Tuberville and Sharia Law

Speaking of xenophobia.

Tommy Tuberville, former head coach of the Auburn Tigers (as well as Texas Tech and the University of Cincinnati), is a candidate to be the Republican nominee for US Senator in Alabama to face Doug Jones in November. He is running against Representative Bradley Byrne (AL01) and Jeff Sessions, who held the seat prior to leaving to be Trump’s Attorney General.

What limited polling I have seen suggests that Session and Tuberville are headed to a runoff. I would then wager that whoever wins the nomination will defeat Senator Jones in November.

A story from the campaign trail caught my attention this week via Yellowhammer News: At Republican forum Tuberville warns of ‘Sharia Law’; Byrne touts Trump connections.

In what was perhaps the most interesting comment of the day, Tuberville said, “I’ve been in the cities, folks, you can’t drive through a neighborhood. Why? Because terrorism has taken over. Sharia Law has taken over. Folks, there [are] places you can go in this country that you’re not wanted. In our country. I mean this is not the Middle East.”

This is just so much irresponsible nonsense intended to do nothing more than play on people’s fears. He’s been “in the cities”–which ones? Terrorism has “taken over”–what does that even mean?

“But my goodness, if we’re going to allow them to change our culture, and our country. Because they’re going to get their hands on the Constitution one day, and when they do it’s over. They want to get it for one reason: that Electoral College. If they ever knock that out we’re done, we’re done,” he added.

And this may now be my favorite defense of the Electoral College: as a bulwark against Sharia Law. (Apart, of course, from the fact that that paragraph is mostly word salad).

The Tuberville campaign later clarified Tuberville’s Sharia Law assertion that “Sharia Law is taking over.”

“If 9/11 taught us anything, it’s the fact that there are those living among us who wish to do us harm. Those individuals place Sharia law ahead of the U.S. Constitution. Terrorism takes many forms, and it is constantly evolving. We must be vigilant not only against terrorist efforts to do harm with bombs and other methods, but also against efforts to infiltrate our government and use it to spread ideas and philosophies that are not in America’s best interests,” a statement from the campaign read.

I must confess, the reporter is being generous with the usage of the word “clarified.”

Ironically, in his speech he talked about the need “to get God back into our lives” (~2:05) and at the ~2:30 mark says that we ought to “blow up” the Department of Education in DC.

He also noted that “liberals” run the Department of Education (someone needs to tell Betsy DeVos). Further, because of those liberals in the DoE, socialism and communism are being taught in the schools and 18 to 35 year-olds would vote for either socialism or communism.

So, we have in one speech of less than 8 minutes the specters of Sharia law, terrorism, socialism, AND communism. An impressive four-fecta.

He also utterly misunderstands what the Department of Education does, as he makes it sound like the curriculum for K-12 is dictated by Washington and he wants the states to do that (which is how it works right now).

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2020, US Politics
Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter

Comments

  1. Paine says:

    Stick to X’s and O’s on the white board, coach.

    3
  2. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Because terrorism has taken over. Sharia Law has taken over. Folks, there [are] places you can go in this country that you’re not wanted. In our country. I mean this is not the Middle East.”

    “Do unto others before they do it unto you.”

    3
  3. reid says:

    Any chance this bigoted moron winning the primary will improve Jones’s chances a bit?

    2
  4. CSK says:

    It will be amusing to watch Byrne, Sessions, and Tuberville vie frantically for the title of Biggest Trump Toady.

    3
  5. drj says:

    They want to get it for one reason: that Electoral College. If they ever knock that out we’re done, we’re done.

    While “sharia law in the cities” is all bullshit, of course, the GOP’s desire for minority rule definitely isn’t.

    Republicans like Tuberville aren’t even attempting to describe reality, they are simply looking for a justification for what they want to do.

    12
  6. Modulo Myself says:

    Old white people are frightened and lonely and all they have is the TV and Facebook to talk to, and that’s who this guy is reaching. I’d like to believe that the universe of aging Americans addicted to their media feedback loop is playing as a cautionary tale for the young. Whatever you do, don’t build a life where you end up being catfished or terrified of Sharia Law coming to East Fritters, Alabama.

