The Alabama Legislature never ceases to surprise me. Here, our state has a Republican supermajority in both the House and Senate, yet the people who run those chambers are moderates at best. 

In the case of the two most recent House Speakers – Nathaniel Ledbetter (R-Rainsville) and Mac McCutcheon (R-Monrovia) – it seems we have Democrats in disguise, both under the puppet-like control of political operative Steve Raby. Under their leadership, the Alabama Legislature passed a gas tax and legalized marijuana – a complete and total disaster – and now is pushing a full-blown casino gambling bill that will reward groups who have illegally run gambling establishments for decades. 

However, this legislation will not only expand gambling. It also enables Medicaid expansion and a whole new expansion of government via a Gaming Commission – complete with its own law enforcement branch not under ALEA or the state attorney general. 

But the icing on the cake is that Republicans in the Alabama Legislature want the public to vote on this gambling constitutional amendment during the November general election. Yes, you read that right. Not only is this legislation not conservative, it is also nothing more than a GOP-sponsored get-out-the-vote (GOTV) campaign for Democrats. It is as if Democrats wrote and promoted the entire piece of legislation for their own political gains. 

“How so?” you ask. Here’s how things will likely play out: 

“Education lottery” will likely be the label slapped on this constitutional amendment placed on the November ballot. It will say little to nothing about exclusive casino rights being given to criminal enterprises. But whether the ballot says gambling, gaming, or lottery, Democrats will come out in droves to place their votes. This is problematic for Republican candidates, particularly those running to win Alabama’s newly redrawn majority-minority second congressional district (AL-2). 

The federal court system just made an example of Alabama by redrawing our congressional district maps – maps approved by the process outlined in our State Constitution. The courts refused to keep like-minded communities together, sacrificing the representation of millions in the process. “It is now clear that none of the maps proposed by Republican supermajorities had any chance of success,” Republican Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall said about the redrawing. “Treating voters as individuals would not do. Instead, our elected representatives and our voters must apparently be reduced to skin color alone.” 

Marshall added, “No Alabamian—black, white, Republican, or Democrat—can look at the court-drawn maps that will soon be imposed on us and see anything other than the prioritization of race above all else. Our communities, local economies, and basic geography will be cast aside in the radical pursuit of racial quotas. There simply is no other explanation for the absurd disfigurement.”

If this bill passes and Alabamians vote on gambling on the November ballot, we are facing a significant impact on the state’s political landscape. It very well could be the critical factor in turning out enough Democrat votes, kissing any chance of a Republican win in AL-2 goodbye. This would be one of the worst self-inflicted political wounds Alabama Republicans could make. 

And it could have repercussions potentially lasting decades, for if the gambling legislation turns out votes for Democrats, causing them to win AL-2, the Alabama federal delegation will lose a GOP congressional seat. The loss of that seat could be the deciding factor in causing the loss of a Republican majority in the U.S. House of Representatives. 

Imagine if Donald Trump were to win back the presidency and Republicans took a majority in the U.S. Senate only to lose a majority in the House because the Republican-controlled Alabama Legislature wanted gambling so bad they were willing to sacrifice anything for it. That is the path Republicans are on with this current GOTV campaign for the Democrat party, cleverly disguised as a “gambling bill.” 

If Alabama’s Republican leaders and members of the Alabama Senate don’t want to encourage vote turnout for their opponents, then they must take a stand and kill this bill before it has any chance to irreparably damage their party nationwide. But then, perhaps that’s what they secretly want, particularly if many in the Alabama Legislature are Democrats in disguise.

Bryan Dawson is CEO of 1819 News. The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the policy or position of 1819 News. To comment, please send an email with your name and contact information to

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