The Roypublicans Are in Panic Mode
In Alabama on Tuesday, Democrat Doug Jones won 49.9% of the vote to Republican Roy Moore’s 48.4% in a special election to replace Jeff Sessions, who resigned his Senate post to become Trump’s chief elf and Attorney General. The other 1.7% wrote in someone else’s name.
Republicans in Alabama have typically been winning elections in recent years by a half million votes. Jones won by 21,000. Turnout for the special election was projected to 25% of registered voters. Double that number showed up at the polls. Moore lost 12 counties that Trump won in 2016. Republicans won this particular Senate seat in 2014 with 97% of the vote.
This was a huge victory, and let’s give credit where credit is due. Black voters showed up, despite being systemically obstructed from access to the polls.
Some polling places in the state’s Black Belt were demanding three forms of ID. Police stationed themselves outside others looking for people with outstanding warrants. Other places only had one working voting machine. And that’s on top of the state successfully fighting a court order requiring the retention of electronic ballot tallies.
Democrats in Alabama were also up against yet another onslaught of social media bots trying their best to boost Roy Moore. And I’m sure it’s just a coincidence that RT and other Russian media took the same tack.
A few weeks back, the New York Times ran an article suggesting that Alabama’s black voters weren’t particularly engaged, including a claim about 6 in 10 people interviewed outside a strip mall didn’t even know there was an election.
While I’m sure they managed to find six oblivious citizens, what the Times and other media have been noticeably unable to find are profiles of alienated Black Americans, as opposed to the all-too-regular airing of the views of alienated Trump supporters.
Denise Oliver Velez at Daily Kos let loose a righteous rant:
During the run-up to the election victory of Doug Jones, there were a slew of news articles, and pun-idjits pontificatin’ about black voters in Alabama, and would they show up …yada, yada yada—ad nauseam.
If you think black people are gonna sit on their hands and ignore Roy Moore lauding slavery, that we have forgotten Selma and Birmingham and those four black girls, and the daily racism we live with just trying to go about our business and live our lives—think again. Wake up and smell the black coffee, folks.
In spite of concerted and ongoing efforts by white people to suppress and disenfranchise the black vote—not just in Alabama—we continue to be the most dependable Democratic Party voting block. Period. Especially black women, though our brothers are far more often disallowed from voting due to having a record or being incarcerated.
Meanwhile, there were groups working hard at mobilizing black voters, as this snip from the Atlantic’s coverage indicates:
The grassroots organizing in black communities by groups like local NAACP chapters was more muscular than it had even been in the 2016 general election. In the lead-up to Tuesday’s contest, voting-rights groups registered people with felonies, targeted awareness campaigns at people who might not have had proper ID, and focused specifically on knocking down the structures in place that keep black voters away from the polls. Their efforts immediately become a case study in how to do so in a region that has, since the Supreme Court’s 2013 Shelby County v. Holder decision curtailing the 1965 Voting Rights Act, become a bastion of new voter-suppression laws, including new voter-ID laws.
While some pundits have pointed to the election results being affected by the #Metoo movement, the fact is despite simply horrible allegations about the Republican candidate’s proclivities, 63% of white women voted for him.
A big thank you to a group of brave women who told the truth about Judge Roy Moore and changed history:
Leigh Corfman, Wendy Miller, Debbie Wessen Gibson, Gloria Thacker Deason, Beverly Young Nelson, Gena Richardson, Becky Gray,Tina Johnson, Kelly Harrison Thorp
— digby (@digby56) December 13, 2017
UPDATE A more nuanced take on the women’s vote:
A very interesting piece of data from Alabama exit polls: While White women overall voted for Moore 63 to 34, when you break out evangelical vs non you get evangelical white women 76 – 22 Moore; non-evangelical white women 74 – 21 Jones!
— Matthew Dowd (@matthewjdowd) December 13, 2017
The news media–particularly the Washington Post–does deserve credit for doing their job. An attempt by horrible human James O’Keefe to discredit their reporting failed. Less notice has been given to a failed attempt to smear Senator Chuck Schumer, via forged documents sent to various news organizations…. who did their homework and didn’t bite.
