Pundits across the nation view the Senate race in Alabama as yet another bellwether election for next year’s midterms. Here’s the takeaway: Parties need to recruit better candidates, voters need to choose country over party and candidates shouldn’t ride horses. Or sexually assault teenage girls. Or sexually assault anyone.
After the Alabama election Wednesday morning, NBC reporters asked Senator Ron Johnson, R-Wis, “What message did the election send last night?” Sen. Johnson replied, “Alabamians didn’t want somebody who dated 14-year-old girls.”
And it really was as simple as that.
The Alabama senate election, held to replace Republican Attorney General Jeff Sessions, was not a vote for Democrat Doug Jones, it was a vote against Roy Moore, a former Republican judge known for racist, sexist, homophobic comments who has been accused of sexual improprieties against teenage girls.
Even the senior senator from Alabama Richard Shelby told voters he would not vote for Moore, and that “Alabama can do better.”
Utah Republican politicians took to Twitter to celebrate Jones’s victory. Yes, Utah Republicans were celebrating the election of a Democrat in Alabama. Because, Roy Moore.
Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox tweeted, “Congratulations Alabama! Welcome to our ‘special place in Hell.’ I promise it’s better than wherever Bannon/Moore end up.” Cox was referring, of course, to former Trump advisor Steve Bannon’s comments regarding a “special place in hell” for Republican leaders who refused to support Moore.
Republican state Sen. Todd Weiler, R-Woods Cross, tweeted, “The Republican Party won tonight. It’s way better off without Moore in the Senate.”
Even God chimed in. In response to a Vox tweet saying “Republican Roy Moore refuses to concede, says ‘wait on God and let this process play out,’” God’s Twitter account responded, “No, I’m good. Thanks.”
Moore refused to concede as of Wednesday morning.
Former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee gets it. “Roy Moore won’t concede; says will wait on God to speak. God wasn’t registered to vote in AL but the people who voted did speak and it wasn’t close enough for recount. In elections everyone does NOT get a trophy. I know first hand but it’s best to exit with class.”
Most interesting in the post-election analyses are reports that the black, female vote in Alabama made the difference in rejecting Moore. CNN reported, “Making up 17 percent of the voters, 98 percent of black women who voted on Tuesday cast their ballots for Jones.” Many, for their very first time.
In response to exclamations that black women in Alabama saved America, Harvard doctoral student of religion, Janan Graham-Russell, who is a black, female member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, said, “We’re not superheroes. White supremacy and patriarchy do not work in our interest. We saved ourselves.”
And that is the sentiment we should glean from the Alabama senate race. People act in their own self-interest. In fact, that is how the country elected President Trump – voters who wouldn’t admit they supported him nevertheless voted for him because in the end, they believed he would be the best choice for their personal interests, and their pocketbooks.
But after a year of Trump, voters are reconsidering.
It is, after all, not in our-self interest to elect men who are racist, xenophobic, sexist or sexually predatory. Black women understand this.
My grandmother’s name is Estelita Maria Amalia Alicea de Acevedo. Wheeler. She was born and raised in Puerto Rico, and moved to Salt Lake City with her husband, my grandpa, as a young woman. She was fiercely independent and loyal, and taught me what it means to be a strong, intelligent and compassionate woman.
I have not experienced the systemic or individual disadvantages that black women have. But as a white, Hispanic woman, I stand with them still, if they’ll have me. Together, with all women, we will vote our self interest.
No more sexism. No more bigotry. No more sexual innuendo, harassment or assault. No more policies that hurt working women. No more policies that hurt families.
I hope white women will finally learn, this means no more Trump.
Michelle Quist is an editorial writer for the Salt Lake Tribune who is ecstatic that Roy Moore lost in Alabama and hopes he will now ride his horse into the sunset and never come back.