    4
  7. Stormy Dragon says:

    Republicans are pretty much all projection: whatever it is they’re complaining about someone doing X, not only is whomever not doing X, it generally means the Republicans in question are really frustrated by their inability to do X themselves.

    So whenever a Republican complains about “Sharia Law”, what they really mean is their upset by their own inability to institute a Christian theocracy in the US.

    16
  8. charon says:

    This is so ignorant. Sharia is just law in some islamic jurisdiction, it varies depending on the jurisdiction.

    Sharia in America is mostly about inheritance or other occasions of divying up family property, muslims care about such stuff.

    2
  9. Kingdaddy says:

    “Tuberville” sounds like one of those weird musicals that corporations and professional associations used to present at trade shows and company shindigs. The National Potato Board is the sponsor for this one.

    6
  10. DrDaveT says:

    You’re overanalyzing this. Tuberville has no idea what “Sharia Law” means, and neither do his listeners. It’s just a label they associate with ISIS and Muslim terrorists. “Massteria!”

    Of course, there really is a Sharia Law-like threat to American democracy, except that it’s from the Christians, who really do want to impose their religious legal code on everyone else…

    13
  11. drj says:

    @charon:

    Sharia is just law in some islamic jurisdiction […] Sharia in America is mostly about inheritance or other occasions of divying up family property, muslims care about such stuff.

    I don’t want to imply in any way that sharia law is a realistic threat to the American way of life, but sharia law is not just another form of law. It’s a religious law code that is, ultimately, based on seventh-century morality – which is… not great.

    You are absolutely right that sharia law concerns, among other things, inheritance and divorce law. Which means that – depending on circumstances and specific legal tradition – nephews may inherit while daughters won’t, or that women may only divorce if the husband agrees (while husbands can divorce their wives at will).

    Sharia law sucks.

    6
  12. Kathy says:

    Thought for the day: the next time the South tries to secede, say “Don’t let the door hit you on the way out!”

    7
  13. gVOR08 says:

    Much of our thinking on politics is distorted because we have difficulty admitting to ourselves that this represents the “thinking” of something like a third of the electorate.

    3
  14. Scott says:

    Need to add that Tuberville was a failed coach at Texas Tech.

    2
  15. @DrDaveT: Hence, I noted “nonsense intended to do nothing more than play on people’s fears.”

    Clearly he hasn’t a clue as to what he is talking about, from Sharia to terrorism to the DoE to socialism.

  16. Sleeping Dog says:

    The first time I heard screaming about the dangers of Sharia Law, I was still in Mpls. It involved a domestic dispute that made its way to the civil court system. At the opening of the hearing, attorney’s for both parties requested a stay (I believe that is the correct term) so that an Imam could adjudicate a settlement with in the term of Sharia Law. The judge granted the request with the caveat that any agreement needed to conform with civil law.

    Oh the screaming from what are now the usual suspects. The funny thing is that courts have a history of allowing Rabbis and Catholic priests to conduct voluntary remediation in the tradition of the respective religion.

    4
  17. Teve says:

    @Kathy: They will try to secede up until the moment somebody explains to them that their disability checks and Medicare will get cut off, then they’ll shut up.

    4
  18. Jay L Gischer says:

    Jeff Sessions was never my favorite Senator. In fact, he rated pretty low on my list. Over the last year or so, things keep happening that make him look better and better by comparison. I’d take him in a heartbeat over Tuberville, for instance. And he was a much more ethical AG than Barr is.

    7
  19. @Jay L Gischer: I have to concur on all counts.

    3
  20. @reid:

    Any chance this bigoted moron winning the primary will improve Jones’s chances a bit?

    No. Fundamentally in a presidential year I cannot see Jones prevailing over a Republican (even if Roy Moore were to be the nominee, which isn’t going to happen as last I checked he was polling at ~5%). AL was almost +30% for Trump. I cannot see Jones overcoming that in a general election.

    1
  21. Mike in Arlington says:

    @Jay L Gischer: While I too agree, I also need to point out that the current AG set a particularly low ethical bar for Sessions to clear.

    4
  22. wr says:

    @Jay L Gischer: “And he was a much more ethical AG than Barr is.”

    And Mussolini murdered fewer people than Hitler. At some point there’s just no purpose in these comparisons…

    6
  23. CSK says:

    @Kathy:
    If at first you don’t secede, try, try again.

