Irish Gazette

Irish Gazette

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A Hail Mary in the Deep South: Democrats Win in Alabama

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The Deep South state of Alabama, considered the antithesis of the progressive states like California has elected a Democrat to the Senate for the first time since 1994. Democrat Doug Jones beat Republican Roy Moore by just 20,000 votes on December 12th, narrowing the Republican majority in the Senate to 51.

Regardless of the validity of the allegations this election does have consequences, it puts a black stain on the party because they supported Moore after the allegations were revealed and many denied that the allegations were true. Jones’ victory also brought light to quarrels in the Republican Party between the anti-establishment far-right faction and the establishment conservative faction. Some mainstream Republicans endorsed Jones, and a senator even went as far to donate to Doug Jones citing “Country over party” in his tweet aimed at people supporting Roy Moore within his party. Many Republicans also refused to vote for Moore, either not voting or supporting Jones by putting up “GOP for Jones” signs in their front lawns.

 

These divisions between the far-right and conservative factions may have been why white turnout was so low for the election. Meanwhile, the Democrats were united behind Jones. With already turnout already low for the reliable white Republican voters, Moore was hit by a double-whammy as Jones’ mobilized famous black Alabamians to join his campaign with people like Charles Barkley. Along with that, millions poured into his campaign after the allegations were revealed, as Democrats and Republicans nationwide were appalled to hear that this man may be elected to the US Senate. All this combined allowed Jones to pull it off on Tuesday night.

This election also narrows the slim GOP majority to 51-49. That means Republicans can only lose two votes from their own party to pass partisan legislation. If Jones was in the Senate at the start of 2017 instead of 2018, he could have cast the vote to block the nomination of the controversial Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos along with a few other key bills like the Trump tax cut. Jones’ vote could be used to reinstate net neutrality, as only 51 votes are needed to reinstate the rules through the Congressional Review Act (CRA), and one Republican senator has already crossed the aisle meaning only one more vote is needed to reinstate the protections.

In the end, the election of Jones may mean a massive Democratic wave is on the horizon, or it may just demonstrate that Americans (narrowly) reject the idea of a pedophile senator.

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