Alabama just went through the craziest, most memorable election cycle of my lifetime.
Unfortunately, I missed the best part of the fireworks during primary season. I could only watch from a distance as my native state made national headlines with a series of hilarious, over the top campaign ads.
The populist impulse has always beat strongly in Alabama. When I briefly returned home in May, I immediately noticed that it was raging like never before. Something about Barack Obama had tripped a circuit in the collective psyche of White Alabama: TARP, the stimulus package, Obamacare, the lawsuit against Arizona, gutting NASA, the Gulf Oil Spill, high unemployment, an arrogant negro elitist in the White House whom the mainstream media coddled and treated like royalty.
Alabamians never cottoned to Barack Hussein Obama. They took an instant, immediate dislike to The One. In fact, Alabama has the distinction of being the state where a higher percentage of Whites than anywhere else in America voted against him. At the height of his popularity, 90 percent of Whites in Alabama voted for John McCain.
If Vermont is the capital of Blue America, Alabama is the capital of Red America. Given the history of the state, it was entirely predictable that the White backlash to the Obama administration would manifest in its most spectacular form here.
Three political losers succeeded in capturing the mood of the Alabama electorate.
Tim James – This Is Alabama
In the Alabama Republican gubernatorial primary, Tim James made the first round of headlines with the release of a political ad called “Language.” In the ad, James says, “This is Alabama. We speak English. If you want to live here, learn it.”
That blunt statement drew howls of “nativism” from progressives across America. It sparked national controversy at the time.
There was no pressing need in Alabama to stop the state driver’s license exam from being given in Farsi, Arabic, and Vietnamese. This was an almost explicit appeal to White identity, dislike of Barack Obama, and unease over multiculturalism and immigration.
Yet that was nothing compared to what was coming down the pike.
Dale Peterson – Thugs and Criminals
In the words of Gawker, Dale Peterson’s “We are Better Than That” made Tim James look like “a gay Commie terrorist.” It was the most American campaign ad ever made:
Dale Peterson became the most well known candidate for Ag Commissioner in American history. The ad went viral across the net and got over 2 million views. It was endlessly discussed in the mainstream media and on liberal websites.
The “thugs and criminals” that are being referred to are blacks and Hispanics in the local parlance. This is understood but not explicitly stated.
Rick Barber – Gather Your Armies
Next up, Rick Barber, a Republican primary candidate in Alabama 2 (my own congressional district), cut a Tea Party inspired ad called “Gather Your Armies.” If impeachment is unsuccessful in removing Barack Obama, Barber thought a revolution should be in the cards:
Barber noted that the Founders rebelled against the British Empire over causes which must seem trivial in our own times:
In another campaign ad called “Slavery,” Barber was joined by Dale Peterson and argued Obamacare is the equivalent of chattel slavery.
Shifting Into Offense Formation
Alabama’s fire eaters all lost their election bids.
As is often the case in this state, Alabama voters responded well to the fiery rhetoric of populist outsiders, but in the end chose cooler headed conservatives, the safer bet, to win the general election. In this way, the political mainstream was successfully shifted to the right on immigration and a number of other issues.
The mild mannered Dr. Robert Bentley won the Republican gubernatorial primary. In the general election, Bentley crushed Democrat Ron Sparks, 58 to 41.
Republicans won the other statewide races for Lt. Governor, Secretary of State, and Attorney General. Richard Shelby was reelected to the U.S. Senate.
The Republicans swept 6 out of 7 House races in Alabama. Martha Roby defeated Bobby Bright to pick up a House seat in Alabama 2 from the Democrats. Republicans held Alabama 5 after Parker Griffith switched parties but lost the primary to Mo Brooks. The only House seat the Republicans failed to capture was Alabama 7 which is a safe gerrymandered district for blacks that stretches from Birmingham to Demopolis.
Heading into the 2010 midterms, Democrats controlled the Alabama House, 60 to 43. In the next legislative session, Republicans will control the chamber, 66 to 39. Before the 2010 midterm elections, Democrats controlled the Alabama Senate, 20 to 15. In the next legislative session, Republicans will control the Senate, 22 to 12.
The final numbers still haven’t shaken out.
As in Georgia, Alabama has been transformed into a one party state. White Democrats continue to jump ship because they see no future for themselves in a state party dominated by non-Whites and a national party dominated by progressives like Barack Obama.
Republicans won control of the Alabama state legislature for the first time since Reconstruction. They have never controlled every statewide office and the state legislature.
Racial polarization has returned with a vengeance in Alabama and Georgia.
Alabama and Immigration
Immigration is a hot button issue in Alabama.
Here in the Birmingham area, Irondale passed a local ordinance modeled on Arizona’s SB 1070 earlier this summer:
Alabama is one of the states embroiled in the legal fight to defend Arizona in the federal courts.
Immigration was discussed in the gubernatorial debates between Robert Bentley and Ron Sparks. The mainstream on immigration has now been pushed so far to the right in Alabama that even the Democrat Sparks said he would sign an Arizona-style immigration law:
The Arizona-style immigration law was a part of the Republican “Handshake with Alabama.” Next year, the Republican dominated state legislature will pass the whole wish list of restrictionist items like E-Verify and ending sanctuary cities.
The Alabama Democratic Party has been so weakened that Republicans now have a supermajority in state legislature and can pass anything they want including changes to the state constitution.
Alabama, Immigration, and NumbersUSA
According to NumbersUSA, Alabama shakes out as follows on immigration:
Among the Republicans, Senator Jeff Sessions (A), Senator Richard Shelby (A), Rep. Mo Brooks (A+), Rep. Mike Rogers (A), Rep. Spencer Bachus (A). Rep. Robert Aderholt (A), Rep. Jo Bonner (B).
Among the Democrats, Bobby Bright (B) and Artur Davis (B-). The Republican Martha Roby will replace Bright in the next Congress. Davis will be replaced by another black Democrat, Terry Sewell. Roby will likely be an improvement while Sewell could go either way.
Gov. Robert Bentley will sign the Arizona-style immigration law that the Alabama Republican Party has promised to push through the state legislature. His views on immigration are made crystal clear in the three videos linked to above.
Senator Jeff Sessions is the leader of restrictionist forces in the Senate. Last week, Sessions led the Republican caucus in the Senate in blocking the DREAM Act. He also defeated it back in September and has been a stalwart enemy of “comprehensive immigration reform” throughout his career.
We have succeeded in getting our own house in order in Alabama. There is not much else we can do here.
Alabama sends two U.S. Senators to Washington that have been solid votes against amnesty. Senator Jeff Sessions has led every fight against “comprehensive immigration reform” for years now. The Alabama delegation in the House is likewise solid on immigration.
We now have a restrictionist governor and a restrictionist majority in the Alabama state legislature. I don’t foresee any major obstacles to overcome in getting what we want at the state level.
The power of the Alabama Democratic Party has been broken. Racial polarization is growing. We are capturing ground here and moving the goal posts on immigration and other key issues.
Alabama has provided a model that other states should try to imitate.