I would have choked on my Cheerios, if I had been eating any, or sprayed my Diet Coke, if I had been drinking one.

Fortunately for anything or anyone around me, I was neither eating nor drinking when I read one of the most outrageous statements I’ve ever read from former president Donald Trump (and that’s saying something, given his history of outrageousness).

“Mo Brooks of Alabama made a horrible mistake recently when he went ‘woke’ …” Trump said in his statement withdrawing his endorsement of the Alabama Congressman running for Alabama Senate.

Brooks may be a lot of things to a lot of people, good and bad, but woke?

The man who can’t seem to form a coherent paragraph without calling out “liberal Godless Socialist Democrats'? Who attacks “RINOs” (Republicans In Name Only) for not being conservative enough? Who was once quoted as saying, “We don't have the money in America to keep paying for the education of everybody else's children from around the world. We simply don't have the financial resources to do that,” and “I would expect illegal alien parents to take care of their children. If it means the kids go back home with them, that's what happens”?


Don’t get me wrong: I am not endorsing Mo Brooks. I have met and had the chance to talk with Brooks, Katie Britt and Mike Durant. I like them all. They all have good points and all have points where I might disagree. The truth is, in this Senate race, whoever wins I expect will vote in a way that the majority of Alabamians would agree with. There do not appear to be any major policy differences (as opposed to personality differences) between the three.

This much I do know: Mo Brooks is one of the last people I’d call “woke.”

What I am really curious about is just how much benefit there is to Trump’s endorsement. I understand they all want it, and Britt and Durant are certainly doing everything they can to get the blessing of the Pope of Mar-a-Lago.

But look around the country in this election cycle: In Georgia, Sen. David Perdue is struggling in his GOP primary challenge to Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp despite winning Trump's endorsement. In Pennsylvania, Trump-endorsed Sean Parnell ended his candidacy in November after his estranged wife was granted sole legal custody of their children. In North Carolina, Trump's surprise endorsement of Rep. Ted Budd has done little to narrow the open-seat Senate field. In Alaska, Sen. Lisa Murkowski continues to far outraise Trump-endorsed challenger Kelly Tshibaka.

Certainly, any candidate in Alabama is better off with a Trump endorsement than without it. And you definitely don’t want to have had it and then lose it.

But Luther Strange had Trump’s endorsement in his Senate run; how’d that work out for him? Roy Moore had it in his Senate run, which didn’t turn out so well either.

And Brooks had Trump’s endorsement, and what did it get him? Three recent polls – if you believe them – all have him losing ground to Durant and Britt.

Maybe Alabama voters are smarter than some campaign experts think. They are certainly going to pay attention to a Trump endorsement, but the truth is that the former president doesn’t live in Alabama and doesn’t always know what is going on in this state. Sometimes, as much as we may support The Donald (and we do!), we also know there are other issues that may overshadow a Trump endorsement.

Brooks jumped out in this Senate race early and held what seemed like would be an insurmountable lead. But many began to tire of what seemed too often like a one-message campaign: “I’ve got the endorsement of Donald Trump. Nanny-nanny-boo-boo.”

The irony of that is, of the three major Senate candidates, Brooks is the only one with a real voting record, the only one that voters can look at and know how he has voted, the positions he has taken in Congress, and decide if that’s what they want in their next Senator. He had a real record to run on, but that message has gotten lost in the “MAGA Mo” campaign.

If you want to say Brooks is too bombastic and doesn’t seem to be able to play nice with others, I get that. If you want someone younger and seemingly more aligned with Richard Shelby’s approach to politics (and, at her age, has the best chance for the kind of longevity that resulted in the power and influence of Shelby), then Britt would seem to be your candidate. If you want that third rail, the veteran-hero-successful businessman who might just shake things up in Washington D.C. because he doesn’t know “how things are done”, then maybe you like Durant.

Personally, I appreciate how Virginia Gov. Glen Youngkin handled Trump’s endorsement. He accepted it but never made an issue out of it. In fact, he threw it back in the face of Democrat Terry McAuliffe, saying McAuliffe was the only one talking about Trump while Youngkin was focused on the issues facing Virginians. And in the end, many voters in Virginia who helped Youngkin carry that state said the former president didn’t factor in their decision of who to vote for.

Alabama is not Virginia, of course. Alabama is a solid “R” state, which means a solid “T” (as in Trump) state as well.

But this election isn’t about the former president. It is about who will go to Washington and be willing to take an Alabama-values approach to changing the way Democrats – and too many Republicans – have been doing business for too long.

Trump’s endorsement? Nice if you can get it. But I just don’t think it’s going to be what decides the race (although Trump will certainly say it did).

Vote for Mo Brooks or don’t, that’s what elections are all about.

But Mo Brooks, woke?

I’m still laughing at that one.

Ray Melick is Editor-in-Chief 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 Commentary@1819News.com.