Roy Moore Was Not Kicked Out For Disobeying The Law

As an Alabama voter, I am seeing a lot of people claiming that Roy Moore doesn’t “respect the law” or that he disobeyed the Constitution somehow. Ironically, many of the people making these claims are so-called “conservatives” or “republicans” that are simply parroting left-wing talking points. However, regardless of any propaganda, these facts are blatantly false.

Roy Moore did not get “kicked out of office for violating the law.” He just didn’t. That’s not even close to being true.

Want to know the truth? Roy Moore was kicked out of office by the Judicial Inquiry Commission – a mostly unelected board of attorneys that was appointed by now-convicted criminals. These are primarily business lobby-backed appointments. They issued their ruling in response to a complaint by a far-left activist group, the SPLC. If you’re a person that complains about money in politics, you need to realize that the Roy Moore decision was 100% driven by big money interests – special interest PACs, big businesses, and lobbyists took him down, not a heroic group of respectable judges.

Why was he removed from office in the first place, though? Well, supposedly, it’s because he defied the Supreme Court by ordering Probate Judges to not issue gay marriage licenses. However, that is a false narrative.

The Supreme Court ruling (Obergfell v. Hodges) overturned several state laws that were being challenged. However, no Alabama law was being challenged in the Obergfell case. Therefore, Alabama law does currently still prohibit Probate Judges from issuing same-sex marriage licenses. Did Obergfell open the door for our law to be challenged? Yes. Has it been overturned? No. Therefore, Roy Moore was technically correct, and therefore, there were no legal grounds for removing him as Chief Justice. He had an obligation to enforce the law, and he upheld that obligation.

Let’s face it. When it comes to Roy Moore, Liberals aren’t really concerned with the “supremacy clause,” or the supposed universal authority of the Federal Government over state government. If Roy Moore was a Democrat that had defied the federal government on one of their pet issues, they’d be hailing him as a hero.

If Roy Moore had ordered judges to stop punishing drug offenders while elected as a Democrat, liberals would be throwing him a parade. If the sides of the Obergfell ruling were reversed, they’d be doing the same. This pretense that it’s about a respect for federal law is just a smokescreen. They hate conservative values. That’s all this is. I respect their right to disagree. But that’s what this is, a political disagreement. Not a legal one. if he’d done what he did for the liberals, they’d be defending him as energetically as they are now attacking him. Their anger is about opposing values, not legal procedure.

Now, before you accuse me of looking at this from a biased perspective – I actually support legalizing gay marriage. Or, more accurately, I support removing government from the marriage process entirely. It is not the role of government to regulate the personal or family lives of its citizens. Personally, I believe that marriage is a wholly religious institution – a lifelong covenant between two people and God. Other people have their own definition of marriage, and I have no intention of telling them that they can’t practice their beliefs. That’s the beautiful thing about living in America, all religions and belief systems are (or should be) respected. I agree with the Obergfell decision that those state laws should have been overturned. It’s safe to say that I disagree with Roy Moore on the marriage issue from both a theological and political perspective. However, my personal views on this matter have no bearing on the actual legal facts of the case.

Roy Moore (agree with him or not) followed the law, and was punished for doing so. Not only that, he was punished by everyone that conservatives and libertarians claim to hate – the SPLC, special interest PACs, corrupt politicians, and big corporate lobbyists. Hate him if you want, but at least get your facts straight.

Now, can someone in Colbert County please bring me a Roy Moore yard sign? My old one was damaged.

Trey Edwards is a digital media consultant in Alabama that has managed over 40 winning non-incumbent Republican campaigns. 

Randy Brinson: Governor Should Call For Ethics Hearing On Luther Strange

NEW: Following our article last Friday about the Alabama Ethics Commission delaying their hearing on possibly felony campaign finance violations by Senator Luther Strange until the day after his special election on the 15th, one of his opponents – Dr. Randy Brinson – announced a press conference for this afternoon. We streamed it live on our Facebook Page here and here, or you can watch it on Brinson’s page here. The press conference was held on the steps of the Alabama State Capitol.

At today’s press conference, Dr. Brinson called for Governor Kay Ivey to ask the Alabama Ethics Commission to hold their hearing on the report filed by Secretary of State John Merrill as soon as possible, preferably on the originally scheduled date – this Wednesday, August 2nd. The Ethics Commission had a regularly scheduled meeting on that date, but quietly rescheduled it to the 16th with little fanfare. The 16th is the day after the election in which Luther Strange faces 10 opponents in a special election Republican primary. Senator Strange has been dogged by repeated accusations of corruption from many sources since his suspect appointment by now-convicted criminal and former Governor Robert Bentley, after halting the impeachment proceedings against the Governor for over 6 months while he was Attorney General. Brinson, Bentley, Strange, Ivey, and Merrill are all Republicans, as is every other elected statewide official in Alabama. Yesterday, Alabama State Auditor Jim Zeigler posted a snarky tweet directed at the sitting US Senator:

Click Image To View Tweet

“The Ethics Committee has a duty to the people of the state of Alabama to rule on this issue before the election,” Brinson said. “…if the Ethics Commission cannot resolve this before the election, then we need to seriously consider postponing this election, or we risk having it voided after the fact.” He continued, “… Luther Strange voters, more than any other, need to know if the man they are voting for will be facing a prison term the day after the election. They need to know if their vote will go to a man who will resign before the runoff.” “…There is a referral from the Secretary of State before the Ethics Commission. It is almost identical to the charges that forced Robert Bentley to resign.”

“As the concerns about Strange are very similar to those against Bentley, a similar outcome is very likely. Should this occur, and Strange choose to withdraw from the campaign, those voters who cast their ballots for him would be effectively disenfranchised.”

Randy Brinson has previously been outspoken about the allegations surrounding Luther Strange that we have covered in detail over the past few months. He has referred to Senator Strange as “Mr. Corruption” on the campaign trail and in press conferences.

After his press conference was concluded, Dr. Brinson walked up the stairs of the State Capitol and down the hall to the office of the Governor, where he personally delivered a written letter requesting her immediate action on the matter. He then delivered an identical letter to Secretary of State John Merrill, and sent a letter by Certified Mail to the office of the Alabama Ethics Commission.

