Roy Moore, a racist, who has been accused of sexual assault by multiple women, will not become the senator of Alabama – and many in the U.S. are rejoicing. However, it’s much too soon to get excited.
Roy Moore considers homosexuals perverse, calls Asian Americans “yellow” and Native Americans “red,” and multiple women have accused him of sexually abusing them while they were teenagers. Despite all this, Moore wanted to be the senator of Alabama. As it turns out, he didn’t win, and Democrats, the media and more than a few moderate conservatives are celebrating his defeat. And yet, is this really cause for celebration? After last year’s election, in which Donald Trump, a misogynistic, racist, and bullish man became president, one can’t help but think, “big deal.”
Moore’s defeat against Democratic candidate Doug Jones in a traditionally conservative state (which until now has reliably voted conservative) is also a defeat for Trump. Trump supported Moore during the campaign and won Alabama by a clear margin during his own presidential race. The result is thus a particular disaster for the Republican Party. Conservatives are facing an identity crisis. How should they orient themselves? Should they follow their anti-establishment president? Things just went south with Moore, who was aligned heavily with the anti-establishment. Moore’s own Republican colleague, Richard Shelby, even said before the election that the state of Alabama deserves better than Moore.
With Jones’ victory, the Republican majority in the Senate shrinks to just one seat. In the upcoming months, the divided party will have to pull together if it wants to pass anything substantial. Only how will such politics look, when moderate conservatives and Trump supporters are no longer ideologically united?
Democrats draw hope from their unexpected victory in Alabama for next year’s upcoming congressional elections. Bernie Sanders recently tweeted that the results are a “victory for justice and decency,” and what’s possible in one of the most conservative states, can be a possibility everywhere. Democrats will be counting on this.
This is good and all. After almost a year of the Trump presidency, one is allowed to take delight in a positive change. But, it’s much too soon to get excited. Frank Bruni of The New York Times writes, “If Alabama isn’t beyond redemption, then the country isn’t, either,” and ends his article with a redemptive “Hallelujah.”
Hallelujah … really? The voters of Alabama have recently succeeded in not electing a man who is probably one of the worst and most unelectable candidates ever. Jones beat Moore by just 20,000 votes. African-Americans, millennials and urban voters made the difference for the Democratic Party. The majority of white voters voted for Moore … and not just men. More than two-thirds of white women in Alabama thought that Moore would make a suitable senator. All of this is no reason to celebrate. It’s once again exposed the immense divide within American society. A close victory for a Democrat cannot hide this fact.
America is a hazard to itself. Whites vs. minorities. Rich vs poor. Gun-lovers vs. gun opponents. Pro-life vs. pro-choice. The list could go on forever. In the U.S., common ground hasn't existed for a while. There’s no agreement, not even agreement to disagree. This was going on before a “President” Trump existed, but it’s gotten much worse in the year since he was elected due to the fact that everyone feels entitled and empowered to finally say everything he or she feels must be said.
Moore’s loss conceals this divide only for a moment. An election alone doesn’t cause substantial change. The fight on both sides to win ideological control over the country is only going to get more bitter. Redemption is a long way off for America.