He said it is a question that is best avoided.
“From a public policy standpoint, that would be far from an ideal scenario,” he said.
(What should Roy Moore do with the money? Take this article over to social media and start a conversation with your family and friends.)
Senate majority PAC ‘predominantly funded’ Highway 31 PAC behind Jones promotions in Alabama
The little-known, yet wide-reaching super PAC that spent millions of dollars promoting Democrat Doug Jones in Alabama’s Senate race has been found to be funded heavily by the Democratic Senate Majority PAC.
Highway 31, a group responsible for widespread campaign mailers, phone calls and advertisements for Jones, didn’t have to disclose donors during the campaign despite spending more than $4 million because of how the election’s reporting and payment schedules were structured.
Chris Hayden, spokesman for the Senate Majority PAC, said Tuesday that the group “predominantly funded” the PAC called Highway 31, which sent out advertising and mailings to help defeat Republican Roy Moore and spent about $6 million in Alabama.
Moore’s motion denied, Doug Jones officially certified as Alabama’s Senate winner
Despite multiple attempts from Republican Roy Moore’s campaign to offer objections to the December special election’s results, Alabama Governor Kay Ivey and Secretary of State John Merrill have officially certified Democrat Doug Jones the winner.
Late Wednesday night, Moore filed a lawsuit in an attempt to delay Alabama officials from declaring Jones’ victory, due to irregularities and requested a fraud investigation.
Montgomery Circuit Judge Johnny Hardwick denied the motion Thursday.
Secretary Merrill and representatives from multiple Alabama Republican Party chapters say they found no evidence of fraud.
Jeannie Negrón Faherty, Executive Director of the Jefferson County Republican Party, says “At no time were there any reports of voter fraud, nor did any of our officials witness anything suspicious in nature.”
Roy Moore files complaint to stop Doug Jones certification
Defeated Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore late Wednesday filed a complaint seeking to block the formal certification of Democrat Doug Jones’ victory in this month’s special election.
The state canvasing board is set to make that victory official today.
But Moore filed a complaint in Montgomery County Circuit Court asking a judge to preserve evidence of potential election fraud and to postpone certification pending a “thorough investigation” of possible fraud.
“This is not a Republican or Democrat issue as election integrity should matter to everyone,” Moore said in a statement. “We call on Secretary of State (John) Merrill to delay certification until there is a thorough investigation of what three independent election experts agree took place: election fraud sufficient to overturn the outcome of the election.”
The campaign said in a news release that Moore took a polygraph test that confirms he is telling the truth when he denies sexual misconduct allegations made against him during the final month of the campaign.
“It’s appalling that the Democrat Senate Majority PAC and the Republican Senate Leadership Fund both spent millions to run false and malicious ads against me in this campaign,” he said in a statement.
Moore’s campaign claims that three national election integrity experts concluded that “with a reasonable degree of statistical and mathematical certainty … election fraud occurred.”
The campaign submitted affidavits from the experts citing irregularities in 20 precincts in Jefferson County that would reverse the outcome.
One of the experts, Richard Charnin, who has written four books on election fraud, placed the probability of the election results in these precincts happening naturally at less than 1 in 15 billion.
Charnin is a colorful character who has dabbled in John F. Kennedy assassination conspiracy theories and and written extensively about supposed election fraud. In a book published earlier this year, he argues that President Donald Trump actually won the popular vote, even though official results indicate that Democrat Hillary Clinton won it by about 3 million votes.
“Mainstream media pundits claim that Clinton won the primary and presidential election by three million votes. It’s a myth,” he wrote in the book. “They fail to consider the FACT that the recorded vote is ALWAYS fraudulent.”
The book, “Trump Won The True Vote,” accuses the media of ignoring fraud in both the general election and the Democratic primaries.
“The establishment-dominated media was in the tank for Hillary Clinton in the primary and general elections,” Charnin wrote.
About the Senate race, Charnin wrote in a blog post that it is mathematically improbable that Jones won the election by a little more than 20,000 votes as the returns indicate.
“Did 75% of Clinton and 45% of Trump voters return in 2017?” he wrote. “That’s what was required to match the recorded vote.”
Charnin, who holds three degrees in applied mathematics, wrote that Moore likely won by anywhere from 24,000 votes to 117,000 votes, based on an analysis using the 2016 election as a baseline.
Roy Moore campaign claims ‘election fraud’ in his recent defeat
Late Wednesday evening, the U.S. Senate campaign for former Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore announced it had filed a complaint on behalf of Moore calling on the certification of the December 12 special election to be delayed until a fraud investigation can take place.
According to a press release, the complaint was filed earlier in the day in the Circuit Court of Montgomery and called on Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill to delay the certification.
“The purpose of the complaint is to preserve evidence of potential election fraud and to postpone the certification of Alabama’s Special Election by Secretary of State John Merrill until a thorough investigation of potential election fraud, that improperly altered the outcome of this election, is conducted,” the statement read.
The campaign cites “three national Election Integrity experts” who have concluded fraud took place in the December 12 election.
“The election experts, who submitted affidavits in the complaint, agree that the irregularities in 20 precincts of Jefferson County alone are enough to reverse the outcome of the election,” the release from the campaign said. “Richard Charnin, who holds three degrees in applied mathematics, and who has written four books on election fraud, calculates the probability of the election results in these precincts happening naturally is ‘less than one in 15 billion.'”
Moore, the Republican Party’s nominee in that U.S. Senate special election, was defeated by former Clinton U.S. Attorney Doug Jones by a nearly 23,000-vote margin.
Moore offered the following remarks, which accompanied the campaign’s release:
“It’s appalling that the Democrat Senate Majority PAC and the Republican Senate Leadership Fund both spent millions to run false and malicious ads against me in this campaign.”
“This is not a Republican or Democrat issue as election integrity should matter to everyone,” said Moore. “We call on Secretary of State Merrill to delay certification until there is a thorough investigation of what three independent election experts agree took place: election fraud sufficient to overturn the outcome of the election.”
Polling in Alabama Senate race was not as bad as you think it was; one firm nailed it
About those polls.
On a day when Republican Roy Moore’s faint flicker of hope died — the Alabama secretary of state’s office reported Wednesday that the number of provisional and overseas ballots won’t be nearly enough to overcome his deficit with Democrat Doug Jones in the Senate race — it is worth examining the myriad of polling leading up to last week’s election.
It is fashionable to bash polls when an underdog comes out on top. Despite outliers, however, most polls are not that wrong. The final RealClearPolitics polling average came out to a lead for Moore of 2.2 percentage points. He lost by 1.5 points.
That is a swing of about 3.7 points. In other words, it is roughly one standard deviation. That is not unusual for the inexact science of polling. But it looks jarring when Jones led in only two of the last eight public polls.
So what happened?
According to pollsters, it all comes down to assumptions. If a doctor extracts a blood sample, the liquid in the vial is guaranteed to be representative of the blood in the body. It is much trickier with humans. Pollsters have to figure out whom to count as a likely voter, and that is as much art as science.