Luther Strange & Robert Bentley

Earlier this year, John Merrill filed a nearly identical complaint against then-Governor Bentley, regarding nearly identical violations of the state’s campaign finance laws. That complaint was heard within 90 days, and was immediately referred over for prosecution. The report in question against Luther Strange was filed almost exactly 90 days from the original meeting scheduled for the 2nd. For a more detailed outline of the potential violations committed by Luther Strange, read our previous article on the matter. After the Ethics Committee’s ruling, Governor Bentley immediately negotiated a plea deal with prosecutors and resigned, pleading guilty to both crimes and agreeing to, among other things, pay hefty fines and never run for office again. According to Brinson, without these actions by Merrill and the Ethics Commission, the Alabama voters would have had to spend “untold thousands” of dollars and weeks of precious legislative time going through a lengthy impeachment process. Brinson is asking that Senator Strange be given the same treatment.

Randy Brinson (website) is currently polling in 4th or 5th place depending on who you listen to. He is a veteran, a business owner, and a doctor. He has been endorsed by Roger Stone and Citizens For Trump. Other candidates include Roy Moore, Mo Brooks, Trip Pittman, Bryan Peeples, Mary Maxwell, and more. If no candidate gets over 50% of the vote, the top two vote getters will advance to a runoff election. The Democratic primary and runoff is being held concurrently.

What do you think about this? Share and Tweet this article and tag @resurgent with your thoughts! Use #alpolitics and #alsen to join the conversation on Twitter surrounding this Senate special election.

Alabama Ethics Commission Delays Hearing On Luther Strange Finance Violations

Over the past few months, we here at The Resurgent have been covering the corruption surrounding newly appointed US Senator Luther Strange in great detail. Now, The Resurgent has learned that the hearing on multiple alleged campaign finance violations committed by Luther Strange have been mysteriously delayed until the day after the special election primary in which he is running to keep the seat he was appointed to by former Governor Robert Bentley, who pled guilty to multiple crimes earlier this year. This hearing was scheduled to occur on August 2nd, but has been quietly postponed until August 16th, the day immediately following the election on the 15th.

Luther Strange & Robert Bentley

Luther Strange is the former Alabama Attorney General, and was appointed to be a US Senator after the man who previously held that spot, Jeff Sessions, was appointed by Trump as the nation’s Attorney General. Strange was appointed to the Senate by now-convicted criminal and former Governor Robert Bentley, after Strange actively sought to halt the impeachment proceedings against the Governor for more than six months. Since then, scandal after scandal has come out surrounding the unelected Senator, all while he is fighting for his political survival in a special election that was called by the new Governor, Kay Ivey. Ivey called a special election because former Governor Bentley had refused to hold one, in violation of state law. By refusing to hold the special election on schedule, Bentley gave Senator Strange months to raise millions and cozy up to Mitch McConnell, who is now spending more than $2.4 Million of NRSC money to protect him in a heated primary against 10 Republican opponents.

Approximately 90 days ago, there was a new development in the case against Luther Strange that went largely under the radar: the Alabama Secretary of State’s office filed a report with the Alabama Ethics Commission stating that two expenses filed by Luther Strange’s campaign were both outside the window in which expenses are permissible, and were also over the maximum limit for those kinds of expenses. At the time, Secretary of State John Merrill, also a Republican, told ALReporter,

“That is not a permissible expense and it exceeds the amount that could be given even if it were within the correct time frame. There are two violations there.”

These violations are both felonies according to Alabama law.

According to Strange’s campaign, these expenses have to do with Luther Strange transferring the domain names for his website from his state account to his federal account. However, this claim is suspicious, as the amount of the transaction is over $1,400. Annual domain fees generally vary in the $10-40 range. Normally, it would be assumed that he was buying a batch of domain names similar to his website address, but a statement from his attorneys in a Yellowhammer News article specifically says it was the purchase of “two web domains at fair market value.” These attorneys, – Megan Sowards Newton and Benjamin L. Ginsberg of the high powered DC law firm Jones Day, have a history of working for establishment GOP Congressmen and Senators. Megan Sowards Newton is the former General Counsel for the NSRC, Mitch McConnell’s organization that is spending millions of Republican dollars to protect the unelected Luther Strange – in a primary, in a solid Republican state. Not only that, but the NSRC has been actively intimidating and threatening any consultants or campaign contractors that have gone to work for any of the other Republican candidates running. It is uncertain exactly how Mitch McConnell’s high powered lawyer friends were unable to achieve a delay in this ethics hearing for his friend Luther Strange, and it is unlikely that we will ever know, as the proceedings have been shrouded from the public eye. In fact, the announcement that the meeting was rescheduled was not widely broadcast, but simply quietly posted up on their website. Below is a screenshot, just in case it mysteriously disappears in the near future:

Now, officially, we do not know for certain that the hearing on this particular case was on the agenda for the August 2nd meeting of the Alabama Ethics Commission, as that agenda has not been publicized. However, The Resurgent did reach out to the Secretary of State’s office and verify the facts:

  1. A report was filed with the Alabama Ethics Commission approximately 90 days before the August 2nd meeting was scheduled.
  2. There has been no hearing on the report yet.
  3. The rescheduling of this meeting of the Alabama Ethics Commission to August 16th guarantees that the matter will not be heard before the election on August 15th.
Former Governor Robert Bentley’s Mugshot

Legally, the Alabama Ethics Commission has up to one year before hearing a complaint filed against a public official. However, there is a recent precedent for holding the hearing before the election. Earlier this year, after Secretary of State John Merrill filed a similar report regarding Governor Robert Bentley’s campaign finances on Feb 3rd, a hearing was held by the Alabama Ethics Commission within 90 days – on April 10th, right as the impeachment proceedings against the Governor were beginning. The evidence was nearly identical to the case against Luther Strange, as is the language used by Secretary of State Merrill, who at the time called Governor Bentley’s violations “not a permissible expenditure.” These violations were turned over to the District Attorney for prosecution, who immediately negotiated a plea deal with Bentley in which he pled guilty to both campaign finance violations, stepped down from office, and agreed to significant fines and community service. The impeachment proceedings were abandoned, Kay Ivey was sworn into office, and the state was finally able to move forward. The Ethics Commission’s quick and decisive action in that case saved the taxpayers a significant amount of time and money. Now, however, they have abandoned the precedent they themselves set, and appear to be allowing this election to move forward with no resolution on the highly pertinent ethics complaints filed by the Secretary of State’s office. This is a violation of the due process rights of the victims of this crime – in this case, each and every individual voter in the state of Alabama. The general public has a constitutional right to a speedy trial, and deserves to know whether or not the sitting US Senator has violated the law before heading to the polls on the 15th.

