GOP should not be about Trump

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Scott Shelton

Sports Editor

This Tuesday, voters in the state of Alabama will vote in the primary to decide who will compete in the presidential race.

Before I talk about some of the elections, I think it’s most important to encourage everyone of any political view to get out and vote. 

Voting is the best way to make your voice heard and is the best way to get the change you want to see happen.

Voter participation in the Alabama primaries is very low. Since 2012, the highest voter turnout rate in a primary was 41% in 2016, according to Alabama’s Secretary of State office. In other years, that number went as low as 21%.

This primary will be the first held on Super Tuesday, so Alabama’s primary means a lot more than in past years when the it was held much later in June. 

But, despite a presidential primary, there is a race that will have a deeper impact on Alabama but still have an impact on the nation.

Democratic Senator Doug Jones is on the ballot this year and is considered to be one of the most vulnerable senators in this November’s general election. 

The top three Republicans gunning for his seat include Jeff Sessions, who used to hold this seat, former college football coach Tommy Tuberville and Rep. Bradley Byrne.

As seen by the number of ads on television, radio and social media, the Republican primary just like in 2017, seems to be just as much about Trump as it is the actual issues of our country.

When Sessions announced his Senate campaign, every single second of his first television advertisement was about his support for Trump, as if it were an advertisement for the president’s re-election.

The only way to tell his ad was for the U.S. Senate was by the logo for his senate campaign on the screen. 

Sessions seeking the president’s approval is not surprising, but it’s still bizarre to me. 

After Sessions recused himself from investigations into Russia’s election meddling, Trump berated and humiliated Sessions for a long time, and the president’s resentment for him still holds true today.

Trump himself said his life would have been a lot easier if he had appointed current Attorney General William Barr over Sessions.

But, to his credit, whatever Sessions is doing must be working because in a recent survey by Mason-Dixon Polling earlier this month, Sessions narrowly leads Tuberville 31% to 29%.

If that result happens on Tuesday, then a runoff will occur, and the adulation of the president is likely to escalate between the two remaining candidates. 

Talking about the president in a state where his approval rating is among the highest in the country is normal, but the biggest topic in a race shouldn’t be seeking a president’s endorsement. 

But the days of normal political times are over and have been since the 2016 election.

If history means anything, these candidates should be trying to avoid the president’s support considering Trump’s initial endorsement, Luther Strange, lost in the 2017 Republican primary. Then, Trump endorsed Roy Moore, who lost in the general election.

I can’t help but wonder what will happen in 2022 when Sen. Richard Shelby is up for re-election. Will he make his campaign all about Trump, too, or will it have substance with issues?

It’s my hope that making elections about the president stops after this year.

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