Alabama has not had a Democratic Senator since January 3, 1997. That will change in January 2018– a streak over two decades long has been broken by Doug Jones.
Earlier this year, Virginia repudiated President Trump with a wave election for Democrats. Many on the left are more than ready to apply this narrative to Alabama. There is only one problem, it does not fit.
In Virginia, voting democratic to express opposition to Donald Trump made up almost a third of the electorate. In Alabama, the same demographic made up only eighteen percent. On the other hand, democratic votes motivated by allegations of pedophilia against Roy Moore made up twenty-nine percent.
To put a finer point on this, voting democratic to express opposition to Donald Trump was an overwhelming force in Virginia. While it made a third of the electorate, no other category relating to Trump made over twenty-three percent. The exact opposite happened in Alabama. Voting to support Trump by voting Moore (twenty-six percent) or Trump being a non-factor for voting either way (twenty-nine percent for Jones and twenty-one percent for Moore) made up over a fifth of the electorate in each category.
The Alabama special election had little to do with Donald Trump. It was the story of an unpopular and very low quality candidate who got hit by credible allegations of pedophilia while running in an energized democratic environment. It was a perfect storm that just about any other candidate would have easily survived.