As I’ve recently reminded everyone, I’m a Florida Gators grad. That means I’ve long-held nothing but dislike for anything from Alabama. Sure, I have one of my favorite ex-bosses living in Alabama. I also have enjoyed a nice golf outing there. But, Alabama has both Nick Saban and SEC foes. So, I’ve had no love for Alabama. Until yesterday’s special election. Isn’t that special?
The results were as surprising as the walk back from the president was predictable. Considering the upbeat nature of the result, I’ll focus mostly on the positive.
Values vs. values
Alabama is a deeply conservative state. It’s been that way for a long, long time. It’s also a state with a considerable evangelist population. That means, many of their core beliefs and values run at odds with “liberal” democratic views.
So it’s telling when deeply convicted people are willing to put aside their convictions in one area favor another. The alleged transgressions of the Republican candidate were horrific. So much so, that Alabamians chose to put at risk their most cherished conservative goals.
Specifically, on abortion, the Democratic candidate is diametrically opposite of most Alabama voters. Yet, a greater value judgment was made on behalf of their state and our nation. That allowed many of them to vote what they deemed to be the better man into office.
In our recent times of moral confusion and political cowardice, it was a startling and uplifting decision.
Trump vs. Trump
As mentioned above, single issue voters have often carried otherwise suspect candidates to political victory. I went through some of that thought process during the past election.
A disliked opponent and an overpowering desire to gain control over the Supreme Court gave Donald Trump an electoral, if not popular, victory.
While fulfilling that critically important promise, he has confounded many of his voters by ricocheting from one position to another.
In Alabama alone, he first supported Luther Strange against Roy Moore. Then he hedged against Roy Moore when Moore was wishy-washy on his denials of the abuse allegations. Finally, he went all-in behind Moore, despite the credible accusers.
Of course, given a little time to ruminate on Moore’s defeat, he backtracked again. Now he is saying he was “right” in speculating that Moore couldn’t win the general election. As always, win or lose, Mr. Trump is never wrong. When he’s right he’s right and when he’s wrong he’s right.
Even the faithful must acknowledge that there is only one being who is assumed to be infallible. He was around long before the 2016 election.
Winning by losing
As with all things political, the talking heads began spinning immediately. The newest lines, from all networks, is that this election was really about winning by losing.
Their reasoning goes thus:
If Moore was elected, the Democrats would win. They would be able to spend all the time until the next election pointing at Roy Moore. Republicans would have supported and welcomed a child molester as someone who should be deciding the fate of all Americans.
If Moore was defeated, the Republicans would win. They would escape that albatross around their neck or the prospect of trying to expel him. There would also be more incentive to vote in their tax package by year-end.
Sadly, there was little time spent by the networks in simple reflection on what the special election seemed to signify.
Again, I’ll resist pointing to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue and just talk to the specific results. A deeply conservative state, strong in their convictions on traditional conservative values, faced a choice:
– Holding their nose and, in the service of their goals, electing an alleged pedophile. Also, someone who thought the country was a better place during slavery. And didn’t think women should have the right to vote.
– Doing the unthinkable and voting a Democrat into office. Someone who was pro-choice and would put much of their conservative agenda at further risk. Although, he was an upstanding man and celebrated defender of the law.
In the end, more Alabamians chose decency over policy. Humanity over politics.
Isn’t that special?