Doug Jones’ Victory in Alabama: Key Takeaways


photo by AP

Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate Doug Jones speaks to supporters during a rally Monday, Dec. 11, 2017, in Birmingham, Ala. Jones is facing Republican Roy Moore. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

by Michael Solomon, Editor-in-Chief

On December 12, 2017, the people of Alabama shocked the nation. Former federal prosecutor Doug Jones edged out Judge Roy Moore in a tight race loaded with accusations, allegations, and surprise discoveries.

Doug Jones, a former United States Attorney, made a name for himself back in 2001, when he prosecuted and convicted two of the KKK members who were perpetrators in the 1963 bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church. The tragic attack led to the deaths of four young girls who attended the church.

The Alabama special senate election began after Attorney General Jeff Sessions resigned from his seat in Congress to join President Trump’s Department of Justice this past February. In November, The Washington Post published the story of Leigh Corfman, a woman from Alabama who alleged that Roy Moore initiated a sexual encounter with her when she was only 14. Moore was 32. Corfman was only the first of a string of 12 women who shared their experiences with the former Judge, and come out against his campaign.

The election results were extremely close: Doug Jones was victorious with a popular vote of 671,151 (49.9%), while Roy Moore received 650,436 (48.4%) votes. The race was an extremely significant one, and there are a variety of takeaways –for Congress, the Democratic and Republican parties, and the American people as a whole– that are going to influence the political climate for the next four years. Here are a few big ones:


Not ‘just anyone’ can run for office

Following Donald Trump’s Presidential campaign last year –which was hallmarked with controversial statements, widespread allegations, and an utterly shocking result– the assumption that political parties could run even the most flawed of candidates and still win became extremely prevalent. Roy Moore, a man who has been known for his political insurgence and defiance of the law, was believed to be the worst possible candidate that the GOP could have run. Even before the allegations of sexual misconduct arose, Moore had a long history of underperformance and incompetence in his former political positions. He was ousted from the bench by the Alabama Judiciary Committee, twice, for being “incomplete, misleading, and manipulative”. To be quite frank, after initial polls came out earlier in the election, many people had assumed that Moore was going to win the senate race. After all, if our own President could do it, why couldn’t he?

However, the election results from Alabama last week indicated otherwise. Through intense grassroots campaigning and strategic mobilization of young voters, Doug Jones and the people of Alabama showed America that the candidate does in fact matter. They showed America that human decency and respect for others is a basic virtue that should be required for politicians too, not just everyday people.


Black women saved America — again

According to exit polls, an overwhelming 98% of black women voted for Doug Jones, showing a surprising turnout that was essential to Jones’ victory. Although African Americans typically vote in favor of Democrats, this election turnout was quite impressive. Blacks ended up accounting for 29% of last Tuesday’s electorate, which is a significant increase from the 24% presence from 2008’s election.

Meanwhile, 63% of white women came out for Roy Moore, even though CNN polls showed that the majority of all voters “believed the allegations of Moore’s sexual misconduct were definitely or probably true”. Popular opinion would state that most of the voters in this demographic voted for Moore because of his stances on abortion and ‘evangelical values’, implying that black women didn’t care about these issues just as much. In fact, according to a nationwide survey conducted by The Washington Post, black women are actually the most religious group in America, with an astounding 74% of black women who say that they depend on a religious lifestyle, compared to 57% of white women who were asked the same question.

If you ask me, it’s about time for America to stop using religion as justification for promoting terrible candidates.


Journalism matters

Like any major election, the media has had a vital role to play in the Jones vs. Moore race. If not for the investigative journalists at publications like The Washington Post, or The New York Times, the general public would have been completely oblivious to Roy Moore’s questionable past  — and to be quite frank, he may have easily won. Let’s also not forget the important work that was done by the major cable news outlets, who helped this story reach the homes of millions of Americans.

In a political climate where the institution of journalism is under constant attack, a large group of Americans have developed a deep mistrust for the media. Regardless of whether you believe the stories that stemmed from The Washington Post’s explosive article or not, it is impossible to deny that they had a huge impact on the outcome of the race.



The implications of Doug Jones’ victory in the Alabama special senate election are far greater than any other senate races in recent history. For the people of Alabama — and Jones — well, they just accomplished the impossible: electing a Democrat in a historically red state. For Roy Moore, Donald Trump, and their fellow Republicans, they now know that there are boundaries for who can and can’t win an election. A lastly, for the American people, for those of us who constantly worry about the stability of our nation and the preservation of our democratic values: There is still hope. As Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “The moral arc of the universe is long, but it bends towards justice.”