“Humans are horrible at predicting their future behavior,” said Brent Buchanan, a Montgomery-based Republican consultant.
Buchanan said his firm, Cygnal, conducted 13 polls on the race for private clients. Although none were made public, he said his final poll showed the race tied — within a tenth of a percentage point — a week before the election, with the model predicting a Jones victory if turnout exceeded 1.25 million.
The reason, Buchanan said, is that his model allows for a certain amount of “float” in the polling sample. That means he does not stick to a preordained view of which voters are going to show up on Election Day. At the same time, he added, he has “guardrails” to prevent truly unlikely voters from being included in the survey.
That offers an advantage over pollsters who stuck to a turnout model that is typical for low-key special elections in off years, Buchanan said. The actual turnout, 1.3 million voters, was more akin to a gubernatorial election.
Buchanan said the high turnout was a function, to a large degree, of massive media coverage and TV ads that drew the interest of “low-propensity voters.” Buchanan said he detected that shift in his polling over time.
“Even a midterm (election) wouldn’t have this kind of attention,” he said.
Jonathan Gray, a Mobile-based Republican consultant, said he does not believe the polling misfired. He said it was an unusual race that featured late allegations that Moore, decades ago, had inappropriate sexual contact with teenagers.
“I think we saw a very volatile race that was all over the place,” he said. “Polling is not good at volatile elections.”
Gray also attributed part of the increased turnout to a first-rate get-out-the-vote effort by Jones that was the result of superior financial resources and an energized liberal base — factors that will be hard for Democrats to duplicate in future elections.
“They nailed it,” he said. “But he had more money than any Democrat in history to run against Roy Moore.”
Both Buchanan and Gray cautioned against reading too much into exit polls. They suggested the media put too much faith in results showing that black voters made up 29 percent of the electorate — a stunning figure that not only topped African-American turnout in 2012 when the first black president was on the ballot but also exceeds the black share of the state’s population.
“It flat-out did not happen,” Gray said, basing his judgment on turnout in key precincts where African-Americans make up close to 100 percent of all voters.
Gray said people should especially be dubious of exit polls in Alabama because the state has such little history with exit polls.
Buchanan said the black share of voters likely was more than the 22 percent that analysts typically would expect for a special election but not anywhere close to 29 percent.
Gray said he is reserving judgment on the election until after the state certifies the results and releases the public voter files. That will allow analysts to pinpoint individual voters to see which ones cast ballots and which ones stayed home.
Those ballots are secret, but Gray said he can extrapolate from the data whether Jones won because Republicans voted for him or skipped the election. For instance, by looking at “perfect Republican primary voters” — who vote in every Republican primary — Gray can determine if there was a measurable drop-off in participation. If there was, that would suggest Jones won because of a turnout differential. If there was not a drop-off, he added, it would indicate that Republicans switched sides.
It is the kind of precision that is hard to capture in an exit poll, Gray said.
The data will help unlock puzzles like the Daphne Civic Center, where Jones edged out Moore by 91 votes but where President Donald Trump took 65.5 percent of the vote in 2016. The story was similar at the Connie Hudson Mobile Regional Senior Community Center, where Jones won 55.6 percent of the vote but where Trump beat Clinton 60 percent to 37 percent.
Shifts like that could be due to a surge in Democratic voters, a decline in Republican voters or GOP defections.
Buchanan said it likely was a combination.
“Both had to occur to allow Doug Jones to win,” he said.
Sorry AL.com, there’s no ‘burning’ progressive movement in Alabama just because we rejected Roy Moore
It’s now been a week since the election of Doug Jones prompted Al.com’s editorial board to breathlessly declare that the “voice of justice” had spoken for a “burning movement” of “black voters, LGBT activists, women and young voters” who represent the future of our state.
Their words crackled with confidence and jubilation because, in their minds, the progressive agenda had finally penetrated the Heart of Dixie.
“Doug Jones’s election is a moment of change, not only in Alabama, but for an America yearning for signs that these values matter in 2017,” the editorial board gushed.
We get it. They were excited.
But now that the euphoria has abated, it’s time for them to get back to reality and face the facts: Alabama was, is and will always be one of the most conservative states in the country.
Look around. Has anything changed since Jones was elected?
Are you seeing more rainbow flags flying in our communities?
Did your neighbor trade-in his F-150 for a Prius?
No. No. And heck no.
Only someone stuck in an echo chamber of liberalism would think Alabama embraced even a shred of the Democratic Party’s agenda simply because a majority of our voters rejected someone who many believe molested a 14-year old girl.
Alabama didn’t elect Doug Jones.
We un-elected the nominee of the Republican Party of Alabama.
Alabama is still an overwhelmingly conservative state, ranked fifth most conservative by Gallup earlier this year. Republican candidates enjoy a 30-point advantage here (at least when they don’t bring a U-Haul’s worth of political baggage, get credibly accused of sexual harassment and molestation, and then fail to seriously campaign).
Alabama is still an overwhelmingly pro-life state, with nearly 60 percent of its citizens saying abortion should be illegal in all or most cases, according to a Pew Forum survey.
Alabama is still overwhelmingly in favor of traditional marriage, ranking dead last in support for same-sex marriage in a poll conducted by the Public Religious Research Institute.
And we’re not just conservative on hot button social issues either. We strongly believe in limited government.
Consider these findings from a poll commissioned two months ago by the well-respected Alabama Policy Institute in Birmingham:
— “64 percent of those surveyed would be more likely to vote for a candidate that campaigned on reducing or rejecting federal dollars in order to limit the federal government’s influence over Alabama.”
— “79 percent of those surveyed support a proposal for the state Legislature to hold a recorded, up-or-down vote before accepting any federal funding with strings attached that would bind Alabama to specific policies crafted in Washington, D.C.”
— “91 percent of those surveyed support a proposal for state government to conduct an annual inventory of all federal funds coming into the state.”
That doesn’t sound like the Nancy Pelosi/Chuck Schumer agenda to me.
“It’s probably no surprise that Alabamians have a deep distrust of the federal government,” said Leigh Hixon, the senior director of policy relations or the Alabama Policy Institute. “However, the degree to which this is true was very striking.”
So, no, Al.com. There’s no progressive movement starting in Alabama.
The only thing that changed last week was the standards of our state’s voters.
We said there was a standard of conduct and competency for our leaders, or at least a limit to the amount of drama we could take in exchange for their service.
Let’s hope our candidates and party leaders got the message.
(Don’t miss another article from Yellowhammer News. Sign up for our daily newsletter here).
Secretary of State John Merrill denies claims of voter fraud and voter suppression in the U.S. Senate election
The election to decide Alabama’s next senator is over and Senator-elect Doug Jones won, but this isn’t stopping the political drama. Some Republicans are claiming the election was stolen, while some Democrats are claiming voter suppression kept them from a larger victory. Secretary of State John Merrill dismissed these allegations on my radio show this morning.
