In the #AlabamaSenate Election, Everyone Loses
In the #AlabamaSenate Election, Everyone Loses
Last night, the nation waited anxiously for the results of the Alabama special election, to fill Jeff Sessions’ vacated Senate seat. Would the winner be Roy Moore, who had been credibly accused of sexually harassing and molesting young teenage girls? Or would it be Doug Jones, the Democrat who advocated for abortion on demand, at any time in pregnancy? No matter what happened, it seems Alabamians would lose — and it’s no wonder that they just wanted the whole thing to end.
Alabama has been a reliably red state for decades — so it was utterly shocking for many when it turned out that Doug Jones won. But the reality is, there’s nothing for anyone to celebrate.
For many Republicans, this election put them in a truly tough spot. As brilliantly outlined by David French, Moore was truly a terrible candidate. Sexual harassment allegations aside, his background should have — and did — make conservatives recoil in horror. Yet some backed him anyway, because they feared losing a senate seat to Democrats, even though it would still leave Republicans with a majority.
As if Moore’s background wasn’t enough, there was the bizarre behavior during the campaign. Consider this mind-boggling interview between Jake Tapper and a Moore campaign spokesman:
— CNN (@CNN) December 12, 2017
It’s as if Moore was trying to lose, by hiring the most ineffectual, incompetent staff and then parading them before the country so everyone could point and laugh. If someone wanted to win an election, then this would typically not be the way to do so.
Add up the accusations of Moore’s harassment and molestation of children, his horrific political background, and his bizarre campaign behavior, then it’s perhaps not surprising that Doug Jones won.
— The Hill (@thehill) December 13, 2017
And Democrats sure are celebrating — to them, this is a huge win, as Jones is the first Democrat to be elected to the United States Senate in Alabama in 25 years. But there really is nothing for Democrats to be excited about here.
Let’s look at the exit polls from last night. It was a nail-biting race, and Jones emerged victorious… but according to the Alabama Secretary of State, Jones received 49.92% of the vote, with Moore receiving 48.38%. Moore, for his part, is already saying that he wants a recount.
But look at those numbers again. Jones barely eked out a win, and he was running against a toxic, horrifically bad opponent. And this was the best that Jones could do? He very easily could have lost, which Democrats should take as a warning. This is how disliked the Democratic Party is today, that a man with all of the constitutional knowledge and understanding of a penguin, who has been credibly accused by multiple women of sexual harassment and molestation, who ran an embarrassingly bad campaign, could still put up a strong showing, could still almost defeat the Democrat.
This is not a win for Democrats. If they were intellectually honest at all, they would be looking at the results of this race, and realizing just how toxic Americans find them.
It’s not much better for Republicans. Yes, they still have a majority in the Senate. But how long will that last? Steve Bannon, and eventually Donald Trump, not only endorsed Roy Moore, but campaigned hard for him. And his defeat shows that the shine is already starting to come off of Trumpism.
People are tired of the divisiveness that plagues the country. They’re exhausted by the anger. And, like the Alabamians that voted yesterday, they just want it to be over. They just want it all to end, so we can start to heal. And unfortunately, we don’t have a Lincoln or a Reagan who wants to bring people together; we have Trump, who wants to continue tearing the country apart. And the Alabama election should make Republicans very, very nervous about 2018.
Let’s take a look at the numbers again. Not unexpectedly, Jones enjoyed almost universal support from black voters. But he also made huge gains with white voters, both women and men, gaining twice as many white voters as Barack Obama did in 2012. He received a majority of independent voters, and only 2% of Democrats defected to vote for Roy Moore. 8% of Republicans, however, voted for Jones. A whopping 74% of self-described “moderates” voted for Jones. Moore received the majority of votes from white born-again Christians, but literally everyone else voted for Jones.
And, perhaps most chillingly for the GOP, most voters said that the sexual harassment and assault allegations against Moore played little to no role in how they voted. That means that we can’t just brush this off as an issue of his campaign being sunk by the “fake news” being published in the “biased” media. The Washington Post’s reporting did not do Roy Moore in; Moore himself did that — Moore, and the Trump-centered GOP.
Since Donald Trump’s rise last year, the GOP has moved uncomfortably into the alt-right. It was a winning strategy for 2016, but unless radical changes are made, it will cost the Republican party not only the 2018 election, but elections to come in the future. Demographics in the United States are changing. Placating angry white Americans is not a long-term strategy. The Republican party has to learn how to reach out to millennials — now the largest living generation. They need to learn how to reach out to people of color, who in a few generations will likely become the majority. And they need to rediscover their conservative principles, which have been almost wholly abandoned in exchange for a win-at-all-costs mentality.
The Alabama senate race could be considered a bellwether for future elections. The reality remains that the Democratic party is in shambles; its positions remain extreme, and they have lost the support of many Americans. If the GOP rights its course, then the party would be virtually unstoppable. Sadly, it seems that there is little-to-no chance that either party will come to its senses; the Democrats will continue to be beholden to the abortion industry and embrace the worst kind of pro-abortion extremism, and tiptoe towards socialism. The Republicans will continue embracing Trumpism and the alt-right.
And Americans will be the ones to lose.