Roy Moore, Gay Marriage, And The HoloHoax: Alabama Goes To The Polls

Alabamians came out and voted yesterday. The national take was pretty straightforward: incumbent governor Bob Riley beats Roy Moore, while citizens overwhelmingly approve gay marriage ban. But when you look more closely at a few numbers, things look more complicated. Consider:

Roy Moore (in the Republican primary) had, at last count, 153,373 votes. Opponents of the constitutional ban on gay marriage (an issue on both Democratic and Republican ballots) grabbed 170,399 votes.

This tells us that there were more people opposing a gay marriage ban than supporting Roy Moore. This suggests that support for Moore’s version of religious government might actually be weaker than support for the possibility of gay marriage. (It is possible that some Moore supporters didn’t vote in the Republican primary. However, it was an open primary, and one would think Moore supporters would have been pretty motivated to vote Republican irrespective of their party affiliation.) For the rest of the nation, the 4-1 support for a gay marriage ban will be further proof that Alabama is completely retrograde. But I wonder what the vote on this would have been five years ago. And while 170,000 people is nowhere near a political majority, it is a significant number both as a starting point for social change, and as a potential community for progressives.

Another interesting vote tally: Holocaust denying Libertarian turned Democrat, Larry Darby, snared 162,420 votes in the race for attorney general. (He lost 54-46 percent.) More people supported the man who called the Holocaust the HoloHoax than supported Roy Moore.

Alabama is a complicated place. This vote confirms my sense that the state is home to greater political disparity than almost any other state. The most curious part is that almost everyone – left and right, tolerant and not – still shops at Wal-Mart, still enjoys the same barbeque joints (and sweet tea), and still thinks that those darn condescending Northerners should get their own house in order before they come complaining about how Alabamians live their lives.

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8 Responses

  1. A. Plant says:

    This is, I think, another good explanation for the Darby performance based on the county-by-county results. Sorry that it’s so long, but that’s what you get when you try to explain the unexplainable.

    The big wins for Tyson were in the Mobile media market. No surprise there. Clarke County (home to Thomasville and Grove Hill, north of Mobile by 1+ hr.) was about as far as his blowout win reach went. In counties that would typically earn him at least 80% of their votes–the Black Belt counties and in the more high-income dem voter areas like Tuscaloosa and Madison Counties–did not produce that type of yield. His best performace from this sample was the 68% he got in Perry County. That leads me to believe that minority voters weren’t adequately informed about this race. Specifically, Tyson may not have gotten the type of endorsements from the Alabama Democratic Conference (ADC) and the New South Coalition that he needed. Both ADC and New South sponsor voter guides that are handed out near polling places on election day. That should’ve turned the 70% undecided number from the polling last weekend into about a 80-20 split of undecided likely Dem primary voters polled who actually ended up casting ballots for Tyson. A split of undecideds like that would’ve meant a blowout win.

    I think that there are two more reasons for Darby’s undeservedly strong showing. First, counties where it’s possible that folks bought into his whole “lynch illegal immigrants” platform gave him strong numbers. Darby won Etowah County (the “Moore-on” homeland) and Marshall County (Albertville, Guntersville–lots of illegals working in the chicken farms and plants there), and he ran close in Cullman County. I don’t necessarily think that the anti-immigrant platform was enough to win these counties alone, and I would not attribute that type of racism to those voters. But the numbers indicate that he got more traction there based on legit issue information.

    Second, the uninformed voter problem really showed itself in that race. Voters in North Alabama that typically would not support Darby probably voted for him by default, rather than no-voted, based on the demographics of the county and the local races. For example, Madison County has the second-most Ph.D.s per capita in the nation (behind Silicon Valley, Cal.) and had a state Senate race that was won by the clearly more liberal candidate (Parker Griffith’s main issue was universal healthcare in an Ala. Senate primary, and he won 64-36). Yet Darby won Madison County by 52-48. The numbers show that uninformed voters cast ballots in the race: there were 18,427 votes cast in Madison County state Senate Dem primary races, and about 14,500 cast in the AG Dem primary race. Only about 4000 folks thought that they didn’t know enough to vote, others just picked one of the two. Reliable Dem voters in NW Alabama also gave Darby strong support for no apparent reason. Even Montgomery County, where there are more political types and minority voters in the Dem primary–the ideal folks Tyson should have won–Tyson only won 58-42, rather than the 75-25 margin he should have taken against a candidate like Darby.

    I tried this out anecdotally this morning. One of the guys that works with me and votes in a downtown Birmingham precinct should have been a Tyson voter. I held up an unmarked sample ballot and asked which one he would pick. His answer, “Umm, I don’t know–Darby?” I have other anecdotal evidence from yesterday from an otherwise informed voter–the type of person Tyson should always win–that got a little confused by the low name ID of both candidates. Some folks likely picked the first name on the ballot.

