Why we should be very worried about what Tommy Tuberville is capable of
“Better to keep your mouth shut, and ride on the fact that you are the Republican nominee,” he said. “Having that party label on the ballot is more than sufficient to win in Alabama…”
When I was a teenager on Saturdays in the Fall, I could turn on ESPN around 4 PM and always expect to see Tommy Tuberville coaching the Auburn Tigers against another SEC football team. Tuberville finished his coaching career with a respectable 159–99 record, among other accolades like Coach of the Year, as well as the Paul “Bear” Bryant Award. From a football perspective, I had no reason to loathe the man. He was an adequate coach, and, thankfully, was not involved in a major scandal (what we see regularly now in college sports). To his credit, he helped young men develop as their football playing careers were ending and they were expected to join the workforce.
It was unusual when I saw him running for the Senate this past election cycle. When I first saw the report, and then immediately read he was a “pro-Trumper,” I wasn’t so surprised by his candidacy, especially considering how many others had come out of the woodwork to support Trump’s horrendous doctrine. I also had to consider the state of Alabama (RED), their constituents, and the newly entrenched hatred for Doug Jones, so I also knew this was not an enigma. Jones had become so disliked by the Trump faction of the Republican party, that Tuberville (who had been living in Florida) purposefully moved to Alabama in 2018 to run against him.
Tuberville’s policy on his website is the following, which I found to be incredulous.
1. Treatment of veterans. (Trump called veterans “suckers” and “losers).
2. Improving education. (Trump wanted to repeal adding the 1619 Project, which would help teach students about slavery and the contributions of Black Americans).
3. Immigration. (Trump called immigrants “rapists” and vowed to “send them back.”)
4. Pro-life. (Trump is Pro-life).
5. Investigate the Russia investigation on Trump. (No explanation needed).
6. Individual Liberty. (Trump proclaimed his support for this countless times).
7. Lower taxes and less spending. (Trump’s tax cuts lowered taxes for the wealthy and did nothing for the middle-class).
8. Gun rights (Trump said Democrats were coming for everybody’s guns).
9. Repealing Obamacare (Trump’s #1 goal, with no plan to replace).
Accordingly, Tuberville represents the continued legacy of Trump’s onslaught on American democracy. Trump may have left office three weeks ago, but the damage may have already been done, particularly with who is left behind to nefariously push forward his ideology. Tuberville may not have the platform of the “presidency” to use as Trump did, but he certainly has the potential to be the face of the new movement amongst the eternally plunging, dysfunctional Republican party. As we are seeing, Tuberville has no compunctions about following the Trump dogma.
“Without a detailed record in government or public service, Tuberville’s political standing instead has been built on two primary pillars:
First, his devotion to President Trump, who remains quite popular in Alabama.
Secondly, his local fame as Auburn’s coach from 1999 to 2008, including six consecutive wins against archrival Alabama.
“As far as I’m concerned this is about the easiest campaign I’ve ever seen for a position in the U.S. Senate,” said David Hughes, assistant professor of political science at Auburn University at Montgomery. “He has had to. do virtually nothing to get it.”
What is so sorrowful, yet unexplainable about this new breed of “Republicans” (I call them “populists”), is that they falsify everything. There are no facts, and when the media or other politicians, (and even experts), attempt to provide these fundamental validities, they respond by arguing more, getting animated, and just saying the same fabrication over and over. It’s the thing Trump did, routinely, which would also help stoke his base.
In the article by Brent Schrotenboer, titled, “‘He’s had to do nothing to get it’: How Tuberville built a double-digit lead from the sidelines,” we begin to understand the disposition and techniques of Tuberville:
“Experts say the answer is political calculation and hyper-partisanship.
“He’s been extremely reticent to engage with the press whatsoever, which is also part of his strategy,” Hughes said. “He will give sort of set speeches to clubs with limited attendance, you know, friendly territory where he’s not likely to get asked questions from members of the press corps.”
This is the modern strategy from the Trump faction of the Republican party, which is the notion that you treat the press as the enemy and you embrace conspiracy theories, and then provide these theories as structural energy for your base. It’s a weaponized effort to paint democratic norms as fallacies and attempt to introduce authoritarian rule. Tuberville, if you ask me, seems to be the authentic embodiment of a future “commander” in the “populist” movement. Let’s not forget, he was a football coach, he is a white male in the deep South, and he is more than delighted to exhort the agenda of the “populists.”
“Yeah, you know, the thing about the Voting Rights Act, is it’s, you know, there’s a lot of different things you can look at it as, you know,” Tuberville said. “Who’s it going to help? What direction do we need to go with it? I think it’s important that everything we do we keep secure. We keep an eye on it. It’s run by our government. And it’s run to the, to the point that we, it’s got structure to it. It’s like education. I mean, it’s got to have structure. Now for some reason, we look at things to change, to think we’re gonna make it better. But we better do a lot of work on it before we make a change.”
“His campaign later clarified Tuberville’s position by saying he didn’t support the legislation. After USA TODAY Sports brought up this matter to him, he didn’t directly address it and spoke about his hectic schedule meeting people across the state.
“I don’t want our country to be destroyed by people that don’t like the country, so I’m going to fight that every day,’ he said. “That’s kind of my issue all along. I’m an outsider, so I had to get out there to tell people why I’m (running for Senate).”
What is it that Tuberville and the “populists” think are occurring in the country? I always find it remarkable that when these “populists” speak to the media or give rallies, they act like there is absolute lawlessness in the country. If you read an earlier post I did this week, I touch on the right-wing militia in the country, and I write about how among this new faction of white, young males, there is a fundamental ideology: the country is broken because we are allowing people to migrate, homosexuals to marry, and women to possess the same rights as men. Tuberville, though he is not holding a semi-automatic weapon and wearing tactical gear, still represents the philosophies of this militia.
As Trump rose to power in 2015 and then was elected in 2016, the country clearly did not think it was possible that he would be elected. After all, he lost the popular vote to Clinton by nearly 3 million votes. To those folks who might speculate that because Tuberville is only representing a “RED” state in a district that predominately elects Republicans, I ask you to take heed of what Tuberville can do as he methodically spends time in the Senate, proclaiming conspiracy theories about election fraud and doubts about how many Americans are suffering during COVID. The real question becomes: how do you avoid another disaster like Trump?
The answer? I’m not completely sure yet. Social media has allowed these conspiracy theories to spread like wildfire, and so many people have fallen victim to the vandalism of truth through these outlets. It is beginning to look more and more like an uphill battle. In the meantime, if the Democratic party can institute policy change, now that they have the majority, it should help to rein in the indispensable dysfunction caused during the last four years…
- Schrotenboer, Brent. “‘He’s had to do nothing to get it’: How Tuberville bult a double-digit lead from the sidelines.” Montgomery Advertiser. October 22, 2020. https://www.montgomeryadvertiser.com/story/news/politics/2020/10/22/tommy-tubberville-alabama-senate-campaign-doug-jones-substance/3725257001/. Accessed February 12, 2021.