News Analysis By: John Zippert, Co-Publisher and Editor
Most Alabama political pundits agree that voter turnout will be the key to victory in next Tuesday’s special election between Doug Jones and Roy Moore for the U. S. Senate seat vacated by Jeff Sessions when he became U. S. Attorney General.
Because Alabama is a deep red state, in the Heart of Dixie, very few political observes gave Doug Jones, a progressive Democratic candidate much of a chance. The polls have been all over the place but most show a tied race or a close race within the margin of error.
Most of the commentary dwells on the lopsided white Republican vote in Alabama but does not take into account Moore’s extremist religious stands which contest the ‘rule of law’ and had him removed twice from the state’s Supreme Court for unethical and unconstitutional behavior.
All of this was before the recent revelations that Moore sexually abused young women in the Gadsden area, some as young as 14, when he was a 30 year old assistant district attorney. Moore, following the example of Donald Trump, has denied all of the accusations by the women despite their believability and corroborating evidence.
The pundits also overlook and discount the efforts of Black organizations to mobilize the Black vote for Doug Jones in the rural Black Belt counties and inner city urban areas of Birmingham, Huntsville, Tuscaloosa, Montgomery and Mobile.
Since Labor Day, Black voter organizations in Alabama have been mobilizing under the banner of the ‘Vote or Die Campaign’ to awaken, register and organize Black voters to turnout in support of Doug Jones on December 12th. Alabama New South Alliance, the SOS Coalition for Democracy and Justice, NAACP chapters, Alabama Democratic Conference and others have been working at the grassroots to enlighten and empower Black voters to take part in the special election.
In the first primary on August 15, Doug Jones won the Democratic primary by 109,000 out of 165,000 total votes. In the second primary between Luther Strange and Roy Moore, Moore received 262,204 votes to 218,000 for Strange.
The turnout in both of these races was below 20%.
Next Tuesday’s election will be held in the midst of the Christmas holiday shopping season. Many people in Alabama just don’t realize there is an election going on and this will contribute to a low turnout.
Statewide in Alabama there are 3.2 million registered voters with 2.1 million active white voters and 760,000 Black voters. There are 1.5 million Republican voters, 1 million Democrats and the rest Independents.
If Roy Moore receives a third of the Republican vote – 500,000, that roughly corresponds to the Evangelic Christian vote which is dedicated to voting for him, then Doug Jones must put together a turnout of over half of the Black vote say 400,000 and enough white Democratic and Republican votes to win over Moore. Putting this type of coalition together is within his grasp but it depends on a strong Black voter turnout together with white voters who feel and know that Moore is and will be a continuing embarrassment to the state.
President Donald Trump, Steve Bannon and other far right conservatives have jumped into this election on Moore’s side but they are late arrivals. Jones has outraised by Moore by $10 million to $2 million in election funds. Jones has been dominating the TV airwaves until recently.
Trump seeks to nationalize the election by portraying Doug Jones as a ‘liberal Democrat’ who win not vote for Trump’s tax cuts, immigration wall, military budget and other issues. Trump’s leaning in late may help solidify the opposition to Moore and support for Doug Jones as the more progressive reasonable candidate, who shares Alabama’s progressive views on these ‘kitchen table issues’.
When you get and read this paper, there will only be a few day left before the Special Election on Tuesday, December 12th, go and vote and show that turnout is the key and will be the difference in this election.