US Senate Candidate Randy Brinson

To make matters worse, all of this is going on while Luther Strange is having to answer questions about yet another alleged scandal. He was recently implicated in a conspiracy by some of the biggest corporate political donors in the state to bribe legislators and public officials to oppose an EPA Superfund project. After State Representative Oliver Robinson recently struck a deal and pled guilty to taking a six-figure bribe, fellow State Representative John Rogers told US Senate candidate Randy Brinson on the record that he, too, was offered a bribe – and that Luther Strange was present at the time. In fact, in an 18-month period while Luther Strange was using his position as Attorney General to actively campaign against the proposed EPA Superfund project, he received a total of $75,000 in campaign contributions from the people who Oliver Robinson pled guilty to taking a bribe from. After promising to hold a press conference to that effect alongside Randy Brinson, Rogers backed out at the last minute and started telling reporters that he’d never said such a thing – apparently unaware that multiple additional people were listening to the phone call. It really makes you wonder who got to him, and what he was threatened with. Reports from political operatives close to the situation tell The Resurgent that Rogers was visibly shaken after being contacted by the people he previously claimed had attempted to bribe him. These sources tell The Resurgent that he has since disappeared completely from the public eye and refused to speak to anyone about the matter. You can read the news articles about this event as it unfolded here, here, here, and here.

Please share and tweet this article on your favorite social media network! Tag us on Twitter @Resurgent with your thoughts and use #alpolitics and #alsen to join the conversation surrounding the Alabama Senate race.

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Donald Trump’s Easy Solution To His Jeff Sessions Problem





Eureka! I got it! I have discovered an easy solution to solve this little kerfuffle between Donald Trump and Jeff Sessions. As an Alabama Republican voter and consultant, I would like to propose a trade: give us back Jeff Sessions, and we’ll give you Luther Strange. We’ll put ‘ol Jeff back in his Senate seat, and you can make Luther Strange your Attorney General. This deal is a win-win for our President:

  1. We already know Mitch McConnell will support him.
  2. We already know he’s totally okay with stopping any investigations in exchange for an appointment. 
  3. We can rest assured that he won’t recuse himself from any potential conflicts of interest.
  4. We know he’ll be an excellent lap dog and follow any orders he’s given from those in power.
  5. We don’t have to worry about him being morally consistent or taking any principled stands that upset the status quo.

As a bonus, we’ll finally stop seeing his ridiculous misleading and false attack ads run non-stop on every channel and before every Youtube video.



Backstory: Not sure what we’re talking about? Catch up on our coverage of the scandals and corruption surrounding Luther Strange here.

 

About The Author: Trey Edwards is a conservative Republican political consultant that works with clients across Alabama.

Trip Pittman On Philosophy And Running For The US Senate: “Liberty Requires Responsibility”

The following interview and analysis is part of our continuing series of exclusive articles on the special US Senate election in Alabama, and the surrounding drama.  About the Author: Trey Edwards is a conservative GOP strategist that works in Alabama. Analysis and opinions are his alone. 

A couple weeks ago, we conducted an interview with Alabama State Senator Trip Pittman (R-Baldwin County), who is one of several Republican candidates running for the US Senate seat vacated by Jeff Sessions when he was appointed to the position of Attorney General by President Trump.

Trip Pittman jumped into the race at the last minute, throwing a wrench into the proceedings for many of the other candidates. See, he is the only credible candidate running that lives south of Montgomery. While up to half a dozen candidates are competing with rivals practically living in their back yard, Trip is the only candidate with a geographic advantage in Mobile and Baldwin county, two of the top five counties with the most Republican voters in the state. This potentially gives him an early advantage that he could use to springboard himself into a deeply divided field. What ultimately ends up happening remains to be seen, but all eyes are on this special election, and it will be a fascinating one to watch, no matter what happens.

The first thing Senator Pittman will tell you when you meet him is that he’s a businessman – he owns Pittman Tractor Company, which he founded in 1998. They work with customers in Alabama and worldwide. He was born in Birmingham, but moved to Baldwin County at the age of eleven. He got his degree from the University of Alabama, majoring in General Management, while serving in the ROTC program, through which he received a commission in the Army National Guard upon graduation. He served for 5 years with Troop E, 31st Armored Division out of Slyacauga. He met his wife Lynn in Mobile, and they have three adult children – a teacher, an engineer, and a nurse. He served on the Commission for Higher Education from 1994 to 2005. In 2007, he survived a plane crash, and ended up spending nine days in the hospital recovering and re-evaluating his priorities in life. According to him, it was in this moment that he decided to transition into public service and run for office. Almost immediately after his recovery, then-State Senator (now Congressman) Bradley Byrne resigned from his seat after receiving an appointment from Governor Riley.

“I got into a race that was very similar to this one,” Senator Pittman told me. “There were five candidates. All of them had run for political office… At the end of the day, I didn’t receive any endorsements. Didn’t take any PAC money. Ended up winning in a runoff against the establishment candidate with all the Montgomery support. I came to Montgomery and governed, I’ve been in a leadership role, I’ve been the Budget chairman, I’ve balanced every budget that I’ve managed, paid back debt, defeated AEA and passed tenure reform, passed a separate board for the two-year college system… I’ve always supported term limits, so I made the decision to lead by example and step down after two full terms and one partial term in the State Senate. With the election of Donald Trump and subsequent appointment of Jeff Sessions as US Attorney General, and then the appointment of Luther Strange by Governor Bentley, we’ve ended up with a special election.”

