The whole town’s talking about the Jones Boy / The Jones Boy / The Jones Boy …

Dec 14th, 2017 | By Randall White | Category: In Brief

“Democratic Senatorial candidate Doug Jones takes a selfie with a supporter during a get out the vote campaign rally on December 11, 2017, in Birmingham, Alabama. Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images.”

In part at any rate the good guy Doug Jones won in the Alabama special Senate election on December 12, 2017 by leaning on at least something somewhat like the “rigged-electoral-system” luck that almost accidentally gave Donald Trump the US presidency in November 2016.

To take just the clearest case in point : “1.7 per cent of the votes were write-ins, a proportion greater than Jones’s margin of victory and higher than what Alabama usually sees.”

(“Richard Shelby, Alabama’s other senator” — and of course a Republican — led the way here. The “Sunday before the election” he announced that “Alabama ‘deserves better’” than Roy Moore. Senator Shelby would use “his absentee ballot to write in ‘a distinguished Republican name,’ which he declined to specify.”)

And then Alabama’s particular Southern demographics finally (or just unusually and certainly happily) mobilized in winning progressive directions : “Charles Barkley, the retired basketball player and native Alabamian, campaigned for Jones, and President Barack Obama recorded a robocall … Turnout was markedly higher in counties with large black populations. These voters were the ones who defended the state’s respectability.”

In the end, 96% of Blacks, 61% of 30–44 year-olds, 60% of 18–29 year-olds, and 57% of Females voted for Jones.

Could this — African Americans, younger adults of all cultures, and women — be at least one road to some new progressive coalition in the Old South?

Those determined to show their savvy cynicism about current politics in the troubled American democracy will stress that, even with lady luck smiling his way, Doug Jones only managed 49.9% of the December 12 vote to Roy Moore’s 48.4%. And even my own favourite Doug Jones supporter in all of the United States and Canada concedes that if President Donald Trump’s original favourite Alabama Senate candidate Luther Strange had been running instead of Roy Moore, the Republicans would almost certainly have won.

More immediately, just what Doug Jones’s victory may or may not mean for the 2018 mid-term Congressional elections nonetheless remains one of the most compelling questions about American politics in the new year just now on the horizon.

“Supporters of Doug Jones erupt in celebration during an election-night watch party Tuesday, Dec. 12, 2017, in Birmingham, Ala..”

Whatever else again, the Jones victory cannot be seriously construed as bad for the Democrats in 2018. The Mueller investigation is not the only hopeful prospect for the containment of the almost accidental Trump administration over the next few years.

Meanwhile, the largely unexpected triumph of the Jones Boy in Alabama ought to remind all concerned observers of the USA today everywhere of one key piece of non-fake news.

In quite living memory, the mixed-race Barack Obama from Honolulu and Chicago was twice elected President of the American Republic — by more commanding numbers than anything Donald Trump could show in November 2016 (even with all his “Art of the Deal” mendacity on feverish display).

With any luck at all history should finally show that the presidential elections of 2008 and 2012 (not 2016) marked the real beginnings of the greatest America of the long-term future.

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