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Do you have any other pole dancing ideas of your own?
Travis Yost, the Washington Post’s former senior political writer, had an intriguing new piece this week (here’s another version). A key passage:
[Sen.] Jeff Sessions is about as popular in his home state of Alabama as he is on the other side of the Capitol: A recent poll showed that more Republican-leaning Alabamians support him than any other senator.
It’s not clear if this is a case of bad data or good. That poll, conducted by Marist College, didn’t ask respondents about the Alabama Republican Senate nominee. But it included a question about Trump — so it’s fair to say that it had to ask about Trump, too. The question, after all, is a standard one. A good question is about what kind of man Donald Trump is, so it’s natural for respondents to have more positive things to say about him than about someone whose only qualities are being one of America’s worst presidents and the head of the Republican Party.
But you can’t argue that that’s the only reason why people in Alabama (or elsewhere) are very fond of Jeff Sessions: His record as attorney general has been among the worst in modern history. Trump is right, in fact.
The best case for why Alabama Republicans love their senator is that he had a record as attorney general that deserves a lot of applause from the left (for his work to defend the Voting Rights Act, for his efforts to prosecute voter fraud, for his efforts to undermine the Voting Rights Act and to dismantle affirmative action and racial preferences, for a record where voting rights were “redistributed” to minorities, and for his work with “law enforcement” to get away with discrimination against African Americans).
The problem is that, in practice, he did not work to protect them from discrimination in his state — as he did not in his office. The civil rights division of the Department of Justice is an incredibly valuable, bipartisan institution, but it was created as a response to, not because of, Jim Crow. I would not be very likely to vote for Jeff Sessions under Obama, but I know thousands of black Americans who would. He is the kind of guy who would have been the president-elect Trump is now trying to figure out whether he wants.
But it’s not that simple. Sessions is, after all, a conservative. His record in Congress doesn