Well. That was certainly a pleasant surprise.
I’ll admit, I was bearish on Doug Jones’s prospects all the way up until about 10pm. At least three different people asked me yesterday who I thought would win Alabama’s Senate election, and all three times I answered “Moore,” without hesitating. I’m not sure I’ve ever been happier to be wrong.
Disgraced former judge and long-time sexual predator Roy Moore lost last night’s special election to former U.S. Attorney G. Douglas Jones, the first Democrat to win a Senate seat from Alabama since 1992. In fact, until last night, no Democrat had won ANY statewide office in Alabama since 2008.
How? Well, for starters, Roy Moore was unfit for the Senate (or polite society), even before any of the nine women who have accused him of sexual misconduct ever came forward.
He’s the guy who was (twice, TWICE!) removed from the State Supreme Court for defying federal court orders. He doesn’t believe we need any constitutional amendments after the first ten (which do not include the amendments banning slavery, granting women the right to vote, or guaranteeing equal protection under the law to anyone who isn’t a straight, white, Christian male, natch). He doesn’t believe Muslims should be allowed to hold elective office.
He’s a bigot and a jerk and a self-aggrandizing showboat who rode a horse named Sassy (who now has her own Twitter account) to the polls yesterday to vote for himself. AND declined to gracefully concede the race to Jones last night despite multiple Republican officials pointing out that the race is over.
I don’t like him.
Doug Jones, on the other hand, was the attorney who successfully prosecuted former KKK members for murdering 4 little girls in 1963’s Birmingham 16th Street Baptist Church bombing. And, especially for Alabama, he’s pretty darn progressive. He’s pro-choice, opposes the Hyde Amendment, supports equal rights for LGBTQ people, and believes health care is a human right.
Now, it has been argued, rightly, that Roy Moore was a uniquely flawed candidate, and that Doug Jones benefited from a perfect storm. There’s truth to that theory. But it’s also important to note that the outcome in Alabama last night actually tracks very closely with what happened in Virginia and New Jersey last month.
Jones (and, yes, Moore) drove up turnout among young people (Jones won 60%) and African Americans (Jones won 92 %, including an astounding 98% of black women). Note to white women: You’re embarrassing me. Do better.
Several political analysts have noted that Jones’s win gives the Democrats a legitimate shot at taking the Senate in 2018. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still an uphill battle, but now it’s more like climbing K2 than Everest. Virginia, New Jersey, Alabama in 2017
And in 2018? It’s all on the table.