2020 Presidential Elections State-by-State Guide: Dems will find it tough to win Republican bastion Alabama

With the shadow of George Wallace a thing of the past, the Dems last won Alabama in 1976


                            2020 Presidential Elections State-by-State Guide: Dems will find it tough to win Republican bastion Alabama
Alabama State flag (US Public Domain)
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State


Alabama

Primary date


Alabama will go to the primaries on Super Tuesday which is March 3, 2020. Both the Democratic and Republican primaries will be held on the same day.

Type: Open

Democratic delegates: 61 (52 pledged, 9 super)

Republican delegates: 50

Governor 

Kay Ivey (Republican)

Senators

Richard Shelby (R) and Doug Jones (D)

Representatives: 7 

Six Republicans: Bradley Byrne (1st district), Martha Roby (2nd district), Mike Rogers (3rd district), Robert Aderholt (4th district), Mo Brooks (5th district), Gary Palmer (6th district)

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Only Democrat: Terri Sewell (7th district)

Electoral college votes: 9 

Donald Trump won all in 2016

How Alabama has voted in past presidential elections

The Yellowhammer state joined the Union in 1819 and has participated in all elections since 1820 (except in 1864 because of secession).
 
Like most southern states, Alabama was a Democratic bastion from Reconstruction through to the 1950s. Since the 1960s, Alabama has turned into a deep red state. In 1960, six of the 11 Alabama electors cast their votes for Harry F Byrd even though John F Kennedy won the state’s popular vote.

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Alabama’s transition from blue to red was mainly in response to white conservative voters’ discomfort with the civil rights legislation that was passed in the mid-1960s.

Alabama Democratic Senator Doug Jones will face an uphill task to win his re-election bid in November (Getty Images)

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The GOP used its “southern strategy” to win Alabama and after 1960, the state has been won by the Dems only once which was in 1976 (Jimmy Carter won that year). The Republicans have won Alabama by over 20 points in the last four elections with Trump taking the gap to almost 28 percentage points against Hillary Clinton in 2016. Alabama has nine electoral votes since 1972 and it may be reduced to eight after this year’s election. 

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A Republican stronghold

Alabama has become more Republican with the fading of the memory of its Democratic strongman George Wallace, who had served as its governor in the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s. The Yellowhammer State is not a big player in presidential politics and has been a reliable GOP fort since 1980. Jimmy Carter, who won the election in 1976, was the last Democrat to win Alabama, bagging 60 of its 67 counties.

In 2015, when Trump was yet to become the nation’s favorite, his rally in Mobile had seen some 30,000 supporters converging and it showed that many of the state’s Republican voters who had become alienated from the party found a new leader to follow. It even saw Alabama’s leading Republican leader Jeff Sessions praising Trump, particularly his strong stand on stopping illegal immigrants. Sessions later endorsed Trump and in the Republican primary in Alabama for the 2016 election, Trump bagged an emphatic win with 43 percent of the votes, ending much ahead of his nearest rival Ted Cruz. Trump later paid Sessions back by making him the attorney-general though his term did not go too far.

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2020 presidential elections

Trump looks solid to bag Alabama this year as well. In the Democratic camp, former Vice President Joe Biden leads in the early polls in the run-up to the primary but he will have his task cut out against opponent Bernie Sanders who is only gaining clout with each passing primary. 

However, the Doug Jones factor could play a role when the Democratic supporters in the state go out to vote. Jones, who became the first Democrat to become a senator in the deep red state in 25 years, is considered the most endangered one as he is set to contest for re-election this November as well against heavyweights like Sessions. Jones’ position became vulnerable as he voted to convict Trump in the Senate impeachment trial earlier this month despite hailing from a strong Republican state which could see the GOP trying to derail his re-election bid this fall.

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