Aside from campaigning for Bill Nelson in Florida last week, Alabama’s newly minted Senator Doug Jones has been conspicuously absent from the campaign trail leading up to Tuesday’s important midterm election. Democrats have what they think is an outstanding slate of candidates for state and national offices this year: Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox is running for Governor; Don’s son Joe Siegelman is running for Attorney General and former Miss America Mallory Hagan is running for a US House seat.
You would think that a self-described moderate Democrat who became Alabama’s first Democrat Senator in nearly a generation would be a hot commodity at campaign stops and rallies all over Alabama. But Doug Jones is nowhere to be found. Why?
It would be easy to blame a desiccated state Democrat party apparatus. There just doesn’t seem to be much of a ground game for Democrats in Alabama. But Jones is a US Senator. Surely he has the resources necessary to help a brother and sister out.
Maybe it’s because Jones took office and promptly turned his back on the electoral majority in the state and voted against the confirmation of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the US Supreme Court. That confirmation went through without him, but Alabamians know that he could have stopped that ugly nomination process dead in its swampy tracks by announcing that he had listened to Alabamians and planned to vote to confirm.
Doing so would have demonstrated his moderate bona fides, helping his now dimming reelection hopes and possibly increased his value on the stump this fall. Instead, he behaved just like any other DC Democrat and toed the party line. Toeing the Democrat party line is poison in deep red Alabama.
The other allegedly moderate Democrats running in this state recognize this, and we think they made the decision to tell Jones to just stay home. Or, stay in DC. Or, go campaign for Democrats in states not called Alabama.
Alabama’s slate of Democrats appear to be hosed. Bob Vance, running for the Chief Justice of the state Supreme Court is the only Dem who stands a chance of winning. The others look like they’re headed for a short night come Tuesday.
This didn’t have to be so. Jones could have done the smart thing and announced his support for Kavanaugh. The credibility he would have gained would have helped him, and in turn he could have helped his fellow office seekers. This is how state and local politics work. Instead, Jones voted the way Chuck Schumer told him to and the Alabama Republican Party has the reins of power going into the 2020 election, where Jones will have to defend his seat.