On Wednesday morning, December 13, I woke to the news that former U.S. attorney, Doug Jones beat former Alabama chief justice, Roy Moore in the 2017 Alabama senate race. I also woke to a country in shock. Before I get too deep into this, can we all just take a second and acknowledge how odd it is (or should be) that the nation is shocked that a 9 times accused pedophile and apparent slavery enthusiast who once pulled a gun on stage at a campaign rally lost an election? I mean, I get that Alabama hasn’t voted blue in 3 decades, but we still need to sit and reflect on how low the bar has been set in Trump’s America for what constitutes proper decorum for an elected official. Moving on, though…
The way it breaks down: white voters, who made up 66% of the electorate voted 68% in favor for Moore, while black people, who represented a surprising 29% of the electorate (despite being just 26% of Alabama’s population) voted 96% in favor of Jones.
Moore led the race for most of election day and I imagine a lot of moonshine was getting prepped for celebration that night right up until cities like Selma, Mobile and Montgomery started counting ballots and black voters pushed Doug Jones over the edge to become the first democrat senator seated in The Heart of Dixie since 1992.
Most media outlets seem to agree that black voters are largely responsible for the Jones’s victory and liberals and moderates soon took to social media to sing our praises: “Hallelujah, black people have saved us from ourselves, again!”
Black people get a lot of criticism for our (perceived) collective loyalty to a single party. We’ve been described as slaves on the Democratic plantation for settling for the lesser of two evils and I find it interesting that we’re suddenly being praised for voting the same way now that we’re settling for a candidate who isn’t visibly crazy.
Black Alabamans didn’t vote for the guy who only thinks the first 10 amendments of the constitution are useful (The 13th amendment abolished slavery, the 14th amendment guarantees birthright citizenship and equal protection under the law and 15th amendment gave us equal voting rights…. bun nah, scrap’em). They didn’t vote for someone who would turn the clock back a century and a half. (We can at least agree he would send us back before the invention of the automobile. There’s just no other way to explain a sane adult opting to ride to the polls on horseback… I’m sorry.)
They also didn’t vote for the guy who has been accused by over half a dozen women of pursuing and assaulting them as teens when he was in his 30s. (Side note: white women voted 63% for Moore which is only 10% more than they voted for Donald Trump. One can only wonder how much old, gross predator is too much old, gross predator for the white, female voter to tolerate.)
The truth is, contrary to popular opinion, black people do vote in their best interest much (if not most) of the time. Black citizens of Alabama voted for the man who faced down the KKK to prosecute the murders of four slain black girls instead of the rapey racist who pulls guns out on stage to prove himself a 2nd amendment advocate.
When you’re on a sinking ship and you’re in a position to take action that might keep you afloat, you do it rather than drown. The fact that the lazy human paper weights below deck (who remain unconvinced the ship is sinking at all even though they’ve been sneaking jager shots to the captain all night) get to survive along with you doesn’t change the fact that you saved the ship because you happen to be a passenger on it. (I should probably take this time to admit I have no idea what white people drink. I just imagine it’s all jager and moonshine.)
While I do believe our votes typically align with our better interests, there’s no denying that going blue so overwhelmingly and consistently gets the black vote taken for granted. It would be nice if more people who are rushing to social media to praise us for showing good sense in the voting booth would also call for Doug Jones and other politicians like him to thank black voters, not just on Twitter and over a celebratory champagne toast, but through policy and legislation. Jones needs to be persistently pressured to work for black Alabamans, not just for their vote. So far, the vast majority of who I see on the web making it a point to mention this are black people.
Too often, we vote our conscience and the population benefits, but when it’s time to talk about solutions for racial injustice, we’re still the only ones in the room. This is what we need to see change and if moderate and liberal America really wants to show appreciation for the black vote, they need to advocate and actively participate in that change.