Stop Celebrating the "Victory" in Alabama

Originally Posted on Medium - December 19, 2017

In Seth Meyers recent “A Closer Look” segment, he mentions the recent Democratic victory in Alabama. It is a throwaway comment in this segment, but he says what I have been reading and hearing seemingly everywhere, about this great triumph in Alabama. While I agree with the satisfaction of the results, seeing that Roy Moore is an alleged child molester, I think the mainstream media, and the Democratic party, needs to slow down a bit about what that victory meant.

0_1ILma14QDeuPAU9n.jpg

Doug Jones winning was not a rebuke of Donald Trump and the Republican Party. Yes, a Democrat won in the deep red state of Alabama, and that is great, but it was by no means a clean victory. He won by 1.5 percent against an alleged child molester. Even despite all of the allegations against Roy Moore, he lost by the margin of error. I would be hard pressed to attribute any semblance of that loss to Donald Trump and the Republican Party.

The demographics show that even with the accusations, Roy Moore still won a majority of white votes. African Americans are the people that propelled Doug Jones to victory, but they are not typically Republican. The Republican base is still strong and well on the side of their own team, and even an alleged child molester could not change that. Approximately 70% of white voters in Alabama still voted for Roy Moore. If anything, this should serve as a warning to the Democratic party of how truly entrenched the other side seems to be. This is not a victory, but a message that the Democratic Party still has no message that resonates with a large portion of the white population.

To then stretch that and say that Donald Trump and the Republican Party are losing any traction is just absurd. They are still well and good, and they are not going anywhere in Alabama.

There is a bright side, and that is that more Democrats showed up and voted. African Americans made up 26% of the population, but 29% of the electorate. Let’s put aside all of the calls of “Black Voters Saved Alabama”; they’re not saving it, they are fighting for it, and they are still struggling. They barely squeaked out a Doug Jones victory. What does it say to the Democrats that it takes the threat of a child molester for their voters to show up. It says that their message still doesn’t resonate well enough in the south. It says that however mightily they view their own cause, it is still barely good enough to beat a pedophile. It says that they still have a lot of work to do.

It is nice that the Democrats finally got a win, but to be anything other than mildly alarmed at the results of the Alabama Senate race is foolish. Take a day to celebrate, but then look at the bigger picture. The fact is, an alleged pedophile barely lost, but support for the alleged sexual predator is still going strong.

For more information: https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/dec/13/doug-jones-alabama-roy-moore-african-american-voters

David Birnbaum