Former President Barack Obama recorded a get-out-the-vote call for Democratic Alabama Senate candidate Doug Jones, CNN reports. In the pre-recording, he implores voters to go to the polls Tuesday to reject the candidacy of Republican party member Roy Moore. Obama's involvement is just the latest in a combined, aggressive Democratic effort to counter President Donald Trump's full endorsement of the controversial Republican candidate.
"This one's serious," Obama says in the call. "You can't sit it out."
The former president's call to Alabama voters is meant to aid Jones’ special election campaign, filling a U.S. Senate seat left vacant by Jeff Sessions when Trump appointed him to Attorney General. Democratic New Jersey Senator Cory Booker has campaigned in Alabama for Jones, while other Democratic senators have fundraised on Jones’ behalf.
But some of Jones' advisors fear that the former president's endorsement could backfire and hurt Jones, according to The New York Times. While Obama is well-loved by the black voters, he is still unpopular among some of the Republican-leaning white voters Jones needs.
"Doug Jones is a fighter for equality, for progress," Obama says in the recording, via CNN. "Doug will be our champion for justice. So get out and vote, Alabama."
Doug Jones is counting on black voters to choose him -- in fact, their turnout is critical for his campaign to win the special election -- and Obama's message to voters is intended to specifically reach that demographic audience.
“Certainly, the clearest path for Jones is to get the African-American share,” said Zac McCrary, a Democratic pollster at Anzalone Liszt Grove Research in Montgomery, Alabama. “It’s deceptively simple arithmetic to see how he gets there.”
But in this special election Senate race in which polls show that Alabama voters are more comfortable voting for a Republican candidate plagued with sexual allegations than they are voting for a Democrat, Jones needs black voters to turn out at levels similar to when they turned out to for vote for Barack Obama in 2008. And Doug Jones, a white 63-year-old male who has never held a public office role in government, is no Barack Obama.
Working in Jones' favor, though, is his opponent Roy Moore's belief that America was a better country to live in when slavery was a legal institution. During his campaign earlier this year, an audience member asked Moore for his opinion on when America was last great — a question we all too often now hear thanks to our current president.
Moore responded: "I think it was great at the time when families were united—even though we had slavery—they cared for one another…Our families were strong, our country had a direction."
Moore is a former Alabama Chief Justice who was suspended, twice, for refusing applications for same-sex marriage licenses, even after that the United States Supreme Court ruled that same-sex marriage is a constitutional right.
Obama's pre-recording follows President Donald Trump's own 90-second recording that is scheduled to go out today to Alabama voters, in which he explains why he needs Moore in the U.S. Senate. In the recording, Trump says that progress on his agenda would be "stopped cold" if Alabama elects Democrat Doug Jones. He also attacks Jones, calling him a liberal who’s a puppet of Democratic congressional leaders Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer.