Right now all of the attention in Alabama is centered on whether or not the Alabama voters will choose to send an alleged child molester to Washington, or will they come down on the side of the angels. But there’s another thing at stake here, and it may be an indicator for 2018.
Right now, Alabama polling is all over the map. Special elections are difficult to poll in the first place because the interest and public knowledge may not be as high, and where normally lower voter turnout can make actual likely voters hard to find. And for polls showing Jones in the lead, one must consider the possibility of “Moore shame.” People may be ashamed to tell a pollster that they would ever vote for a toddler coddler, but when they walk into the booth, they pull the lever for him anyway.
But there is one outcome that is not much in doubt. Recent interviews of “people on the street” in Alabama, on both CNN and MSNBC, more and more people are saying that they’re just going to sit this one out, they won’t vote for either one. And it’s not just media coverage, the Alabama Secretary of State just downgraded their prediction for voter turnout from 25% to 18-20%. That will definitely be something to watch out for on election night, the actual turnout of eligible Alabama voters. Apparently, Roy Moore may have finally found the rok bottom of what non Trombies will accept in a candidate.
This is why that is critical. Right now, polling shows that Trump has already bled whatever disgruntled Democratic and independent support he had to get reelected. In fact, most polling is showing that he has also shed quite a few moderate Republicans, bringing him dangerously close to only having his most rabid base of Trumpaholics to count on. And with any kind of legislative accomplishments on his side fo the ledger, getting Republican voters psyched next November might be kinda hard.
Not only is the Republican party bleeding support, they’re bleeding incumbents too, especially in the House, frequently in districts that Hillary did well in last year. One can likely posit that without an incumbent to worry about, candidates well out of the GOP mainstream may well crawl out of the woodwork to get a job in Washington. And Steve Bannon has already announced that he will be trying to purge from the congressional ranks any incumbent who is insufficiently slavish to Orangutan Boy. Normally, Steve would be a footnote of joke capacity, except that he apparently has the Mercer Millions to back up his words with cash support to back him up.
Make no mistake. interference from Bannon or not, some of these whack jobs are going to win. If for no better reason that on both sides, Democratic and Republican, primary elections only bring out a ghost of the eligible voters. People who are cuckoo-for-Trumpo-Puffs will run out to vote, while everybody will stay home, thinking that the whack job can’t win. And then, they’re stuck with them on the ballot for November. I’m making no predictions as to how many of them there will be, only that there will be some.
And here’s where Alabama comes in. December 12th is not a primary, it is a special election. Granted, turnout for special elections is usually smaller than a general election, and this one is badly timed, with Christmas chopping in full swing. But the Christmas factor was already there, and the Alabama OS was still figuring on a 25% turnout before Roy Moore oozed all over the plan. If Jones wins, or even if Jones loses but the voter turnout is under 20%, it gives us something serious to think about.
If turnout is low, this will tend to indicate that there are GOP candidates out there that are so obscene that een Republicans canhow fed up Non Trump base Republicans are with this whole mess eve’t or won’t vote for him. Especially if Jones wins, that will indicate that the Democrats, who are a solid minority in Alabama, were fired up to come out, but Republicans were so depressed that they couldn’t offset it. This could have a serious impact next November, in districts where far right candidates rode Bannon’s cash to nominations. Every indication is that the Democrats are not cooling off, they’ll be out in large numbers in 2018. It will not take that many depressed GOP voters in these districts to tip the scales on some of these races. And people sitting out to protest these candidates will be on top of voters already sitting out in protest of Trump being in the White House to begin with.
Turns out that there’s more than one reason to watch what normally would have been an election that would barely register a footnote on evening news coverage. It may give us a peek at how depressed non Trump voters are with this whole mess going into 2018. Don’t touch that dial.