Wednesday, December 13, 2017

After Alabama's election of Doug Jones

What happens with a Doug Jones win?

His election as U.S. Senator makes him "the first Democrat in a decade to secure statewide office in Alabama." The Senate is now majority Republican at 52-48, but when Jones takes office to replace the current Republican senator, the majority will narrow to 51-49.

"A Democratic-controlled Senate could do an enormous amount to hamstring President Trump in his third and fourth years in office. And Doug Jones’s win has made that possibility — once absurdly unrealistic — finally look plausible."

"Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said that Republicans will be able to get a tax reform bill on Trump's desk by Christmas. If that happens, Jones' victory probably will not affect the GOP's plan for a comprehensive tax overhaul," since Jones will probably not replace the incumbent Republican until January.

The end of the road for Roy Moore

Almost half of Senate Republicans had called for Moore to drop out of the race in light of sexual assault allegations, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell warned of an ethics investigation if Moore were to be elected. At least one Republican admitted not voting for Moore, while another said he should be expelled from the Senate if he were to win.

Ellis Cose wrote:
"For much of the nation, Moore’s loss was a huge relief. Moore, after all, is a man with problems. And that’s putting it mildly. As a thirtysomething prosecutor, he seemingly preferred the company of young girls to adult women. He "probably" believes homosexuality is criminal, Islam is a false religion, and America should be a Christian theocracy. He also seems to favor doing away with all constitutional amendments beyond the Bill of Rights — including, presumably, the amendments that eliminated slavery and granted the vote to women and blacks. Moore is, in short, a backward-looking, self-righteous religious bigot who symbolizes much that was foul about the Old South. And he was running against someone who has dedicated much of his life to delivering the South from darkness."

In the early 2000s, while his opponent, Doug Jones, was convicting a perpetrator in a racist murder that had deeply wounded the South decades earlier,

"Moore, recently elected chief justice of the Supreme Court of Alabama, was on the verge of illegally installing a more than 5,000-pound granite Ten Commandments monument in the rotunda of the state Judicial Building. Such religiously themed stunts brought Moore increasing fame and ultimately resulted in his removal as chief justice. He has spent the years since making outlandish statements, preaching to his fan base, and doing absolutely nothing to prove his suitability for public office."

As of the evening of the election, Roy Moore refused to concede even though the vote wasn't close enough to trigger an automatic recount. He told his supporters to "wait on God and let this process play out." As interpreted by Elaina Plott on Twitter, it seems that Moore believes "there is no world in which God would will for a Democrat to win"; if so, it will be hard for Moore to explain why any Democrats are in office or why anything he believes contrary to God's preference has ever happened anywhere. His philosophical quiver is in need of some theodicy.

The lost election has at least embarrassed the president.

"Completely disregarding the advice of top Republicans, Trump had thrown himself unequivocally and comprehensively behind Moore — and so the deeply flawed Republican candidate's upset loss on Tuesday is now his own.

* * *

A source close to the White House told CNN's Jim Acosta the the result was "devastating for the President" and an "earthquake."

The source also suggested that the President had been led into a poor political spot by his former top chief strategist Steve Bannon, who had embraced Moore as an archetype of the anti-establishment army he wants to take over the GOP."

The day after the Alabama election, Omarosa Manigault Newman, the president's only black senior advisor, departed her White House position. She had been named Director of African-American Outreach during the 2016 campaign and, following Trump's election, was given the title of Assistant to the President and Director of Communications for the Office of Public Liaison. The next day on ABC's "Nightline," she acknowledged that Trump frequently gave "pushback" that was "racially charged," but she said "he is not a racist." She added that she felt "lonely" in an administration that hadn't "reached the level of diversity...that I strove to see."

On Dec. 27, the night before the state planned to certify Jones as the winner, Moore sued, asking for a fraud investigation and a new election.

Doug Jones won, because why?

Ellis Cose wants to make sure we know:

"The only reason Alabama avoided the disaster of electing Moore is that blacks turned out and voted in droves. The National Election Pool exit poll found that blacks made up 30% of Tuesday’s electorate and voted overwhelmingly (96%) for Jones. Moore won 68% of white votes and even won a majority of white women’s votes....it says something distressingly damning that so much of the New South’s virtue is dependent on blacks rescuing whites from their worst impulses."

This victory, despite voter suppression, says Scott Douglas:

"In 2011, Alabama lawmakers passed a photo ID law, ostensibly to combat voter fraud. But “voter impersonation” at polling places virtually never happens. The truth is that the lawmakers wanted to keep black and Latino voters from the ballot box. We know this because they’ve always been clear about their intentions.

* * *

In Alabama, an estimated 118,000 registered voters do not have a photo ID they can use to vote. Black and Latino voters are nearly twice as likely as white voters to lack such documentation.

* * *

My organization is also challenging the state’s felon disfranchisement law, which affects an estimated 250,000 people here — 15 percent of Alabama’s black voting age population, but fewer than five percent of whites."

Michael Harriot wrote:

"Do not ever forget that most white people in Alabama voted for Roy Moore. It wasn’t even close in the white parts of Alabama. The only reason the next senator from Alabama isn’t a decrepit predator who believed he had the right to control the genitals of women, homosexuals, trans people and anyone who didn’t worship the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ in the same exact white manner as he does, is because of black people.

We own a unique kind of magic. We just made the impossible happen. We did this.

Don’t you ever forget it."


Update: In June 2019, there was speculation that Moore might try to run for Senate again in the 2020 Republican primary.

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