Figures I’ve seen from the exit polls in the Alabama election should give us some renewed hope in the capacity of the electorate to see through the propaganda to the truth about the modern Republican Party. Among the most telling data are these: Although white women overall favored Roy Moore over Doug Jones, when the evangelical women and the non-evangelical women are considered separately, the non-evangelical women overwhelmingly preferred Jones. Moreover, I’ve read, if the percentage of evangelical voters in Alabama were the same as the percentage nationwide, Jones would have taken the election by double digits. The Republican Party, lead by Trump, has alienated so many voters outside a cultish core that the probability of a rout in 2018 has increased substantially.
Once again we have credible evidence that the dominant political party, in this case the Republican Party, deliberately has thrown roadblocks in the way of those who might be expected to vote for the opposition’s candidates. And there are lingering questions about the accuracy of vote-counting. This is intolerable and must be remedied. If the people cannot trust the voting process to be fair and accurate, the Republic will be in big trouble.
Ezra Klein, Why Doug Jones’s narrow win is not enough to make me confident about American democracy, Vox, December 12, 2017.
I don’t think there can be any real doubt that a sizable fraction of Roy Moore’s supporters in Alabama would embrace enthusiastically a government that lacked the most basic features of our Republic, but enforced as law the tenets of their distorted view of Christianity. Moore himself, as a judicial officer, has flouted the Constitution and laws of the country to advance his religious agenda.
This morning, the polls open, the blue battalions are on the move to vote for Mr. Jones, and we have to hope their numbers are enormous, because the Moore cadres, perpetually alert to any threat to their precious white insularity, will be doing what they always do, voting in high percentages.
There’s a wall in Alabama. Alabamians built it awhile back — centuries ago — without any help from the government in Washington. Inside the wall, Jesus rules. Not, mind you, the Jesus the rest of us of all religions embrace as the author of the Sermon on the Mount. The Alabama Jesus. The Jesus who consecrated slavery and rode with terrorists in the night after Lee lost and blessed Jim Crow and thought the races shouldn’t mix and huddles with his flocks in sanctuaries where straight and white and like of mind are welcome. Some say the wall is coming down. And maybe it is. Maybe I’ll be surprised today when the voting’s done and the numbers show that Roy, the good ole boy, didn’t win. It is a consummation devotedly to be wished. But I’ve lived a life cheek by jowl with the folks behind the wall. The Alabama Jesus will be driving them to the polls.
Doug Jones has opened a real lead over Roy Moore in the Alabama Senate race, according to a Fox News poll just out. Put me down as skeptical, in part because of the potential effect of the poll itself. Conservative white Alabamians are among the most clannish people on the planet, and they are already organized into churches. They will be at the voting places in great numbers tomorrow. My money is still on them.
Roy Moore’s core supporters tend to treat Jesus as a brand rather than as the Son of God, author of the Sermon on the Mount, and protector of the poor and forgotten. They’ve dispensed with his Message, using only his name, slapped on bumpers alongside the National Rifle Association and maybe Semper Fi or MAGA. If Jesus were here today, not just as the claimed “personal friend” of folks who fence themselves off from the world his Father made, but as the compassionate healer described in Matthew, he wouldn’t be pulling the lever for Roy Moore. You can take that to the bank.
Reporters who’ve ventured into Alabama to arrive at some sense of why so many people there will vote for Roy Moore, despite his manifold, obvious, and deep flaws, have sent back word that some large fraction of Alabama Republicans just can’t bring themselves to vote for a Democrat, as if this were akin to Alabama fans being unable to bring themselves to root for Auburn. The reporting sanitizes the opposition. The preference for Moore over Jones is so powerful because it is rooted in the desperation of the large white identity clan in the state to hang on to whatever it can of its cultural dominance.
How can the rest of us express the depth of our appreciation for the folks of all hues and genders who turned out in great numbers yesterday to take a stand against the madness into which the Republic has been dragged? These electoral victories, built from the bottom up and across political divides, set the stage for more to come, if we stay the course.