If I told you a few months ago that Alabama would be seating its first Democratic senator in 20 years you’d probably have laughed at me. And who could blame you, after all its previous Senator Jeff Sessions, a Republican, had won the seat after collecting over 97% of the state’s vote.
But here we are, discussing a purple Alabama and the possible flipping of the senate majority in 2018.
So how did it happen? To start the conversation of Doug Jones’ win, you have to talk about his opponent Roy Moore. Putting it bluntly, Roy Moore was probably one of the worst candidates to run for a senate seat in the past few election cycles. Maybe if the controversial Moore had only been accused of pedophilia (by multiple people), or only been accused of racism (Moore stated America was at its best during slavery), or only thought homosexuality should be a crime, or only been kicked off the state’s Supreme Court once (he was kicked off twice) he would be standing here today as the newly elected Senator of Alabama. But he wasn’t. Moore’s end came at the hands of his lifetime of sins that ultimately cost him the one job he wanted the most.
And he deserves it.
Despite his transgressions however, Moore still was only 20,000 votes away from becoming a senator, in a state where over 1 million people voted.
So what other reason benefited Doug Jones in his near impossible upset? That would be Democrats promotion of diversity. On the night of Jones’ win 30% of Alabama voters identified as African American with a whopping 97% going to Jones. The black vote turned out strong and did everything they could to ensure Jones’ victory. This portion of the vote meant so much that black women, who accounted for almost 1 in 5 voters in the Alabama senate race, were given their own hashtag on twitter.
Diversity, when utilized correctly can work and it can work in even the most unlikely-ist of places. In addition to diversity from an ethnic point of view, diversity when discussing age is also key. It has long been known that Republicans are terrible at diversifying their voter base. As a black conservative myself, I can say that I take great leaps to inform people that I am NOT a Republican due to the negative stigma it brings. When focusing on age, Doug Jones won 60% of voters under the age of 45.
If you’re a young Republican that news is devastating. The truth is that the lack of diversity within the party is making the Republicans a ticking time bomb. Unless diversity is finally supported and promoted Republicans will not survive the winter. I once said that after the Trump election, the Republicans have, at most, 20 years left unless they change their narrative. After the Alabama race, I’m not so sure they have that long.