Thursday, November 8, 2018

Jeff Sessions reportedly is planning a return to Alabama politics and the U.S. Senate, following his unceremonious ouster as Donald Trump's AG

Donald Trump and Jeff Sessions
(Updated at 9:30 a.m. on 11/8/18)

Less than 24 hours after Alabama voters essentially gave "two thumbs up" to corrupt politics, the man who is largely responsible for the state's toxic political culture was forced to resign as the nation's top law-enforcement official.

Now, we have news that Sessions is expected to return to state politics. From a report this morning at Alabama Political Reporter (APR):

Now-former Attorney General Jeff Sessions is reportedly eyeing a return to politics in the Yellowhammer State.

After Sessions announced his forced resignation Wednesday, two people familiar with his thinking told Politico that he is considering a run for his old seat as Alabama’s junior senator.

The seat is up for another election in 2020.

Democrat Doug Jones currently holds Sessions' old Senate seat. Here are details from the Politico report:

Former Attorney General Jeff Sessions is considering running for his old Alabama Senate seat in 2020, according to two people familiar with his thinking.

Sessions was fired as attorney general Wednesday, less than 24 hours after Republicans lost control of the House of Representatives in the midterm elections. President Donald Trump had publicly savaged Sessions throughout his tenure, and his dismissal had long been expected.

After Sessions left the Senate in 2017, his vacated seat was won by Democrat Doug Jones in a special election upset. Jones is up for a full term in 2020, and he is widely viewed as the most vulnerable incumbent senator facing reelection given Alabama’s conservative tilt. Republicans are certain to contest the seat aggressively as they look to protect their majority. 
Former Republican Sen. Luther Strange, who was temporarily appointed to Sessions’ former seat, took to Twitter on Wednesday evening to encourage a comeback bid. 
“Jeff Sessions for Senate in 2020!” Strange wrote.

Would Sessions cruise back into his old Senate spot. Politico says the answer is "not necessarily":

Sessions, who spent two decades in the Senate, is practically a household name in his home state, and speculation has been simmering for weeks within Alabama political circles that he might seek a return. Yet, party officials stress that the 71-year-old Sessions wouldn’t necessarily face a clear path should he wage a comeback. Trump’s relentless attacks on the former attorney general, they say, have taken a toll on his popularity in the state.

And others are certain to be interested in running. GOP Rep. Bradley Byrne is widely talked about as a potential contender.

A small detail -- that Sessions lied multiple times to Congress about his interactions with Russian interests during the 2016 presidential campaign -- seems to be left out of the political calculus. Also ignored is evidence that the Alabama State Bar is providing cover for Sessions by ignoring bar complaints based on his false statements to Congress.

Doug Jones
As for Wednesday's news, how ironic is it that Donald Trump would fire Jeff Sessions as U.S. attorney general so soon after voters gave the Alabama Republican Party -- largely forged in Sessions' smarmy, crooked image -- resounding victories in yesterday's midterm elections. As a citizen who repeatedly has been cheated in the dysfunctional legal and political environment that Sessions helped create, I find it highly ironic that "the Evil Elf" now is being shown the door for failing to adequately protect a man -- who likely will go down as the most corrupt president in U.S. history -- from criminal investigation.

If anyone has the off-kilter moral compass to protect a glorified mobster like Donald Trump, it's Jeff Sessions. After all, he essentially created the postmodern era of political prosecutions in the "Heart of Dixie." But even Sessions could not ignore the mountain of evidence that he was connected to Russian election meddling in 2016 -- and, in fact, has been tied to the Russian mafia and its oligarchs while serving as U.S. senator -- and thus, had no choice but to recuse himself from the Trump-Russia investigation of Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

In a brazen attempt to derail the Mueller investigation, Trump had to find someone -- since Sessions could not do it -- to protect him from being held accountable for selling out his country to Vladimir Putin. In short, Sessions' No. 1 political talent is cheating, but forced to remove himself from anything involving the Mueller probe, he was useless as a cheater on Trump's behalf.

Now, THAT"S irony, but it doesn't end there. Consider the schizophrenic actions of Alabama voters in recent days: In a poll published Oct. 28, they said government corruption and ethics were their top concerns going into the midterms. So what did they do? By sizable majorities, they decided at least four statewide races by choosing candidates -- all Republicans -- with clear ties to corrupt politicians. Here is a rundown:

* Governor -- Kay Ivey swamped Democratic challenger Walt Maddox, 61 to 39 percent. Ivey has been paying the legal fees of her scandal-plagued predecessor, Robert "Luv Guv Bentley, even though state law does not require it. Ivey long has been aligned with former Gov. Bob Riley, the Big Kahuna of Alabama corruption. Does any of that bother Alabama voters, who supposedly are concerned about unethical government? Apparently not.

Kay Ivey and Walt Maddox
* Attorney General -- Steve Marshall defeated Democrat Joseph Siegelman, 60-40 percent, even though Marshall was appointed to the position by the hideously corrupt Bentley -- in exchange for a promise to investigate prosecutors in the case of former House Speaker Mike Hubbard. On top of that, Marshall accepted more than $700,000 in apparently unlawful campaign contributions from the Republican Attorneys General Association (RAGA). Marshall could be prosecuted and removed from office, pronto, but that doesn't seem to trouble Alabama voters in the least.

* Alabama Supreme Court, Chief Justice -- Tom Parker easily defeated Democrat Robert Vance, 58-42 percent -- and that actually was the closest of these races. Parker long has been an ally of former Chief Justice Roy Moore, who was booted from the bench for directing lower-court judges to decline to issue same-sex marriage licenses in defiance of a U.S. Supreme Court ruling. In fairness to voters, they had no good choice in this race. Vance is nothing but a stooge for large corporate law firms, such as Maynard Cooper Gale, Balch Bingham, Adams and Reese/Lange Simpson.

* Alabama Supreme Court, Place 4 -- Jay Mitchell defeated Democrat Donna Smalley, 61-39 percent, even though he is directly tied to Mike Hubbard, who arguably is the poster boy for smelly political deals. As a partner at Maynard Cooper Gale, Mitchell was one of the architects of Hubbard's failed (so far) criminal appeal. Being tied to one of the most corrupt politicos in modern Alabama history did not hurt Mitchell's chances with voters.

How does a reasonable person even begin to explain all of the above? Well, some might claim large chunks of the Alabama electorate are ill-informed, backward, racist, or just plain dense -- and I would not necessarily argue with any of that.

But I think it goes deeper than any of those explanations. I think there is a more wide-ranging answer to what ails Alabama -- and many other states. We will address that in an upcoming post.

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