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Democrat Jones Surprise Win in Alabama Election

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After several months of chaos in Alabama, Democrat Doug Jones has defeated Republican Roy Moore in a Senatorial special election, bringing the Democrats closer to evening up control in the Senate.

Sophomore Laura Lassen tells the Patriot Press that she was surprised because “a Democrat rarely wins in a southern state. It’s good that Roy Moore lost after his actions and all the controversy.”

After Donald Trump’s election upset in 2016, he nominated Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions to serve as Attorney General in his cabinet. This left a vacant seat in the Senate which Luther Strange was appointed to.  

In the Republican primary for this Senate seat, Roy Moore defeated the Trump backed candidate Strange, making it almost certain that Moore could fill Sessions’ seat because President Trump won this state by 28 points in the Presidential election. However in early November, about a month before the day of the election, Moore was accused of sexual misconduct by five women, bringing forth accusations of sexual misconduct against them when they were teenagers. After the allegations, the Roy Moore’s support in polls plummeted, giving Democrat Jones a fighting chance to win the Senate seat in deep-red Alabama.

On December 12, as voters cast their ballots, the allegations would prove damning–though vehemently denied by Moore. In a very close result, Jones defeated Moore by just over 1%.  Although Moore is yet to concede, and Jones has not been sworn in, multiple media outlets have declared victory for Jones. This result was crushing for Republicans, and they have already started the blame game.

Aside from the allegations of sexual misconduct, Moore held many fringe views which polarized his candidacy and split the vote along partisan lines: he seemed to support eliminating all amendments after the Bill of Rights, remarking that times were great in the pre- civil war era (when slavery was legal), and that Muslims should be forbidden from holding public office. However, these views were already well-known when he won the Senate primary, suggesting that these views would not have cost him the election alone–in fact, they were quite popular among the conservative electorate.

Moore’s defeat in a state that ought to have been favourable terrain for him demands an explanation, and a simple one is forthcoming: despite perhaps more people in the state of Alabama supporting him, few came out to vote. The discrepancy in turnout mirrors an enthusiasm gap between our two parties, wherein Democrats are quite enthusiastic about resisting Trump while Republicans are lukewarm in support of their party in light of the meagre performance of the united Republican government in Washington. This gap made itself clear on November 7th, when several other elections took place, in New Jersey, Virginia, and other states; Democrats won almost all the elections they contended in. This same enthusiasm gap might explain why Donald Trump won the election in 2016: his base was very enthusiastic for his candidacy, while Hillary Clinton’s was ambivalent. This discrepancy ought to worry Republicans for the 2018 midterm elections despite a favourable Senate map.

“After viewing all the allegations and all the weird stuff he’s said, I’m glad that Doug Jones won despite me being a conservative,” says very conservative senior Ali Redzepi. It’s precisely sentiment like this even among Roy Moore’s partisans that poses a serious threat to the ruling Republican party.

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Democrat Jones Surprise Win in Alabama Election