In 1935, Sinclair Lewis said, “When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying the cross.” And so it will, and maybe so it has. Roy Moore’s Alabama fans, like some of Donald Trump’s, are the sort who haul out the flag and the cross, confusing how the middle-aged creepster the local shopping mall had to warn teenage girls about represents either Christianity or Americanism.
Cory Booker was in Alabama this weekend for a trio of purposes; against Roy Moore, for Doug Jones, and to bank some good will – especially among blacks – in the deep South till the 2020 presidential primary.
Wattage: From all accounts, Jones on the stump is low-key, about as exciting as an earthworm. Now you know what Cory was doing there. NJ’s junior senator can turn on the sunshine, and people do crowd in to get a look. He can help Jones, and I’m glad he did. (Deval Patrick was also there, upping the black Northeast Corridor quotient). Doug Jones might not make hearts go pitty-pat, but he is a credible, worthy alternative to allowing Roy Moore into the U.S. Senate. And I’m glad my senator was down there. After all, Booker was also elected to the Senate in a special election. Pay it forward.
With so much focus on Moore creepy uncle stories, a lot of voters don’t even know that as U.S. Attorney Jones brought charges against two Ku Klux Klan members for their role in the church bombing murder of 4 little black girls in Birmingham’s 16th Street Baptist Church, the meeting place for civil rights workers in the 1960s – a clear attempt to intimidate black people from voting, or organizing. And that’s what Booker talked about. Such an important story, I don’t care if Cory mixes it in with his own 2020 ambitions.
And there’s that other place where you’ve heard Roy Moore’s name. Moore is Judge Roy Moore, who has considerable trouble interpreting law in any way beyond what suits him. Moore was elected Chief Justice of Alabama’s Supreme Court in 2001, but removed 2 years later for refusing a federal court’s order to remove a marble statue of the Ten Commandments he installed in the lobby of the Alabama Judicial Building. He actually got re-elected to that job in 2013, but was suspended 3 years later for directing probate judges to continue enforcing Alabama’s ban on same-sex marriage – despite the fact that the United States Supreme Court deemed this unconstitutional in Obergefell v. Hodges. Unreal.
Alabama is both Deep South and deep red. Trump beat Hillary here by almost 30 points (62.9%-34.6%). And the state hasn’t sent a Dem to the Senate in 25 years. Polls are all over the place – Moore up 9 points in one, Jones up 10 points in another. And late this morning, Democrats launched a last-minute robocall: “This one’s serious. You can’t sit it out.”
That was Barack on the phone, by the way. Booker, Patrick, Obama. Election’s tomorrow. I hope it works.
Photos: Booker and Jones selfie with crowd: Joe Raedle/Getty Images, Ten Commandments: AP