Last night, all eyes were on Alabama as their special election took place between Doug Jones and Roy Moore as they battled for a seat in the U.S Senate. The special election garnered widespread media coverage due to the scandals and stories that have plagued this election. Republican candidate Roy Moore, quickly became a household name when numerous women stated that he sexually pursued and assaulted them when they were just teens and Moore was in his thirties. Despite these allegations, President Trump, whom has had his fair share of sexual assault allegations, publicly endorsed Moore for a seat in the Senate. Moore responded to the child molestation and sexual allegations by contending that they were untrue, and that they were just a political stunt to try to put a damper on his campaign. These allegations were not the only thing giving people a bad taste in their mouths about Moore, recently a video surfaced that depicted Moore responding to the question of when America was last “great”, to which he responded with the slavery era. Moore stated, “I think it was great at the time when families were united — even though we had slavery — they cared for one another…. Our families were strong, our country had a direction.” Moore’s tone deafness continued at this Alabama rally when he referred to Asian and Native Americans as “reds” and “yellows.”
The flawed character of Moore caused many celebrities and politicians to urge the people of Alabama to vote for Democratic candidate Doug Jones, a former federal prosecutor known for prosecuting members of the KKK. On Twitter, the hashtag “Dear Alabama” trended for most of the day with many Republicans telling citizens of Alabama to vote for Roy Moore anyhow to secure their agenda in the U.S. Senate. Democrats and those whom believed Moore’s behavior and comments deemed him unqualified for the Senate did the opposite.
As the precincts rolled in, many Americans were glued to their TV screens and Twitter to watch the election unfold. After a nail biting few hours of watching the percentages of Jones and Moore stay incredibly close, Jones was announced as the projected winner of the race. Jones was able to seal his ticket to the Senate by gaining just one and a half percent more votes than Moore. His victory sent an enormous wave of celebratory and relieved tweets throughout Twitter, with many feeling that his triumph meant something much deeper than a seat in Senate. Among those lied, Senator Jeff Flakes whom tweeted, “Decency wins” and Senator Bernie Sanders whom tweeted similar sentiments, “Congratulations to @GDouglasJones for his great victory. Congratulations to the people of Alabama for doing what few thought they would do. This is a victory not just for Jones and Democrats. It is a victory for justice and decency.”
The aftermath of the election also included many people thanking black voters, women in particular, for helping close the tight gap between Moore and Jones in critical counties. According to exit poll results, more black women cast their vote for Jones in this election than for Obama in 2012 and caused many to realize the weight that their vote carries. Women’s advocacy group, UltraViolet expressed their gratitude by tweeting, “If you want to know who to thank for Doug Jones winning in Alabama – you can thank Black Women. #AlabamaSenateElection” shortly after Doug Jones won the election. Many black women responded to such statements by expressing that the idea that they “saved” Alabama from Roy Moore is inaccurate, and that this election further reiterates that their voices deserved to be heard and taken seriously. One of many was filmmaker and activist Bree Newsome whom tweeted, “This narrative about Black voters “saving” Alabama would imply that majority of white voters–the majority of people in the state–wanted to be “saved” from Moore. They didn’t. Black voters protected themselves.”
Those who were not so elated and grateful about the election results was of course, Roy Moore whom refused to concede after Doug Jones was declared the winner. Instead, Moore decided to take the time to tell a room full of his supporters that he was going to, “wait on God and let this process play out.” Moore also attempted to restore hope in supporters by suggesting that a recount be held, and felt it was a good moment to slam the media’s coverage on his campaign. Moore proclaimed, “You know, part of the thing — part of the problem with this campaign is we’ve been painted in an unfavorable and unfaithful light.”
Whether or not people find themselves on the right or left side of politics, it is undeniable that this election was one that will leave an everlasting impression on the country and will set a precedent of what is to come in the year of 2018. Despite the uneasiness some may feel about the nervously close race, December 12, 2017 should be remembered as the day 1.5 percent more citizens of Alabama chose the importance of character and the lives of people over their political party.