“I decided to put my name in the hat and qualify and give the people of Alabama a choice on who they think would be the best person to represent them.” And with that, we were off to the races.

One of the main policy focuses by Senator Pittman during his terms of service, especially as chair of the Education and General Fund Budget Committees at different times, has been reducing fraud and waste across the board. In fact, he led the fight to pass a bill in the legislature to require people to pass a drug test to get access to PANF government benefits.

“I’ve led the fight on opposing the expansion of Medicaid. We can’t afford to cover more people when we can’t afford to take care of the people that we have.”

“Until you systemically change the rules and regulations that are coming down from the Federal Government, it doesn’t matter how much you put towards Medicaid or towards mental health, or towards corrections.”

Later on, he brought up an issue that I didn’t even realize existed: “We have a million people over 100 years old getting social security,” he explained. “The problem is, there’s only 10,000 people over a hundred years old in the country. We have all these people out there getting benefits that are for somebody else.”

One of the first things that became clear to me as I talked with Senator Pittman is that he’s far more than a businessman. He’s also a policy nerd. Economics is a passion of mine, and we struck up a lively conversation about free markets and individual liberty. “I think the moniker of the Republican Party should become ‘Liberty Requires Responsibility.’ In fact, the Baldwin County Republican Party, at my suggestion, adopted that moniker a couple years ago. The idea that you can have liberty without being responsible is something that will never happen, because ultimately then you are dependent on somebody else to take care of you. And, while we are compassionate and want to help people, we ultimately want to embrace the fact that we want to help everybody be responsible that’s able bodied so that we can take care of the truly needy, and help people to be successful in the free enterprise system. And that’s why I’m running – to help encourage that. To speak to that.”

I remembered that he ran as a Ron Paul delegate back in 2012 – the first time I’d ever seen his name on a ballot, since I live on the other side of the state. I asked him if he saw himself as being in the philosophically libertarian wing of the Republican Party.

“I do,” he responded.  “The libertarians came from the Republican Party in the early 70s when Nixon put on price controls and took us off the gold standard,” he continued. “Philosophically, I align with Dr. Paul and what he believes in. Now, I’m also a realist, as a businessman, and as someone that’s been involved in governing. […] I would submit to people that you  don’t get more conservative after you get elected. I have shown that I have stayed true to my values by standing up against unfair advantages and tax credits – even though I’ve agreed to some, under certain conditions, because I thought they were needed in order to jump-start certain sectors. But I’ve always believed that incentives need to be limited, they need to be sunset, and they need to be targeted. I believe in serving the military, certainly, so I believe in the need for a strong defense. But I think we need to be a lot more careful in terms of what we do and how we do it. I was opposed to the Iraqi war. I felt like, at the end of the day, that we needed to go into Afghanistan to kill the terrorists, but what we did in Iraq was under false pretenses. We’ve got ourselves involved in a lot of wars under less than total facts. […] I believe that we should be careful. In fact, I believe that, beyond the War Powers Act, we should not be putting our men and women in uniform into harm’s way for extended periods of time without a declaration of war.”

This philosophy applies to all aspect of policies for Pittman:

“If you want to know my philosophy, I grew up reading the Foundation of Economic Education… I’m an Austrian. I believe in the free markets. That’s my base. That’s my core values. That’s who Trip Pittman is. At the end of the day, that’s what I’m running as. You know, I want to win, I’m running to win… but we need to have a debate about this.”

“Compassion can be exhibited in a lot of ways, but a nation that has people that are successful can take care of the environment. A nation that is successful can take care of people that have maladies or have problems.”

“The idea that socialism works is absurd, it’s a race to the bottom. If you want to look at examples – people like to look at islands like Madagascar and Easter Island and the Galapagos, and Australia. Look at Taiwan. Look at Cuba. Look at where those countries have come in the last 40 years. Look at a satellite view of North Korea versus South Korea. Look at the lights. Look at the economy. Let’s see what works and what doesn’t work. It’s self evident. […] Free enterprise is the tide that lifts all boats.”

“At the end of the day, you know, innovation and profit motive have created Adam Smith’s invisible hand. This is about people improving their condition in life. It’s like the environment, the history of the world has been man against nature. Finally, in the last 100 years, we’ve gotten to a point where we’re kind of able to break even in some cases.”

The US Senate hopeful takes pride in his consistency:

“I may be a son of a gun, but I’m not a hypocrite.”

His passion to remaining philosophically consistent attracted some negative attention to him in the recently concluded legislative session. He was the only member of either house to vocally and actively oppose a bill that mandated that in-state insurance companies cover some specific procedures related to autistic disorders. He opposed the bill even after it failed to get a single “no” vote in the House, which is controlled by a Republican supermajority. He managed to get several changes to the bill passed in the Senate. After the session wrapped up, he wrote a lengthy op-ed on the topic that I think demonstrates the State Senator’s careful and thoughtful approach to policy, regardless of where you stand on the issue.

Beyond policy, Senator Pittman went into great depth with me about how he felt about the appointment of Luther Strange, who is currently holding the seat, and who is being treated as an incumbent by Mitch McConnell, whose PACs have already spent well over $2 Million supporting him . Pittman explained, “There is a code for prosecutors that say they will not accept anything from people that they are investigating.” […] “The facts are: The Attorney General’s office was investigating Governor Bentley. There was an impeachment move in the House. The Attorney General went to the House Impeachment Committee Chairman, Representative Jones, and told him to stand down because his office was handling it. Subsequent to that, after Attorney General Strange interviewed for the position, and was appointed, he said there was not an investigation, and that he did not ask the House to stand down. And then after he was appointed and Governor Bentley appointed the new Attorney General, [Steve] Marshall, he (Marshall) in fact verified that there was, in fact, an investigation that had already been started under Attorney General Strange’s term, and the was recusing himself and appointing a special counsel. I don’t see how you can be more clear. I think there’s reporters that have written more concisely the timeline and the actual course of events.”

