In the state of Alabama, 49 percent of the population identifies as an Evangelical Christian. In polling this week, 37 percent of Alabama Evangelicals said charges of sexual misconduct with teenage girls made them more likely to vote for Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore.
Alabama Republicans are saying they prefer to send a child molester to the U.S. Senate to represent them over a Democrat (Doug Jones in this case, a man who prosecuted two Klansmen for the 1963 16th Street Baptist Church bombing that killed four girls). This is party over country, a sentiment not confined to Alabama, and the source of many of our problems today. It’s a big reason why Moore’s election is not something I would vote against, as much as I hope Jones can hold on to his current lead in the polls.
Thanks to the voters of Alabama, we will soon have a man at the highest levels of governing the country who has twice been removed from office for violating his oath of office. A man who claims to govern in the name of Christianity, but who — as Rev. Dr. William Barber says — espouse not Christianity but extreme Republican religionism.
This is troubling enough, but it is worse when you realize these same Alabama voters have more influence on the governance of the nation than voters elsewhere.
Based on the 2010 Census, Alabama has seven members of the U.S. House of Representatives for a population of 4.9 million people. That is one representative per 700,000 people. The 12 reps for New Jersey’s 8.9 million people, or the 53 for California’s 39.3 million people, means one representative per 742,000 people.
I have written about the problems we encounter with our representation capped at 1911 levels, most recently here, and how it is even more fundamental to fixing our democracy than reforming Gerrymandering. That does not mean we shouldn’t fix the gerrymandering problem, and former Attorney General Eric Holder is working on that. Hopefully SCOTUS will rule the right way on the Wisconsin case and not make the effort harder.
Beyond the structure of electing our representatives, Timothy Egan pointed out in the NY Times the other day there are other issues to address as well. This is not just about dealing with Russian interference (though we need to do that too), but why it was effective.
“We’re getting played because too many Americans are ill equipped to perform the basic functions of citizenship. If the point of the Russian campaign, aided domestically by right-wing media, was to get people to think there is no such thing as knowable truth, the bad guys have won,” Egan wrote. “We have a White House of lies because a huge percentage of the population can’t tell fact from fiction. But a huge percentage is also clueless about the basic laws of the land. In a democracy, we the people are supposed to understand our role in this power-sharing thing.”
For most of us around the country, watching as the voters of Alabama plan to send a child-molesting extreme religionist to the U.S. Senate, we’ll have to look to 2018 to try to make sure Moore is in the minority party.
In the meantime, have a cocktail. I suggest a Something Bitter This Way Comes cocktail via Kindred Cocktails. It is:
1.5 oz Rye
1 oz Amaro CioCiaro
.5 oz Cocchi Vermouth di Torino
.25 oz Fernet-Branca
2 dashes Bittermens Xocolatl Mole Bitters
Pinch of kosher salt
Stir over ice for at least 30 seconds, strain into a chilled cocktail glass, garnish with an orange twist.