I never thought that I’d write the phrase “fuck yeah, Alabama,” but it fits the morning after Doug Jones’ remarkable upset victory in the Alabama special election. The key word in that sentence is special; everything came together in a perfect political storm to give Democrats their first victory in an Alabama senate race since 1992 when Richard Shelby won before switching parties after the GOP wave election of 1994. Shelby’s refusal to vote for Moore was part of the perfect political storm. It signaled that it was okay for business conservatives to write in Nick Saban or even vote for Doug Jones.
I had a good feeling about the race for the last few weeks. I knew it was going to be close and hoped it would turn out well, which gives me the right to say I told you so to people who *assumed* a Moore win was inevitable. Repeat after me: nothing is written.
It took a perfect political storm for this to happen. I think some bullet points are in order. I promise not to go power point on your asses.
- Doug Jones was the perfect candidate to run against Roy Moore. It reminded me of the contrast between John Bel Edwards and David Vitter in the 2015 Gret Stet Goober race. Jones was Mr. Clean facing off against Judge Pervert. It was perfect casting: Hollywood couldn’t have done better.
- Doug Jones ran as a liberal, not as either a Blue Dog or a Berniecrat. Jones staked out advanced positions on gay rights, criminal law issues, CHIP, and abortion. BUT he didn’t make specific commitments on other issues that might have cost him the election in Crimson Tide country. Alabamians did not suddenly become liberals last night but they opened the door a crack for Doug Jones to walk in and prevail.
- Roy Moore was a dreadful candidate. He’s extreme even by Alabama standards and lacks the sort of charm or charisma that could smooth off his rough edges. The sex scandal fatally wounded his campaign with voters suffering from Trump fatigue. One might call them Romney voters: suburban business Republicans who don’t like the Insult Comedian’s style and tone.
- Donald Trump is an orange anchor who will sink GOP hopes in surprising places in 2018. His full-throated support for Judge Pervert did not pay off. Trump is now o-2 in this Alabama senate race: both Big Luther and Big Pervert lost. His support is not transferable and will sink enough Republican candidates in 2018 for Democrats to take control of both houses of Congress. Most people *really* do not like the Insult Comedian and his rude, rude ways.
- The big winners last night were black voters, especially women. They turned out at presidential election levels to support Doug Jones and take a stand against president* Pussy Grabber and Judge Pervert. Thanks for helping to save the Republic, y’all.
- The much derided “identity politics” works. Team Jones was able to assemble a coalition that could win in other southern states. The Fifty State strategy lives.
- It was a victory for investigative journalism. The WaPo story crippled the Moore campaign and left him afraid to campaign. Wuss.
- Richard Shelby’s intervention helped defeat Judge Pervert. Write-ins constituted 1.7% of the vote. Jones’ margin was 1.5%. Repeat after me: it was a perfect political storm.
- Is Steve Bannon on suicide watch? If so, does anyone give a shit?
Judge Pervert’s election eve appearance was typically tacky and characteristically cowardly. He refused to concede and muttered ominously about a recount after the military votes are counted. An automatic recount kicks in at 0.5% and Jones’ winning margin is 1.5%. If there’s a recount, Judge Pervert and his army of delusional bible thumpers will have to pay for it. They should also pay for riding lessons:
Last night was clearly a turning point in the battle against Trumpism. It shows that, given the right circumstances, a Democrat can win in the reddest of states. It should not, however, be over-interpreted: it took a perfect storm to make it happen.
It’s been a good news, bad news sort of morning for me. I woke up to the terrible news that Pat DiNizio of the Smithereens had died. I’ll write about Pat’s passing later today or tomorrow. I tried not to let it harsh my post-Jones victory buzz but it put music on my mind. I’m going to close this celebratory post with some songs with Alabama in the title.
Fuck yeah, Alabama.