Last night’s magnificent victory in Alabama for Doug Jones in the special election to replace Jeff Sessions in the US Senate has so many meanings.
It is a total repudiation of the despicable former Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore.
It is a total repudiation of Donald Trump, who now has lost twice in Alabama, after doing so well in that state in 2016. He lost with Luther Strange and now with Roy Moore.
It is a total repudiation of Steve Bannon, and his continued assault on the “Establishment” in the Republican Party, and is likely to lead to a Democratic House and Senate in the 2018 Midterm Congressional elections.
It is a total repudiation of disgraceful talk show host Sean Hannity on Fox News Channel, who could end up possibly implicated in the Trump Scandals being investigated by Special Counsel Robert Mueller.
On a positive vein, it demonstrates that the forces of good are there, even in Alabama, as African Americans, Latinos, women, and young people came out and voted in an off year special election at much higher rates than projected.
It is also a tribute to conservative mainstream Republican Senator Richard Shelby of Alabama, who refused to endorse and support Roy Moore, and told his supporters that he had voted a write in candidate, and that they could do so as well. As it turns out, if all of the write in votes had gone to Moore, it would have been a victory for the combative former Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court.
It was also a sign of just how good and decent Doug Jones was and is, as a prosecutor who, almost 40 years later, was able to gain convictions of Ku Klux Klansmen who killed those four young African American girls in that despicable church bombing in Birmingham in 1963. It was wonderful seeing African Americans on the stage with Jones at his victory celebration, showing the race issue does not have to divide Alabama or America.
It is also a sign of the significance of campaign adviser Joe Trippi, who earlier had worked for Walter Mondale, Gary Hart, Jerry Brown, Dick Gephardt, Ted Kennedy, and John Edwards in their various campaigns. What a great adviser Joe Trippi is!
This blogger was emotional about this great victory last night, and more so than even the great victories in New Jersey and particularly Virginia in the November off year elections.
Now it is time to move forward and force Donald Trump, who has divided America in so many hateful ways, to face the punishment he deserves, which is potential impeachment, with moral turpitude to be added to Russian Collusion, Obstruction of Justice, Abuse of Power, and Violation of the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution.
It is also time for the top people around Trump to show they have courage and to demand he resign or they resign en masse. This includes John Kelly, H. R. McMaster, James Mattis, Rex Tillerson, and Nikki Haley.
The time for the cancer of Donald Trump to be excised has come, and the Democrats must use Trump against the Republicans, if they refuse to take responsibility for the dangers and authoritarianism that he represents.
It is time for the Republicans to put nation over party.
Part of the credit for the victory goes to more concentration on grassroots by the Democratic party.
11. Nothing like these grassroots efforts happened in 2016 in Alabama. The people who have been doing them are feeling good today. They think they have a shot. And theyâ€™ll be working hard until polls close to make it so.
12. These reports are also consistent with how the DNC spent money to win special elections in Virginia and other states. More money for field and GOTV. Less for TV ads. This is the @TomPerez era at work. End memo.
Another thing: Jones deserves credit for his consistent message, record, and principles. He did not simply run as the â€œanti-Mooreâ€ candidate. He traveled the whole state, talking to voters about â€œkitchen table issuesâ€ and pledging to keep rural hospitals open for the poor. He gave the people of Alabama something to vote for, not just against.
Those dirty, rotten Republicans are trying to push their taxes for the rich through before Jones gets seated.
Ronald writes, â€œLast nightâ€™s [12.12.2017] magnificent victory in Alabama for Doug Jones in the special election to replace Jeff Sessions in the US Senate has so many meanings.â€
Yes. But, my reaction is that it moved me to write that I am predicting the 2018 midterms for U.S. Senate as a Democratic pickup for majority control. That it would happen after the U.S. House flips. (Voting pattern. But, they will both flip.) And the governorships will also become a Democratic pickup for majority count. (Democrats have 16, to the Republicans with 33, heading into 2018.)
The numbers are there with Donald Trump. His job-approval poll numbers in the 30s indicate his partyâ€™s voters are not going to be motivated to turn out in 2018 as much as the Democrats. (The independents, when you will see those Election 2018 exit polls, will side with the Democrats. They did, for example, with Doug Jones.) This, plus what I mention in the next paragraph, suggests a midterm wave election is coming.
The Republicans failing to hold in their column a special election for a U.S. Senate seat from Alabama (in December 2017, eleven months after Trump took office) is tantamount to the Democrats failing to hold in their column a special election for a U.S. Senate from Massachusetts (in January 2010, twelve months after Barack Obama took office).
I will provide a link to where I posted my first response here: http://www.theprogressiveprofessor.com/?p=32512 .
I do want to present that in another way. For a 2018 midterm election Democratic pickup of the U.S. Senate, Team Blue would retain all 49 held seats and then win their pickups from the following Republican-held seats which ultimately bring a new majority between 51 to 54 seats.
***** Tier #01: Sufficient Pickups *****
â€¢  Nevada (Dean Heller, first elected in 2012 as the state carried Democratic for re-electing Barack Obama; the state has soon moved from bellwether to Lean Democratic at the presidential level)
â€¢  Arizona (Open; retiring Jeff Flake) â€” Tipping Point State!