I asked Merrill if the Secretary of State’s office thought this election was conducted fairly. He responded, “You got that right. I think our local election officials did an outstanding job at the local level ensuring that when voters came to the polls that they were allowed to vote and just one time, that their voice was heard as their votes were confirmed and documented.”
Why this matters: Election integrity is important, and Alabama’s Voter ID laws work. The fact that they worked, so well, dispels the notions of both groups claiming malfeasance by the other side.
— Alabama has registered 865,107 new voters since Merrill took office
— Roy Moore voters have taken an overzealous Doug Jones supporter’s statement to Fox 10 in Mobile that he came from out of state to “vote and canvas” for Doug Jones as a sign of voter fraud.
— Merrill’s office is attempting to track down the individual in the video and question him on his comments.
— The Southern Poverty Law Center alleges voter suppression affected black turnout in spite of exit polls that showed a turnout rate greater than that of blacks in 2012, when President Obama was on the ballot.
— Merrill expects to certify the election shortly, as Alabama law requires.
Dale Jackson hosts a daily radio show from 7-11 a.m. on NewsTalk 770 AM/92.5 FM WVNN and a weekly television show, “Guerrilla Politics,” on WAAY-TV, both in North Alabama. Follow him @TheDaleJackson.
Who is this Doug Jones?
During the election now Senator-elect Doug Jones’ supporters couldn’t properly express the candidate’s views on anything. His campaign strategy was basically, “Don’t be Roy Moore.” Now that Jones has seemingly won, he may be taking a turn to the right.
“It doesn’t matter what the issue is. [There’s] always opportunity to find common ground,” Jones said. “I have just resisted trying to put labels on myself.”
Why this matters: Jones knows that in order to be a viable candidate in 2020, he has to be less Elizabeth Warren and more Joe Manchin. Republican turnout on December 12th was significantly down and he still barely won. Jones knows that he cannot win re-election against a non-scandal-plagued Republican in Alabama if he is viewed as a left-wing liberal.
— Jones was on “Fox News Sunday” and spoke about being a “Doug Jones-Democrat”
— While Jones did not take a stance on the current tax bill, he said he supports tax cuts, including those for corporations but he worries about the deficit.
— Jones tried to literally straddle the fence on immigration, saying he opposes the wall because he believes border security can be achieved without it.
— Most shockingly, the newly elected Democrat does not believe the President should resign over previous sexual harassment allegations.
— If this rhetorical shift manifests itself in Jones’ voting record he may crush the spirits of many Alabama Democrats who voted for a candidate with no real record on the issues.
Christian voters faced 4 options in Senate race … only 1 is inexcusable, says Evangelical pastor
Listen to the 10 min audio
Read the transcript:
TOM LAMPRECHT: Harry, I’m sure you and your fellow citizens of Alabama are somewhat pleased that Alabama is no longer in the headlines of the national news night after night. Of course, I’m referring to the Doug Jones/Roy Moore senatorial race.
It’s interesting to see the response to that race. Chuck Schumer said that this was a rejection of Donald Trump. The Washington Post declared that Trump-ism has bottomed out in the Moore candidacy. The New York Times counted it among examples of stark repudiations of the first-term president.
As we look at the post-mortem of this senatorial race, no doubt, right within Briarwood Church, you have people that are highly disappointed with the outcome of the race and you have other people who think this is a good thing.
What should our response be to one another as there’s probably a diversity of opinions of who to vote for and how it turned out?
WHY I DON’T ENDORSE
DR. REEDER: I do not support candidates or parties and I do not oppose candidates or parties. I do address platforms, I do address policy, I do address positions. I don’t think it’s fair to my congregation for me to take a public position on a party or a candidate because that automatically transfers to them, whether they vote that direction or not.
Jesus said, “You are to teach all that I have given to you.” That means that a Christian is to think through how to function as a citizen of the state.
I don’t want Christians to get lazy and say, “Well, who’s the pastor voting for? That’s who I’ll vote for.” I want them to develop a Christian world and life view to own their process and own their vote before the Lord. But then, now, how can I cast my vote in a way that honors the Lord? And then you get to a vote like this and, Tom, it’s tough.
CHRISTIAN VOTERS SHOULD CONSIDER 5 THINGS
I think it was going to be a close election – everybody predicted that because of the Moore candidacy, in general, and then came all of these allegations. And, when that happens, the believer has got to do two things at a moment like that.
Tom, you will remember, back in the presidential election, you and I did a couple of programs on what is the paradigm that a Christian prayerfully goes through and we actually did a program on “the next right thing” after these allegations came out. Therefore, we’ve done programs on this and tried to lay out the Biblical principals to prayerfully come to a voting decision: character first, No. 2, content of the positions of the candidate, No. 3 competency, No. 4, conviction, and No. 5. community witness.
We’ve worked our way through that and we revisited that when the allegations came out. When the allegations came out, a Christian who takes character as No. 1 has got to consider these things. Are they credible and are they true? To find out if they’re true, you go through a process – we call it “the court” and people are innocent until proven guilty. But, now, you’ve got a situation where you’ve only got a couple of weeks and you can’t determine if they’re going to be true or not, so are they credible?
And then, when a Gloria Allred shows up, the allegations then become less than credible. And then, when one of the individuals says, “Well, I forged this,” then they become less credible. But then you have other individuals that speak so all of those things are impinging upon people as they work their way through it.
EVANGELICALS HAD 4 OPTIONS
I believe evangelicals came to four possibilities, four options.
Option No. 1: “Do I vote in order to express my support of the allegations and the fact that I think that renders a candidate inappropriate for the office? I’m going to vote for Doug Jones.”
When people came to me with that, I said, “Forget Doug Jones as a person. Let me tell you his platform.” Can an evangelical vote for somebody who actually supports the killing of the unborn all the way up to birth – no restrictions – supports Planned Parenthood and supports the fabrication of same-sex marriage? Is that really an option for a believer?
Anybody that takes a whole class of human beings and puts them in jeopardy by public policy – including tax-payer funding for abortions – to me, that platform is no option whatsoever.
Option No. 2 is: “I’m not sure about the allegations. If I elect him and they do an ethics probe, then we’ll find out if they’re true or not. If they’re true and they don’t seat him, then the governor can appoint someone. Because of the platform of the Republican Party, I am going to go ahead and vote for Roy Moore. I’m just going to do it because the issues of a Supreme Court justice appointment, a correct vote on Planned Parenthood, which is now being investigated, all of that’s just too important. I do not want a senator from Alabama who is indistinguishable from a senator from Massachusetts who is fully committed to the secular progressive agenda embraced by the state – not all of the citizens, but the state of Massachusetts.” I don’t accuse them of being insensitive to the allegations.
The No. 3 option is: “I’m not going to vote,” and that’s a tough one for evangelicals. Evangelicals highly value the sacrifice that men and women have made to give us the right to vote and that is a very difficult decision.
