Blacks in Alabama, particularly Black women, helped deliver a stunning defeat to Judge Roy Moore, who once said life was better before slavery was outlawed.
With the overwhelming support of the Black electorate, Doug Jones won a stunning victory in Alabama’s special Senate election. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)
On Dec. 12 Democrat Doug Jones won the special election for the Senate in Alabama against Moore. Moore, who faced credible accusations of child molestation and was backed by President Donald J. Trump, managed to lose in a state that was solidly Republican. A Democrat last held the seat Jones won in 1997.
According to a Washington Post exit poll, 96 percent of Blacks supported Jones, who once won convictions against two Ku Klux Klan members for the notorious 16th Street Church bombing, which killed four little Black girls in 1963. That bombing had been described by the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. as “one of the most vicious and tragic crimes ever perpetrated against humanity.”
According to a New York Times exit pool, 97 percent of the voting Black women voted for Jones and 92 percent of the voting Black men did the same.
Moore supporters were made up of White women (29 percent), Whites without a college degree (55 percent) and Trump supporters (80 percent).
Normally, a candidate like Roy Moore would have never made it past the nomination process. In September, the Los Angeles Times reported that he told a Black man at one of his rallies who asked about the last time America was great, “I think it was great at the time when families were united — even though we had slavery — they cared for one another. Our families were strong, our country had a direction.”
According to CNN, in 2011 Moore told a conspiracy focused radio show host, who made the point that all amendments after the 10th should be eliminated, “That would eliminate many problems,” Moore said. “You know people don’t understand how some of these amendments have completely tried to wreck the form of government that our forefathers intended.”
As a reminder: The 13th Amendment abolished slavery, the 15th Amendment prohibits the federal government from denying the right to vote to people based on “race, color, or previous condition of servitude” and the 19th Amendment gave women the right to vote.
Unsurprisingly, Moore also believed former President Barack Obama was not born in the United States.
The Alabama Senate race served as referendum on Trump and those who ape his nationalistic demagoguery. This was amplified when Steve Bannon, Trump’s former advisor and chairman of the rightwing news site Brietbart, backed Moore and appeared at a rally for him. In addition, when the Washington Post reported that Moore had pursued relationships with teenage girls in Alabama while he was in his 30s, Brietbart sent reporters to the state to discredit the allegations. They failed to do so.
The astonishing missteps by Trump and the Republican party in the special election have left them with an even slimmer majority and have energized the Democratic party, which now has a credible path to wining a majority in both the House and the Senate in 2018. The Republicans, who struggled and failed to abolish Obamacare with 52 members earlier this year, now have one less vote on their side.
“So as we approach this history – as we approach this crossroads – we have work to do. We have work to do in this state to build those bridges within this state. To reach across with those that didn’t vote for us to try to find that common ground,” Jones said during his victory speech in Birmingham. “I’m pledging to do that tonight, but I will tell you, tonight is a night for rejoicing because as Dr. King said, as Dr. King liked to quote, ‘The moral arc of the universe is long but it bends toward justice.’”