While asserting that Republicans “do not want African-Americans and other minorities to vote,” Senator Doug Jones (D-AL) is also claiming to be “an independent voice” from the national Democratic Party.
In an appearance on CBS’ “Face the Nation” Sunday, Jones first reaffirmed that he agrees with Alabama ISIS bride Hoda Muthana over the Trump administration regarding whether or not she is an American citizen and can return to the country.
The incumbent junior senator from Mountain Brook was then questioned about his new book, “Bending Toward Justice,” which Jones is currently hawking on a book tour that includes multiple stops in New York City.
Host Margaret Brennan pointed out that Jones in the book mentioned “backsliding,” especially when it comes to the voting rights of minorities today. She then asked, “Who do you blame for that?”
Jones’ response as follows:
Well I — I think it’s a combination of things. I mean, I think that — that we’ve had some losses in the courts, but I also think it’s a political power grab right now where people are trying to gerrymander districts, where people are trying to prevent people to — to the right to vote, give them free access to the vote. We need to be expanding the voter rolls and- and trying to get people to the vote. We need to be pushing the percentage of Americans up who are- who want to vote on Election Day and instead we seem to be working and the powers that be seem to be constricting that. And I think we’ve got to change that. There’s a new bill pending right now, introduced last week, on the voter enhancement. Try to put some teeth back in the Voting Rights Act.
Brennan, wanting a direct answer, followed up with essentially the same question, asking, “Who do you blame for this?”
“Well, you know I think if you look at — carefully you have to look at the state legislatures, governors and members of Congress that are Republicans,” Jones retorted. “For whatever reason, they do not want African-Americans and other minorities to vote. I assume rather than trying to get those votes, they seem to want to restrict those votes.”
He continued, “And I think that that’s incredibly unfortunate. We need to have more dialogues in this country rather than monologues, and then we can do it about Voting Rights Act. We talk a good game about everybody having the right to vote and a duty to vote. But at the end of the day, we seem to be working to try to restrict that, and that’s just wrong.”
To conclude the interview, the host asked about the difficulties Jones will likely face in getting re-elected in a deeply red state in 2020. After asserting that Republicans “do not want African-Americans and other minorities to vote” mere seconds before, Jones pivoted to claiming he was not a partisan.
“Well, you know, all I do is do my job. I have the people of Alabama’s best interests at heart,” Jones said. “I am an independent voice for them, I’m not a- a- a solid vote- voice or vote for the president or the Democratic Party.”
“I look at each individual vote separately, and I try to do the right thing,” he continued. “I think some of the best compliments I’ve had in the last year and my one year in the Senate was when I’d go home and people would say, ‘Well, Doug, you’re doing exactly what you said you would do. And that’s looking out for us.’ And we have a lot of issues that we face. But, you know, I think Alabama, the south, we’re all changing. There’s a lot of things going on.”
Jones concluded, “We’re putting aside a lot of the issues that have divided us in the past that have caused some of those incredible divisions, political and social divisions. Right now we’re talking about jobs, we’re talking about health care. That’s a driving force in my state. Education, workforce development, those are the things we have in common and that’s what I’m going to keep preaching, then we’ll see how it goes. I feel very good about where we are.”
Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn