This dimwitted take from a Hollywood liberal, retweeted more than 6,800 times as I write this, made me laugh.
— Mark Ruffalo (@MarkRuffalo) December 10, 2017
Ruffalo has more than three million followers and is extremely politically active on his account. Yet somehow he needs it explained to him that Obama isn’t staying out of Alabama because he doesn’t care, he’s staying out because he knows going would be like waving a red cape in front of a bull. Jones’s only hope of victory is Republican disaffection with the party’s nominee. He could conceivably win if the choice is between him and Roy Moore. But if O prances into the state, the choice will essentially become “Roy Moore or Barack Obama?” Guess who wins that.
Jones does need Obama, though, and every other prominent black Democrat willing to go to bat for him. His magic formula for winning is low Republican turnout and massive black Democratic turnout. Reports keep swirling, though, that blacks aren’t as interested in the race as America’s political media is. No one could potentially do more to change that than the first black president. The question, then: How does Jones get Obama to campaign for him in Alabama without, you know, getting Obama to campaign for him in Alabama? The solution:
“This one’s serious,” Obama says in the call. “You can’t sit it out.”
Two Democratic officials familiar with the Alabama race tell CNN that Obama recorded the phone message in recent days, at the very time Trump stepped up his own involvement in the campaign with a recorded message. Obama does not mention Moore by name.
“Doug Jones is a fighter for equality, for progress,” Obama says. “Doug will be our champion for justice. So get out and vote, Alabama.”
Interesting timing, with Obama waiting until the last minute — after Trump’s rally across the border from Alabama, in Pensacola — to record the call. There may have been a calculation in that too, with Jones fearing that if Obama had jumped in sooner, Trump would have used his media megaphone at the Pensacola rally to emphasize Obama’s involvement in the race. (He might have decided to change the Pensacola rally to a venue in Alabama too, seizing the opportunity to fight a proxy war head-to-head with Obama on politically favorable turf.) Like I say, Jones and Obama are trying to fly under the radar, reaching black Democrats but not white Republicans. Trump would have made that impossible if Obama had cut the call for Jones before Friday night’s rally.
Jones is happy to show off his support from other prominent black Democrats, though, knowing that they have no national track record that undecided Alabama Republicans might hold against them. Cory Booker and Deval Patrick were both in the state this weekend to try to get black voters revved up for Tuesday:
New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker, former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick, and Sewell stumped with Jones up and down the state to help turn out the black vote. Mathew Knowles, Beyoncé’s father, made a surprise appearance at a prayer breakfast in Gadsden, where he grew up, to try to motivate turnout among the largely black crowd. Jason Isbell, a singer from Alabama, played a get-out-the-vote show for Jones in Huntsville; part of the band St. Paul and the Broken Bones did the same at a rally in Birmingham.
Each of the surrogates — from Alabama or not — urged voters to take pride in their state, and show a skeptical country that they can defeat Roy Moore.
“Don’t let anybody talk about Alabama, talk down to Alabama,” Booker told an audience in Birmingham Sunday afternoon. “And please, I’m from Jersey. I definitely don’t want some people just singling out a few folks on the Jersey Shore TV show and thinking that’s my entire state.”
That’s a smart play by Booker, making a bet here that’s high upside and low downside. If Jones loses, Booker comes out fine. Democrats are always expected to lose in Alabama and he did his best to avert that. If Jones wins, it’ll be a momentous upset and Booker will enjoy some reflected glory, especially having stepped into a role here that would ideally have been filled by Obama. It’ll also be treated as evidence that Booker really can get black voters to turn out, which will raise his standing as a nominee or potential VP in 2020. Even so, I’m sticking with my prediction of Moore by seven despite the nuttiness in today’s polls. (A new one from Gravis that hasn’t gotten as much attention showed Moore erasing a four-point Jones lead and bouncing out to his own lead of four points.) If Fox News turns out to be right and Jones pulls off a shocking blowout win, it’ll be the biggest polling coup since Trafalgar Group called Trump’s victories in Michigan and Pennsylvania last fall.
Via CNN, here’s a Moore interview from 2011 in which he agrees with the host that voiding all constitutional amendments after the 10th would “eliminate many problems.” You’d think black voters would be energized by an election in which one of the candidates sounds iffy on the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments, but we’ll see.