One of those reporters is actually us here at The Resurgent. We’ve covered the corruption scandals surrounding Governor Bentley extensively. You can catch up by reading my recent summary piece here.

As for Strange’s campaign rhetoric to date, Senator Pittman was equally unambivalent:

“Luther Strange spent nine years in Washington as a lobbyist. So you’re going to send someone to Washington that’s been a lobbyist to drain the swamp? As Mo Brooks says, he’s a swamp critter.”

He says he is running to provide a different approach to the issues facing our state and our nation:

“What I can promise to the people of Alabama is that I’m going to do the same thing in Washington that I did in Alabama – that I’m going to go up there and put the light of day on what’s going on. I’m not going to play games. They deserve someone that’s going to go up there and call balls and strikes, and call it like it is, and quit letting people play games, and think about and say why they can’t do stuff. At the end of the day, we owe it to the American people to try to accomplish things that will revive our economy, and to be responsible, and to reward responsible behavior. Because when you reward irresponsible behavior, you get more irresponsible behavior.”

Final thoughts on the race?

“We need a debate. We don’t need a yes man.”

Trip Pittman is a policy-oriented businessman and veteran with a focus on individual liberties and free markets. He wants to cut waste and have a frank debate on issues. If you live in Alabama and that’s what you are looking for, he may be your guy. I’m not endorsing anyone, however – all I ask is that you don’t vote for Luther Strange. In fact, when people ask me who I’m supporting, I tell them I’m voting “Anybody But Luther.” But I’m just one guy. Do your research and make your own decisions. The election is on August 15th.

Like this article? Make sure you follow us on Facebook and Twitter to receive continued exclusive coverage of the Alabama special election for US Senate. Please share and/or tweet this article and tag @Resurgent with your thoughts!

 

Liberal Group Accidentally Boosts Conservative Roy Moore’s Campaign On Facebook (Analysis)

About The Author: Trey Edwards is a social media and strategy specialist that works primarily for GOP political campaigns in Alabama. 

This past week, I read an article that was in my news feed (I’ll explain why in a moment) that talked about former Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore’s campaign for United States Senate being “trolled” by a group of liberals that were swarming his page and interacting with all of his posts and comments using the “pride” rainbow button that Facebook has made available to people for Pride Month. I immediately burst out laughing. The people behind this tactic could not have chosen a less effective strategy. In fact, they might as well have donated a dollar to Roy Moore’s campaign every time they hit that button. Allow me to explain why. This will be a long post, but an educational one, so I encourage you to bear with me.

First, let me clarify: This is not an endorsement. This is not a political statement. This is a critique of a strategic tactic, which is my job as a social media and strategy consultant that works for political campaigns.

Now, to resume: Have you ever wondered why you see the posts in your news feed that you do? Why do you see some posts that were published two days ago before posts that were published half an hour ago? The explanation is very complicated, but most of it can be simplified.

Facebook uses an algorithm to determine the order in which you see all of the potential posts in your news feed. This algorithm assigns a numerical score to every piece of content on Facebook relative to you, and then displays the content in that order. The algorithm contains three primary components: Age, Affinity, and Interactions. Age is the amount of time that has passed since your post was published, although it is also somewhat impacted by the time since the post’s most recent interaction. This is why you can have an old post pop back up in your news feed when someone interacts with it. Affinity is how close the person that published the post is to you. Obviously, friends are closest, followed by friends of friends. But, beyond that, Facebook also mines an incredible amount of data in order to determine how close you are with each of your friends. If you don’t ever interact with the content that a particular friend publishes, you’ll eventually stop seeing any of their posts. Now, neither of these two things can easily and repetitively be manipulated by you to make your content go viral. However, the last factor stands out in that respect. Your post’s Interactions score is simply a tally of the number of likes, shares, and comments on the post. And, yes, this includes rainbow flags.

Let’s simplify this down even further, using completely fictional numbers to illustrate how this algorithm works. Let’s say that someone publishes a piece of content. A photo, video, status, etc. We’ll assign this post a base score of one hundred points for you. Now, for every minute that passes, this post loses a point. However, for every like, angry face, rainbow, share, comment, etc, this post gains a point. These two numbers are constant for everyone. Now, we’ll add a point for every time you’ve interacted with the other posts of the person that published it over the past 60 days. This score is unique to you. Your news feed is simply all of these posts displayed in descending order, updating dynamically. That’s why when you refresh your news feed, some of the same posts appear – their score has changed since you last loaded the page.

Let’s take three examples. Example one is a post that has been live for 15 minutes, has 5 interactions, three comments, two shares, and was published by your best friend, that you have engaged with 100 times in the past 60 days. This post’s Age score is 100-15, so 85. The Affinity score is 100, and the Interactions score is 10. Add these together, and the post’s score, relative to you, is 195.

Example two is a post that has been live for two days, but has two thousand interactions, five hundred comments, and 10,000 shares. However, it is from someone that you are not connected to. The post’s Age score would be 100 minus 1,440 minutes, so negative 1,340. The Affinity score is zero, and the interactions score is 12,500. Add these together, and the post’s score, relative to you, is 11,160.

Example three is a post that has been live for an hour. It has ten likes, 5 comments, and zero shares. It is by someone that you’ve only interacted with 5 times in the past 60 days. Subtract 60 from 100 for the Age score, add ten and five for the Interactions score, and add only five for the Affinity score to get a post score, relative to you, of only 60.

In this scenario, when you loaded your news feed for the first time, you would see post Two first, followed by post One, then post Three.

Now, obviously, these are not the actual numbers that are used. Different actions are weighted differently, and a large number of factors come into play that nobody besides the engineers know about. But this exercise should help you understand the basic concepts behind Facebook’s algorithm. If you’d like to learn more, or see a visual description of how all this works, check out this 10-minute video produced by Facebook that explains all of this in more depth.

