Alabama is going to give President Donald Trump 9 electoral votes in the 2020 presidential election. There has never been a surer thing in this or any known solar system or galaxy.
But while much of the current political conversation surrounds that race, in which enough Democrats to stock the offense, defense and special teams of a football squad are seeking to turn Donald Trump out of office, Alabamians are going to have to multitask. How that plays out could show just how much influence Trump has here, other than the “R’’ attached to his name.
U.S. Sen. Doug Jones, D-Mountain Brook, next year will have to defend the seat he won in December 2017 in a wild, controversial special election against former state Chief Justice and longtime paladin of the Christian right Roy Moore of Etowah County.
That race drew the attention of the world — literally, check the roster of visitors to these parts while it was going on — because of sexual abuse allegations leveled against Moore by multiple women who were in their teens at the time of the alleged incidents.
We’re not going to revisit the particulars. Unless you were residing in the deepest of caverns, you remember what went on because there was no escaping or avoiding it.
We’ll simply point out that Jones won by a little less than 22,000 votes out of 1.348 million cast, not the most resounding of endorsements and proof to only the most optimistically naive that it was more of an anti-Moore than pro-Jones result.
Democrats talked gamely about having reversed the GOP trend in Alabama; the statewide results of last November showed otherwise and reinforced why Jones is rightfully considered the most vulnerable Democratic incumbent in the Senate.
Unless he faces the same opponent — and Moore is making noises about entering the Republican race to claim what he’s convinced was stolen from him through various conspiratorial machinations and “fake news.”
There are three declared GOP candidate so far, U.S. Rep. Bradley Byrne, R-Fairhope, former Auburn University football coach Tommy Tuberville and state Rep. Arnold Mooney of Indian Springs. Some of the other rumored possibilities would be formidable.
However, Moore even with his baggage has a devoted group of backers who will show up for the Republican primary and runoff (if he makes it there) and mark his name even if the skies are filled with tornadoes.
Republican leaders in Alabama and Washington understand both that and the urgency for the party to reclaim the Alabama Senate seat, given how many seats the GOP will be defending nationwide. So first Trump’s son, then the president himself fired off tweets urging Moore not to enter the race. The president said Moore “cannot win, and the consequences will be devastating.”
Moore dismissed those admonitions, saying Alabama’s voters not the president will determine who serves in the Senate. Well, Alabamians are a stubborn bunch who don’t like outsiders, even popular ones, telling them what to do; just check Moore’s résumé for one of the most stubborn examples.
Perhaps Trump should count his electoral votes and stay off Twitter where this race is concerned, and let Alabamians take care of matters. Otherwise, he’s risking a “we’ll show you” moment, with Moore potentially benefiting.