And then the No. 4 decision was a write-in candidate and, as you know, there are 20,000 people that made that decision, which would have taken the election the other direction. Basically, what they were saying was this: “I will not vote for Doug Jones and his platform and I cannot, at this point in time, vote for Roy Moore, but I am going to vote. I am not going to sit it out because, if you sit it out, how can you critique what takes place later because you didn’t vote, period. I am going to vote so I’m just going to write in a candidate.”
THE ONLY INEXCUSABLE OPTION
Here’s what I’m telling my brothers and sisters, evangelicals. First of all, I thank the Lord for you. I have grown to love Alabama so much. I love my home state, North Carolina, but I have grown to love this state and the people in it and I realize the angst that they went through.
And I will say this: If you voted for the platform represented by the Democratic candidate, I want to come and tell me how, as a believer, you can vote for someone who, intentionally, is going to legislatively and with your tax money, kill a class of people. To me, that is Hitler-ian. I do not think that that is a choice for a believer.
But the other three choices: “I’m sitting it out,” I don’t agree with that, but I understand how you got to that. “I’m going to do a write-in candidate,” that could be criticized by political science, but I understand why you say, “I cannot vote for this one and I will not vote for the other one.”
Then those who said, “I’m going to go ahead and vote and let this ethics investigation find out if these allegations are not only credible, but are actually true. And, if that’s true, then we’ll be able to send somebody else to the Senate seat,” I understand how they could arrive at that.
But, now that the results are in, how should believers respond to it? Tom, I want to talk about how believers must respond on the Wednesday program, but I also want to say this, Tom: I believe, as believers, you’ve got to give the judgment of charity to other believers in this process. Please understand that, for committed, engaged, evangelical believers who are serious about what they believe, they did not have choices that they could go and join a parade.
This was a tough process so I understand all of those difficulties. Now, I am praying for how we respond to it and how we respond to each other. Now, where can we go from here?
Tom, and I also want you to know this and I want my brothers and sisters to follow along with me: I am now praying for Roy Moore that, if these allegations are not true, he will be able to take a course to get the honor of his name back and, if they are true, then the victims will be properly cared for and have the issue of justice and come to a point where they can forgive and rise above those things.
I am praying for them, I’m praying for Roy Moore, and I am also praying for our elected senator, Doug Jones, that the Lord will thwart the platform he ran on and I will pray that the Lord will work in his life, even as He has worked in the life of many who have been elected who have stood against a Biblical world and life view but, in the providence of God, He uses them to advance His kingdom.
Dr. Harry L. Reeder III is the Senior Pastor of Briarwood Presbyterian Church in Birmingham.
This podcast was transcribed by Jessica Havin. Jessica is editorial assistant for Yellowhammer News. Jessica has transcribed some of the top podcasts in the country and her work has been featured in a New York Times Bestseller
Who really embarrasses Alabama: Roy Moore’s surrogate or smooth talking Doug Jones?
By now many Alabamians have watched the campaign clip that had the rest of the country laughing at us for days: former Shelby County commissioner Ted Crockett’s interview last week with CNN’s Jake Tapper.
Speaking on Moore’s behalf, Crockett said the judge “probably” believes homosexuality should be illegal and that Americans who aren’t Christian cannot serve in Congress because “you have to swear on a Bible to be an elected official in the United States of America.”
In case you missed it, watch it here:
You probably cringed.
You may have laughed.
And you certainly said, “THIS is why people think Alabama is backward.”
I did, too.
But while watching Crockett’s clip again over the weekend I had another thought: Sure, this guy has a couple of things wrong but he isn’t what’s wrong with our country.
He’s not the problem.
He’s not what we’re fighting against.
He’s not working to uproot our Founding and fundamentally change our culture.
You know who is?
Senator-elect Doug Jones.
Think about it, who’s really more of an embarrassment to Alabama?
— A) The guy who doesn’t know that someone doesn’t actually have to swear on a Bible to hold public office, or
— B) The guy who doesn’t understand it’s wrong to shoot poison into the heart of a seven-month-old unborn child, rip its little arms and legs from its body, and then toss its bloody and broken corpse into the garbage?
In case you missed it, Alabama’s next Senator appeared on MSNBC a few weeks ago and was asked whether he’d support banning abortion after 20-weeks, the time at which an unborn child is known to feel the pain of the brutal procedure (and yes, a woman can have an abortion at any time during her pregnancy, not just in the first trimester as most people mistakenly believe).
“You wouldn’t be in favor of legislation that said ban abortion after 20 weeks, or something like that?” asked Chuck Todd, the show’s host.
“No, I’m not in favor of anything that is going to infringe on a woman’s right and her freedom to choose,” Jones said. “That’s just the position that I’ve had for many years, it’s the position I continue to have.”
Here’s the clip:
Ted Crockett isn’t the best spokesman, and he may be confused and uninformed about some things, but Doug Jones is the real threat to our culture.
Jones may be polished.
Jones may appear affable and smooth.
But make no mistake, his ideas – and that’s what it’s all about, ideas – are a deep and dark embarrassment to the State of Alabama.
Editor’s note: Updated the 15th graph. The previous version read, “The guy who doesn’t understand that a Jewish member of Congress doesn’t have to swear on a King James Bible.” The writer attempted to show that the dozens of congressman we have who are Jewish didn’t have to swear on a Bible, and neither to Muslims, but it only further confused readers.”
GOP needn’t despair about Alabama
Republicans should not be disheartened by Roy Moore’s loss in Alabama, because the election had little to do with Doug Jones — and probably even less with Donald Trump or the Republican agenda.
Don’t get me wrong. It’s quite troubling that the GOP’s thin Senate majority just became anorexic, but this election by itself is not a predictor of a Democratic rout in 2018. Republicans could sustain substantial losses, to be sure, but the Alabama election doesn’t make that foreseeable.
Roy Moore was a uniquely problematic candidate with more baggage than many Republicans believed they could excuse. Though it is remarkable that a Republican candidate lost in crimson-red Alabama, it is also noteworthy that even with his problems, he came close to winning.
The vast majority of Alabama Republicans did not want to sit home or to vote for Jones, because they understand the magnitude of the stakes before us. Yet enough of them did. Apparently, the fact that he would have doubtlessly voted as a conservative at a time when every single Republican vote is critical wasn’t enough to overcome the sexual allegations and other concerns about Moore for these voters.
Also, America’s political situation is particularly fluid, and there are too many variables and important events yet to play out for us to reliably forecast the 2018 election results. One savvy politician told me this week that he could see Republicans losing the majority in both houses in 2018 — but he also wouldn’t be surprised if they were to actually gain seats if the economy remains strong and Trump’s agenda continues apace.
Democrats have more Senate seats to defend in 2018 (26) than Republicans (eight), 10 of which are in states Trump carried in 2016 — five by double digits. Even CNN concedes that the electoral map “still clearly favors Republicans.” But like other liberals, they are counting on Trump’s supposed unpopularity and soaring passion in the Democratic base to offset any GOP advantages.
Moreover, prudent analysis has to factor in the adage that people vote with their pocketbooks — even young people, the demographic reputed to be least enamored with President Trump. A Bank of America/USA Today Better Money Habits survey conducted before the 2016 election showed that 65 percent of voters ages 18 to 26 would base their votes more on economic policies than on social issues.