Now, let’s apply what we just learned to this “trolling” incident involving Roy Moore. The actions of this group were designed to hurt Moore’s campaign and bring awareness to some of his more controversial views. Well, everybody that will be voting in the election already know his views on the issue of gay marriage, so that second strategy is already irrelevant. But the first strategy not only failed completely, these attempted troublemakers actually benefited Moore’s campaign greatly. Their plan backfired. If you apply the principles we just learned, what happened when this occurred? Using the math we used earlier, the algorithm scores of Roy Moore’s posts were increased by several hundred points each. And the primary score being affected is the Interactions score, so this impact is felt across the political spectrum, since these points are not relative to individual users. Now, I don’t have admin access to Roy Moore’s Facebook Page, but I can tell you exactly what happened. The reach of Roy Moore’s posts increased – exponentially! Not just to liberals, but to conservatives and independents, and without costing the campaign a dime. In order to achieve this without the “trolling,” Roy Moore would have had to purchase thousands of dollars worth of ads on Facebook. This is why I said earlier that every interaction this group made on the page was basically the same as donating a dollar.

What happened here is that these actions by this outside group caused Facebook’s algorithm to recognize this content as both high-quality and viral, since a large number of people were interacting with it. In turn, Facebook pushed this content out to a much wider audience, because Facebook wants to put the most relevant content in front of its users in order to keep them coming back. It drew a massive amount of attention to Roy Moore on Facebook. And not negative attention – just attention. Attention that every other candidate is having to pay for, but which this liberal group has happily donated to Roy Moore free of charge. If you go back and look through his posts, you’ll see that the number of positive interactions and comments has also spiked significantly since this tactic was employed – bringing new supporters into the folds of his campaign, while costing him zero votes. Remember, this was all done over an issue that literally every voter in this state already knows where Roy Moore stands on.

(Side note: political strategists actually use this concept as a tactic in campaigns at all levels. They’ll put together “Rapid Response Teams” consisting of volunteers that go out and make positive comments on their candidate’s posts every time content is published. Some less principled consultants and activists also organize these groups to launch negative attacks on opposing campaigns, but as explained here, that almost always backfires.)

Regardless of your position on this Senate race, or on gay marriage, this tactic was a total, colossal failure on the part of the liberal group that initiated it. This happened because the group did not fundamentally understand how Facebook works, and that the algorithms behind the social network would recognize their actions as positively reinforcing Roy Moore’s message, and his campaign. This liberal group has granted Roy More most likely tens of thousands of dollars worth of free press, new votes, free boosts on Facebook, grassroots donations, and volunteer signups. In fact, Roy Moore’s social media team is clearly well educated on these facts, as they have begun spending money to promote the negatively-slanted articles about Roy Moore and the trolling done by this liberal group. What might seem counter-intuitive suddenly makes sense when seen through the eyes of someone that understands how the back-end of Facebook works. Since this content is already seen as viral, and contains an extremely high base algorithm score, Facebook will charge Moore’s campaign far less per reach and per click to promote the article than it would other content from his page. This, along with the fact that these ads will be targeted to conservatives and will portray Moore as the victim of the scary, evil Left, will make the acquisition of page likes and volunteer sign-ups exponentially cheaper.

I applaud Roy Moore’s campaign staff for recognizing the strategic impact of this scenario, and taking proper advantage of it. I also applaud the liberal activists who spent an entire afternoon basically campaigning for one of the most far-right Republican elected officials in the entire country. If someone will pass along their contact info, I will be happy to direct them to all of my clients’ pages, so they can repeat their efforts.

Enjoyed this article? Like our Facebook and Twitter pages to stay tuned for more exclusive coverage of the Alabama US Senate Special Election by Republican strategist Trey Edwards. Coming Up: A look into the philosophical beliefs and background of Republican candidate and current State Senator Trip Pittman. Please share/tweet this article and tag @Resurgent with your thoughts!

Betsy DeVos Appoints FIRE Vice-President To Prominent Post

Betsy DeVos is probably the most controversial appointment by President Donald Trump among conservatives. I have seen a lot of concern from people on my side of the aisle that she won’t do anything to advance conservative causes on the education front. Conservatives and Republicans are pretty split on the issue of charter schools, but two topics that most people on the right side of the aisle generally tend to agree on are federally mandated standards, and suppression of free speech on college campuses. On that second issue, almost nobody has been fighting against discrimination in higher education harder or more successfully than FIRE – the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education.

FIRE has been a thorn in the side of left-wing campus administrators for almost two decades – fighting back against any attempt to suppress free speech, religious liberty, or due process. They’ve been an advocate for conservative and libertarian groups nationwide that have had events shut down, materials destroyed, and access revoked due to religious or political views that contradict those of liberal professors and administrators. It’s safe to say that a member of one of these groups is the last person any liberal would want in charge of higher education in America.

This, however, that is exactly what Betsy DeVos has done. According to Inside Higher Ed, she has appointed Adam Kissell, the former Vice President of Programs and Director of the Individual Rights Defense Program at FIRE, to the position of Deputy Assistant Secretary for Higher Education Programs at the federal Department of Education.

According to the Office of Post Secondary Education, the Higher Education Programs, which is run by the Deputy Assistant Secretary, “administers programs that broaden access to higher education and strengthen the capacity of colleges and universities. HEP also coordinates a number of higher education-related activities with states. HEP grant projects are awarded primarily to institutions of higher education, non-profit organizations and agencies, and state agencies.”

Basically, they control the purse strings and implementation of a wide-ranging group of federal higher education programs. This will hopefully provide excellent opportunities to incentive college administrators to more equitably enforce free speech standards across the board. Donald Trump has already threatened to pull federal funding from colleges such as U.C. Berkeley that discriminate against groups that hold views contrary to those of their professors and leadership.

It should be encouraging for liberty-loving conservatives to see these kinds of appointments coming from Secretary DeVos, and we can only hope this is one of many.

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A Strange State Of Corruption

 

Luther Strange’s suspect ascension to the US Senate is just the latest in a series of bizarre House of Cards-esque corruption scandals that have shocked the state of Alabama.

