Today’s special election for Alabama senate is a prelude to the election maps of 1960 and 1968, where third party candidates split one or the other party’s support.
In 1960, Kennedy (a liberal Democrat from the Northeast) could only have won because of two things: His running mate was a popular Texan, and there was a third party pro-racism candidate that took Alabama and Mississippi out of the race.
Kennedy’s support was concentrated in fewer districts, giving him large margins where he won, and large defeats where he lost (mostly rural areas). That fundamental demographic disadvantage of the Democratic viewpoint has not changed in 2018.
In 1968, the pro-racism candidate George Wallace once again split Republican support. This time, it wasn’t enough to give Hubert Humphrey – a weak candidate – the win. The South was effectively irrelevant in this race.
In the 2020 election, I predict we will have three candidates again, and the third party candidate will split one of the two parties. Which one – that’s less clear. We could see Trump run against a moderate Republican and this time Trump will get the Wallace-share of votes. Or we could see a Centrist Democrat face off against a more Liberal Bernie-crat. A race with four options would be the first in a century to reflect the real political spectrum in this country. It would probably put a moderate in office, but voters and party leaders always seem to fight against diversity of viewpoints in elections.
Let’s see. By the way, I predict Roy Moore wins by 10 points today. Alabama is more comfortable electing a pro-God (anti-separation) man with a penchant for stalking underage girls than they are a Democrat. That hasn’t changed. Not yet.
Did you know: Moore’s opponent Doug Jones was the prosecutor who dug up the 1968 church bombing case and got convictions on several of the suspects decades later? Though Trump calls him “soft on crime,” I would say that pursuing justice when you’re likely to get death threats for doing so is being “hard on crime.” Pulling over African Americans for broken tail lights is “soft on crime” as well as “lacking in humanity.” Racism is still alive, and it still plays the central role in politics today. Accepting that makes it easier to work towards a real change of heart that we need in this country.