The Big Picture –
By Glynn Wilson –
MOBILE, Ala. — So we rolled into the laid back land of live oaks, Spanish moss and historic McMansions this week after spending half the year in another swamp, Washington, D.C., and what a surprise we found.
Everywhere you look, even on streets occupied by families with old money who have been voting Republican since before Ronald Reagan made it cool, there are yard signs for Doug Jones.
The Democrat attorney from Birmingham is barn storming the state in a bid to take back at least one seat in the United States Senate from the likes of former judge Roy Moore, the religious conservative who thinks all U.S. laws are derived from the ten commandments.
It is not clear that the signs themselves will do much to make a difference in the race. In fact, studies show they have little effect on voter preferences. But it gives enthusiastic supporters something to do to support their favorite candidate. And just maybe, in the case of a special election like this one, it could give friends and neighbors cover to think it’s socially acceptable to vote for a Democrat for a change.
At a time when polling data is about as hard to come by as real journalism, at least one poll shows Jones pulling even with Moore, meaning Jones is trending up in the final month of the campaign. This race is now too close to call, and that is good for Jones and bad for Moore.
State media reports show Moore hiding from reporters and the public and blocking Jones on Twitter. And as we reported on Facebook and Twitter this week, Moore’s campaign team was kicked off The Quad at the University of Alabama on Saturday before the LSU game for partisan campaigning, which is banned by the university, and for giving away Krispy Kreme donuts, in violation of the university’s policy on supporting official venders.
Meanwhile, Jones is out there speaking and shaking hands to large crowds all over the state, as anyone can see by following his campaign Facebook page.
The only disadvantage I see for Jones in the numbers at this point is that Moore’s Facebook page has more than 66,000 likes, while Jones’ page only has 46,000 likes.
Chances are, however, many of those Facebook followers are fake people just as many of Moore’s Twitter followers are fake identities with Russian names, provided by the grandfather of alt-right fake news sites, Steve Bannon’s Breitbart News.
It has become obvious now that Moore has withdrawn from public forums and refuses to debate Jones probably because he has been told by Bannon that Breitbart will carry his water to victory, just as they did for Trump.
In their most recent attack on Jones, Breitbart ran a false, sensational story saying Jones took money from George Soros to push the rights of convicted felons. This is the state version of #PizzaGate.
The state alt-right, fake news version of Breitbart, Yellowhammer News, which started out as a tea party blog and now tries to fool people into thinking it is a bona fide news site, is attacking by falsifying and sensationalizing Jones’ views on abortion.
Only the voting results on Dec. 12 will tell the tale on who is winning, the Jones yard sign brigade or the Moore fake news and Facebook army.
As I recently reported in a detailed analysis of the 2016 election, most so-called experts, including big name pollsters and the mainstream media, thought this new web technology favored Democrats. That turned out not to be the case and played at least some role in the election of Donald Trump as president.
As for the future, if all these folks who are spending so much time, effort and money putting up signs in peoples’ yards would spend as much time, effort and money to support real journalism on the web press and share the links, there might be a future for democracy yet.
© 2017, Glynn Wilson. All rights reserved.