Bannon: Alabama begins ‘day of reckoning’ (with TN ramifications?)

The results of today’s Alabama Republican U.S. Senate primary may have ramifications in other states, including Tennessee, according to a Politico report that focuses on a Monday speech by Steve Bannon, former chief strategist for President Donald Trump, in supporting Roy Moore over Luther Strange.

“For Mitch McConnell and Ward Baker and Karl Rove and Steven Law — all the instruments that tried to destroy Judge Moore and his family — your day of reckoning is coming,” Bannon said, referring to the Republican Senate leader and a trio of prominent GOP strategists backing incumbent Sen. Luther Strange. “But more important, for the donors who put up the [campaign] money and the corporatists that put up the money, your day of reckoning is coming, too.”

With polls showing Moore leading comfortably, the event was an early victory lap of sorts for the nationalist ex-Trump adviser. Since departing the White House last month, he’s made electing Moore — a like-minded, pugilistic outsider — the first of what he hopes will be many pet projects to oust “globalist” Republican incumbents. Bannon broke with his ex-boss, President Donald Trump — who traveled to the state last week to campaign for Strange — and suggested Monday that the president was duped into supporting the incumbent.

Bannon said mainstream Republicans behind Strange’s campaign regard Alabama voters as “a pack of morons. They think you’re nothing but rubes. They have no interest at all in what you have to say, what you have to think or what you want to do. And tomorrow, you’re gonna get an opportunity to tell them what you think of the elites who run this country!”

…“Mitch McConnell and his permanent political class is the most corrupt, incompetent group of individuals in this country!” Bannon said to loud applause.

Perhaps sensitive to the perception that he was rebuking the president, the former White House chief strategist insisted that it was Moore, not Strange, would do the most to back the Trump agenda. “We did not come here to defy Donald Trump, we came here to praise and honor him,” he said.

A Moore win, Bannon has argued, would open the floodgates for anti-incumbent primary challengers across the map. He has also zeroed in on looming Senate primaries in states where GOP incumbents are up for reelection, including Arizona, Nevada, Tennessee and Mississippi.

Note: Ward Baker, veteran Tennessee political operative mentioned by Bannon, has signed on to run Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker’ reelection campaign – though Corker still hasn’t officially decided whether he’ll seek reelection or not. Corker is backing Strange.

UPDATE/Note 2: See also Tennessee Star’s election-day report on the contest  between “conservative grassroots champion Judge Roy Moore” and “establishment pick Senator Luther Strange.” An excerpt:

Should Roy Moore emerge as the Republican nominee for the U.S. Senate in Alabama after all the votes are counted, that outcome will likely send shock waves across the Republican establishment in Washington, and be particular cause for concern for four U.S. Senators who have opposed President Trump’s agenda, at varying levels, who are up for re-election in 2018 and are likely to draw conservative grassroots challengers.

Senator Roger Wicker (R-MS), Senator Dean Heller (R-NV), and Senator Jeff Flake (R-AZ) are three of those four targeted Republican establishment senators.

The fourth targeted senator is the one who generates most interest among readers of The Tennessee Star: Senator Bob Corker (R-TN).

The same grassroots forces who have rallied around Judge Roy Moore and against Luther Strange in Alabama will, on the morning after the Alabama election, focus all their efforts in Mississippi, Nevada, Arizona, and Tennessee to identify the conservative challenger with the best chance to defeat the next targeted establishment Republican senator, raise money for the challengers, and raise money for organizations that will oppose the incumbent.

In Tennessee one conservative challenger has already announced he will be a candidate to defeat Corker in the August 2018 Republican U.S. Senate primary: Andy Ogles, the former head of the Tennessee chapter of Americans for Prosperity.

2 Responses to Bannon: Alabama begins ‘day of reckoning’ (with TN ramifications?)

  • Stuart I. Anderson says:

    There originally were ten Republicans running in the August Alabama primary – probably the vast majority of them conservative to one degree or another. What we are witnessing today in Alabama, the coalescing of conservative votes behind one candidate, the final victor to be chosen by majority rather than plurality of votes is made possible only because Alabama has runoff elections.

    The absence of runoffs in Tennessee favors incumbents and the middle of the road Republican establishment. How long before Tennessee conservatives demand to have runoffs in this state too?

  • David Price III says:

    The trick will be to coalesce around only one candidate or its a fools errand.

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Former Knoxville News Sentinel capitol bureau chief Tom Humphrey writes about Tennessee politics, government, and legislative news.
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