Thursday, November 07, 2019


The Washington Post's Amber Phillips seems not to grasp that Jeff Sessions is on a suicide mission.
Jeff Sessions dares Trump to flex his kingmaking abilities in Alabama

After being fairly timid amid the president’s attacks on him throughout his tenure as attorney general, Jeff Sessions is challenging President Trump in a bold way on his path back to power. And it’s not clear which giant of Republican politics is going to win.
Actually, it's 100% clear: Sessions is going to lose.
Trump’s former attorney general is expected to announce Thursday that he is running for Senate in Alabama....

Except Sessions must go straight through Trump....

This is not one we expect Trump to back down on.
That may be true, but Trump doesn't need to lift a finger to get the result he wants. Every Republican voter in Alabama knows that Sessions betrayed Dear Leader. Trump doesn't need to tell them not to vote for him (though he may relish the opportunity to do so). They follow the tenets of the MAGA True Faith, so they already know.
... Sessions really could be the biggest threat to Trump’s stature among Republicans — right as Trump needs his base to protect him from impeachment.
I don't know what point Phillips is making here -- Sessions as a candidate is going to lead a revolt against Trump? In Alabama? No, that's not going to happen. Maybe Sessions will get some votes from the subset of Alabama Republicans who don't watch Fox News fourteen hours a day, and are therefore less aware of Sessions's unperson status within conservatism. But Sessions won't dare to run against Trump. If he does, he's going to need a larger-than-average contingent of bodyguards.
Sessions enters a crowded primary field....
Yes, it is a crowded field. In addition to Sessions and Moore, there's Congressman Bradley Byrne, Alabama secretary of state John Merrill, state legislator Arnold Mooney, former businessman and televangelist Stanley Adair, and former Ole Miss and Auburn head football coach Tommy Tuberville. (This being Alabama, my money's on the football coach -- and, in fact, he led a poll conducted in June. Moore was in fourth place. Sessions wasn't included.)
Sessions is the biggest name to get into the race, and some in Washington had hoped his entrance would clear the decks to ensure that Moore would not win the GOP primary again.
See, that's the kind of naive thinking you get from mainstream-media pundits and Joe Biden -- that there's a pre-smashmouth, pre-Trump GOP just lying dormant and waiting to be revived by a figure outside Trump's orbit. (A) There isn't, and (B) Sessions wouldn't be the person to revive it. (If there's a post-Trump GOP, it will be made up of people who never speak ill of Trump and are just as nasty as he is, but they'll pursue the foreign policy of Ronald Reagan and Bush/Cheney. It won't be a bunch of nice people who are horrified by Trump.)
... But Byrne — much less an obstinate Moore, who got in this time without Trump’s blessing — and some others have not shown any sign they will get out for Sessions. “Alabama deserves a Senator who will stand with the president and won’t run away and hide from the fight,” Byrne said in a statement, taking a shot at Sessions.
See, that's how you have to talk if you want to win this race.
So now the race could divide Alabama Republicans even more, and Trump alone probably has the authority to help guide the primary the right way. Unless Republican voters don’t listen to him and choose Sessions over the president’s wishes.
Trump doesn't have to weigh in -- GOP voters in Alabama already know who's on his side (everyone in the race except Sessions, in all likelihood) and who isn't (although it won't surprise me if Sessions tries to praise Trump, in a futile effort to get back in the voters' good graces).
... If Sessions wins this primary, it raises the question: How much political capital does Trump have in Alabama, one of the most pro-Trump states in the nation?
Trump has a lot, which is why Sessions won't win.
What happens if Trump can’t unite Republican primary voters in Alabama around a candidate and then a problematic one like Moore, with a dedicated base, rises out of the chaos again? Could Republicans lose Alabama twice?
And would Trump be blamed for it?
Dear Leader? Alabama Republicans won't blame him for anything.

Look, it's possible that, in a crowded field like this, Sessions will eke out just enough votes to make it to the runoff that will take place if (as is likely) no candidate gets more than 50% of the vote. And maybe Sessions could win a runoff against Roy Moore.

But Moore isn't polling well, presumably because Alabama Republicans know he lost an unloseable race last time. So if Sessions squeaks into the runoff, he'll probably run against a Trump ass-kisser. And if so, he'll be trounced.
... And then there’s the question of how, if Sessions wins, he might be a thorn in the side of the president should both men find themselves in office after 2020.
If Sessions were somehow to win this race, I'm sure he'd be as lily-livered an antagonist as Mitt Romney.
... But we’re getting a bit ahead of ourselves. The first step in this battle for Republican titans happens March 3, when Alabama Republican voters, in effect, will have to choose between Sessions and Trump.
"Titans"? Try one Dear Leader, five toadies (probably), and Sessions. This won't end well for him.

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