An article published by The New York Times on Friday explained that Sen. Doug Jones (D-AL) is taking “the same position as Nancy Pelosi” regarding border security, despite interviews with Jones’ constituents affirming that this stance is unpopular amongst Alabamians.
The piece opens by reminding readers that Jones won in December 2017 while calling himself a “Doug Jones Democrat,” or someone who would not toe the party line.
Yet, his time in office has not necessarily seen this promise come to fruition on key votes, including Jones coming out against the confirmation of Justice Brett Kavanaugh and key pro-life bills.
His voting record has even led constituents and Republican activists to accuse Jones of being more loyal to House Speaker Pelosi (D-CA) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) than the wishes of the majority of Alabamians.
Now, the New York Times pointed out, “Mr. Jones finds himself holding the same position as Nancy Pelosi, the liberal House speaker: Reopen the government, then negotiate on border security.”
“By taking on President Trump and the border wall, which are both popular in Alabama, and refusing to give ground on the shutdown, the senator may be the last ‘Doug Jones Democrat’ to win here anytime soon,” the article advised.
The publication then backed up this assertion with the comments of Alabama voters from diverse backgrounds, including a one-time Jones supporter.
“I voted for Jones, I did,” Ann Lynch, an 86-year-old retired schoolteacher in Huntsville, told The New York Times. “But he doesn’t support the wall. I don’t like that, of course. I think we need it. Trump knows we need it.”
Angie Gates, a restaurant owner outside of Huntsville, summarized, “If Doug Jones doesn’t support the wall, I don’t support him.”
This statement comes in spite of Gates’ family-owned business losing significant lunch business because a prison training program was shut down during the current funding standoff.
“For us, because we’re a small town, the shutdown is kind of difficult. But there’s also things in politics that may be worth doing,” she explained.
Jones siding with the Democratic Party on the hot-button issues of the day do not appear to be gaining him any extra voters in 2020.
“Senator Jones, bless his heart, he’ll be a one-term senator,” Sheila Pressnell, 61, said. “The only reason he got it was because he was up against a child predator.”
Pam McGriff, the owner of a custom interior car detailing shop in Holly Pond and a Republican, remarked, “If he would go up there and balk the Democrats, like Schumer and Pelosi, and say, ‘Hey, I think Trump is right,’ and all that kind of stuff, I wouldn’t mind splitting my ticket.”
However, her husband Wayne has seen enough out of Jones already.
“He should support what the people of Alabama want, which is the wall,” he said. “[Jones] shouldn’t be there, and next time he’ll be voted out.”
Jones is even facing pressure from the epitome of a statesman, Senator Richard Shelby (R-AL).
On Friday, during a speech in Mobile, Shelby said, “I like Doug Jones. I work with him. But we need to have a Republican.”
In an interview with The New York Times, Shelby made his thoughts clear on the current impasse in partial government shutdown negotiations.
“The president is not going to blink, and he shouldn’t,” Shelby said, adding that he would tell furloughed federal workers to “get your Democrat friends to the table and negotiate with us.”
While it is perhaps unsurprising that Republicans are bucking Jones, what should concern him is the seeming lack of belief among Democrats in the state that he can win re-election, especially after the lopsided 2018 general election results in the Yellowhammer State.
During a presidential election cycle in 2020, assuming he is facing a candidate not named Roy Moore, Jones faces an uphill battle of historic proportions with the electorate and even the enthusiasm gap of his own supporters.
Former Congressman Parker Griffith (AL-5), who helped Jones in 2017 and continues to support him, admitted, “He’s a dead man walking.”
“[Jones] leaned into his base, and his base is not big enough to elect him,” Griffith concluded.
Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn