Doug Jones, the miracle of Alabama
In a historic day for the nation's Republican heartland, the citizens of Alabama showed that no one could force them to vote for a partisan consensus, much less if it implies backing inappropriate behavior.
"Last Tuesday, Democratic candidate Doug Jones was elected as senator for the state of Alabama." Read it again: "Last Tuesday, Democratic candidate Doug Jones was elected as senator for the state of Alabama”.
No, it's not a tautology. It is a miracle.
The Deep South, the Republican heart, the epicenter of the right and conservationism, Alabama, has elected its first Democratic senator in 25 years.
In what is perceived as a "surprising setback" for President Donald Trump, Doug Jones defeated Republican candidate Roy Moore by a slight difference of 0.5%.
The reasons are overwhelming:
1. Roy Moore was one of the victims of the #MeToo punch, being accused by several women of having tried to seduce them when they were minors.
2. The African-American population, often forgotten in one of the states with the greatest history of racism and segregation, decided to take its toll on a definitive change in Alabama.
3. The white population, staunchly Republican, preferred to abstain from supporting a candidate who would have failed to the moral principles of a strongly religious state.
4. You can’t simply “tell the folks of Alabama what to do”, much less if you are the chief strategist of the White House. Steve Bannon, who campaigned on behalf of Moore, tried to portrait him as a "martyr", a gesture that backfired against Trump and the entire Republican Party since the Alabamians place moral above partisanship.
We know that the difference in the results was very small and that an election with such a narrow margin does not determine an absolute turn within a constituency, but historically it is a huge crack for a state where groups like the Ku Klux Klan are still in force, where radio stations banned groups like The Beatles (especially after that John Lennon said they were more popular than Jesus) and where Trump beat Hillary Clinton last year by 28 percentage points, as the Guardian recalls.
More important is the fact that Moore had the support of the Republican Party despite strong accusations against him, and that even President Trump showed his open support, discrediting those who accused Moore and implying that the means are justifiable if the purpose is to keep the Senate on their side.
Last Tuesday not only did Alabama win; not only did Doug Jones win, but it was a victory for the whole country. The results of the race for the Senate are the mirror of a tumultuous process of national reconfiguration, in which Trump has been the medium of contrast, demonstrating all the negative features that the country has still, in a continuous exacerbation of misogyny, racism, and political inconsistencies.
But all this has a limit, and that limit is Roy Moore.