By Nneka Ewulonu
On December 12th, residents of Alabama voted to replace a seat in the Senate left vacant after Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III was appointed to the position of Attorney General – and the choices couldn’t have been more different.
On the left stood Doug Jones, a pro-gun Democrat perhaps best known for prosecuting two Klu Klux Klan members responsible for the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing that claimed the life of four African-American girls in 1963.
On the right stood Judge Roy Moore, a former Justice on Alabama’s supreme court and enthusiastically endorsed by President Trump.
This race was not focused on policy or platform, but scandal.
In November, several women came forward to accuse Moore of sexual misconduct. Three claim he sexually assaulted them, two of the victims being underage while Moore was in his 30s.
Witnesses confirmed these accusations and physical evidence was provided, proving Moore was in contact with at least one of the victims during the time these allegations took place.
Accusations of paedophilia and sexual misconduct clouded Moore’s campaign from then on. To the left, this seemed like a rare opportunity to flip a seat in the deeply conservative South. Surely no one could vote for a man with sexual misconduct allegations against him, especially allegations as disturbing as the ones levied against Moore.
The left was sorely mistaken.
While Jones did win, his victory was slim; Jones won by just 1.5%.
When put in perspective (after all, Trump won Alabama by 28.3% in 2016), it’s impressive that he was able to pull out a victory. Jones is the first Democratic senator from Alabama in over two decades. But there can’t help but be a sense of disappointment that Alabama just *barely* prefers a Democrat to an alleged paedophile.
The breakdown of votes by demographic paints the expected picture. Moore won over the usual conservative demographics with 68% of white voters, 56% of men, and 52% of people without a college degree voting for him.
The coalition that elected Jones is diverse, including the college educated, millennials, and POC. The majority of the thanks, however, falls upon black people.
A staggering 96% of black voters voted for Jones, with this number being driven especially by the 98% of black women who voted for him.
Despite institutional voter suppression, black voters showed up in numbers that were able to overwhelm white voting numbers. Black women in particular made their voices heard and likely helped push Jones into victory.
Black voters, and black women especially, helped Alabama avoid electing an alleged paedophile to Senate. From the rest of the country, thank you.