    John Tyson’s bide-my-time philosophy just did not work. He should’ve made inroads in North Alabama media markets, and he was grossly negligent in failing to work the media anywhere from Montgomery north. He has no one to blame for this close call with a white supremacist and Holocaust denier but himself, because nobody knew who he was on election day other than the folks that knew him already. I realize that this down-ballot race didn’t get a lot of publicity, but Tyson had a prime opportunity to change that by informing folks about the strange brew of crazy his opponent practiced. The candidate has to make voters care, and John Tyson didn’t do that.

  2. Simon says:


    Your post is a little confusing. I think the actual numbers are probably more instructive:

    735,057 people voted for the amendment, while 169,777 voted against it.

    153,376 people voted for Roy Moore, while 306,383 voted for Bob Riley.

    459,759 people voted for either Riley or Moore, and if you add up the total votes for all seven candidates in the Democratic primary, you get 465,023 people. A total of 924,782 voted in either the GOP or Democratic gubernatorial primary, and a total of 904,834 voted one way or another on the amendment. This is close enough, I think, that we can say that the people who voted in one primary or the other were also voting on the amendment while they were there – in other words, in the overwhelming majority of cases, the folks who voted for the amendment didn’t just show up and vote for the amendment, they showed up, voted for the amendment, and voted in one or the other gubernatorial primary. Right?

    Well, if all that’s fair and accurate, that means that a little more than half of the folks who voted in the Democratic primary voted for the amendment. I mean, where else are those 270,298 extra votes coming from? This is terrible news for proponents of homosexual marriage. I mean, I don’t know what inference can be drawn from this other than that the number of people who support the gay marriage ban are considerably greater than just those who vote Republican.

  3. Jane Green says:

    I voted for Mr. Darby. Despite the various attempts to explain away his remarkable achievement, the fact remains that he was the only candidate who offered solutions to serious problems. The independent minded Democratic voters saw through the Jewish-Marxist claptrap of the major newspapers and the corrupt Democratic party leadership, all of whom worked right up to election night to dissuade voters from voting for Darby’s pro-Alabama platform. His campaign was not about the “holyhoax”, that was an issue invented by the Jewish Associated Press.

  4. Simon says:

    Dan, I wrote a comment to this post yesterday afternoon – did it go into the moderation Q, or did it get eaten by the software?

  5. A. Plant says:

    As I posted yesterday, I thought that the non-endorsement of John Tyson Jr. by ADC could explain Tyson’s unreasonably poor showing. This is from the Thursday edition of the Mobile Press-Register, and confirms that theory:

    Two days before the primary, Joe Reed, the chairman for the Alabama Democratic Conference, said that the caucus was not endorsing Tyson because of how he prosecuted David Thomas Jr., a black former Mobile County school board member. Thomas was ousted from his board position May 4 after Tyson’s office brought impeachment charges against him for using school funds to buy Mardi Gras beads.

    And I’m glad that Jane Green posted. It’s good to know that there are at least some folks who are honest enough to say that they voted for a deplorable candidate on purpose. I admire her candor, even if I think that Darby’s proposed “solution” to the “serious problem[]” of illegal immigration–his phrase was “public hangings of Mexicans” (notes: [1] no distinction between legal immigrants, Americans of Mexican descent, and illegals; [2] this dovetails nicely with his white supremacist ideology–intellectual consistency a plus; and [3] no word on why Hondurans are spared)–is both offensive and absurd. There is no possible way, however, that there are 162,627 others like her in this state.

  6. Cousin Dave says:

    A. Plant: I can tell you that I never saw a single ad by either AG candidate in Huntsville media. So I think your theory about uninformed voters is spot-on.

  7. bill says:

    A. Plant wrote: “There is no possible way, however, that there are 162,627 others like [Jane Green] in this state.”

    Really? There are 4 million plus people in Alabama. Given its extremely retrograde past and relative present, do you really think there are less than 163,000 people who believe Jews and Jewish media are “keeping them down”?

    Just in case the unwarranted Alabama-boosterism has bamboozled anyone, it’s worth remembering that Alabama was the last state to repeal its law banning interracial marriages (that means you Justice Thomas) — and 40% of Alabamians voted to keep the ban in that referendum.

    That was 2000. If 40% of contemporary Alabamians believe that the state should step in and stop an individual African American from marrying an individual white American, it seems easily believable that 80% of Alabamians believe the state should stop two guys from marrying.

  8. Humpty Dumpty says:

    How dare anyone question the official party line on WWII. . . The nerve of him, that Darby-devil.

    And how dare Alabama voters make a pro forma stand against the removal of the anti-miscegenation amendment. I say, if a federal judge declares it ok, then by all means, miscegenate. All power to the D.C. States rights and state pride are things of the past. Assilimate, and never, ever question the justification for modern Israeli occupation of palestine!