Ever since Doug Jones upset accused sex offender Roy Moore in early December, pundits and party leaders alike have grappled with the question of whether this was a deformation of Moore or the change of political tide. Last Thursday while filling in for Rachel Maddow, Joy Reid spoke with Democratic Alabama State Rep. Merika Coleman on MSNBC after the state court threw out Moore’s complaints that challenged the validity of the election results because the former Alabama chief justice filed it in the wrong court.
The conversation was two-fold. As much as it was to get Coleman’s reaction to the court’s decision, it also posed as an opportunity to discuss the ever-changing political landscape of the red state. Coleman called allegations made by Moore, that voter fraud was in play because more than half of the senator-elect votes came from Black voters, “a slap in the face” to the hard working men and women who paved away on the ground to get Jones’ platform out to the masses.
As for whether this election is a sign of things to come, Coleman believes that due to recent sexual assault charges rocking the beltway, voters will no longer merely focus on their own state races as to how it will affect their local politics, but how their representatives will impact the entire nation. Likewise, voters will pay more attention to other national elections to ensure upstanding citizens are being invited to D.C. She believes there is a progressive movement sweeping the country.
Coleman told MSNBC, “Roy Moore was a train wreck of a candidate and for someone to talk about how times were better during slavery, that issue is one of those issues that mobilized black voters. In addition, there are a lot of issues that African Americans and communities of color care about — kitchen sink issues, health care, education — when you talk to us about the issues that we care about, we get out and vote. It’s a slap in the face to Birmingham when people marched in the streets of Birmingham, so the rest of the country can have the right to vote, to say there was some kind of cheating going on here in Jefferson County.”
Jones was sworn in to the U.S. senate on Wednesday morning, becoming the first Democratic Alabama senator since Howell Heflin, who Jones worked for upon obtaining his law degree.