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Alabama Election is not about Trump

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On Wednesday, December 12, the state of Alabama held a statewide senate election that had the eyes and ears of the nation. Republican Roy Moore lost the election to Democrat Doug Jones, something that a few months ago would have seemed preposterous in the deep red state of Alabama. However, by a slim margin of 1.5 percentage points, Jones came out victorious and will further cut down the Republican margin in the Senate.

The narrative for the election in the news media is that this is a huge blow to President Trump’s agenda in Congress now that the split will be 51-49 with Republicans having the slightest edge, and it is true that it will put a stop on many issues on which bipartisan support cannot be found, at least until the 2018 midterm elections. But the narrative for the media is also that this election is somehow a foreshadowing or bellwether for Senate races for the future, specifically in 2018 as well as races in the House of Representatives. However, as usual, the media is overblowing the implications of this election, which was a race between candidates and the controversies surrounding them, not the party or President.

Roy Moore was never the perfect candidate, even from the beginning of the race. The former Alabama judge had a long list of past controversies, from being suspended by the Judiciary in 2016, to directing court workers to deny marriage licenses to gay couples. While these did not have implications with his supporters that voted in the primaries, it certainly hindered his ability to win the Senate election and would have hindered his ability to work effectively in the Senate.

By the end of the race, though, these issues did not hold a candle to the very credible sexual assault allegations that were brought forth several weeks before the election was held. Nine women came forward alleging sexual harrasment against Moore, two of whom claimed he had assaulted them at the ages of 14 and 16. There were also several credible independent witnesses that claimed that Moore approached teenage girls at the mall and elsewhere while he was in his thirties. While Moore denied all accusations, discrepancies in the stories as well as the credibility of witnesses led many to believe the accusers, including many prominent Republicans in Congress and a majority of the nation.

However, many in the biased, mainstream media outlets will claim that Moore was the ‘ultimate GOP candidate,’ and that with this loss, ‘Democrats may be taking back Congress in 2018.’ Those claims are far from true, and the fact is that Democrats still have an uphill battle in 2018. Of the 34 seats up for reelection in 2018, 25 are currently held by Democrats, and of those 25, 10 are in states that Donald Trump won in 2016. Barring the GOP from selecting radically controversial candidates for those elections, Republicans should see a major increase in Senate seats in 2018. Luther Strange, the former Alabama Attorney general that Moore defeated in the Republican primary, had the support of Republicans in Congress, as well as the President. As Trump tweeted following the Alabama election, “The reason I originally endorsed Luther Strange is that I said Roy Moore would not be able to win the General Election. I was right!” Roy Moore received 650,000 votes to Doug Jones’ 671,000, and write-ins amounted to 22,000 votes. By comparison, the last election for the seat contested in this election was won by incumbent Jeff Sessions with 97% of the vote, winning nearly 800,000 votes of Alabamians. The lack of turnout among conservative Republican voters seen in yesterday’s election showed the unpopularity of the candidate, and the large number of write-ins support the fact that many Republicans wrote in other candidates as a protest to the one the party nominated.

So to all the talking heads on CNN and MSNBC: Do not make this election something that it is not. This was not a referendum on Trump, a rejection of conservative politics, or a foreshadowing of what is to come. It is not the breakdown of the Republican party, and it is not the end to the Republican agenda in Congress. This was a rejection of the candidate and his actions, and will keep this highly controversial figure out of the news and put more focus on the task at hand, which is promoting conservative economic and social policies with the purpose of helping the country, not making headlines.

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