I woke up to some surprisingly good news this morning, as Alabama's voters elected Doug Jones as their Senator. A lot of joy and enthusiasm all around, which some looked to temper by pointing out that some 75% of white men and 65% of white women still voted for racist, antisemite, and alleged pedophile Roy Moore.
True, but this is after all Alabama, a state firmly in the Red camp since 1997 when Jeff "I do not recall" Sessions took office. It's as close to a political miracle as you will see. If you don't know what I mean, just watch this short video of a focus group consisting of Roy Moore supporters and it'll click.
The more interesting development is that the vote, which was won by some 20.000 ballots, was carried by Alabama's black community, about which we hear each election cycle that it does not turn out to vote. It seems that, while the good white folks down there did not see much of a problem with Roy Moore, for black people he was scary enough. In fact, exit polls suggested black voters constituted 28% of total voters, higher than the 26% share of the state population, and they voted over 90% for Moore's opponent.
This is encouraging for the Democrats but it should also serve as a wake up call that they can't continue to look at black voters as a resource to tap into every election cycle, and instead work on policies that genuinely help the community if they want to retain such levels of support. They should also campaign in places in which they assume they stand no chance, in other words follow the Obama model of campaigning as opposed to the Clinton one.
On the demographic point I should note without any pretense of originality that Steve Bannon's brand of conservatism has tapped into the rotten core of white resentment and victimhood. While it did not produce results yesterday, the uncomfortable truth is that America is changing and this change is at the heart of America's new reactionaries. White people will soon no longer be the majority and this change will mean that white sense of victimhood will only grow over the next decades. Trump, Bannon, and Moore are harbingers of something much more visceral and aggressive to come in White America.