North Jefferson News, Gardendale, AL

Opinion

December 7, 2012

Steve Flowers: Roy Moore victory is the political story of the year

COMMENTARY — The Roy Moore victory continues to reverberate throughout the state. Whenever the subject of politics comes up it is the first subject of conversation.

Undoubtedly it is the political story of the year. Moore’s amazing resurrection triumph was astonishing. He was written off as an “also ran” candidate after dismally losing two races for governor in the past four years. Moore rode his horse to vote in Etowah County in both his primary and general election victories, and then watched the results flow in, especially from north Alabama. On both occasions it was evident that he was riding a wave of fundamentalist evangelical voting that carried him back to his old job as chief justice. He had been written off as dead, then lo and behold, to quote and old Baptist hymn, “Up from the grave He arose with a mighty triumph o’er his foes.”

In the GOP primary, Moore vanquished two formidable and well-financed opponents. Probably one of the most amazing facets of Moore’s victory was that his two opponents raised and spent a combined $1.5 million. Moore spent just over $200,000 but garnered 51 percent of the vote. In this day and time it is almost unbelievable to defeat two opponents who outspent you over 6 to 1 in what is considered to be essentially a name identification contest. Again, in the general election campaign, Moore’s Democratic opponent, Bob Vance, outspent Moore over 2 to 1, yet Moore prevailed.

Speaking of money spent in judicial races, Alabama has led the nation in money spent on judicial races in the past few years. Our closest rivals have been Ohio and Texas and both of these states are over twice as large as Alabama. However, we probably will not be at the top of the heap this year for several reasons. The demise of the Democratic Party in Alabama has made us a one-party state in statewide elections, especially in judicial contests.

Secondly, Moore has consistently refused to solicit or accept special interest money. He will take office as the least beholden judge on the Supreme Court in quite a while. This race saw approximately $3 million spent, but Moore received less than one-fourth of those contributions. In Moore’s case, money does not always talk.

Finally, the death of the Democratic Party statewide has resulted in the demise of the tort issue. The plaintiff trial lawyers have given up hope of electing pro plaintiff justices at the statewide level. They historically backed Democratic, plaintiff leaning judges but their day in the sun is over in Alabama. After the 2012 dust settled, Barack Obama heading the Democratic ticket in Alabama drove the final nail in the Democratic coffin in the Heart of Dixie.

Laid to rest in the political graveyard are the Democratic Party, the plaintiff trial lawyers’ punitive damages, and quite possibly very expensive judicial races in Alabama. The business community now has the playing field to themselves. However, Moore proved to the business community that they are vulnerable to an evangelical, fundamentalist, right wing, grassroots, populist candidate from within the Republican Party. These social conservatives generally make up one third of GOP primary voters in Alabama. Although in special high-profile presidential years like this one, it can reach 50 percent. These folks are able to get the word out among their brethren as to who their man is without spending much money.

A cursory look at the map of the state reveals that the height of Roy Moore’s support came from north Alabama. Most folks in this region are either Church of Christ or Baptist. To say that they are religious and conservative on social issues is an understatement. They are now the heart and soul of the Republican Party in Alabama, whereas 50 years ago they were the backbone of the Democratic Party.

The bulk of the population in the state is in north Alabama. That is why it will be very difficult for the Democratic Party to make a comeback in Alabama. In most of the United States, the economy is the paramount issue. In the Deep South, it is still about race and religion.

 Steve Flowers is Alabama’s leading political columnist. His column appears weekly in more than 70 Alabama newspapers. Steve served 16 years in the state legislature. He may be reached at www.steveflowers.us.

1
Text Only
Opinion
  • Danielle Cater: People make job worth doing

    When I started working for the newspaper 10 years ago, no one asked me why I did it. It was a good career move and I wanted to be a professional; I wanted to move up in the world.
    But as time went on and people started offering me other jobs, I stayed true to my position as office manager of the North Jefferson News. It’s become a part of my being. Just about anyone who knows me, knows that I work for the newspaper. They usually don’t have a clue as to what I actually do here, but they know that if they need me, I can be reached at the newspaper office.

    August 19, 2014

  • Danielle Cater: Funeral reflects one man’s life

    We will all be lying in the front of a church or funeral home one day and I don’t want everyone wondering where my soul is. I don’t want them weeping for my loss. I want them having a Holy Ghost party and preaching the gospel to my family and friends.

    August 11, 2014

  • Danielle Cater: New school year hard on moms

    Did any other parents spend the entire last week of summer trying to fit in a whole summer’s worth of activities?

    August 11, 2014

  • Danielle Cater: New school year hard on mom

    Did any other parents spend the entire last week of summer trying to fit in a whole summer’s worth of activities? There were so many things that we wanted to do with our daughters before school started back and they all seemed to get put off until the very last minute.

    August 6, 2014

  • Danielle Cater: People, not things, make life exciting

    Another year of life has come and gone and as I wave goodbye to the 33rd year of my life, I warmly embrace the start of my 34th year of existence.
    I’ve often said that one shouldn’t be ashamed of their age; getting older sure beats the alternative.

    August 4, 2014

  • Danielle Cater: What kind of banana are you?

    They say what goes in is what comes out. I’ve heard it said, “Garbage in, garbage out.” There’s a lot of truth to that statement right there.

    July 28, 2014

  • Danielle Cater: Bass fishing is just in my blood

    I was born the daughter of a fisherman. My dad was the pastor of a local church and the manager at various Jefferson County Waste Water Treatment plants, but anyone who knows him, knows he is a fisherman at heart.

    July 21, 2014

  • Danielle Cater: Making memories not that hard

    Do you spoil your kids? Do you spend enough on them? What really matters when it comes to the well-being of your children? These questions are real doozies and I think the answers vary according to the family.

    July 9, 2014

  • Danielle Cater: Graduation leads to hard decisions

    The caps and gowns are ordered, the invitations have been mailed. Checks are being written all across the country, it must be graduation time.

    May 29, 2014

  • Danielle Cater: Longevity in marriage still possible

    I have officially seen it with my own eyes. I have witnessed it with my own life. Yes, I have seen a couple who has been married 60 years and still love each other. Even more than that, they still respect each other and still genuinely love to be around each other.

    May 27, 2014