The 2017 U.S. Senate Special Election

by Just Juan
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“More than any other time in history, mankind faces a crossroads” – Woody Allen

In a month’s time, the voters of my native Alabama—myself included—will take to the polls for a special election to fill the vacancy in the U.S. Senate that came to fruition when Jeff Sessions resigned after being confirmed as the Attorney General of the United States. Former Governor Robert Bentley, in one of his last acts as Governor of Alabama, appointed Luther Strange to fill the seat on an interim basis until the special election. Initially, the special election was going to be next year during the midterms but Governor Kay Ivey scheduled it for December 12th when she ascended to the highest office in the state. Strange lost the Republican primary to the very controversial Roy Moore, the former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Alabama. Moore is opposed by Doug Jones, the former U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Alabama during the Clinton years. He basically whitewashed the blue team competition in the primaries, winning ⅔ of the statewide vote.

This is a very important election in Alabama and could be very pivotal in the country as a whole. Jeff Sessions was in a very safe seat at home in Alabama. After winning the seat vacated by the late Howell Heflin when he chose not to seek reelection, Sessions didn’t face any dangerous competition. In fact, during the last election 3 years ago, he had damn near 100% of the vote in a race he won unopposed. He gave that up to be the top dog at the Justice Department…and it likely will mean his political career will be soon coming to a close unless he runs for Governor of Alabama or the Presidency. Sessions was the junior Senator. The senior Senator is Richard Shelby. Shelby is 83 years old. Though he just got reelected last year with 64% of the vote in the other safe seat, I can’t see him serving out the whole term. The seat Sessions vacated is up for reelection in 2020 for a term that ends on January 3, 2021. There is a strong likelihood that whoever wins the race next month will be the senior Senator with only a limited time in office.

All of this is important because of Roy Moore. That dude is strongly disliked in Alabama…even by Republicans. It’s already expected that this race will be close and the voter turnout is not expected to be even 50%. This is an election Jones can legitimately win. All of the advantages are in his court. All he has to do is make sure the 4 corners of the state are light red, at worst, and he will be the new junior Senator. If Jones wins the election, there is great potential for a Democratic senior Senator in a ruby red state, provided Shelby does not finish his term. That could change the landscape of the surrounding red states because their voters will say “if Alabama can do it, so can we”. It would change the dynamics here, in Washington. And changed dynamics mean different laws and different interpretations of the law. This is how sustainable change—the kind that millions of Black Americans and far-left progressives are clamoring for—happens nationwide….not necessarily through protests and civil disobedience.

It will be interesting to see how this plays out. I have my absentee ballot ready to go but I am actually flying home on December 8th to take care of some legal stuff and since I’ll be there for a few days, I’ll vote in-person

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