I woke this morning to the fantastic news that Doug Jones won the Senate race in Alabama. It was a comfortable win, too—enough of a margin to preclude a voter recount.
The fact that the Republican candidate Roy Moore was a piece of garbage has less to do with Jones winning than his campaign’s and the NAACP’s outreach program during the election. Al Giordano created a Twitter thread listing all of the actions both took, and they were significant. Democrats coming up for election in 2018: pay attention.
The end result of this effort was outstanding. From the Washington Post exit polls, Jones captured the vast majority of the black vote, and enough of the white vote to win. Among the blacks, he captured over 97% of the black women’s vote—proving once again that black women are the most significant demographic for Democratic voters.
Jones also captured the younger people’s votes, as well as the overall votes among voters with a college degree. However, he did not capture the majority of white, educated voters. This is a bit surprising considering what kind of a fruitcake Moore is. Still, according to the WaPo results, one of the major reasons for voting for Moore was support for Trump, and educated whites in Alabama still like Trump. This could be heartening for Trump…except for the fact that Moore lost.
What can we take away from all of this? What we already knew.
- Blacks and other minorities are an important demographic for Democrats and we ignore them at our peril.
- We need to put boots on the ground, and get folks in the communities to help with, or manage, outreach.
- A relatively moderate Democrat can capture a red state. I wouldn’t hold my breath on getting a very liberal Democrat into office in a red state.
- Purity politics don’t play in the streets. The ultra-left who stayed home yesterday because Jones wasn’t pure enough just look like asses today.
- Issues matter over personality. Trump and the 2016 election were outliers. We can’t focus on magnetic personalities and existence or lack of controversies to win elections.
- We need to focus on getting out the vote and preventing voter suppression. These are more important than wasting our time on appealing to Trump voters.
What’s the formula for winning in 2018 and 2020? Boots on the ground, hard work and outreach, focusing on the issues, and candidates who don’t scare the shit out of the natives.