I’ve had more than a few conversations lately with people expressing concern that the close proximity in August of the United States Senate special election primaries and Mobile’s municipal election might somehow suppress voting in one or both. In most of these discussions the person I spoke with expressed fear that going to the polls Aug. 15 to cast a vote in the U.S. Senate race would somehow sap the strength of Sandy Stimpson supporters and keep them from voting the following Tuesday.
Perhaps this odd fear is just one sign of “Jonesaphobia” — defined as the completely rational fear of having Sam Jones once again running our fair city into the ground. Or maybe people truly can become exhausted after driving to a neighborhood polling place, producing some kind of identification, signing their names, filling in a small oval on a piece of paper, loading that paper into a machine that looks like a shredder, then driving back home or to work. I can definitely see needing more than a week to recover from such selfless exertion. We may be a nation of people who can make it to McDonald’s three times a week, but participating in the democratic process doesn’t typically come with fries.
With that in mind, Stimpson may want to start serving vitamin-packed smoothies at his rallies instead of the now-controversial fried fish. Fried foods are known for making people lethargic. He might also consider rows of ellipticals and treadmills at those same rallies, helping his supporters build the stamina and lung strength they’ll need in order to go to the polls twice in a seven-day period.
Or maybe those fearful of voting fatigue won’t really have much to worry about after all, because so far the senate race has looked much more like a coronation than a contest. Right now it’s all Luther all the time, and if things stay that dull the Senate race will probably be the one more frail voters skip.
With less than two months to go before the Republican primary that will likely determine who holds one of Alabama’s U.S. Senate seats for the next 20-plus years, we are being washed over by former Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange. If you were to have just returned from Mars via one of Elon Musk’s imagined space hotels and landed on Alabama soil, you’d likely think the only one running for this seat is “Big Luther.” And if you listened to those BL commercials, you’d probably end up thinking “Dang, this guy sure has kicked a lot of butt!”
Of course, most of what Big Luther has done is pour money into simply overwhelming the 18 other candidates for his dream job — the job he already nabbed on an interim basis by throwing ethics and the law out the window and soliciting former Luv Guv Robert Bentley for an appointment to fill out Jeff Sessions’ unexpired term.
Since U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell determined that keeping the rather malleable Strange in the Republican caucus would be preferable to possibly having some renegade who wouldn’t be easily controlled, Alabamians have seen the full weight of the GOP political machine come down hard in favor of Big Luther. Money has poured in and Luther is consistently pushed out on national television to offer the GOP POV on one news show after another. Right now Luther’s logging more face time on the boob tube than “The Bachelorette.”
And let’s not forget the National Republican Senatorial Committee actually issued a fatwa upon political consultants who work for Big Luther’s opponents, warning they will be blackballed when it comes to handling other Republican clients. This is political hardball at its finest, folks.
If you’re still skeptical that Strange is the darling of the Washington establishment — i.e., the slimy creatures in that swamp that needs to be drained — consider the way conservative GOP Congressman Mo Brooks was attacked after announcing he would run against Big Luther.
The GOP super PAC called the Senate Leadership Fund had this to say: “While Luther Strange was cleaning up the corruption in Montgomery, Mo Brooks was living the life of a Washington insider, opposing Donald Trump and failing to get a single bill signed into law in four terms in the House. If Brooks can’t cut it in the House, how can he be trusted to deliver results in the U.S. Senate? It’s clear Mo Brooks is more interested in advancing his own career than he is with delivering for Alabama.”
The Senate Leadership Fund then announced it would back up its rhetoric with a $2.6 million media buy in the state supporting their boy Luther.
We are getting Big Luther positively shoved down our collective throat. This broken spigot of money is being used to whitewash the shady way Strange scooped up Jeff Sessions’ seat. History is being rewritten by Big Luther’s PR team. He was busy fighting corruption and Obama now instead of being such an insider he had to recuse himself from the AG Office’s biggest corruption cases. He touts Bentley’s resignation as having something to do with his bold actions as AG, when the reality is he went hat-in-hand to visit a man being investigated by his office to ask for a political appointment.
What local district attorney could take a private meeting with someone being investigated by his/her office and ask for something of value????! Strange was knee-deep — pretty deep, since his knees are so high off the ground — in Montgomery sleaze, and meeting with Bentley for that appointment should at minimum have gotten him slapped with ethics charges and certainly warrants a full criminal investigation.
But Washington wants Luther Strange, and that says all you need to know. He was a lobbyist in D.C. for a decade so this is just a return home. He’s simply a creature whose skin was getting too dry outside the swamp.
Unless someone else can break through this cascade of Washington money it’s hard to imagine an outcome in which Strange isn’t able to simply buy his way into the seat without much resistance.
There’s still time for the race to get more interesting, so I’ll keep wearing my jogging suit and taking daily vitamin supplements in hopes it is truly worth the wear and tear on my body and mind to make two trips to the polls in August.