Doug Jones, a Democrat, managed to do what no Democrat has been able to accomplish in over 20 years. He won the special election on Dec. 12 that now allows him to take over the vacated Senate seat left by Jeff Sessions.
How was he able to do this?
In order for Doug Jones to win the special election three things needed to happen, African American voters needed to have a higher turnout than expected, there needed to be write-ins for other candidates than Roy Moore, and undecided voters needed to side with Doug Jones. Last night, all of those things managed to happen. But how exactly did black voters contribute to Doug Jones’ victory? According to The New York Times, “Black voters turned out in force, handing Mr. Jones a decisive lead in Alabama’s cities and predominantly black rural counties. In Jefferson County, home to Birmingham and its whiter suburbs, turnout exceeded the 2014 governor’s race by about 30 percent, and Mr. Jones nearly matched Hillary Clinton’s vote total there. Other populous, heavily African-American counties, including Montgomery and Dallas County, where Selma is, also exceeded their 2014 turnout.”
So what does this mean for the Republican party, President Trump, black voters, and Steve Bannon?
Republican Party: For Republicans like Mitch McConnell, the loss of the Senate seat may sting but they are probably overjoyed that Roy Moore did not win. If Moore won, they would have to conduct an ethics investigation into Moore and basically obstruct his power from the moment he stepped into the Senate or seem like hypocrites.
President Trump: Once again, President Trump was not able to figure out the people of Alabama. During the GOP primary runoff, President Trump supported Luther Strange who lost to Roy Moore. Now, President Trump has supported Moore, regardless of Moore’s sexual allegations and the counsel he received from his advisors and Moore lost. This is a stain on President Trump, who not only lost a Senate seat but lost points on basic principles.
Black voters: The results in Alabama needs to mark a shift in the way that both parties but especially the Democratic Party treat black voters. For too long, black voters have been characterized as apathetic and unwilling to vote. Their vote has been taken for granted and then they have been subsequently ignored. However, Alabama reveals to black people and to everyone that their vote definitely matters. The black vote, more specifically black women voters, was able to carry Doug Jones to victory and this should be a lesson to everyone on the importance of voting and political participation.
Steve Bannon: Steve Bannon will begin to lose more credibility. He convinced President Trump to support Moore but like Trump, he misread the people of Alabama. Republican congressional leaders are already placing the blame for the loss on Steve Bannon. This is a clear indicator that Steve Bannon does not have as much power as he thinks and is not the great strategist as he would want others to believe.
Congratulations to the people of Alabama for choosing the person they felt would best represent their values!