Get your mud boots and your hunting britches on, because it’s about to get dirty. Of course, I’m referencing the Republican runoff in the U.S. Senate race to take on sitting Senator Doug Jones. On Tuesday, March 3rd, neither former U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions nor former Auburn head football coach Tommy Tuberville secured enough votes to win the primary outright. So, the dirt is about to get real.
Jeff Sessions even indicated as much in his ‘victory speech’ on Tuesday night when he said, “Nobody can get through this race without being vetted”. As a former political science major, I can tell you that’s political speak for “I’m about to go digging for dirt”. Tommy Tuberville isn’t staying on the sidelines of this mud pit either. Tuberville responded to a tweet by President Donald Trump, offering to support the president “in 27 days”, which assumes his election. The president himself is not going to refrain from digging down in this mud pit either. He tweeted about the race early Wednesday morning, pillorying poor Sessions again for recusing himself. We can expect the next month in Alabama politics to be a complete and utter excrement show with muck flying in all directions. Alabamians will just have to get used to it, as that is the state to which our politics have been degraded. We, as voters, are partially to blame for it, because we respond to that negative advertising, accusation, gossip, innuendo, and confirmation bias.
We are taking steps in the right direction as voters. We rejected the candidate that was the first to go negative in the Republican primary, U.S. Representative Bradley Byrne, but there is much work left to be done. We need to demand better from the people who want to represent us. We should demand that they run a campaign based on issues, with clear plans for moving this state forward. We should respond to politicians who articulate those ideas and those values which we hold most dear, and not raise up the negative attacks, the mudslinging, and the accusations. These are flung at politicians from their opponents and the political cronies working for them, and they ruin civil discourse and political repartee.
In the meantime, make sure you have a good stain remover for our famous iron oxide red dirt. We’re all going to be covered in it before this election is over.