Since 1992 Alabama had not had a Democrat Senator
Leer en Español: Después de 25 años, Alabama tiene senador demócrata
On december 12th, the Democratic candidate Doug Jones won the elections of the state of Alabama after a race loaded with political pressure and gender arguments. His Republican opponent, Roy Moore, was defeated consequently after being accused of sexual harassment of two minors and sexual misconduct during his professional career. However, Moore is not the only looser, to the defeat has to be added the Republican Party and the President Donald Trump, who publicly supported Moore and his candidacy.
Roy Moore's Loss
After 25 years of Republican representatives, the special elections held in Alabama had as winner a Democrat. Thus, the results represent a change in the state's political landscape. Undoubtedly, the accusations against the Republican candidate played a fundamental role when it came to directing voting intentions. In fact, as Alabama Democratic pollster Zac McCrary pointed out, the female vote that traditionally supports Republican candidates in this southern region, was a key factor in Moore's defeat.
Elections were hard-fought, candidate Doug Jones won the elections with 49.9% and Roy Moore lost with 48.4% of the votes. The electoral contest has been strongly questioned by the Republican candidate who asked the Alabama authorities for a recount of the votes. However, on one hand, President Trump has acknowledged via Twitter the victory of Jones; on the other hand, Alabama law only allows votes recount in cases where the difference between the candidates' results are less than one percentage point
Donald Trump's defeat
President Trump had publicly supported Moore's candidacy for the Alabama election. As a matter of fact, on Tuesday morning he twitted about the candidate by suggesting that he would unconditionally support his administration. According to the president, "Roy Moore will always vote with us." The defeat of his candidate represents a weakening of the president's power against his constituents. Especially, in conservative states as Alabama where Trump won by more than 30 points during the presidential elections.
Republican Party's failure
The election of Jeff Sessions as General Attorney led to the special elections in Alabama in order to occupy his seat. Nevertheless, the party did not contemplate a change in the traditional conservative vote of the state. In fact, for the first time since 1992, a Democratic candidate won the elections in Alabama.
At a national level, the victory of the Democratic candidate in Alabama represents a weakening of the Republicans in Congress, mostly, because the majority difference in the Senate is only 51-49. It is said that while the scandals of sexual harassment of the candidate is one of the main reasons why he did not win the elections, the fragmentation among the Republicans has also influenced the results.
According to an interview made by the Al-Jazeera network to the professor of public policy at George Mason University, William Schneider, "there is a real division between the Republican Establishment and the so-called populism, or 'the Trump wing of the republican party,' which is basically a difference in education".
Indeed, when analyzing the intention of votes in the state of Alabama, it is possible to understand how female suffrage was decisive when choosing a Democratic candidate; especially, if it is considered female traditional support to the Republican party. Doug Jones campaign was based on women vote such as African Americans, young voters and students. Therefore, the campaign was able to attract a large portion of the State's urban population.
Undoubtedly these elections limit the action capacity of the Republican party in the U.S. Congress. The action decrease is consequence of the reduction of 1 vote in the majority obtained as a collective. Then, it is worth wondering if this victory in Alabama could represent the start of a legislative blockade against President Trump.
LatinAmerican Post | Laura Delgado
Copy edited by Marcela Peñaloza