If you’ve been paying any kind of attention to the recent slew of corruption and sex scandals originating from the Alabama state capital, you can’t help but wonder if this isn’t all some kind of orchestrated dramatic prelude to Season 5 of House of Cards. Approximately one year ago, Speaker of the House Mike Hubbard was convicted of 12 felony ethics violations. Then, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court Roy Moore was removed from office by an unelected Judicial Inquiry Commission for standing up to the federal government and refusing to force Alabama judges to obey the controversial Obergefell v. Hodges ruling that overruled various state laws regarding gay marriage. And finally, Governor Robert Bentley just recently resigned and pled guilty to multiple misdemeanor campaign finance violations as part of a deal to avoid felony ethics charges and impeachment relating to various abuses of power used to cover up his illicit affair with a senior political advisor. In less than one year, the heads of all three branches of government (Legislative, Executive, and Judicial) were removed from office. However, this season of our drama isn’t quite over yet.

Roy Moore (L), Mike Hubbard (M), Robert Bentley (R)

In the last episode of “House of Cards: Alabama”, Bentley had just resigned from office and Lt. Governor Kay Ivey was being sworn in as the first Republican female governor in state history. Now, as black fades to a wide-angle view of the State Capitol building on a sunny day, the narrator informs us that the state is on pins and needles awaiting the decision of Governor Ivey regarding the US Senate special election. But first, we need to flash back to a few episodes earlier. “November 2016” appears on the bottom of the screen, and we are greeted by an unusually tall figure sitting across a desk from a shorter one. “The Bentley impeachment process had been moving forward rapidly for months,” continues our narrator. “Now, however, Attorney General Luther Strange has called a meeting with Mike Jones, the Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee. Rumors have been swirling that Strange has been moving forward with a criminal investigation of his own, and may be close to issuing an indictment.” The conversation between our two figures begins. The tall one, quickly recognized as Luther Strange, is asking Chairman Jones to temporarily suspend the impeachment proceedings against the Governor. Why? “Related work,” replies Strange. No details are given, but the implication is obvious: he wants to be the one to take the Governor down. Faced with the prospect of a lengthy, expensive, and very complicated legislative process in order to impeach a sitting Governor for the first time in over a century, Jones eagerly agrees. A criminal indictment instead of an impeachment will not only ensure that the punishment fits the crime, but will save the state significant amounts of money.

A few days later, Donald Trump wins the Presidency. Cue dramatic footage of cheering crowds, waving flags, and patriotic music. Fade to black. Commercial break.

As the latest unimaginative car commercial ends, the next scene opens on dramatic footage of Alabama’s junior US Senator, Jeff Sessions, being sworn in as Donald Trump’s Attorney General in the Oval Office. Alabama voters are ecstatic. It has been almost a decade since any conservative in Alabama held a cabinet position in the Federal government. For the first time in a couple years, Alabamians are cautiously optimistic about their political future. But this does not last long. Across the screen, newspaper headlines dramatically scroll past: “Bentley Preparing to Interview Senate Candidates,” “Bentley Narrows US Senate Picks To Six,” “Robert Bentley Appoints Luther Strange To US Senate,” “Bentley Sets Senate Special Election,” “Steve Marshall Named Alabama Attorney General By Bentley,” “New AG Confirms Investigation Into Gov. Bentley,” “Attorney General Appoints A Special Prosecutor To Continue Bentley Investigation”Auditor To Sue Bentley, Strange Over Senate Appointment,” “Lawsuit Filed Over Bentley’s Senate Special Election Date,” “Gov. Bentley Wants To Toss Lawsuit On Delayed Senate Election,” “Bentley To Defend His Special Election Decision Next Month,” and so on and so forth.

Robert Bentley (left) and Luther Strange (right)

Governor Robert Bentley, now a convicted criminal, had received an application from, interviewed, and appointed Luther Strange to the US Senate. The same Luther Strange who had been halting his impeachment proceedings for months with no explanation. When questions arose during the interview process about a possible conflict of interest, the then Attorney General said “We have never said in our office that we are investigating the governor. It’s somewhat unfair to him and unfair to the process.” Not quite an explicit denial, but an obvious implication of one. Both the Governor and the Attorney General insisted there was no conflict of interest, presumably because there was no investigation – despite the impeachment proceedings being suspended for his “related work.”

Enter Steve Marshall. It’s not quite clear what Governor Bentley thought he had to gain by appointing Mr. Marshall as the next Attorney General (which, in Alabama, he can do unilaterally with no approval required). However, it’s obvious that it did not work out in the Governor’s favor. Within 48 business hours of being sworn in, Attorney General Marshall met with his staff and asked them about any potential investigation into the Governor. Upon being informed that there was indeed an ongoing criminal investigation and potential impending indictment, he immediately and publicly recused himself from the process and appointed a special prosecutor. In doing so, he effectively implicated Senator Strange in an ethics violation – by insisting he himself was legally required to recuse himself from the investigation simply because he had been appointed by the Governor, he in effect implied that Luther Strange had been legally required to do the same when he was applying for the appointment to the Senate. Since this time, a bar complaint has been filed against Strange based in part on this sequence of events.

Don’t leave to make more popcorn yet. We’re just getting to the good part.

Now, under any normal circumstances, what would you expect to happen next? Naturally, we (Alabama voters) expected to see a special election for the Senate seat come up. We all figured that the problem with Luther would be quickly resolved in a rapid special election in which he’d spend all his time defending himself from corruption allegations, have no ability to raise money, and have none of the advantages traditionally associated with an incumbent. But we weren’t confident long. Even though our scumbag of a Governor had become fairly well known for being unpredictable, we were all still a bit shocked when he announced that he was not, in fact, holding a special election. The election for the Senate seat would be held in 2018, along with the normal election cycle. This would allow Luther Strange over a year to build up incumbency and financial resources, and would give him time to let the controversy subside before he’d be forced to answer to the general public. Time is the greatest ally of every politician. This proclamation was issued despite opinions written by both the Legislative Reference Service and the Secretary of State that clearly stated that doing so was in direct violation of state law.

(Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Angered at this turn of events, and especially at the clear implication that they’d been misled by Luther Strange for months, legislators began calling for the impeachment process to resume immediately. The process quickly picked back up, and within a month, the first hearings were being held. Governor Bentley did everything in his power to postpone the process and maintain his innocence, but finally caved right before the evidence was due to be presented, and negotiated a deal with AG Marshall and the rest of the law enforcement agencies involved. In exchange for no jail time, he immediately resigned, pled guilty to multiple campaign finance violations, agreed to community service and significant fines, and promised to never run for office again.

Now, we can pick back up where we left off. Kay Ivey is being sworn in as the second female governor in the history of Alabama. She promises transparency and pledges to restore the public’s faith in their government. She immediately fires multiple senior staffers that were known to be involved in the various scandals, including the husband of the Governor’s mistress, who ironically was in charge of Governor Bentley’s faith-based initiatives. Then, the other shoe drops: she announces that the Senate seat would immediately see a special election.  Rejoice! Now, we can finally clean this state’s slate of corruption. Remove the last vestige of the embarrassment that was Dr. Governor Robert Julian Bentley.

Not so fast.

Mitch McConnell – AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

There were two factors that nobody had considered. One: Very few people remembered what Luther Strange did for a living before he was Attorney General. What was that? He was a lobbyist. A DC lobbyist, to be specific. He knew how the system worked. He’d been building relationships with the swamp creatures in the Capital for decades, not months. And, two: Mitch McConnell needs a win. Not just McConnell, but the entire GOP establishment. Their ability to defend their own members against attacks from within their own party has been severely diminished over the past few years, starting with the unexpected downfall of Eric Cantor and the rise of the House Freedom Caucus. This significantly impacts the ability of these partisan leaders to whip votes and reassure their caucus members whenever they need them to vote on an issue that is wildly unpopular with their constituents. Now, here’s Luther Strange: a loyal foot soldier and reliable caucus vote on whatever issue Mitch McConnell deems important at the time. They need to prove that loyalty is rewarded with re-election, even in difficult times. So, they’ve placed all their eggs in Luther’s basket. Despite Luther never being elected to the Senate, they are treating him like an invaluable long-term incumbent, devoting unlimited resources to ensure his ascension.

Mitch McConnell is the real-life equivalent of President Underwood on a mad rampage. Over the past few weeks, and even now, he and his operatives at the NRSC are doing everything in their power to not only build Luther Strange up, but to unceremoniously destroy any attempt at opposition to him. They forced numerous consults to resign from opposing campaigns by threatening them and telling them that they’d be blackballed from any future work with the GOP if they dared work against them. They’ve bought off unprincipled Republicans – Luther is personally calling even mid-level operatives himself and offering them large sums of money for their allegiance, many times asking them to switch sides and betray a candidate they are currently supporting. I have personal friends that have received such calls, receiving offers of over $20,000. For every one one of those that refused to auction off their integrity, I shudder to imagine how many accepted such offers and have yet to admit to it.

Despite scaring off numerous legitimate and well-funded candidates and co-opting Donald Trump’s campaign speeches to attack principled conservatives, the NRSC is still boring full-steam ahead in their war against those who refuse to toe the line and bow the knee to party leadership. Just this past week, they placed a $2.6 Million television ad buy with out-of-state funds, saying that it is a “fraction” of what they plan on spending. Buoyed by these out-of-state funds, establishment backing from deep within the swamp, and a total lack of any kind of conscience that would prohibit him from blatantly lying in his campaign ads, Luther is poised to potentially win this seat and escape punishment for his corruption.

However, all hope is not lost.

Given the circumstances, it is no surprise that the field for the Senate seat has quickly become quite crowded. Ed Henry, the state legislator that led the impeachment process against Robert Bentley, was the first to jump in – followed by former Chief Justice Roy Moore, activist Randy Brinson, and Congressman Mo Brooks, a member of the Freedom Caucus, as well as numerous less well-known individuals on both sides of the aisle. The diversity of candidates in this case is actually helpful, as Alabama uses a partisan primary runoff system. Dividing the anti-Luther vote among several candidates does not guarantee his success. In fact, it can only hurt it, as each candidate that jumps in will pull of a small part of Luther’s voters just through personal relationships and connections. The fewer votes Luther has, the higher the chances of a runoff occurring, assuming Luther survives that long. Once in a runoff, as long as all candidates unite behind whoever is opposing Luther, we’ll be in good shape. But we may not even get to that point.

Credit: twitter.com/algop

Yesterday, Representative Ed Henry held a press conference at the Alabama Republican Party headquarters – right as the qualifying period was ending. He shocked the assembled crowd by dramatically tearing his qualifying papers in half and announcing that he had NOT, in fact, qualified to run as a candidate for the Senate seat. In order to maintain his credibility in calling out Luther Strange on his corruption, he has chosen to put ambition aside and do what’s best for the state – fight from outside the race. He talked about the bar complaint against Luther and is actively supporting a ballot access challenge filed by Madison County resident Tom Scovill with the state GOP steering committee. This will hopefully force the 21-member steering committee to vote up or down on whether or not Luther Strange will be allowed ballot access as a Republican candidate. This is a procedural move that has the potential to actually work, given the mountain of evidence compiled by Mr. Scovill to support his challenge. You can download the challenge paperwork here, here, here, and here, and if you want to encourage the Alabama Republican Party to hear the challenge and vote on it, you can call their office from 8am to 5pm at (205) 212-5900. They will be voting tonight (Thursday, May 18) on whether or not to hear the challenge. If it passes that hurdle, they’ll then hold hearings on the evidence presented.

Actual footage of Ed Henry tearing his qualifying papers in half.

It’s anybody’s guess how this Senate race will turn out. There is too much money being pumped into the race and the field is too wide open for anybody to predict with any kind of certainty a specific outcome. All we can hope is that justice will prevail and the Strange slate of state corruption in Alabama will be wiped clean.

Stay tuned for the next dramatic episode of “House of Cards: Alabama.”

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About the author: Trey Edwards is an Alabama Republican political consultant, and anti-tax/anti-corruption activist. He does not currently work for any candidate or any party/group involved in the US Senate race.