The Slatest

Roy Moore’s Democratic Challenger Recently Ran an Ad Praising the Confederate Army

Democratic Senate candidate Doug Jones was already closer to Roy Moore in the polls than most Alabama Democrats get to Alabama Republicans before the Washington Post reported on the accusations of a woman who says Moore placed her hand on his genitals when she was 14. An overnight poll now finds the race tied. In other words, a lot of national scrutiny is headed Jones’ way, some of which will no doubt land on the ad above, called “Honor,” which he released Oct. 30.

Here’s the narration:

Little Round Top, Gettysburg. Three times Col. William Oates of Alabama led the Confederate forces to take it. Running out of ammunition, Col. Joshua Chamberlain of Maine had his men fix bayonets to desperately repel the attack. What brought those two brave men, one from Alabama and one from Maine, together was war—two sides believing so strongly in their cause that they were willing to die for it. Those times are past, long ago, and our country is better for it. But now we fight too often over other matters. It seems as if we’re coming apart. I want to go to Washington and meet the representatives from Maine and those from every other state not on a battlefield, but to find common ground, because there’s honor in compromise and civility. To pull together as a people and get things done for Alabama. I’m Doug Jones and I approve this message, because on December 12, Alabama can lead the way.

(Little Round Top is depicted in the novel The Killer Angels, which was made into the movie Gettysburg, in which Jeff Daniels portrayed Chamberlain. Oates didn’t feature as a character in either the book or adaptation.)

In an interview just published in Slate, New York Times polling expert Nate Cohn argues Jones should be “running further to the center or even the right on a few issues” to appeal to his state’s enormous population of white conservatives, and this kind of thing would certainly seem to fit the bill. On the other hand, as Alabama columnist John Archibald noted Friday, praising the cause of slavery is probably not the kind of thing that will elevate black voter turnout on your behalf. (The state’s population is 27 percent black.) And, well, that’s probably why Democrats don’t usually win elections in Alabama!