Scoot: No Moore and what it says about America

December 13, 2017 - 10:52 am

Making a prediction that on the night of the special election for the vacant senate seat in Alabama one group of supporters would be chanting “USA – USA – USA,” you may have thought that would be a prediction for Roy Moore.  But last night, it was the supporters of Doug Jones that were chanting “USA – USA – USA” after it became clear that Jones would beat Moore in the contentious election.

The “USA” chant from the supporters of the first Democrat to win in Alabama in 25 years seemed ironic since the fringe right often projects the image that they are the true patriotic Americans.

In the same way that Donald Trump received votes that were a vote against Hillary Clinton, Doug Jones was elected by votes that were votes against Moore.  Many registered voters in Alabama chose not to vote because they could not vote for Moore, but by not voting, they only helped elect the Democrat.  This was an exercise in showing why it is important to vote, even if you don’t like either candidate.

There are many important political aspects of the defeat of Roy Moore.  Most important is the reality that fringe Republican Steve Bannon fired all of his weapons at the Democrat in the name of progressing his staunch right agenda.  Bannon is believed to have convinced President Trump to back Moore, and that appears to have been based on Bannon’s fantasy that it is the hard right that controls America. 

One can only wonder how President Trump really feels today after he backed a second failed candidate in Alabama.  First, Trump endorsed Luther Strange, who lost in the primary to Roy Moore.  Then, Trump strongly endorsed Moore, holding two big rallies promoting Moore and tweeting and participating in a robo-call on pleading with people to vote for Moore.  In a state the glows bright red, voters rejected the Trump/Bannon plea in the face of threats of the consequences of not voting for a Republican. 

In addition, President Trump enthusiastically endorsed the Republican candidate in the gubernatorial race November 8 in Virginia and he lost to the Democrat.  Will Republican candidates seek Trump’s endorsement in the upcoming mid-term elections next year?

Voter turnout and which voters turned out were also significant factors in the Alabama special election.  The estimated 20 – 25% turnout was shattered by a turnout of 38% of the state’s registered voters.  If 25% had voted that would have meant about 825,000 votes cast.  The number of voters in the election was 1.16 million.  So, what does that mean?

The turnout tells us a lot about the mood in America.  Early indications are that African-Americans, women and millennials voted, proving that even in Alabama, white males, a strong segment of the Republican vote, do not always control the outcome of elections.  The voters that did vote could be a reflection of a new group of Americans becoming active in the political process, and this would have an impact on the mid-term election next year and the 2020 presidential race.

The civil war within the Republican Party was obvious during the campaign in Alabama, particularly with General Steve Bannon leading his troops.  Do the Confederate defeats at Gettysburg and Vicksburg reflect the modern day defeats of the far right in Virginia and Alabama?

One thing is clear from the defeat of Roy Moore/President Trump/Steve Bannon – the fringe right might make a lot of noise and proclaim to be the group that represents America, but the evidence does not show that to be the case.

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