Voters in the conservative US State of Alabama have shown that, even in this era of political polarization, politics is also about values such as decency and morality. That's a good thing, says DW's Alexandra von Nahmen.
It was a nail-biter that ended with an earthquake. Democratic Party candidate Doug Jones unexpectedly won Tuesday's senate election in Alabama.The controversial Republican candidate, Roy Moore, narrowly lost. The outcome is notable given that no Democrat has won in the deeply conservative state in over 20 years.
This was undoubtedly a victory for the Democratic Party and a bitterly disappointing defeat for President Donald Trump and his legislative agenda. On the brink of the election, Trump endorsed Moore, a representative of the religious right, and called on his supporters to vote for the conservative outsider despite the charges of sexual misconduct against him.
Defeat for Trump and his ex-strategist Bannon
The outcome is also a defeat for the President's former chief strategist, Steve Bannon; the man who wants to upend the political system with by attacking the media, the Democrats and the Republican Party establishment. Bannon's propaganda — under the motto: "Alabama against Washington" — thankfully didn't have the desired effect. Well done, Alabama!
But this is especially a victory for the people of Alabama. They resisted Bannon's attempts to seduce them with his demagoguery and they have proved that politics is not just about party interests, but decency and morality as well.
Plain common sense and decency
The majority of Alabama voted against a man whom multiple women have accused of sexual harassment — some while they were below the age of consent. They voted against a man who wanted to outlaw homosexuality and bar Muslims from being elected to Congress. And they voted against someone who clearly didn't have a problem with eliminating central articles from the American Constitution.
Of course, it was not easy for many Republicans to stay home during this election or even bring themselves to vote for a Democrat. The Republican Party will be wounded by the loss of one of its Senate seats. But with Doug Jones, the Democrats sent a strong candidate capable of winning in Alabama. Although a liberal on questions such as abortion and the gay rights, Jones is a strong advocate of gun rights and a devout Christian.
Trump's defeat was his own making
And while Roy Moore laid low in the run-up to the election, Jones traveled relentlessly across the whole of Alabama. Despite the close outcome, it was a hard won and well-deserved victory for the Democrats.
The Republican Party will now find it harder to enact their legislative agenda in the Senate. It may get worse. Alabama may have been an outlier given how unelectable Moore was. But his loss will still spur the Democrats. They have now smelled blood and hope to win a majority in both houses of Congress in the 2018 midterm elections.
The Republicans' loss lies squarely with Donald Trump. He believed his support for a candidate like Moore would ensure victory. But Alabama voters did not allow the President to get away with this amoral behavior. That too is a good thing.