Earlier this month, Doug Jones won the Senate seat in Alabama by a narrow margin over Roy Moore (it is still mind-boggling to me that an alleged pedophile almost became a senator, but whatever). The result was touted by Democrats as a victory for the party, a loss for Trump, and a sign of hope for the elections in 2018 and 2020.
Was it really? Absolutely not.
Sure, the Democrats won the Senate seat, but it wasn’t a loss for Trump or a sign of hope for the future. According to a CBS News poll, 50 percent of people who voted for Roy Moore did so to show confidence in President Trump. Forty-eight percent of all voters approve of the president’s job so far. The real reason Jones won is that black people overwhelmingly voted for him (96 percent).
Historically, the Democratic party has held the support of black folk by default. The Democratic party is the one party that asks for our vote, even if all it has given us in return are empty promises. For those promises to finally be fulfilled, we need to continue to show up to the polls and force our voices to be heard.
Issues such as education reform, prison reform, and judicial reform need to be addressed. We can’t continue to graduate high school at a rate of 69 percent (compared to 86 percent of whites); compose 40 percent of the prison population while we only make up 13 percent of the general population, or be over-sentenced and thrown into a cycle of incarceration. For that to happen, the Democratic party needs to shift from its Republican-lite and Clinton-era politics to a true left.
The Senate race in Alabama can only be considered a victory if Democrats shift their focus to the issues that matter to their constituents, the way democracy was originally intended. If not, we will continue to have a president who welcomes private prison companies with open arms. Private prisons that have become a billion-dollar industry and are filled with black and brown bodies.