Last night, in a remarkable turn of events that even many of my friends couldn’t have predicted (I’m looking at you, Dana Pace), Doug Jones, a Democrat, won the special election for the vacant US Senate seat here in Alabama over former Alabama Supreme Court Judge Roy Moore.
I spent a hefty part of the evening (after getting my boys to bed) on Twitter and Facebook, enjoying the moment and reading all the reactions in real time was really a delight. It felt like I had won something, and to be honest, in a way I did. We all did, even if you didn’t vote for Doug Jones.
We managed to put Country over Party in this election, but having slept on the results, I think there are some other things we learned in this election that are going to be crucial going forward if we are going to turn things around in this country.
Black Lives (And Their Issues and Concern) Really Matter
In an amazing show of solidarity, black voters overwhelmingly picked Doug Jones in this election. Overall, the black vote (which accounts for roughly 30% of the population of Alabama) voted for Jones at a 96% rate, whereas white voters overwhelming voted for Moore (nearly 3 out of every 4 white votes went to Roy Moore).
Many pundits and commentators in both traditional and social media circles pointed to Jones’ lack of attention that the candidate paid to issues around race. Jones was always quick to point out his role in the prosecution of the KKK members who bombed the 16th Street Baptist Church, but beyond that, his message was fairly weak to black voters.
Regardless of that fact, black voters turned out in droves to support Jones and probably got him elected. Beyond what I feel is the obvious fact that black lives (and their issues) matter, I think it’s clear that the Democratic base needs to strengthen their message and stance on issues that impact black Americans because by and large, the way to win back control of Congress will go through minorities and women.
White People – We Need To Talk
It happened in 2016 with Trump and it happened again in 2017 with Roy Moore – overwhelmingly, white voters have voted for the Republican candidate on the ticket, despite the veracity of the allegations surrounding the candidate.
I’m not one of those white people. I’m proud to say that I voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016 and I voted for Doug Jones in 2017. And I know a ton of white people who did the same thing I did. But I know there are also a lot of my fellow Alabamians who I know voted for Trump and likely either voted for Moore, wrote in someone’s name, or didn’t vote at all.
The simple fact is I feel like many Republican voters are acting like they are brainwashed into thinking that no matter what, you simply cannot vote for a Democrat. They are convinced that a vote for a Democrat is going to kill babies, take more of your money, and make you bake cakes for gay couples.
Regardless of how true or not those statements are, the divisiveness of our current political process is only working to hinder our progress as a society. In my humble opinion, I believe some Republicans voted for Doug Jones this time around and more need to find a way to put their faith in candidates because of the issues, and their character, instead of whether or not the man (or woman) has an “R” or “D” next to their name on the ballot.
The Republicans Across The Country Just Heaved A Big Ol’ Sigh of Relief
Republicans took to Twitter and tweets poured in last night and continued through today and the message seems to be “Hey Roy – you lost…move on buddy”. But the vibe I’m getting from most of these tweets is more a collective sigh of relief than actually wanting Roy Moore to move on and concede the election.
Despite how voter turnout came down in this election yesterday, I believe a lot of Republicans are silently glad that Moore didn’t win. A Moore victory yesterday would’ve been hung around the neck of every single GOP candidate in the 2018 midterms and it likely would’ve given Democrats even more momentum. As the tweets suggest, it seems as if many Republicans are eager to move past this and start re-establishing their message. The problem with that is the standard bearer you’ve chosen is still Donald Trump, and you can bet these sexual misconduct allegations around him aren’t going away anytime soon.
So if you value decency over corruption, if you value progress over backwards thinking, if you want us to move forward and not go back in time, then you should hold your head up high today and know that Alabama (of all places) sent the US and the world a message loud and clear last night.
And Roy, if you’re reading this…you’ve got to go, but Sassy can stay.