    9
  24. Kurtz says:

    @Jay L Gischer:

    Remember how wingnut bigots took great care to use Obama’s full name anytime they discussed him?

    As much as I hate doing similar things, I kind of like calling him Jefferson Beauregard Sessions. The difference is that Hussein is in no way reflective of Obama’s views nor who he is as a person. However, Jefferson Beauregard is pretty much reflective of both in the case of Sessions.

  25. gVOR08 says:

    @Jay L Gischer: We’re nostalgic for respectable Republicans like Richard Nixon, George W. Bush, and Jeff Sessions. We are so screwed.

    8
  26. Scott says:

    @Scott:

    I forgot to mention that Tuberville is pretty classless. From a 2012 USA Today article:

    Tommy Tuberville left recruits at dinner to take Cincinnati job

    Tommy Tuberville was in such a rush to leave Texas Tech that he didn’t even have time to finish his dinner.

    Tuberville stepped away from a dinner with several recruits and assistant coaches Friday night and never returned. Saturday morning, Tuberville surprised many by accepting an offer to become Cincinnati’s coach.

    “The waitress brought our food out, and we thought (Tuberville) went to the bathroom, but he never came back to dinner,” Danzey said. “Then next thing I know, the next day, he made an announcement that he’s going to Cincinnati.”

  27. CSK says:

    @Scott:
    Well, of course Tuberville loves Trump. They have everything in common.

  28. Gromitt Gunn says:

    @Scott: That sort of thing will not surprise anyone who has ever been a Ph.D. candidate. 😉

    1
  29. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Paine: And not huffing the markers would help, too! 😛

  30. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Mike in Arlington: Indeed! An earthworm can jump higher than that.

  31. Bill says:

    @Scott:

    Tuberville stepped away from a dinner with several recruits and assistant coaches Friday night and never returned. Saturday morning, Tuberville surprised many by accepting an offer to become Cincinnati’s coach.

    This sounds a little like Lou Saban in reverse. In November 1976 he took the athletic director job at Cincinnati only to leave 18 days later to be the head football coach at the University of Miami.

  32. 95 South says:

    @Stormy Dragon: The difference is conservatives understand religion enough to know Islam is dangerous. Modern liberals are like some city-dweller walking through the woods for the first time. All these berries look the same. The park ranger doesn’t want me to eat them because he’s plotting something. I know, it’s projection! He secretly wants them all for himself!

    1
  33. DeD says:

    Doc Taylor, the link does not go to the Tuberville story.

  34. An Interested Party says:

    The difference is conservatives understand religion enough to know Islam is dangerous.

    Oh please…just about any religion can be dangerous if used to justify hatred and bigotry, including that religion that many conservatives profess to believe…

    9
  35. Teve says:

    @An Interested Party: didn’t I read somewhere that George W. Bush didn’t know the difference between a Shia and Sunni when they invaded Iraq?

    1
  36. Stormy Dragon says:

    @95 South:

    There are twice as many Native Americans in the US as there are Muslims. Worrying about sharia law makes as much sense as worrying your home will be burned down by an indian raiding party while you’re at work.

    15
  37. Teve says:

    Hillary won 9 of the 10 most educated counties in America. Trump won 7 of the 10 least educated counties.

    2
  38. Mister Bluster says:

    @95 South:..The difference is conservatives understand religion enough to know Islam is dangerous.

    I have been hearing white Christians say they want to kill American Citizens because they are Black for years and years.

    Thou hypocrite, take the beam out of thy own eye first, and so thou shalt have clear sight to rid thy brother’s of the speck.

    Just a suggestion.

    8
  39. @DeD: Thanks for noting that. I have fixed it.

  40. CSK says:

    @Teve:
    Well, Trump has said that he loves “the poorly educated.” Of course he does.

    1
  41. de stijl says:

    Lots of folks would be totally down for the no interest rate on loans thing.

  42. de stijl says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    With Native Americans, we were stealing their land while murdering them.

    With Middle easterners, we mostly just murder them.

    I like the Canadian First Nations construct. It is better than native, IMO.

    Native implies passive, undesearving. They were hanging out, bogarting land that rightfully belonged to civilized people who could exploit it.

    Inactive participants in their own lives. Which was not the situation.

    First Nations is way cooler.