Last night, Doug Jones, a former prosecutor who made his name prosecuting Ku Klux Klan members who bombed a Birmingham church in 1963, defeated Roy Moore, who made his name stalking teenage girls at Alabama malls, in a special election for Senate in Alabama.
The result comes as somewhat of a shock for a country that has taken massive steps to the right in the last year, but Jones was carried by a coalition of Black voters, who turned out in droves despite rampant gerrymandering, and affluent white, suburban voters, who turned their back on the increasingly belligerent GOP.
Jones said in his victory speech that Alabama has laid down a liberal blueprint for victory and shown that there is still hope for liberal causes,
“We have shown the country the way that we can be unified. This entire race has been about dignity and respect. This campaign has been about the rule of law.”
To see a Democrat who leans solidly to the left win a Senate seat in the deep red state of Alabama is a beautiful thing for anyone that has been discouraged by the political trends in the country as of late.
Trump backed Luther Strange, and he went down; then backed his bird-of-a-feather friend Roy Moore, and he just went down. Don’t fear these people. They are beatable.
— Rep. Keith Ellison (@keithellison) December 13, 2017
After Donald Trump’s victory in last year’s election, it has been a pretty depressing 13 months for people of color, women, young people, and Democrats, as the Trump administration has targeted underrepresented populations both politically and rhetorically.
Doug Jones’ election should offer a glimmer of hope that the country is not so far gone that liberal policies and a unified Democratic party (carried by minorities and women) can still thrive successfully in America.
As for Roy Moore, honestly the less said the better. This is a man who thinks queerness is a crime, Jews are going to hell, and has spent decades preying on teenage girls. I, for one, am thrilled that we will no longer have to talk about this loser.
The real story in Alabama is that Black voters, and Black women specifically, carried Doug Jones to victory, despite the fact that Alabama’s districts are carefully drawn with the specific intention of suppressing Black voters.
In January, on the same day of Donald Trump’s inauguration, a federal appeals court ruled that 12 of Alabama’s districts were drawn “predominately” based on race.
In fact, Alabama is so wildly gerrymandered that Roy Moore won a majority of districts and still lost.
Alabama is so gerrymandered that Moore won 6 out of 7 congressional districts and still lost. Take a look at the shape of districts 6 and 7. https://t.co/sO0eGk1npk
— Nancy Leong (@nancyleong) December 13, 2017
98% of Black women showed up to the polls for Doug Jones, an extremely powerful voting bloc that offers Democrats a blueprint going forward.
For non-Black folks praising Black women in tonight's election – do more. Support Black women. Stand up for Black women. Hire Black women. Vote for Black women.
— ReBecca Theodore-Vachon (@FilmFatale_NYC) December 13, 2017
Y’all expect black people to save you all the time and we can’t even get a Storm movie fuck yall
— Ira Madison III (@ira) December 13, 2017
This was the FIRST election in a century where many of Alabama’s 144,000 disenfranchised black residents were able to vote. Here’s how you can end the disenfranchisement of *500,000* black residents in Florida before 2020: https://t.co/tTTUjUavC8 #AlabamaSenateElection
— Samuel Sinyangwe (@samswey) December 13, 2017
People of color in Alabama just Made America Great Again.
— American Turban (@americanturban) December 13, 2017
How many diet cokes did Trump consume while he gulped and waited for the defeat of his pedophile candidate?? #swishswish
— Maxine Waters (@RepMaxineWaters) December 13, 2017
Ultimately, this isn’t a political victory, but a social and human one. It’s curt to suggest that Black voters, specifically Black women “saved” Alabama, rather it was a firm rebuke of a man (Moore) and a party whose draconian policies would most affect these populations.
It’s now on the Democratic party to put forth an agenda that empowers people of color, women, and disenfranchised communities. It’s not enough to offer up the same centrist rhetoric of a bygone era and hope that Black people show up to the polls.
In the meantime, hire Black women. Support Black women. Vote for Black women. The future may not be as dark as we thought.