The only disappointment with Doug Jones’s win in Alabama yesterday was that it was so close.
That’s a difference of 20,715 votes; basically the population of Perrysburg, Ohio. Put another way, 650,436 people in Alabama were willing to vote for an outlaw Jesus-shouter with a penchant for teenage girls over a barely liberal Democrat. And there were more votes for a write-in than the margin of victory for Jones.
Yes, Alabama is a deeply red state. The last Democrat elected to the Senate was 25 years ago, and he was a Southern Democrat, a distinction that made them a party unto themselves, and he switched to the GOP shortly thereafter. (Southern Democrats were a hold-over from the days of Reconstruction who began to leave the party after the election of FDR and continued for the exit with Strom Thurmond in 1948. They slammed the door shut after LBJ signed the Civil Rights and Voting Rights Acts in 1964 and 1965. They took their robes and crosses to the GOP in 1968 under Nixon’s Southern Strategy and took up permanent residence with Reagan in 1980.) But one would hope that with such a deeply flawed candidate supported by an equally repulsive president, they would at least think twice about supporting their party’s nominee. I take some comfort in the large number of write-ins, but a vote for Teddy the Wonder Lizard or Cap’n Crunch was still not a vote for Mr. Jones.
Mr. Jones will have to run again in 2020. I hope by then he can convince a few more Alabamaians that he’s worth their trust. But for now, I’ll take the win.