Dennis Beavers, of Blountsville, Trump campaign director for Alabama, suffered a relatively minor loss at the polls on Nov. 8. The Moving Blount County Forward initiative succeeded easily, in spite of his efforts to the contrary.
But he more than made up for it with a major, major win. Make that a major, major, historic win. Make that a major, major, historic, upset win. He won’t agree to the upset part.
It wasn’t an upset in his view; they outworked the other side, and the only unknown was a few battleground states that were swinging their way in the last days before the vote.
True to the Trump formula, Beavers trumpeted “Blame it on the media. They were living in a bubble of denial.” He admits to being relieved at the final outcome, but not really surprised, having experienced only a brief frisson of suspense over the outcome of the Broward County vote in Florida.
(The state campaign was directed, by the way, from his unprepossessing stone-front home insurance office on Main Street in Blountsville. Beavers said that, besides running the Alabama campaign, he worked North Florida directing an “Alabama Strike Force” to help the national campaign swing that all-important state to Trump.)
“ When Broward County came in 7 percent shy of the 2012 Democratic turnout and Republicans were 11 percent above 2012, I was relieved that we had Florida, and I knew there was a national trend in progress. The reports that the national Trump campaign had given up days before was widely misreported by the media.” Back to the moon and stars
“The moon and stars have aligned for Alabama, “Beavers said, warming to his subject. “Senator Richard Shelby is second in seniority in the U.S. Senate behind Thad Cochran of Mississippi. Shelby is interim chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee and you know what that means. Senator Jeff Sessions is a major figure on the Trump team. He’s like the Wizard of Oz. Trump adopted most of his immigration policy from Sessions. ( The Blount Countian: Is he going to get a cabinet job? Beavers: “No comment. I can’t tell you all I know about that.”)
“But I’ll make this prediction,” Beavers continued. “Alabama will receive its fair share (emphasis Beavers’s) of funding for infrastructure improvements it has needed for the last 50 years or more. We not only notably helped elect the president, but we (the Republicans) have a majority in the Senate, a majority in the House, and two powerful senators in the Senate.(Hedidn’tmentiona6to1 Republican majority in the Alabama U. S. House delegation, but give him a break: he was on a roll.) Potpourri
The rest of this article is a little disjointed. It’s a scatter pattern, kind of like you’d get with an old, beat-up shotgun. Lots of bits and pieces, some of it quot- ed, some paraphrased, peppered all over the target. Can’t be helped; it was that kind of conversation, crammed in, as it was, between Beavers’s burgeoning political imperatives and the reporter’s deadlines. Watch for the quote marks for Beaver’s own words. Otherwise, it’s The Blount Countian speaking, or Beavers is being paraphrased. In the beginning
“In the beginning we were laughed at and made fun of. But they didn’t know what we knew. They didn’t know what so many of the voters were mad about. Paul Hubbard once told me, ‘You don’t run the economy and the country from Wall Street down. You run it from Main Street up.’ That was the silver bullet, Beavers concluded, for Donald Trump and the Trump campaign – running the campaign based on a grass-roots up approach of appealing to what the voters themselves were looking for. Campaign nuts and bolts
“I was in charge of the general election for Trump in Alabama – getting out the vote. We had 187 people assigned to Trump Talk and made more than 100,000 phone calls to voters. We had the Alabama Strike Force. We sent a team of about 150 volunteers to help out in Florida and about 25 each to Ohio, Georgia, and North Carolina. We did a lot more personal contact than the Democrats did – telephone calls and social media.
“I directed the Alabama bus tour to Huntsville, Cullman, Birmingham, Montgomery Mobile, Dothan and Enterprise. People who had never worked elections before would come up to me and say ‘What can I do?’
“We didn’t have campaign office space – didn’t need it – we stayed on the road. We had 30,000 people turn out for Trump’s appearance in Mobile. That was early on. Then we had more than 30,000 in Madison. We knew something was big afoot after those turnouts.” Deciding factors
Beavers analysis of deciding factors in the Trump victory:
• connecting with the forgotten working class and average voters across the country on issues the political establishments of both parties failed to address.
• emphasizing a powerful anti-Clinton and anti-Obama administration message.
• taking advantage of “manna from heaven” (Beavers’s words) – the fortuitously timed events that occurred during the closing weeks of the campaign; Beavers identified the main one from his standpoint as the announcement made by many health insurance companies in October of large double-digit increases in health insurance premiums for the coming year.
• the anti-Washington and anti-establishment sentiment generally, though Beavers hurried to say that Alabama’s elected Congressional representatives “do a good job.” What now?
“A lot work, that’s what. The transition team has to be put in place and about 5,000 appointments to various jobs have to be made and approved. I’m optimistic because I feel a lot better about national security. I’m cautious on economic issues. Health care is one-sixth of the economy. Average families can’t pay the coming round of premiums. That’s going to require a major overhaul. Trump is right about keeping some parts, the popular parts of Obamacare.”
What about the 30,000 people who got insurance for the first time under Obamacare and can only afford it because they’re being subsidized?” The Blount Countian interrupts.
A long pause ensues. “That’s going to have to be worked out,” Beavers says slowly, How? “Trump is going to have to work on getting more providers involved,” (quote) and allow them to operate across state lines, to increase competition in order to put pressure on keeping premiums down (paraphrase). On a lighter note
“I will be attending the inauguration in Washington in January. Many people are asking me for tickets. They need to call the Alabama Republican Party at 205-202-5900 and go from there. I expect there will be a hu-u-u-ge Alabama contingent in Washington for that. “ What’s your political future?
Beavers neatly avoided the question, saying he had a full and satisfying life taking care of his home and business. The Blount Countian didn’t let him off the hook that easily, commenting on a thick document on his desk that had something to do with 5000 jobs in Washington D.C. “Well, if I’m asked…,”he began, then stopped, hesitated, then started over. “Well, you know, if the President were to ask you to do something…. well, what are you gonna say? You gonna tell him ‘No’? What are you gonna tell him?”