OPINION: Doug Jones is the ‘more competent and helpful’ choice for U.S. Senate

Doug Jones, pictured middle, is the incumbent Senator from Alabama. (John Bazemore/AP) Doug Jones, pictured middle, is the incumbent Senator from Alabama. (John Bazemore/AP)

Arynn Williams, Correspondent

In November, the presidency isn’t the only office we’re voting for: Alabamians will vote in the senate race between Democrat Doug Jones and Republican Tommy Tuberville. 

For many, the name attached to the party hardly matters. Names mattered earlier in the year when Tuberville was fighting against Jeff Sessions in the Republican primary. Now, party versus party emerges as potentially the most important factor in the vote, but a candidate’s promises should matter, too.

I don’t think either candidate is a shining beacon of forthcoming change. Jones, my personal choice, falls short of the progressive candidate I hope to someday see in Alabama’s U.S. Senate seat. He maintains the status quo of his party and takes zero political risk (other than running as a Democrat in a red state, which is admirably brave, I suppose). On the other hand, Tuberville is hardly more than a Chatty Cathy doll, the string that makes him repeat the usual conservative talking points held firmly in Trump’s hand.

While I do believe Jones is a touch too moderate, I understand why. After decades of Republican-only representation, a moderate Democrat is undoubtedly the most liberal choice Alabama is capable of. Jones risks losing votes if he doesn’t adhere to a very moderate stance—the national nomination of Joe Biden over Bernie Sanders confirms this on a larger scale. If Jones doesn’t come out swinging on issues of abortion and gun control, perhaps he can be forgiven for being a politician. 

Still, Jones does offer a thorough list of goals and beliefs on his website that are important to Alabama specifically, which should be our senators’ first priority. His website lists his accomplishments, as well, which include many instances of bipartisan support; if Tuberville’s goal is to be as divisive as his rhetoric, then Jones’ goal is to get work done, even if by taking little steps at a time.

I can (and will) list reasons why I think Jones would be a more competent and helpful senator for our state, but I suggest doing personal research as well. Maybe start with comparing their websites! 

For instance, Jones lists his education priorities as helping fund education opportunities for minorities in Alabama and bringing reliable internet to rural areas—an important issue to address as Alabama ranks poorly in internet access, a problem that’s been made all the more obvious by COVID-19. Tuberville, however, mentions nothing of the sort and instead vaguely discusses the need for “school choice” and a need for charter schools. Not to state the obvious, but many parts of Alabama are not considered heavily populated, meaning that charter schools are not found in many parts of our state for a reason. It seems out of touch for Tuberville to specify a “need” for charter schools in his very brief description of his beliefs on education issues—in fact, it seems like nothing more than repetition of what he has learned are conservative hot button issues.

Many of his stances on issues listed on his website seem like that, actually; vague claims that he will fight for national sovereignty and call for investigation against “any attempt to discredit [Trump’s presidency]” make up the majority of Tuberville’s list of political stances. On Tuberville’s website, he has a page of ten issues important to his campaign and Trump is mentioned six times and various forms of the word president is used nine times. In comparison, Jones’ mentions both Trump and the word president exactly twice, both in reference to how he helped pass bipartisan bills that were signed into law.

Personally, I want to vote for someone whose beliefs go past loyalty to one president and instead addresses the most important part of our country: the citizens. And Tuberville is a bit undercooked on that front. Maybe instead of jumping straight to the senate, he should consider smaller political roles. Maybe he should run for mayor first. I mean, just because he agrees with Trump on every issue doesn’t mean he has to imitate the man—it’s entirely okay to have a little bit of political experience before you head all the way to Washington. In fact, it might even be a little helpful!

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