Tuesday’s Alabama Senate race between Republican Roy Moore and Democrat Doug Jones came down to the wire in the end, despite Alabama being known as a ruby red state that hasn’t elected a Democratic senator in a quarter of a century. As results rolled in from Mobile to Huntsville, Democrats tested a new talking point: Perhaps Alabama isn’t as red as we all thought.
Here’s a newsflash for anyone saying this, though. Alabama is still not fertile soil for Democratic campaigns. It’s still a reliably red state. It’s nowhere near favoring Democratic candidates in any major (normal) statewide race. And Tuesday night was anything but normal.
In this particular race, the Republican candidate Roy Moore is far from your typical Republican. Even before the most recent allegations against him of child molestation and sexual abuse, he voiced support for banning Muslims from serving in Congress, said that homosexual activity should be illegal, and floated the conspiracy theory that former President Obama was born in Kenya.
Moore’s opponent, meanwhile, was a relatively moderate Democrat on most issues — save his extremely progressive stance on abortion. Democrats can portray this race as a victory for Democrats if they want. I’m sure they will. But make no mistake, tonight was a win just as much for Republicans as for Democrats in the sense that Alabama affirmed it is more aligned with the political center than the extreme right.
In case the Republican Party needed any more indication that Trumpism is not a winning strategy in red states like Alabama, much less swing states like Virginia, Alabama showed the world Tuesday night that the purview of human decency still transcends the politics of tribalism.
Follow Jon Street on Twitter: @JonStreet.