Doug Jones is not just the Democratic nominee for Alabama’s Senate seat. On Tuesday, he emerged as Alabama’s choice.
Jones eked out a narrow victory over Roy Moore. Even though the Trump-Bannon GOP axis pushed extremist “Christians” to vote, not enough turned out to propel Moore to a win.
Evidently, enough Alabamans could not stomach an alleged child molester to be their Senator. In doing so, they helped propel the state into the 21st century.
Doug Jones: Hope for Alabama
Alabama has long had the reputation of being a “Red” state. Indeed, a 2014 analysis found Alabama as the most Republican state in the country.
Consequently, business has found Alabama to be hospitable. Many foreign companies operate in the state.
At the same time, many businesses are cognizant of branding and reputation. After the #MeToo movement and the HB2 boycott, being associated with a state that would elect a sexual predator and bigot would be unwise.
Conversely, with Doug Jones, Alabama has one of the most impressive Senators in its history. He is most famous for his prosecution of KKK members for a 1963 bombing.
Importantly for as conservative a state as Alabama, Jones is a Christian. Nor does he have the baggage of scandal and controversy like Moore.
As the junior Alabama Senator, Jones can be a poster-man for the evolution of Alabama into a less-racist, more educated state. He has a history of working for integration and supports science.
For Republicans, the dream would be for Jones to support them. GOP campaign chair Senator Cory Gardner has already expressed the hope that Jones will vote with the GOP.
Doug Jones: Relief for Republicans
For many Republicans like Gardner, Jones’ election means they can heave a sigh of relief. They will not have to make unpleasant and politically dicey decisions.
If Moore had won, GOP Senators like Gardner and his colleagues would have to proceed with expulsion proceedings. Ethics inquiries into Moore’s sexual misconduct during the 2018 midterms would not be good optics for the Republicans.
Apart from the sexual allegations, the prejudice and idiocy of Moore and his supporters would tarnish the Republican brand. The latest example was a Jake Tapper interview with a Moore spokesman.
Now Republicans can hope that at least on some issues, Jones will not march in lock-step with the Democrats.
Doug Jones: Looking to the Future
In 2020, Jones will likely have a tough reelection fight — if Republicans have learned their lesson. Still, Congress’ high incumbency rate means Jones will have an advantage.
Further, while Jones hews to the liberal line on many issues, he does depart from liberal preferences on other matters. For example, on gun rights and single-payer healthcare, he is likely to be more on the GOP side.
What liberals will have to remember is that the perfect can be the enemy of the good. While Jones may not be an ideal liberal, he will be a reliable vote to check extreme Trumpism.