It looks like good ol’ common decency and morality won in Alabama yesterday when the state voted for Democrat Doug Jones over Republican — and credibly-accused child molester — Roy Moore for their vacant senate seat (although Moore hasn’t conceded yet; more on that later). Sexual harassment, assault and pedophilia allegations against Moore propelled this senate race from a tiny special election to the most publicized one since the 2016 presidential run.
Over the course of November, eight women came out against Moore for pursuing them or assaulting them when they were between the ages of 14 and 19 while Moore was in his thirties. Allegations range from creepy to illegal to super illegal — he was banned from a mall for crying out loud. Moore vehemently denies all the accusations despite their credibility. Initially, Republicans put their support behind him, then revoked it once the allegations came out. Then, the dear president said that he believes Moore’s denials — yes, the president that has also been accused of and denied sexual assault — and the GOP followed with an endorsement. The logic: we need a Republican in the senate (regardless of the fact that he may or may not have a criminal sexual history).
The race was way too close for one where the only two options were “Guy Who is an Alleged Child Molester” and “Guy Who is Not an Alleged Child Molester.” A lot went down yesterday as Alabamans went out to vote and the results came in. Here are the main takeaways.
Roy Moore voted on a horse
In case anyone makes a passing reference or you see a meme with Moore on a horse: it’s because he rode a horse to the polls. . . for the second time this year. Maybe that makes for a good photo-op in 1890, but in 2017, it’s just weird. And reminds us of Putin.
— Deadspin (@Deadspin) December 12, 2017
— Cara Brusoni (@cara_brusoni) December 13, 2017
Black voters saved the day
Shout out to all the black voters who came out in droves to vote against Roy Moore despite strict voter ID laws that arguably disadvantage them and reports that they weren’t “energized.” The Atlantic reports that voter turnout in many predominantly black areas was over 70 per cent of the 2016 levels — a high virtually unheard of in special elections. And these voters voted Democrat at a rate of about 90 per cent.
If your take tomorrow doesn’t include the fact that black voters showed up for Democrats *while* being systemically obstructed from access to the polls then you need to rewrite it.
— Clint Smith (@ClintSmithIII) December 13, 2017
— Aimee Carrero Rock (@aimeecarrero) December 13, 2017
— Mark Berman (@markberman) December 13, 2017
A moment for the other stuff
While the sexual misconduct allegations were what propelled this election to such infamy, Roy Moore was no peach before them either. We should take a minute here to remember that Moore also thought that homosexuality should be illegal, said that America was “great” back when slavery was still a thing and that Muslims shouldn’t be in congress. Oh, and he also said that getting rid of all the amendments beyond the tenth would “eliminate a lot of problems.” Those would be the ones that let women vote (19), abolished slavery (13), eliminated the “poll tax” (24) and changed the voting age from 21 to 18 (26) among other pretty important things. There were definitely reasons not to vote Moore even before those allegations.
After Roy Moore said gay people should be put in jail,
After he said the country was better off under slavery,
After he said Muslims have no place in public life,
Even after he was outed as a serial pedophile,
The @GOP ENDORSED him and FUNDED his campaign.
— Mikel Jollett (@Mikel_Jollett) December 13, 2017
And thank you to all the people Moore would exclude from full citizenship – LGB people, Muslims, transgender people – who had to watch as those bigotries weren’t seen as reason enough to disqualify him.
— Chloe Angyal (@ChloeAngyal) December 13, 2017
Is this not over?
Last night, all the major news publications called the election for Doug Jones, making him the first Democrat to win a seat in Alabama in 25 years. That was Moore’s cue to come out and make a concession speech and allow for Jones to start his victory party. Only Moore didn’t. Instead, he said “It’s not over” and told his supporters to “wait on God.” Yes, the margin was incredibly small and votes from overseas are still being counted, but it’s traditional for the loser to concede once the election is called. Moore hasn’t called a recount yet, but the margin between him and Jones is large enough that there won’t be one automatically and he would have to finance it. Why can’t this just be over?
— CNN (@CNN) December 13, 2017
Trump is losing his grip
In more ways than one. Not only is this the second time a Trump-endorsed candidate has come up short, his tweets about the whole thing come off as just plain sad. In the Alabama senate primaries, Trump endorsed Moore’s opponent Luther Strange as the GOP candidate. Republicans snubbed the president and voted Moore instead. Then Trump endorsed Moore and held a rally to campaign for him and he lost to a Democrat — making the Republican majority in the senate only one seat. Not good for Trump.
He tweeted a backhanded congratulations to Doug Jones last night, but then made everything about himself again in the morning. Trump completely abandoned Moore, saying he always knew the candidate would lose. Great guy.
Congratulations to Doug Jones on a hard fought victory. The write-in votes played a very big factor, but a win is a win. The people of Alabama are great, and the Republicans will have another shot at this seat in a very short period of time. It never ends!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 13, 2017
The reason I originally endorsed Luther Strange (and his numbers went up mightily), is that I said Roy Moore will not be able to win the General Election. I was right! Roy worked hard but the deck was stacked against him!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 13, 2017
So what did we learn from all this madness? Voting matters. In case you didn’t get it when Hillary Clinton won the popular vote but lost the election, every. single. vote. matters. It’s the most significant way we get to influence politics. Stay vigilant out there.