Shaun King: The Lessons Learned In From Alabama


Good morning everybody!

I wanted to take just a few minutes this morning to reflect on the groundbreaking victory we had on this past Tuesday in Alabama. Now, I say “we” knowing full well that most of us who are listening right now don’t live in Alabama and didn’t vote in their special election, but it sure does feel like all of us won as a result.

In my lifetime – we have not had a more flagrant bigot, a more outrageous racist, who hates Black folk, Muslims, and LGBT folk – we have not had a man as horrible as Roy Moore run for Senate, win his party’s nomination, and be endorsed by a major political party and the President of the United States. And even though Roy Moore was accused by a slew of women and witnesses of being a pedophile, even though his documented of racism and bigotry is widely known, the man still received over 650,000 votes and lost by just 2% to the Democrat Doug Jones.

This is what we are up against – a man who was twice ousted from the Alabama Supreme Court, with a name and reputation as tarnished as Roy Moore’s, almost won in 2017. It’s wild.

But let me break down what was beautiful, what we need to duplicate, and what I’m concerned about moving forward.

Black folk in Alabama showed up at levels we haven’t seen since Obama was first elected in 2008. Some numbers seem to say that black folk voted at an even higher rate in Alabama this past Tuesday. And the lesson is clear – when we organize and show up to vote, young and old, rural and urban, women and men, what we can do in a state is earth-shattering.

A Democrat has not won a single statewide election in Alabama in nearly 30 years. Donald Trump won Alabama by and astounding 28%. The win on Tuesday was historic.

No group showed up for Doug Moore like black folk. Period. 97% of black women and 92% of black men voted for him. No other demographic was even close.

But let take a few moments to talk about who else showed up for Doug Moore.

A majority of young white people, whites under 30, rejected the politics of their parents and voted for Doug Moore. This is important.

A majority of white folk with a college degree rejected Roy Moore and voted for Doug Jones.

And a very active coalition of older white women, not a majority, but a larger percentage of white women voted for a Democrat in Alabama than we’ve seen in generations.

It took all of that.

Those were some of the beautiful takeaways. Let me zero in for a minute on a few things we need to duplicate.

We need that turnout to not be a once in a lifetime thing. We need that turnout to be the new normal. We need to understand that we are not on our own and form some smart new deliberate coalitions and voting blocs with other groups who share our interests. These coalitions can’t be accidental. That’s not good enough. We need deliberate partnerships with other groups to ensure that what happened in Alabama isn’t a once in a lifetime thing. In this race, voters were very educated on the clear differences between the candidates. That’s key. Voter registration is not enough – voter education is what drives turnout and we saw that here.

Now let me close by talking about a few serious concerns I have.

First and foremost, and I can’t believe I’m saying this – Charles Barkley was kicking some real knowledge on Tuesday night about how much the Democratic Party relies on Black voters to win, but then does next to nothing to show for it afterwards. Listen – that has to stop. I’m glad we stopped Roy Moore, but Doug Jones and the Democrats have to understand that getting in office is not good enough. They have to represent us and if they don’t – we won’t turn out – period.

Black voters are not a commodity, a tool that you use to win an election. Period. We are the primary voting bloc of the Democratic Party, but their policies and positions don’t reflect this. Moving forward, they must.

Right now in the Democratic Party, black folk hardly have a single key leadership position. This is not going to work.

I’ll close with this thought – and it’s a familiar one you’ve heard from me on here in the past – we have to have a plan, an agenda, a clear set of policies and priorities that we all know and get behind that we can point to and grade Democrats on how well they are supporting these priorities. If we get them into office, we have to set the agenda, and until we do, they will use our votes, kiss our babies, and quote our heroes, without representing our priorities.

Let’s step it up! Take care y’all.

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Shaun King: The Lessons Learned In From Alabama  was originally published on