Economic indicators are decidedly positive now, and notwithstanding Barack Obama’s delusional post-presidential assertion that he deserves the credit for it, it’s hard to dispute that Trump deserves the lion’s share of credit.
The economy is humming well above 3 percent — a threshold the Obama malaise architects had already written off as no longer attainable. Unemployment is way down, and the stock market is surging significantly above impressive Obama-era levels.
This is real growth, as opposed to the fake growth Obama defeatists were touting when the economy was stagnating at 1 percent. And it can be traced to Trump’s actions and the attitude he carried into office, just as Obama’s stagnation can be traced to his business-hostile bearing.
Trump is bullish on America, the free market and American business. Entrepreneurs have responded accordingly, as have consumers. (Look at Christmas season sales already this year.)
Trump has also been aggressive in rolling back stifling bureaucratic regulations across the board, and no one should underestimate the impact of his decision to back out of the Paris climate accord — or his support of the coal and natural gas industries.
Trump also tried, albeit unsuccessfully, to substantially revise, if not wholly repeal, Obamacare, and he is determined to try again. He and congressional Republicans have done a better job so far with the tax reform bill. Though it is imperfect and not the bill I would craft if I were king, it would meaningfully improve the existing law and is very close to being passed.
If it passes, I believe we’ll see even more growth and far more revenues than the experts — the same ones who predicted that our days of 3 percent growth were over — are forecasting.
Yes, things could so south, especially if Trump and Congress are unable to move the tax bill and other major items of legislation before the 2018 elections, but I’m feeling upbeat.
My main concern is chaos within the Republican Party. The angst toward Trump among many Republicans is palpable, and unfortunately, a disproportionate number of these opponents are influential in the media.
I understand the naysayers’ disapproval of Trump’s style and various other complaints. But I don’t understand why they won’t acknowledge the positive developments that are occurring during his presidency — even if they have too much pride to give him credit for them. I get (and sometimes share) their distaste for his tweets, but it’s baffling that they won’t concede that on policy, at least, he has been far different from — and almost entirely better than — what they gloomily warned he would be.
He’s not governing like a so-called populist nationalist, and he certainly hasn’t advocated liberal policies as many feared. No matter what you think of Trump personally, he is advancing a largely conservative agenda.
Unlike some of Trump’s perpetual critics, I don’t worry that Trump is going to usher in an era of alt-right dystopia or that the country is going to descend into Bannonism — whatever that means. The critics shouldn’t fear that Trump will forever taint the conservative movement or that America will descend into darkness.
America was descending into darkness under Obama’s eight years, and that process would have accelerated into warp speed had Hillary Clinton been elected. So could we please lighten up and support the president when he’s advancing salutary policies, which is often, and go into 2018 with a spirit of warranted optimism?
David Limbaugh is a writer, author and attorney.
COPYRIGHT 2017 CREATORS.COM
Ridiculous: Liberal group names Alabama Secretary of State Merrill to ‘Voter Suppression Hall of Shame’
A liberal group founded by former Missouri Secretary of State Jason Kander has named Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill to its “Voter Suppression Wall of Shame.”
Citing Alabama’s voter identification law and former Gov. Robert Bentley’s decision to close some driver’s license offices, Let America Vote accuses Merrill of trying to block black Alabamians from exercising their right to vote.
“In a state with a long history of voter suppression, Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill has used his time in office to roll back the state’s progress on voting rights,” Kander said in a statement. “Merrill supported the decision to close DMVs in African-American neighborhoods in Alabama after the state implemented an extreme photo ID law — a textbook case of voter suppression. Alabamians deserve a secretary of state who is a champion of voting rights, like the heroes who risked their lives in Selma 50 years ago. Secretary John Merrill deserves a prominent place in the Voter Suppression Hall of Shame.”
Merrill responded by calling the designation “hilarious … especially by somebody without any credibility like Jason Kander.”
Merrill said Alabama has more than 3.3 million registered voters, up 865,107 since he took office.
“I’ve registered more people to vote than he did in his entire tenure as secretary of state in Missouri,” he said.
Kander narrowly lost a race for the U.S. Senate last year and then launched Let America Vote in February. Since then, he’s been busy shaming his former colleagues across the country. Merrill is the fifth secretary of state named to the Wall of Shame. That list includes Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, whose efforts to prosecute voter fraud have made him a lightning rod among liberal activist organizations.
Let America Vote also has called out five state legislators across the country.
Requiring a photo ID at the polls is hugely controversial among progressive activists but much less so among the public. A Gallup poll last year found that 80 percent of Americans support photo ID laws. That included healthy majorities in every region, among all demographic groups and among Republicans, Democrats and independents.
Austin Laufersweiler, a spokesman for Let America Vote, cited a lawsuit filed earlier this year by the NAACP Legal Defense Fund claiming that 118,000 registered voters did not have a valid photo ID. The organization derived that estimate by cross-referencing the registered voter list with databases of Alabamians with passports, driver’s licenses, military IDs and non-driver’s license IDs.
In addition, Laufersweiler pointed to a statement Merrill made last year in an interview with a documentary filmmaker in which he called voting a “privilege.” The comment was in the context of Merrill’s opposition to automatically registering everyone who turns 18. He said there should be no impediment to registering but that people who want to vote should show initiative by signing up.
Laufersweiler cited news reports of voters complaining about difficulties casting ballots in Tuesday’s special election for the U.S. Senate because their IDs did not match their home addresses or because they improperly had been put on the “inactive” voter list.
Despite overlapping tenures as secretaries of state, Merrill said he has not met Kander. He said Kander was not active in the National Association of Secretaries of State.
Merrill noted that the special election won by Democrat Doug Jones featured massive turnout for a single-race contest — about 40 percent. Black voters — the supposed targets of Merrill’s voter-suppression campaign — made up a record share of that total.
“Nobody’s been denied the right to vote in Alabama since the voter ID law took effect,” Merrill said. “That argument is made by people who are uninformed or ill-informed.”
Laufersweiler said via email that, notwithstanding the heavy black turnout, elections officials made it difficult.
“There are reports of numerous complaints of voters being scrutinized over their IDs and many voters were improperly placed on the ‘inactive’ list and were asked for their county of birth,” he wrote. “These are all election administration issues that Secretary Merrill is responsible for. Secretary Merrill belongs on the list until he commits to making sure that all Alabamians have an equal opportunity to register and cast their ballot in elections.”
In addition to a driver’s license, the state accepts nine other forms of ID. If a voter does not have an ID, he or she can receive a photo voter ID card for free from the state. Merrill said the state has issued a relatively small number of those cards, about 10,000, a sign that most voters already have ID.
And if a voter comes to the polls and does not have identification, he or she can cast a provisional ballot. That vote counts if the voter can prove he or she is a valid voter within three days.
Merrill said his office also sends a van around the state to help make sure people can register and have ID. It visits every county at least once a year, he said.
