On Tuesday night, the Alabama Senate race had the country’s attention. At 8 p.m., Republican candidate Roy Moore had an eight-point lead over Democrat Doug Jones, with 79 percent reporting and three hours of tallying yet to go.
The race was a suspenseful one, and the results will have a national impact on the 2018 midterm elections. After USA Today released a list of Moore’s most memorable and offensive quotes, the stakes of the election increased as it became apparent Moore has a controversial past of racist and homophobic comments as well as a slew of sexual assault allegations against him.
The quote which has stirred the most controversy in the past few days, a comment Moore made at a press conference in 2017 regarding the “greatest time” in our nation’s history.
"I think it was great at a time when families were united, even though we had slavery, they cared for one another," he said. "People were strong in the families. Our families were strong, our country had a direction, and we corrected many of the problems.”
Despite allegations of sexual assault which have been made against Moore, and several victims coming forward to share that they had been engaged in a relationship with Moore during their teenage years, Trump gave Moore a strong endorsement in November.
Regarding the sexual assault allegations against Moore, Trump told reporters as he prepared to board Air Force One for Mar-a-Lago for the Thanksgiving holiday, “Let me just tell you, Roy Moore denies it. That’s all I can say. He denies it. And, by the way, he totally denies it.”
The state of Alabama felt different, though, because the results of the election came in at approximately 9:30 pm on Tuesday as Doug Jones succeeded Moore by a slim 1.5 point lead over Moore.
“The Alabama election first and foremost showed that Trumpism can’t even sustain itself in the most Conservative part of the country,” said freshman and SGA Senator Noah Callahan. “When people show up and vote, especially African American voters, we can beat those who wish to take our society. Furthermore, it sent a message to all the sexual abusers, homophobes, racists and Islamophobes in America that their days are numbered.”
President Donald Trump tweeted a bittersweet congratulation to Jones after the election results came in.
“Congratulations to Doug Jones on a hard-fought victory. The write-in votes played a very big factor, but a win is a win. The people of Alabama are great, and the Republicans will have another shot at this seat in a very short period of time. It never ends!”
The president is not wrong: the write-ins did have a huge influence on Jones’ victory over Moore. He won the race by approximately 20,000 votes, and according to the New York Times, there were 22,187 write-in votes.
Jones’s election to the Alabama Senate is a historical one and good news for the Democrats as they prepare to vote on the new tax bill. Jones’ election marks the first time a Democrat has been elected to an Alabama Senate seat since 1997.