Wednesday, December 13, 2017

No Moore

(By American Zen’s Mike Flannigan, on loan from Ari)
If God forbid Roy Moore had been elected to the Senate last night, he would've been the first one to take the oath of office on a copy of Lolita.
     And the bombshell pedophilia allegations made against him right after the Republican primary were just some of the reasons for Moore losing last night to upstart Democratic contender Doug Jones. In a previously crimson state in which Trump won 13 months ago by 28 points and where his approval and disapproval numbers are split down the middle at 48, Alabama voters sent a clear message to Capitol Hill- "We're not as red as you thought."
     Unless you've been living under a rock in Upper Volta since the heyday of the Civil Rights movement, one needn't belabor Alabama's history of racism and deep red state voting trends. The last time Alabama voters sent a Democrat to the US Senate was when turncoat Richard Shelby won in 1992, a full quarter century ago, who then became a Republican two years later.
     But aside from the abstract result of the election, a Democrat getting elected, there are some ironies and huge takeaways about it that cannot be ignored. For one thing, despite a race-based oppressive Voter ID law demanding registry-issued identification and the state then closing down registries in exclusively black neighborhoods, the African American vote comprised 29% of the electorate and 92% of it voted for Jones, beating the total when Barack Obama won that same voter bloc by 91 points in 2012, a year in which the black vote accounted for 28%. That's right- a white centrist Democrat beat the numbers of the nation's first black president. Only 4% of the black Alabama vote voted for Moore.
     The irony comes in Jones, a law and order Democrat who convicted Klansmen for the 1963 Birmingham church bombing, replacing Jeff Sessions, whose own history of racism simply cannot be denied. Then also, there's the question of last night's election lengthening Trump's losing streak.
     It all started with the loss of Trump's boy, Luther Strange, in the GOP runoff election earlier this fall. Trump supposedly was talked into supporting him by Mitch McConnell. who became a heavy-hearted foe of Roy Moore. It continued during last month's pre-midterm elections across the country that saw one Trump ally and lap dog after another lose to Democratic upstarts and political novices. If last night's stunning upset victory for Jones showed one thing, it's that the Trump magic that saw his anointed ones going 4-4 earlier this year had long since worn off. Absolutely this was a referendum on Trump's universally loathsome agenda and character.

As usual, virtually all the polls and pundits were absolutely wrong. Until recently, it was a statistical probability in politics for straw polls to get more accurate the closer a race gets. But last night simply wasn't the case. Right wing blowhard and aspiring journalist Mike Cernovich took to Twitter last night and dared people to screengrab his prediction of a Moore victory. One poll had Moore ahead of Jones by 5 points. Others had Jones up by 10. Every one was wrong. In short, the polls leading up to last night's election were "all over the place."
     In a typical Republican dick move, Moore has yet to concede, thinking that a recount he'll have to pay for out of his own pocket (since Alabama law stipulates margins of a victory of 0.5% or less mandates an automatic recount) will save the day for him. Only after the balloons and confetti had been swept up was Trump himself proven right (albeit after the fact, with even Trump's hindsight being 20/20, even though just yesterday he predicted a win for Moore.)- Alabama voters did do the right thing.
     Of course, the importance of this very rare Democratic win in Alabama cannot be overstressed. With Republicans about to see their majority in the Senate shrink to 51-49, this makes Democrats' chances of retaking the Senate a distinct possibility. However, there are a lot of ifs, ands and buts for that scenario to become true. In this year's midterms, 23 Democratic Senate seats are up for grabs as opposed to just eight Republican seats and those eight tend to be in very red states. That means in order to avoid the scenario of a tie-breaking Mike Pence balefully lurking in the wings, Democrats have to win back every single one of their seats plus grab two more from Republicans in states that are historically hostile for Democrats.
     Such as Alabama was until last night. And last night's mind-blowing upset victory had energized Democratic operatives and candidates with a fervor that we haven't seen since Hillary Clinton mugged Bernie Sanders in the primaries a year and a half ago. Alabama voters, led by African Americans and females were appalled by Moore's very existence and short-term viability as a Senate candidate, sent a clear message to the Beltway- "If we can win in Alabama, we can win anywhere."
     That new President smell has long since been lost in empty McDonald's wrappers and cans of Diet Coke. The Trump mystique is over and it's showing as more and more Trump voters experience sticker shock. They're proving it at the ballot box as they realize the depravity of the toxic Republican agenda that only uses Trump as a very temporary useful idiot who has vowed, like them, to give massive tax giveaways to the 1% while shortchanging those on Social Security and Medicare.
     The only thing that remains to be seen is how Democrats fuck up the probationary breathing room voters across the nation are poised to hand them in both chambers in this November's incipient bloodbath. Because the last big takeaway from last night's election is that machine Democrats in both the DNC and Senatorial Campaign Committee had already conceded the election to Roy Moore and gave virtually no help to Doug Jones.
     That is, until the very last minute. I think Dr. Samuel Johnson would have a thing or two to say about blatant opportunism.

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