Last week featured two news stories that rocked the political landscape in this country. The first was that Democrats and progressive candidates all but swept the Nov. 7 elections from coast to coast, and the second was that Republican Alabama U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore was accused of pedophilia.
That combination makes the special election for the Alabama Senate, which will take place only weeks from now on Dec. 12, a real shot for progressives and pragmatic Republicans to slow down President Donald Trump’s disastrous agenda.
Moore had only a modest lead over his Democratic opponent when the Washington Post came out with its story of four women saying that Moore dated them when they were teenagers and he was in his 30s and an assistant district attorney in Alabama (a fifth woman has since come forward accusing Moore). One of them, Leigh Corfman, accused Moore of sexually molesting her when she was 14 years old.
What it all means: For anybody who cares about halting climate change, keeping us out of nuclear war, and stopping a monster from getting into the U.S. Senate, right now the most important thing is to get Moore’s opponent, Democrat Doug Jones, across the finish line.
I’ll return to the Alabama Senate race in a moment, but first a few words about last week’s elections:
The pollsters were wrong yet again, though this time — thankfully — they were wrong in the other direction.
Democrat Ralph Northam took the Virginia governor’s race by 9 percentage points rather than the 3 points predicted — a 6-point change that, if it had gone the other way, would have resulted in a win by Republican Ed Gillespe.
And in a victory that has probably most captured the imagination of progressives, transgender woman Danica Roem defeated Virginia Delegate Robert Marshall, the man who claimed to be Virginia’s “chief homophobe” and introduced a failed bill to require people to use bathrooms according to their sex at birth.
So what made the difference?
According to the Virginia state elections website, Gillespie received 1,174,650 votes, which added up to 45 percent of the vote this time around. But in 2013, the last time Virginia chose its governor, that vote total would have been more than 52 percent of the roughly 2,240,000 votes cast — a winner.
Instead, Democratic voters were out in force last week, giving Northam just over 1.4 million votes and bringing the Virginia House of Delegates from two-thirds Republican to about half-and-half Republican and Democrat. Preliminary figures show about 2,610,000 votes cast, a 16.5 percent increase over 2013.
That bump was something felt nationwide, where Maine voters chose to expand Medicaid, Washington state Democrats took over their state Senate, and New Jersey elected a Democrat to replace Republican (and all-around terrible person) Chris Christie.
And those voters will need to turn out in Alabama if Jones has any chance of beating Moore.
Moore, a racist and a homophobe in addition to being an accused pedophile, had just a single-digit lead over Jones in the polling average before the story broke. Some establishment Republicans are breaking with him, including John McCain, Mitt Romney, and a few others, but much of Moore’s Republican base is sticking with him.
A Jones win has advantages well beyond keeping Moore far away from our nation’s capital. The Republican’s Senate majority is a razor thin 52-48. If Jones is elected, that will go down to 51-49, and the winner will hold that seat through the 2020 election. That makes recapturing the Senate in 2018 all the more possible for Democrats.
So what can people around here do? Lots, actually.
Call those you know in Alabama and urge them, Republican or Democrat, to stop Pedophile Moore from getting into the Senate by voting for Doug Jones.
At http://www.facebook.com/TonyTheDemocrat.org, you can get addresses of Alabama Democrats where you can send postcards urging them to vote.
And there’s always a good old fashioned political donation, which you can make to Jones at https://secure.actblue.com/donate/ms_jones_ad_2017.
The momentum from last week’s elections is real. With all hands on deck, progressives and pragmatics everywhere could be celebrating a Jones victory.
Dave Eisenstadter can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.