“We want to make it as easy as possible to vote and as hard as possible to cheat,” he said.
Nick Saban and Taylor Swift have something in common: They’re both vilified for political silence
We have all watched as people in the sports and entertainment world have taken various positions on hot-button political positions only to be told that they are now terrible at their chosen profession.
In the world of entertainment, Patton Oswalt is told he is a terrible comedian and Alec Baldwin apparently now sucks at acting to a sizable portion of those who are politically active for holding the wrong opinions.
In the sports world, look at Colin Kaepernick… OK, that’s a bad example, he was terrible before he decided he became America’s least effective Social Justice Warrior.
You will notice most politically-active celebrities are liberal in nature; there is no danger in being pro-gay marriage, but let a random reality TV star say they support traditional marriage (or any conservative cause) and they will be targeted for destruction.
But a new thread is now emerging. Not only are we mad when people express opinions we don’t like, we are starting to get mad at celebrities who say nothing. Taylor Swift’s silence on the Trump administration is treated by some as an outright endorsement of its activities and decisions. “Is she a feminist? Is she a racist?” Why are these questions being asked? Because she has said nothing. The sound of her silence is deafening … or something.
And don’t think Alabama escapes this nonsense.
Nick Saban, who probably came in third in the Alabama Senate race, is being targeted as a “clueless, gutless, selfish coward” for daring to not say anything about the Senate. But, again, let’s be honest, the real problem is that he didn’t help obliterate Roy Moore.
The lead-up to Roy Moore and Doug Jones’ election Tuesday should have been Saban’s shining career moment to show true leadership and humanity. By remaining silent on the numerous allegations that Moore was a pedophile, Saban showed he does not care about the plight or protection of young women and girls.”
The piece also said he didn’t care about black people, all because he is preparing for a College Football Playoff game against Clemson and not lecturing his fans about politics.
The people who write these articles scolding Saban and others for not using their powerful positions as a weapon, would be demanding he be fired if he dared stated he didn’t believe the women or that he was voting for Roy Moore. They would declare that it was not his place to try to influence his football players or fans of the Crimson Tide. They would write screeds about how Saban was using taxpayer-dollars to promote his political views; they might even call for him to be charged with a crime.
They are phonies.
This stuff only cuts one way. They want their liberal views expressed and highlighted, and all other views silenced, as they are on ESPN. This isn’t about wanting people to be more politically-involved, this is about continuing to bully people into thinking the “right way” and punishing people for thinking “incorrectly”.
Saban isn’t an idiot. He knows this game and he wants no part of it.
I don’t really make political comments. So, if I say I like one person that means everybody who voted for the other person doesn’t like me. So, why would I do that?”
Nick Saban and Taylor Swift have every right to voice their opinion, but they are under no obligation to amplify your viewpoints.
Dale Jackson hosts a daily radio show on NewsTalk 770 AM/92.5 FM WVNN and a weekly television show, “Guerrilla Politics,” on WAAY-TV, both in North Alabama. Follow him @TheDaleJackson.
Laura Ingraham explains Roy Moore’s loss on Birmingham’s WYDE 101.1 FM
Long-time University of Alabama fan Laura Ingraham appeared on Michael Hart’s radio program on WYDE 101.1 FM this week and gave probably the best explanation yet of why Roy Moore lost.
She said the problem was the candidate, not the Republican agenda.
Laura’s bottom line: “The election has zero to do with the viability of the view of Donald Trump on substantive issues and everything to do with a confluence of circumstances unique to Alabama.”
Ingraham’s key quotes:
— “The idea that substance had anything to do with this is preposterous.”
— “All of those issues that Trump ran on are not only still popular, but vital to be addressed during his time in office.”
— “The idea that the people of Alabama have suddenly [moved] on to now supporting open borders, ridiculous trade deals like NAFTA, is preposterous. Donald Trump’s agenda in Alabama remains probably as popular as it was when he was elected.”
— “Luther Strange, or Mo Brooks especially, Gary Palmer who I think would be a great senator, these guys would be with Trump 98 percent of the time.”
— “(Moore) was probably the only prominent Republican in the entire state who couldn’t beat Doug Jones, and that’s the guy that Republicans end up rallying behind?”
Listen to the interview below:
(Take this article over to social media and start a conversation with your family and friends.)
The power of Alabama talk radio: Roy Moore’s shortcomings are a warning for future GOP candidates
Local talk radio is a strong force in Alabama.
The Senate Leadership Fund—a Mitch McConnell-backed super PAC—learned this lesson during the GOP primary process when it that supported Luther Strange against Roy Moore.
An SLF memo leaked to The New York Times immediately after the election described “the power of talk radio” as a key source of political information for conservative primary voters in Alabama.
“Local radio hosts wield almost as much influence as national names like Hannity and Ingraham, and they are more receptive to cultivation,” the memo explained.
“In an environment where Republican incumbents could be challenged from the right, talk radio must be a top priority for earned media outreach,” it added.
Roy Moore never seemed to learn this lesson. Moore’s failure to recognize the importance of talk radio became apparent toward the end of his special election campaign. While Moore made early appearances on local talk shows, his presence on the airwaves waned as the election wore on.
Moore’s absence from your AM/FM dials was likely no accident. The candidate did not fair well in forums that were not entirely on his side.
In an interview on WNNN’s “The Dale Jackson Show” in Huntsville back in July, Moore revealed he was unfamiliar with the acronym DACA, which stands for “Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.” In the later stages of his runoff race, Strange and his allies used those remarks against Moore.
That radio appearance epitomized Moore’s relationship with radio’s spoken-word format. It also revealed his vulnerabilities as a candidate. According to Jackson, Moore’s failure to embrace local political talk was one of his weaknesses.
“Moore lost because he abandoned any semblance of a real campaign,” Jackson told Yellowhammer News. “He didn’t face any tough questions, and it made him look weak. Talk radio is hardly a hostile environment for him, and he only went on shows where he knew they would be overly friendly. Roy Moore lost this election, we can blame the media for allegations or the ‘swamp,’ he didn’t fight, and he lost. He needs to concede and go away a beaten man.”
Other talk show hosts detected Moore’s weaknesses in this arena as well. At the opposite end of the state, News Talk 106.5 morning and mid-day host Sean Sullivan described Moore as “uncomfortable” in radio interviews.
“Roy Moore did a couple of interviews with me but seemed uncomfortable with the idea of being on talk radio,” Sullivan told Yellowhammer News. “Moore and more importantly his campaign didn’t, other than boilerplate emails, communicate with me and I imagine other show hosts. With the maelstrom surrounding his campaign I was surprised he didn’t use talk shows in Alabama more often to counter the attacks and clarify his message.”
Traditionally in general election settings, conservative talk radio hosts have lined up behind the big-name Republican candidates. Birmingham talker Matt Murphy, who co-hosts a show with Andrea Lindenberg, revealed publicly he couldn’t vote for Moore and declared he wrote in Rep. Mo Brooks instead.
