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Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Sweet Home Alabama: The Jones-Moore Election

Sweet home Alabama
Where the skies are so blue
Sweet home Alabama
Lord, I'm coming home to you…

Since Tuesday night, Democrats all over the country are celebrating the results in Alabama’s special election for the U.S. Senate seat vacated by Attorney General Jeff Sessions.  The victory by Doug Jones over Roy Moore was satisfying on so many fronts, and it’s easy to see why the Dems are giddy and emboldened at his moment in history.  Decency and dignity prevailed in the Yellowhammer State.

Democrats nabbed a crucial Senate seat in crimson red Alabama when no one ever thought it would be possible.  This result will facilitate regaining control over the Senate in 2018, but it is still a daunting task given that many Democrats have to defend their seats in states that went to Donald Trump in 2016.

The effect of the #MeToo movement was evident in the election as women, notably African-American women, put a stamp on this election and repudiated Roy Moore and his alleged sexual misconduct from earlier in his life—a point he steadfastly denies.

The Get Out the Vote (GOTV) effort by the Jones campaign in urban and suburban areas in particular was instrumental.  This should reinforce the criticality of getting the voters enthused enough to vote because no matter what district, there are always Democrats residing in it.  Democratic voters need to be motivated by a quality candidate and an articulate, persuadable message to be delivered by said candidate.

African-Americans, a vital component of the Democratic electorate, came through in this election bigly and carried Jones, a pro-choice candidate, over the finish line. This should have been a no-brainer given Moore’s racism and his nostalgia for the time that families were united when slavery existed.

Add that to the fact that Jones successfully prosecuted two of the Klansmen involved in the bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, nearly 40 years after the crime.

Nonetheless, Democratic candidates must deliver a message to African-Americans that resonate. Never take this voting bloc for granted. And they need to bolster GOTV efforts with that community.

Many Dems are also rejoicing because it brought Trump’s record in Alabama in 2017 elections to 0-2 and depriving him of a “huge win.”  Trump defied advice and got involved in this race by endorsing Moore.  By doing so, it brought back to the surface his own problems concerning sexual misconduct as several women reiterated their accusations.  It was a terrible political miscue.

The upset also smeared egg on the smearable face of Steve Bannon who thought that he is a big-shot powerbroker. He could still be a force to reckon with in 2018, but clearly his stock tanked.
However, before Democrats take their foot off the gas pedal and believe that they can glide into 2018 on a “blue wave,” there are some sobering realities as a result of this election. 

Roy Moore was beyond flawed as a candidate. Even prior to the sexual misconduct allegations including molesting a minor while he was in his 30’s, he was unpopular.  Besides the slavery comment, he had demonstrated his virulent bigotry toward LGBT people and Muslims. Yet, as his wife pointed out, we should not consider his to be anti-Semitic since one of his attorneys is “a Jew.”

Moore’s denials of the sexual misconduct allegations were so unconvincing (similar to Trump’s) that mainstream Republicans scattered to the hills including the state’s senior Senator Richard Shelby.

Moore ducked every opportunity to debate Jones and seldomly discussed specific issues facing the state and the nation without invoking God.

Yet, despite Moore’s deficiencies still nearly half the state’s voters supported him. The sun apparently doesn’t shine everywhere in Alabama as too many preferred a child molester to a Democrat.

But with the historic victory in Alabama on December 12, Democrats should feel elated and confident but should also be mindful there is much work to do.  Good candidates, effective messaging and flawed opponents who receive help from Trump-Bannon will help us take back America.


Cleis said...

Great analysis.

Steve Charing said...

Thank you!

Unknown said...

This election shows the enormous possibilities if Dems can bridge the gap with poor and rural white voters. Converting 1 out of every 10 white voters who voted Republican could mean over 400 electoral votes and veto proof majorities in Congress for a generation