Democrat Doug Jones pulled a surprise win for the Alabama U.S. Senate seat against Trump-endorsed, neo-Nazi-endorsed Republican candidate Roy Moore, who’s been accused of sexual misconduct and said America was last “great” when slavery was legal. The same Roy Moore who stated in 2011 that getting rid of constitutional amendments after the 10th Amendment would ‘eliminate many problems’ in the U.S. government, and who was fired as chief justice, twice, for refusing to uphold the Constitution when he denied a federal order to permit same-sex marriage licenses in the state of Alabama.
And yet, Moore almost won the Senate seat left vacant by Jeff Sessions when the latter was appointed to Attorney General by President Donald Trump.
All indicators prior to Tuesday showed Moore in the lead to win the election, despite all his past actions. Many people feared that Republicans care more about not allowing a Democrat to win than they care about the allegations, and that religious conservatives are conveniently forgiving when it serves them and their president.
So how did Jones manage a victory? A preliminary exit poll conducted by Edison Research for the National Election Poll, The Washington Post, and other media showed that a strong turnout among black voters played a key role in electing Jones.
— Mark Berman (@markberman) December 13, 2017
In particular, it was black women who turned the tide, with 98 percent of them voting for Jones. Their group would be the most offended by Moore’s racist remarks regarding slavery, and by the allegations of his sexual misconduct with young women.
Let’s make sure we don’t generalize our gratitude or obscure our shame. pic.twitter.com/58a4YlxBMP
— Robin DeRosa (@actualham) December 13, 2017
The voter turn out and the results are made even more significant by the fact that Alabama is overwhelming white, nearly 70 percent, and only 26.8 percent being black. The Washington Post’s exit polls indicate that black voters would make up 28 percent of the voters, greater than their 26 percent share of the population. In fact, more black voters turned out for the special election than when they did to vote for President Barack Obama in 2008.
Additionally, the state of Alabama has one of the strictest voter ID laws in any U.S. state. In 2011, Alabama passed a photo ID law which requires voters to have at least one of several specific kinds of photo ID in order to be able to cast the ballot.
Alabama is 69.3% white, 26.8% black; according to exit polls from @washingtonpost 30% of all Alabama voters in this race were black (and most of them voted for Jones). That's amazing turnout in the same state that has spearheaded minority voter suppression (see Shelby v. Holder). https://t.co/aNqYSxsAnu
— Suraya Khan (@surayakhan) December 13, 2017
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