That came as somewhat of a surprise to many, given that Murphy and Lindenberg emceed a rally for Moore in Montgomery—which featured an appearance by former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin—just days before the GOP runoff.
Scott Beason, a former state senator who now hosts a political talk show on WYDE 101.1 FM in Birmingham and Huntsville, said radio should be a central part of a candidate’s communication strategy.
“Every candidate should do talk radio because it’s the only format where they can expand and fully explain their message while speaking directly to the voters,” Beason said. “But radio hosts are also responsible for finding and presenting the truth to their audience. Once Roy Moore held back, I think many were personally offended so their attitude against the candidate began to change. That does a disservice to their listeners.”
The moral of this story is in Alabama Republican politics, you dismiss political talk radio at your peril. While the listeners are a very small part of the overall electorate, they tend to be the most politically active. Without the support of the hosts (or their opposition in Tuesday’s election), you risk losing that constituency.
In a general (albeit special) election decided by 1.5 percent of voters, keeping the talk radio caucus intact could have won it for Moore.
Jeff Poor is a graduate of Auburn University and works as the editor of Breitbart News’ video site.
(Updated at 8:46 to include comments from Scott Beason)
The six biggest takeaways from Doug Jones’ dramatic victory over Roy Moore
Tuesday’s special election victory by Democrat Doug Jones was dramatic — no doubt about it.
Barring a successful recount, he will become the first Democrat to represent Alabama in the Senate in nearly a quarter century. Here are the six most notable takeaways from an election that capped a very strange year in Alabama politics:
1. Here is how Jones won.
A combination of two main factors fueled Jones’ victory — a heavy black turnout coupled with defections of urban and suburban voters.
Jones won all of the traditional “big four” counties — Jefferson, Madison, Mobile and Montgomery. It’s hard to win a statewide race in Alabama if you lose all four; they accounted for nearly 42 percent of all votes cast. And the task becomes even harder when a candidate struggles in other Republican-leaning counties.
In addition to the big four, Moore also lost Tuscaloosa and Lee counties, among the 13 counties won by President Donald Trump last year that backed Jones. And Moore fared worse in heavily Republican areas. His share of the votes cast for him or the Democrat declined by 6 percentage points in Shelby County compared to his share of the two-party vote when he narrowly won election as chief justice in 2012.
While Moore ran only slightly worse in Baldwin County, he noticeably underperformed in suburban areas. Jones actually won the vote-rich and strongly GOP Daphne Civic Center polling place and came within 2 percentage points of winning the Fairhope Civic Center.
Jones also benefited from a massive turnout of black voters. Exit polls suggested that African-Americans made up 29 percent of the electorate. That is higher than the black share of voters in 2012, stunning considering the first black president was running for re-election that year.
Those two factors overcame Moore’s strength elsewhere. His share of the two-party vote actually increased from 2012 in 36 counties. He ran particularly strong in majority-white, rural counties in northern Alabama and the Wiregrass.
Moore’s share of the two-party vote was at least 6 points higher than in 2012 in a dozen counties.
The overall turnout — more than 1.3 million, or 40.5 percent — more closely resembled a gubernatorial election.
2. There was no deluge of write-in votes, but they played an important role.
A Libertarian candidate and a former aide to White House Chief of Staff John Kelly both offered themselves as write-in candidates. Some voters contemplated following the lead of Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Tuscaloosa), who said he would write in the name of a “distinguished” Republican rather than cast his ballot for Moore.
There was no massive protest vote, however. Statewide, write-in votes made up 1.7 percent of the vote.
Still, the 22,819 votes exceed Jones’ margin over Moore. They were close but not quite a record — that occurred during a race in which Public Service Commission Chairwoman Twinkle Andress Cavanaugh ran unopposed.
“It is a high margin, one of the most that’s ever been achieved in a competitive race,” Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill told reporters Tuesday night.
Write-in votes played a bigger role in large counties that normally lean Republican, suggesting that some conflicted Republicans in those counties chose that as an alternative to voting for Moore or a Democrat. Write-ins made up 3.1 percent of the vote in Madison and Lee counties, followed by Baldwin (2.7 percent), Shelby (2.6 percent), and Marshall and Etowah (2.3 percent each).
Meanwhile, write-ins were a non-factor in most rural counties, whether they supported Moore or Jones. Write-ins made up less than 1 percent of the vote in 25 counties. Just seven votes out of 2,712 in Bullock County went to people not on the ballot.
3. The sexual-abuse charges appear to have played a surprisingly small role.
Perhaps for some wavering Republicans, the allegations that Moore made inappropriate sexual or romantic advances toward teenagers when he was in his 30s was the last straw. But exit polls suggest it merely hardened positions on both sides.
Only 41 percent indicated that the allegations were the most important or an important factor in their votes. Jones won 89 percent of the folks who believed the allegations are true, according to exit polling. Moore took 94 percent of the vote from people who said the accusations are not true.
A majority of voters, 57 percent, made up their minds before the sexual-misconduct allegations broke, and they favored Jones 53 percent to 46 percent. Among the 42 percent who decided in November or December, Moore actually had a small advantage, 50 percent to 47 percent.
4. Speaking of Shelby.
In a way, Shelby came full circle with this election. He had been the last Democrat to win a Senate race when he won re-election in 1992. That year, despite a Republican winning the presidential race in the state, he carried every county except Shelby.
When Shelby switched parties in 1994, it helped set off a slow-motion death march that has reduced the Democrats in Alabama to their sorriest point in history.
But Shelby’s high-profile refusal to back Moore provided fodder for the standard-bearer of his former party.
5. Jones immediately becomes one of the most endangered incumbents in the country — and he will not even be on the ballot again until 2020.
There is a long history of accidental election winners, politicians who win a special election because of an unusual political environment or triumph in a district where their party has no business competing because of a scandal.
Jones benefited from both on Tuesday.
But the historical record of those accidental victors is not great. Anh “Joseph” Cao in 2008 took advantage of a criminal investigation of incumbent Democratic Rep. William Jefferson to become the first Republican ever elected in a heavily black congressional district in New Orleans. His career as a representative was short-lived; Democrat Cedric Richardson bounced him two years later.
In 1991, Democrat Harris Wofford won a special election to finish the term of a Pennsylvania senator who had died in a plane crash. But when Wofford ran for a full term in 1994, he lost to Republican Rick Santorum.
More recently, Republican Bob Turner narrowly won a special election in 2011 to replace Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.), who had resigned in disgrace amid a sexting scandal. The legislature eliminated the seat in redistricting in 2012, and rather than fight an uphill battle in a different district, he ran unsuccessfully for the GOP nomination for the Senate.
And then there is Republican Scott Brown, who pulled off the reverse of Jones’ victory, winning a special election for the Senate in deep-blue Massachusetts in 2010 — only to lose two years later to Democrat Elizabeth Warren.
So enjoy your Senate seat, Doug Jones. You might not have it long.
