Last week, Katie Boyd Britt tossed her hat into the U.S. Senate race for the seat being vacated by her former boss, Sen. Richard Shelby. This was a surprise to no one. It had long been rumored the Enterprise native, who was the CEO of the Business Council of Alabama and Shelby’s chief of staff, was the retiring senator’s pick to replace him. And as expected, she got his endorsement this week.
So, we now know for certain who the players will be in the race between Shelby’s pick and former President Donald Trump’s pick in Congressman Mo Brooks.
And there is also Lynda Blanchard, who was an ambassador to Slovenia under Trump and has held a fundraiser at Mar-a-Lago. While she was unable to get the Trump endorsement, she has filled her campaign war chest up pretty substantially, largely due to a $5 million loan she deposited into it herself. But even though she announced early, she hasn’t been very visible. Has she even been to Mobile yet? If she has, I sure missed it.
While a couple of others may still jump in, it’s hard to see what “lane” in the Republican primary they would occupy now. If you don’t have Trump’s or Shelby’s endorsement or deep pockets like Blanchard, it’s going to be a tough go of it.
So, how is this race going to shake out?
The Republican primaries in the last few election cycles have turned into contests over who could verbally fellate Donald Trump the most. And it’s been nauseating to watch. This is not a partisan observation. It is gross to watch any grown-ass individual bow down to someone and lick their boots and take any abuse heaped upon them from another grown-ass individual. It doesn’t matter the party or the person. It’s demeaning. It makes the candidates look weak and pathetic, and it’s just not a good look for anyone. I don’t care what your Beltway political consultants are telling you! Don’t do it!
I am hoping since Trump has already given his endorsement to someone who is currently accused of inciting an insurrection for him (pretty hard to beat that brand of the aforementioned verbal fellatio), the others will not feel the need to still prove they are the Trumpiest of the Trumpers.
Because why would you? Brooks has their votes.
Britt will get a nice chunk of Shelby’s voters, many of whom are “old-school” Republicans who were never particularly in love with Trump, but more so Shelby’s status of being Alabama’s Bringing-Home-the-Bacon-ator, which as much as we all joke about it, is going to be important to replace. Shelby himself didn’t go out of his way to suck up to Trump and reportedly “expressed extreme contempt” for his behavior behind closed doors.
It’s a tough line to walk in Alabama, though.
People who love Trump, LOVE Trump. I have really never seen anything like it. Driving down to Dauphin Island over Memorial Day Weekend, there were still numerous Trump signs lining AL-193, including one that had a Terminator-like message: “He’ll be back.” I mean, have you ever seen so many signs for a candidate who is out of office? I sure haven’t.
And on the flip side, people who hate Trump, HATE Trump. And no candidate who doesn’t publicly say he is the devil and should be destroyed will ever get their votes either.
But I do think there is a sizable swath of Alabamians in the middle who fall into one of these categories that could make this race more interesting and not a guaranteed win for Brooks (who is currently leading in the early polls) ….
Pragmatic, moderate Democrats and left-of-center Republicans
The name I hear thrown around the most to be the Democrat candidate for this seat is Alabama Democratic Party Chair and State Rep. Chris England. But I am sure even England knows it would be a tough hill to climb to win the Senate seat in this state, considering the demographic math.
Many voters in this category also know this and want to support the person they feel is the “lesser of the evils.” Bradley Byrne occupied this lane for a really long time, and I still feel he would have — at the very least — had a better chance of already being our U.S. senator if he hadn’t felt he had to go “full Trump,” which no one bought and just kept voters in this category home in that election. Can Britt avoid falling into the same trap Byrne did? It remains to be seen.
I think this is a relatively new category with bipartisan members. I think there are more and more people on “both sides” who are just beyond sick of all of this political crap. They are sick of Trump and Trumpers. They are sick of the Left and the Leftists. They are sick of the Left attacking the Right and the Right attacking the Left. They are sick of the fringe people in their own parties. They are sick of the national “media,” who they can see right through and their seeming inability to remain unbiased in their reporting.
They are tired of all the yelling and the nonstop, over-the-top hyperbolic statements. They have stopped watching MSNBC or FOX News all day and now tune into seeing what the Pioneer Woman is whipping up or have gone back to doing what they used to do in the days before watching and engaging in political bloodsport became a national pastime.
I really think the past four years of nonstop hyperventilation and setting of hair on fire — no matter your political persuasion — has just run its course for many Americans, and yes, Alabamians. They want something fresh and new and genuine and reasonable … and LESS ideological and partisan. And someone who is their OWN brand, not co-opting someone else’s. But it has to be someone charismatic enough to win people over and also comfortable enough in their own skin to take the daggers, but still follow their own arrow.
And that’s hard.
Do we have a candidate in the race yet capable of capturing both of these types of voters? And even if we do, are there enough of them out there in this cycle who will head to polls? I don’t know the answer to either of these questions just yet. But it will definitely be interesting to see how it all shakes out, Alabama.
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