On Tuesday night in Alabama, the resistance reared its head.
I really thought Roy Moore, the ridiculous cowboy pedophile, was going to pull off this special Senate election. After a draconian voter ID law designed specifically to keep black voters from the polls — among his other charms, Moore is a stone-cold racist — and chatter on Twitter about a purge of black folks from the voter rolls, I thought the fix was in.
Plus, I’ve been to Alabama. It’s jacked.
This is not New Jersey, where a Democrat governor was elected in November, or even Virginia, where another wave of Democrats swept into office this year. This is Alabama, in perpetual battle against Mississippi and Louisiana for the bottom slot in every state ranking from education to income to healthcare.
But it’s also seen sweeping demographic changes, economic shifts and real political fault lines develop between rural and urban districts.
North Carolina is not Alabama, either — though in recent years our state has been adopting many of the policies that got ’Bama to where it is now.
And a single special election does not a movement make. One senator can’t change decades of backwards momentum in a quarter-turn of the election cycle. I know that.
The voter breakdown at this early stage is disturbing: According to a Washington Post exit poll, white people went for Moore 68-30, with 2 percent opting for a write-in candidate. Moore took 91 percent of the self-described Republicans in the state, and 57 percent of white college graduates. Write-ins took 1.7 percent of the total, almost 23,000 votes, which would have been enough to swing the election to Moore, who lost by just 1.5 points.
Make no mistake: This guy came dangerously close to becoming a US senator. If it weren’t for a solid black vote that went 96 percent for Moore’s opponent, Doug Jones, this day would look very different. Black Alabamians comprised a third of these voters, enough to carry the day even against the waves of concerted voter suppression.
So this week, the sun is shining on the red soil of Alabama, a state that’s been electing guys like Moore for generations without much fuss or hassle. If resistance can be effective there, it can work anywhere.