6. Alabama is still a red state.
Nothing about Tuesday’s results suggest a fundamental change in Alabama’s politics. Instead, it appears to be all about Moore. Some 56 percent of voters, according to exit polling, had an unfavorable view of him.
Other data suggest Alabama is the same as it was a year ago. Some 45 percent called themselves conservative, vs. 23 percent or self-identified as liberal.
A small plurality said Jones does not share their values. A majority believe abortion should be illegal in all or most cases. By a 5-point margin, voters said they prefer Republicans to control the Senate. President Donald Trump’s approval rating, 48 percent, is much higher than his national average.
Put it this way: The GOP nominee had twice been removed from his job on the state Supreme Court for ethics infractions, raised and spent millions of dollars less than his opponent, virtually disappeared for long stretches on the campaign trail and faced allegations of sexually abusing a child — and still nearly won the race. That’s not a sign of Republican weakness in Alabama. It’s the opposite.
The real lesson is that no party is invincible. The dominant party will sometimes lose races under the right conditions.
Trump congratulates Democrat Doug Jones on ‘hard-fought victory’; says he knew Moore couldn’t win
“Congratulations to Doug Jones on a hard fought victory,” President Trump tweeted Tuesday night, after the Democrat narrowly defeated conservative Republican Roy Moore in the Alabama special election for Jeff Sessions’ Senate seat.
Trump also noted, “The write-in votes played a very big factor, but a win is a win. The people of Alabama are great, and the Republicans will have another shot at this seat in a very short period of time. It never ends!”
Trump endorsed Republican Luther Strange in the primary, but when Moore won, the president repeatedly urged Alabama voters to choose Moore, despite allegations of Moore’s inappropriate relationships with teenage girls, one as young as 14, when Moore was in his 30s.
In his first tweet of Wednesday, Trump said he knew Moore could not win: “The reason I originally endorsed Luther Strange (and his numbers went up mightily), is that I said Roy Moore will not be able to win the General Election. I was right! Roy worked hard but the deck was stacked against him!”
With 100 percent of precincts reporting Tuesday night, Jones had 671,151 votes, or 49.9 percent, compared to Moore’s 650,436 votes, or 48.4 percent. There were 22,819 write-in votes, many of which might have gone to Moore were it not for the controversy surrounding him.
According to CBS News exit polling, Democrat Jones got 96 percent of the black vote, while Moore got 68 percent of the white vote. Fifty-one percent of independents voted for Jones; and 57 percent of women and 60 percent of young people also voted for Jones.
Moore has not yet conceded the race, but there seems to be no question that Mr. Jones will be coming to Washington.
“When the vote is this close, it’s not over,” Moore told supporters at his election night rally. He complained about being “painted in an unfavorable and unfaithful light,” and said he will let the “process play out.”
Jones told his supporters he’s been “waiting all my life, and now I just don’t know what the hell to say.”
“At the end of the day, this — this entire race has been about dignity and respect. This campaign — this campaign has been about the rule of law. This campaign has been about common courtesy and decency and making sure everyone in this state, regardless of which ZIP code you live in, is going to get a fair shake in life. And let me just say this, folks, to all of those — all of my future colleagues in Washington, to all — I had such wonderful help.
“But I want to make sure, in all seriousness, there are important issues facing this country, there are important issues of health care and jobs and the economy. And I want to — I would like, as everyone in the entire probably free world knows right now, we’ve tried to make sure that this campaign was about finding common ground and reaching across and actually getting things done for the people,” Jones said.
(By Susan Jones, courtesy CNSnews.com)
The conservative movement in Alabama must unite, or die
It’s time to come together, y’all.
Conservatives have been at each other’s throats in recent years, and nowhere is that more evident than in Alabama, and nowhere have the results of that infighting been more damaging than in Alabama.
Consider the last few years alone.
After taking control of the State Legislature in 2010 for the first time in more than a century, our party began to break into factions.
First there was a power struggle between our governor and the chairman of the Alabama Republican Party, and then between the party and our Speaker of the House.
Sides were taken, strong words were exchanged, and friendships were bruised.
Years later that governor hauled our state – and our party – through a tawdry scandal, and we had to watch a rather painful trial and conviction of that speaker.
Rather than healing, that process caused old wounds to fester. Our once close-knit movement began to drift further apart.
Then the presidential primary crashed into Alabama like a runaway train, further splitting our movement. Those who supported Donald Trump were called unprincipled sellouts, even immoral. Those who opposed him were called establishment stooges, even liberals.
We said awful things to each other. Nearly healed wounds were reopened, and once mended bones were broken yet again.
Next, before leaving office in disgrace our former governor made a controversial appointment to fill the Senate seat left vacant by Jeff Sessions. Again, the party and our movement were stressed by the questionable call.
Our new governor tried to clean it up by calling a special election for the seat, but all hell broke loose instead.
Millions of dollars poured into Alabama from outside groups. Lies were spread about every candidate in the Republican primary … horrible, bald-faced lies. Many of us took those attacks personally.
Again, we called each other sellouts, not real conservatives, unprincipled and far worse.
And when we finally thought things had settled down and we had a nominee who could, at the very least, sail to an easy victory without much of a noisy campaign … BOOM! The Washington Post published their story.
Conservatives who stuck with Roy Moore were accused of giving a pass to a child molester, and those who thought the allegations were credible were told they were going to hell if they didn’t vote for the judge.
Again, outside groups and individuals swept into Alabama spending millions of dollars to pit us against each other, to prey upon our frustrations, and increase their own power.
Where are they now?
They’re all gone, packed-up and headed off to stir-up trouble someplace else.
Meanwhile, we’re left to pick up the pieces of our movement and our party and then … do what exactly?
Are we conservatives going to continue fighting with one another?
Are we going to continue questioning each others’ motives and principles and even intelligence?
Are we going to remain standing in this circular firing squad and do to our movement what the Democratic Party and the media cannot?
Instead, here’s what we’re going to do:
We’re going to forgive.
We’re going to heal.
We’re going to learn.
And in less than two-years, we’re going to retake this Senate seat for the Republican Party and the conservative movement, and take a great deal more than that along the way.
So, come on y’all.
WATCH: Birmingham voters share surprising thoughts about Senate election
Elisabeth Chramer of Yellowhammer News spoke with voters outside The Church at Brook Hills polling precinct in the Birmingham-area to find out how voters felt about the ballot candidates, the national media attention, and what they wish the rest of the country knew about Alabama.
Roy Moore urges Alabamians to ‘vote their conscience’
The rural community of Gallant saw the mounted arrival of Alabama Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore and his wife Kayla this morning at around 10:30 a.m.
The couple’s polling place was much more crowded than in recent elections due to large numbers of people.
Moore briefly answered questions after casting his ballot, not showing immediate concern that he may face a Senate investigation or expulsion as a future possibility.
“We’ll take those problems up when we get to the Senate, when we win,” he said.
For fellow Alabamians heading to the polls, Moore states that “they ought to go out and vote their conscience and we’ll have a tremendous turnout. The nation is watching this…. It’s a very important race for our country, for our state and the future.”