Mr. Moore has gone about creating a real-life political science experiment, testing whether last year’s presidential campaign was an anomaly or whether voters remain just as willing to shrug off truth-stretching, multiple charges of sexual misconduct and incendiary speech.
.. told an African-American attendee at one of his events that America was last great when families were intact during the slavery era.
.. While Mr. Jones has not said anything nearly as incendiary as Mr. Moore has, he has attempted some political jujitsu amid the campaign’s racial politics, sending out a mailer featuring an African-American that read: “Think if a black man went after high school girls anyone would try to make him a senator?”
.. “I see parallels with one,” he said. “George Wallace.”
.. Wallace, the fiery segregationist governor, comes up often here these days. He was by turns an avid boxer, a circuit judge with lofty ambitions, a state leader who blatantly flouted federal authority, a symbol of defiance to the direction of the national culture, a hero to many rural and small-town whites and a politician who ran national campaigns on a promise to “send them a message” — all descriptions that perfectly fit Mr. Moore.
.. The elder Folsom elevated an Alabama tradition of tub-thumping economic populism in a state dominated for much of its history by a coterie of wealthy planters and industrialists, known as the Big Mules. While Folsom railed against the elite-owned “lyin’ newspapers,” much like Mr. Moore and right-wing populists today, he championed women and blacks along with poor whites.
Wallace followed Folsom’s lead until he discovered that a moderate line on race had become a liability in Alabama electoral politics — and then switched to become a fire-breathing segregationist.
“The major difference,” Mr. Folsom said, “is that Roy Moore, good or bad or whatever you think, has always been genuine in his positions.”
.. Moore has kept a light schedule and largely avoided interaction with the news media, a strategy that would have never occurred to Wallace, who relished the political fray and would gleefully joust with out-of-town reporters.
.. “When you look at his followers,” said John Knight, a black Alabama state representative who grew up in segregated Montgomery, “they’re the same people that were energized by Wallace.”
.. Upper-class, typically Republican neighborhoods “where the rich folks live in the suburbs up across the mountain from Birmingham,” as Wallace described the enclave of Mountain Brook during that epic 1970 race, are now crowded with white “Doug Jones for Senate” signs.
.. the often unstated perspective of Alabama’s elite as to why Mr. Moore was viable.
“The rest of the state is in a time warp,” he said. “They never progressed out of the ’50s. They don’t think. It’s sad.”
.. Moore backers are most eager to remind voters how many forces outside the state are pulling for Mr. Jones.
.. “If you can tag somebody an outsider, you’re two-thirds of the way there in Alabama.”
.. This is an age-old Southern populist tactic
.. “It goes back to the Civil War, it goes back to Reconstruction,” he said. “The big thing down here is that folks feel like the rest of the country is making fun of them.”
.. the same appeal to a fighting instinct and umbrage at being looked down upon.