***** Tier #02: Bonus Pickups *****
â€¢  Tennessee (Open; retiring Bob Corker)
â€¢  Texas (Ted Cruz, first elected in 2012, in a state which isâ€”like Arizona and Georgiaâ€”trending away from Core GOP and poised to flip for a presidential-pickup winning Democrat)
***** Tier #03: An Underestimated National Wave *****
â€¢  Nebraska (Deb Fischer, first elected as a Republican pickup winner in 2012)
Alabama just gave Democrats a roadmap to electoral success. There’s a big lesson for progressives in Tuesday night’s results.
Doug Jones, a progressive Democrat in a ruby red Southern state, did something that few believed possible: he won a statewide election in Alabama. Whatâ€™s more, heâ€™s a white man who went out of his way to court black voters and then afterwards, to praise them for his victory.
Thatâ€™s a major political development, one that upends the mistaken narrative some Democratic leaders foisted on supporters in the wake of the political drubbing suffered in 2016. Remember that â€œBetter Dealâ€ nonsense, the idea that white working-class voters were the hope for progressive success? Nah, I didnâ€™t think you did â€” certainly not after Jonesâ€™ victory.
As my colleague Kira Lerner discovered in her conversation with Birmingham resident Blair Liggins, black voters will turn out and vote in huge numbers if given a reason to do so. â€œEveryone automatically thinks that with a Democratic candidate that youâ€™re just going to get the African American vote, and I really believe that Doug Jones did not just take that for granted,â€ Liggins told her.
The reason is simple. Voting is an act of hope. Black voters, like all others, will respond to a forward-looking candidate who approaches them with policies that they believe will benefit them and their families.
y nearly all post-election assessments, the difference in the outcome of Alabamaâ€™s special election was massive and unexpected turnout among black voters that swung overwhelmingly for Jones. Exit polls published by the Washington Post makes a clear and compelling case: 98 percent of black women in Alabama voted for Jones; 93 percent of black men voted for him.
But the way they voted wasnâ€™t the most remarkable or decisive aspect of the election. It was how many of them showed up. African Americans account for roughly one in four residents of the state, but they rarely vote with an intensity that corresponds to their population. This time, in an off-off-year special election, black voters showed up to represent nearly one in three (roughly 29 percent) of all voters in the state, according to the Postâ€™s exit poll figures.
This was no small feat, as Alabama is among the most conservative, crimson-colored states in the nation and Jones is a demonstrably liberal Democrat â€” he supports a womanâ€™s right to choose, believes in climate change, advocates for LGBTQ rights, and has a history of civil rights activism. Thatâ€™s a shocking set of ideals for any candidate to hold in the nationâ€™s most conservative region, and it ought to serve as a values-studded roadmap for other progressive politicians to follow.
ndeed, before Jonesâ€™ stunning victory, no Democrat had been elected to the Senate from Alabama since 1992, when Richard Shelby was elected. (Fun fact: Shelby is now a Republican and, in the closing days of the campaign, he urged voters in his state to write in a candidate in protest of Mooreâ€™s campaign. â€œI couldnâ€™t vote for Roy Moore. I didnâ€™t vote for Roy Moore,â€ Shelby told CNNâ€™s Jake Tapper on State of the Union. â€œI do believe the Republicans can do better.â€)
Apparently, a great number of Republicans agreed with Shelby and refused to support Moore. A post-election analysis by The Atlanticâ€™s Van R. Newkirk II noted that Moore under-performed in many of the stateâ€™s predominately white counties.
â€œThe race was probably over for the former state chief justice when Cullman County, which is virtually all white and heavily supported Trump in 2016, only turned out at 56 percent of its 2016 levels,â€ Newkirk wrote. â€œIt really does seem that although many white voters werenâ€™t convinced to vote for Jones, the allegations against Moore persuaded many of them to stay home.â€
To be sure, Moore was an especially vile candidate. Mooreâ€™s campaign, once considered a shoo-in because of his ardent support among far-right voters and the stateâ€™s historic distaste for Democrats, became undone after several women accused the former chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court of sexual abuse when the women were teenagers.
The allegations prompted many state and national Republicans to distance themselves from Moore. President Donald Trump, on the other hand, jumped into the race and threw his support behind Moore, a move that now seems to have added fuel to the simmering fire underneath black voters in Alabama.
In the end, however, Jonesâ€™ camp benefited from the confluence of anger at Trump and the energetic, if overlooked, get-out-the-vote effort to send African Americans, women, and disgruntled Republicans to support the Democratic nominee.
In particular, Jones leaned in on his civil rights record with an effective advertising campaign that included media ads and billboards across the state that highlighted his successful prosecution of two KKK members in the 1963 bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, a watershed moment in the civil rights struggle.
Jones also tapped into a network of local and national Democratic groups with close ties to black Alabamians. Fearing a weak turnout might hurt Jones, party leaders arranged for high-profile black lawmakers, celebrities, and activists to campaign for Jones. President Barack Obama did robocalls. Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) barnstormed the state to turn out black voters in Tuesdayâ€™s special election. And, locally, Rep. Terri A. Sewell (D-AL), the stateâ€™s only black member of Congress, organized a set of get-out-the-vote events last weekend that included civil rights icon Rep. John Lewis (D-GA), who marched for voting rights in Selma and was beaten by police.