And a tip of the hat to the young’ns is in order:
Millennials in Alabama went for Jones by over 60%. The future is coming and it is unmistakably progressive.
— Jason Kander (@JasonKander) December 13, 2017
Despite being a horrible candidate, one who couldn’t be bothered to even campaign in the state on the weekend before the election, Roy Moore had the support of most of the GOP. Those with a modicum of common sense, like Sen. Mitch McConnell’s former campaign manager knew better.
Before we get the results, I’d just like to thank Steve Bannon for showing us how to lose the reddest state in the union and Governor Ivey for the opportunity to make this national embarrassment a reality
— Josh Holmes (@HolmesJosh) December 13, 2017
The political impact in Washington.
Trump is reportedly beside himself, despite Tweets saying he’d always said Moore couldn’t win a general election. If past patterns hold, there will be more retribution.
In Congress, the GOP leadership is going to have to bear down hard to get stuff done, as legislators on the right side of the aisle look over their shoulders, fearing a Blue Wave that is certainly coming in November 2018.
Overnight they’ve come up yet another compromise tax bill, one so new it’s not likely to be printed before the only public hearing of the conference committee.
In 2010, when Republican Scott Brown had an upset victory in Massachusetts, votes on crucial parts of the Affordable Care Act were delayed until he was seated. In a measure of just how craven the Roypublicans have become, no such courtesy will be extended to incoming Senator Doug Jones in 2017.
From the Washington Post:
Alabama’s secretary of state expects the election to be certified between Dec. 27 and Jan. 3, per Michael Scherer. That gives Republicans two weeks to pass their tax cuts with a 52-to-48 majority. Once Jones gets seated, they can only afford two GOP defections — with Vice President Pence casting the tiebreaking vote — instead of three.
“And other big potential Republican priorities for 2018 — including potential bills to boost infrastructure spending and cut back on entitlement programs — are now in limbo as every last vote comes under the election-year spotlight,” Mike DeBonis notes.
“Barring a new effort at bipartisan dealmaking that has been largely absent so far under the Trump administration, the GOP appears on track to head into the November midterms with only one major accomplishment to tout: a tax-cut bill that has polled poorly and delivers most of its direct benefit to corporations and the wealthy.”
Where do we go from here?
Hard work by groups all over the country helped make Doug Jones’ victory happen.
Here in San Diego, Indivisible chapters wrote postcards to Alabama voters and ran phone banks. District 4 County Supervisor candidate Omar Passons had his volunteers making get out the vote calls.
The long odds in some local races look a little less daunting today. Rep. Darrell Issa’s got to be feeling it. Even Duncan Hunter ought to be worrying.
Who knows, maybe all those Republicans in county contests are a little bit more insecure today. The Democrats have quality candidates running for Supervisor, District Attorney, Sheriff, and Assessor/Recorder.
Finally, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the USA Today editorial excoriating the Prersident for his foul-mouthed Tweet aimed at Senator Kirsten Gillibrand.
White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders on Tuesday dismissed the president’s smear as a misunderstanding because he used similar language about men. Of course, words used about men and women are different. When candidate Trump said a journalist was bleeding from her “wherever,” he didn’t mean her nose.
And as is the case with all of Trump’s digital provocations, the president’s words were deliberate. He pours the gasoline of sexist language and lights the match gleefully knowing how it will burst into flame in a country reeling from the #MeToo moment.
A president who would all but call Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand a whore is not fit to clean the toilets in the Barack Obama Presidential Library or to shine the shoes of George W. Bush.
Looking for some action? Check out the Weekly Progressive Calendar, published every Friday in this space, featuring Demonstrations, Rallies, Teach-ins, Meet Ups and other opportunities to get your activism on.
Did you enjoy this article? Subscribe to “The Starting Line” and get an email every time a new article in this series is posted!
I read the Daily Fishwrap(s) so you don’t have to… Catch “the Starting Line” Monday thru Friday right here at San Diego Free Press (dot) org. Send your hate mail and ideas to DougPorter@SanDiegoFreePress.Org Check us out on Facebook and Twitter.