Alabama- More of a Loss for Conservatives, than a Win for Progressives
Going into Tuesday night, all eyes were on Alabama. With one of the most powerful Senate seats vacated by the current attorney general, Jeff Sessions, Alabama’s special election not only seemed to be a referendum on Trump’s agenda, but also an analysis on the power of political affiliations. The race became controversial when allegations of sexual assault and harassment surfaced around the Republican candidate, Judge Roy Moore, which he has continued to deny even today. Roy Moore also attracted scrutiny when he suggested that America was great during times of slavery, suggested eliminating all amendments after the 10th amendment, and pulling out a loaded gun at a campaign rally to show how pro-gun he was.
At any rate, the Democratic candidate, Doug Jones, defeated Moore by just under 2 percent of the vote (roughly 22,000 votes). The win for Democrats shocked political pundits everywhere despite Moore’s deep flaws. Alabama has not voted for a Democrat in nearly 3 decades and even then the democratic candidate soon after changed their party affiliation to Republican.
While the results showed a stark contrast based on party lines, the big difference in the way people voted seems to be racial. While more than %60 of white voters cast their vote for Moore (notably a majority of white women), black voters came out in droves to vote for Doug Jones, winning 95% of the black vote following a huge get out the vote effort the weekend of the election.
While this definitely gives an edge to Democrats in the Senate, the Alabama race represents a huge loss for Republicans. This is particularly true for anti-establishment, hardline, populous conservatives like Steve Bannon, who vigorously backed Moore throughout the election even as Sexual misconduct rumors began to emerge. Many even calling for Steve Bannon to be blackballed from Capital Hill, like New York Republican Peter King.
The loss will also be felt by Donald Trump and congressional Republican leaders, who in addition to backing losing candidates, now face an even steeper climb for tax and health care reform with a slimmer majority in the Senate. This will no doubt mean that “moderate” Republicans in the Senate like Marco Rubio, John McCain, Susan Collins, and Bob Corker, will be even more powerful and influential than ever before. Just today senator Rubio announced he would be a “no” vote on the tax bill until child tax credits were expanded.
Doug Jones will definitely be an obstacle in the GOP tax effort and will hurt chances of an ACA repeal. Doug Jones supports abortion rights for women, protection of LGBT rights, and expanding background checks for gun sales.