In the days following the Alabama Senate vote, there's some debate over whom to credit for Doug Jones' victory: Black voters? Women voters? Young voters? White voters?
What was so remarkable, of course, was fact that such results could take place in an overwhelmingly Republican-voting state. And Roy Moore nearly won, despite or because of his theocratic proclamations, and despite allegations of repeated, sexually inappropriate or worse conduct toward women and young girls. But the fact that he didn't win marked a massive swing away from the usual Republican margins of victory racked up by President Trump and others in past elections.
You could hear plenty of such opinions in the days after, all with some justification. "Black woman have been attempting to save America since the dawn of time," said one Democratic strategist. Let's face it: Jones got most of his votes from African-Americans. Or, if you reconfigure it, from women and from young people.
The vast majority of self-described evangelical Christians voted for Moore, allegations notwithstanding.
Yet Mark Silk at the contrarian and always-insightful Spiritual Politics blog noted that the black vote, and turnout, have been consistently high for Democratic candidates. The difference was the depression in the white vote for the Republican candidate. Enough of them followed Sen. Shelby's tack and decided this was one candidate they could not vote for, whether or not they held their nose. So off Moore went on the horse he rode in on.
So yes and yes. The staunch Democratic loyalty of certain demographic groups, those younger and of color, who collectively represent the growing demographic reality of America, were essential to Jones' victory. So, too, the women's vote in a MeToo era.
And so, too, the deflection of just barely enough white votes.
Exit poll results are here:
Doug Jones will probably have a short ride in office. But you never know. Among the other predictors of who voted for whom? The popularity of President Trump. Nine in 10 who approved of Trump voted for Moore, and nine of 10 who disapproved voted for Jones. After 2016, it's hard to imagine what Trump can do to lower his negatives to Moore levels, but strange things happen.