Shrewdly, Jones took note of the role of black voters in his acceptance speech. â€œYou know, I keep hearing about the different communities in this state,â€ Jones said.â€The African American community, thank you. My friends â€” my friends in the Latino community, thank you. To all my Jewish friends, happy Hanukkah. We have built this everywhere we have gone. We have had that same energy. Weâ€™ve had that same excitement. â€
Not to be forgotten, Virginia voters sent a similar message to the nation last month, as Democrat Ralph Northam defeated Republican Ed Gillespie, a candidate with Trumpâ€™s last-minute backing, to become the stateâ€™s next governor.
Pay attention! Across the nation, progressive candidates won last month and again last night in Alabama, portending a blue wave as we round the corner into 2018 and the midterm elections.
As Sophia Tesfaye at Salon recently pointed out, history favors out-of-power parties when the sitting president is unpopular. â€œTrump currently stands at 37 percent in the latest Washington Post-ABC News Survey,â€ Tesfaye reported. â€œNo American president has had a net negative rating so high in his ninth month in office since Harry Truman in 1945.â€
Itâ€™s a brand-new day, America, when an exuberant Dixie politician thanks black voters for providing his margin of victory. Thatâ€™s something every progressive politician, policymaker, or voter across the nation should heed: the key to victory in the age of Trump goes through black voters.
As of December 7 there were 369 women running or planning to run for Congress in 2018, the most women House candidates ever.
CNN talks about 8 numbers that should scare Republicans.
1. Moore won only among old(er) voters
2. Moms walked away from Moore
3. Moderates fell for Jones
4. Trump approval was blah
5. Jones played Moore to a draw on values
6. The Democratic Party is more popular than the Republican party
7. Republicans are increasingly only a rural party
8. Black voters are incredibly energized
Selling trickle down to the poor and middle class is tough so the GOP has had to rely heavily on tribalism; from the southern strategy to the religious right and a great big bear hug of the Tea Party. That opened the door for characters like Trump, Moore and Bannon and a party that fights against science and truth. It turns out that courting and legitimizing extremist views isn’t a viable long term strategy.
The Democratic Dance Around Demography
I wasnâ€™t thinking of this before; but, I do want to recommend people read Ronald Brownstein for elections analyses. He is superb.
I am going to present two recent pieces. The first was following the Tuesday, November 7, 2017 elections most notably for New Jersey and Virginia. The second is following the special U.S. Senate election in Alabama held Tuesday, December 12, 2017.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Democratsâ€™ Narrow Path to Winning the House
By Ronald Brownstein (11.08.2017)
The Democratsâ€™ â€œcoalition of transformationâ€ flexed its muscles Tuesday [November 7, 2017] to deliver a resounding repudiation of Donald Trump and crystallize the risk the GOP has taken by allowing him to redefine the party in his image.
The â€œcoalition of transformationâ€ is the phrase Iâ€™ve applied to the modern Democratic voting base thatâ€™s mostly clustered around the nationâ€™s major metropolitan centers: minorities, Millennials, and college-educated whites, especially women. These voters, who generally express optimism about the demographic, cultural, and economic changes remaking American life, provided Democrats with insurmountable margins on Tuesday that reflected their intense antipathy toward Trump.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
â€˜We Are in a Trump-Driven Worst-Case Situation Right Nowâ€™
By Ronald Brownstein (12.13.2017)
Roy Moore was a uniquely flawed and vulnerable candidate. But what should worry Republicans most about his loss to Democrat Doug Jones in Tuesdayâ€™s [December 12, 2017 special] U.S. Senate race in Alabama was how closely the result tracked with the GOPâ€™s big defeats last month in New Jersey and Virginiaâ€”not to mention how it followed the pattern of public reaction to Donald Trumpâ€™s perpetually tumultuous presidency.
â€œAnti-Trump fever is now so strong among Democrats, young voters, and independents that the GOP is likely to face a surge in turnout on the Democratic side that will make the 2018 midterms lurch toward the demographics of a presidential year,â€ says longtime GOP strategist Mike Murphy, who advised Attorney General Jeff Sessions when he first won his Alabama [U.S.] Senate seat, in 1996. â€œThat is a looming disaster that could well cost the GOP control of the [U.S.] House. We are in a Trump-driven worst-case situation now.â€
One of the clearest messages from 2017â€™s big contests is that other Republicans are now closely bound to their volatile and vitriolic president. Exit polls showed that among voters who disapproved of Trump, the Democrats won 82 percent in New Jersey, 87 percent in Virginia, and 93 percent in Alabama. Few congressional Republicans have tried to establish much independence from Trump, yet in most places he is even less popular than he was on Tuesday in Alabama, where exit polls showed voters splitting evenly over his job performance.
Roy Moore ran into some powerful Alabama history on Tuesday, which played a role in his demise.
It’s been 5 years since Sandy Hook happened.