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A Shockwave Heard Round The World:
Big Roy Goes Down In 'Bama
To A Democrat

December 13, 2017

CNN breaks news Tuesday night that Doug Jones has won Alabama's Special election for the US Senate.

Roy Moore gives concession speech Tuesday night before a dwindling group of supporters

President Trump's tweet congratulating (in a back hand sort of wway) Doug Jones' upset win over Roy Moore.
Chronicle staff

(BIRMINGHAM, AL.) -- It would appear President Trump's robo-calls and tweets and on stage hustling on behalf of Alabama Republican US Senate candidate Roy Moore - a man with almost as much alleged past sexual misconduct baggage as Trump himself - didn't have the effect of diddlesquat in a deedledum patch.

As they might say down 'Bama way.

Who would have thunk it? To see a Democrat win down in the deep south these days is somewhat like seeing the Prince of Darkness, Beelzebub himself made flesh and elected homecoming queen over at the Crimson Tide's stomping grounds.

Yes indeed, the earth heaved and sighed last night when the numbers came in. It's possible some Evangelicals and even a few Klan boys might have actually swooned and fainted only to be revived in proper time by a pitcher of grandma's sweet tea.

And the second shocker is this: Democrat Doug Jones' apparent win in that race - no matter how razor thin - is headline news not just in Alabama, not just across the United States, but in newspapers and on TV around the world today.

Here's the unpacking of the entire (at times) sordid affair:

Democrat Doug Jones has, it appears, won the Alabama Senate special election in a razor thin victory (just 1.5 percentage points over Moore) that nonetheless is seen as, "A stunning upset in a deeply red state that voted overwhelmingly for President Trump," as a report by NPR put it.

The special election was held to replace Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who left the Senate in February to become the nation's Attorney General.

The Jones win, predicted early by CNN and projected by The Associated Press just two hours after the polls closed Tuesday night, is a shocker in many ways to some Republicans and many political observers and pundits who thought for sure President Trump would have long coat tails down there that would help Moore cruise to an easy win.

The upset win for Jones is viewed as a big blow to Trump's prestige. Trump won that deeply red state by almost 30 points over Hillary Clinton.

TheHill.com called Moore’s defeat, "A massive blow to Trump and his former chief strategist, Breitbart News head Stephen Bannon. Bannon stood by Moore through the mounting allegations against him, while Trump eventually backed Moore again after his polls improved weeks after the allegations first broke."

Besides Moore being seen by many Republicans as a poor candidate to begin with - he's a twice ousted former Alabama chief justice with a long string of women who in recent months have gone on record as saying Moore engaged in sexual misconduct with them when he was a younger man - exit polling shows Black voters in Alabama came out in strong numbers for Jones who has credibility with the black community.

Jones is a man well known in that state for prosecuting (he's a former U.S. Attorney) two Ku Klux Klan members for a decades old Birmingham church bombing that killed four African-American girls.

The big push in the final days, plus write-ins make the difference

Regarding the black vote that helped Jones win, TheHill.com noted that Jones' campaign, "Conducted a carefully orchestrated push to maximize black turnout in the final days. Jones spent the weekend with Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and Rep. Terri Sewell (D-Ala.), stopping off at black churches and focusing specifically on the Birmingham area. Former NBA superstar Charles Barkley, an Alabama native, showed up for a rally on the eve of the election."

Write-in votes also made a difference. Enough Alabamians, instead of voting for Moore, cast ballots for write-in candidates to make a difference in the outcome of the race. More than 22,000 voters (1.7 percent of the electorate) wrote in a name instead of voting for Moore or Jones and even though it's not known who those voters would have supported if they didn’t go for a write-in candidate, most observers think the write-ins siphoned away more votes from Moore than Jones.

In fact on Twitter, Twitter, President Trump blamed write-in votes for Moore's loss. TheHill.com also noted that Moore's loss, "Was the second consecutive Republican loss in a high-profile race, after Republican Ed Gillespie’s losing gubernatorial bid in Virginia last month. After several early special election victories, Trump’s political clout appears diminished, while his support for Moore will haunt him for some time."

The report says the news is even worse for Bannon, "Who has been plotting challenges to every GOP Senate incumbent on the ballot in 2018, with the exception of Ted Cruz... Alabama dealt Bannon a humiliating defeat."

The New York Times went so far as to say, " Donald Trump and Steve Bannon are politically impotent."



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