Alablawg

Commentary on Alabama Law and Society

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Thursday, June 08, 2006

More On Larry Darby

Jeff at the original Politics in Alabama is asking how Darby got 160,000 votes. Thus far, the apparent consensus, and certainly the charitable view, is that there were a bunch of uninformed voters on Tuesday.

Twinkle Andress Cavanaugh, head of the Alabama Republican Party, however, has her own ideas:

“I really think it's the fact that the Democratic Party has gone out of the mainstream,” Cavanaugh said. "As an Alabamian I truly was shocked that that so many people would vote for someone that completely denies that there is a God and there was a Holocaust."

There are two issues here.

First, notice how Twinkle is shocked not just that people would vote for a Holocaust denier, but that they would vote for someone who denies there is a God. So, for her, an innocuous philosophical belief is the equivalent of denying the clear teaching of history out of a deep-seated hatred for a large part of society. Disagreeing with Twinkle about God disqualifies you for public office just as does disagreement with the rest of the intelligent world about the purposeful slaughter of the Jewish people. I think Twinkle needs to adjust her moral astrolabe.

Second, if we want to impute bad motives to voters, Twinkle ought to consider her own people first. Be honest: Which party’s followers are more likely to vote for a candidate who says stuff like this:

Darby attributed his "strong showing" to people who identified with his message and platform of "dealing with the Mexican invasion" and fighting "for equal rights for European-Americans."

"This multi-culturalism is destroying not just the United States but the Southern culture," Darby said Wednesday. "It's part of the global war on whites to replace the whites of the world with brown-skinned people. We're becoming a third-world country."

I think we all know the answer. I’m not saying all, or even most, or even a significant amount of Republicans would approve of Darby. I am saying that whatever the amount, it is exponentially greater than the number of Democrats who would. You can vote in the other party’s primary in Alabama. So, if we want to get nasty, my theory will be that a lot of Republicans hate immigrants so much that they would vote for Darby even though he is an atheist and a Democrat.

But I am going to think more highly of my fellow Alabamians. I am just going to assume they acted in ignorance. The same story also provides some good evidence for this theory:

In most counties, Darby gained from about 30 percent to half of the votes cast in the Democratic attorney general contest, including in heavily black counties such as Greene, Sumter, Macon and Wilcox. He fared worst in some of the counties nearest Mobile County, where Tyson has been a political fixture

Action by the state's most powerful black Democratic voters' group could also have been a factor in the final tally. Two days before the primary, Joe Reed, the chairman for the Alabama Democratic Conference, said that the caucus was not endorsing Tyson because of how he prosecuted David Thomas Jr., a black former Mobile County school board member.

So what happened was a lot of black voters saw Tyson’s name and thought “oh, that’s who we are not supposed to support” and then, not knowing any better, voted for Darby.

I will say one more thing. Individual voters may be guilty of no more than ignorance, but the ignorance is the Democratic Party’s fault. Even if they can be excused for letting Darby on the ballot in the first place, and even if they could not kick him off the ballot, they could at least have spent the time and energy necessary to ensure everyone knew the facts about Darby. No doubt the Dems opposed Darby, but that just makes their response more unacceptable.