For American liberals, Democratic Senate candidate Doug Jones' victory in the Alabama's special election on Tuesday is cause for celebration. Not only does it increase Democrats' ability to push back against President Donald Trump's agenda, but it is also the rejection of a man who allegedly sexually assaulted multiple teenage girls (Roy Moore, the unsuccessful Republican candidate, has denied all of these accusations).
It seemed like a long shot for a Democrat to win in Alabama, a deep red state that voted for Trump over Hillary Clinton by a nearly 30 percent margin in 2016. Conservative media outlets campaigned to discredit Moore's accusers, further hurting Jones' chances and encouraging the majority of Alabama Republicans to discount the women's stories, according to a CBS News and YouGov poll. The odds were against Jones, a pro-choice Democrat, but he still managed to secure a victory, in large part thanks to black female voters.
There's good reason to celebrate the election results. But there's also a lot that needs to be done to build on the momentum of Jones' win as well as the successes of other Democratic candidates this year. Here are some things you can do to help further the progressive movement at this crucial moment.
1. Donate To Organizations That Are Preparing Democratic Candidates For Upcoming Elections.
If Democrats can win in Alabama, they can do it anywhere. Swing Left is fighting for a Democratic takeover of the House in 2018. Justice Democrats is a PAC that garners support for progressive candidates who aren't backed by corporate interests. Run For Something recruits and supports millennial progressives who are first-time candidates. If there's ever a time to support them, it's now.
2. Volunteer For 2018 Campaigns.
The 2018 midterm election is less than a year away. Are there candidates you're getting excited about? If not, do some research. Find the people you want to support now and figure out how you can volunteer to help their campaigns. Remember: Trump's campaign had a much larger presence in the key battleground states that cost Clinton the 2016 election. Your contribution matters.
3. Pressure Democrats To Expand Upon The Lessons Learned From Alabama.
Exit poll data about Alabama voters' race, gender, and age shows that the Democratic party would do well to keep investing in its black and youth constituency, which overwhelmingly voted in favor of Jones. Voter suppression, which affects both of these demographics, needs to be fought with a vengeance. Successful organizing tactics that were used in Jones' campaign should be brought back in 2018. Black voters aren't just a demographic to be courted for elections; they are one of the Democratic Party's key groups, and fighting for their issues should be at the top of Democrats' list of priorities.
Democrats who campaign on a national stage should continue to remind voters that the GOP refused to back down from supporting an alleged child molester, because that's apparently a winning message.
4. Volunteer For & Donate To Organizations That Support The Groups Moore Attacked In His Campaign.
Moore has said disparaging things about LGBTQ people and Muslims for years, and he made his attempts at discrediting his accusers quite clear during the campaign. Contributing to the groups that help marginalized people is one way to keep the momentum going.
Here are some organizations you can start with:
- The Trevor Project fights to prevent suicides among LGBTQ youth
- The Council on American-Islamic Relations defends Muslims' civil rights
- The Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN) runs a hotline in support of sexual assault survivors
- FORGE fights violence against transgender people
5. Tell Your Elected Officials To Hold President Trump Accountable For The Allegations Of Sexual Misconduct Against Him.
There was national outrage in the fall of 2016 after Trump was accused of sexually assaulting a number of women (accusations he vehemently denies). But that anger gradually subsided in the wake of his election, and faded even more as other scandals emerged during his presidency.
It's only recently that those allegations against him have reentered the mainstream media conversation, thanks in part to the #MeToo movement and his endorsement of an alleged child molester in Alabama. So far, 56 female Democrats have called on Congress to investigate him — and there likely will be more calls in the future.
We can't afford for his alleged actions to be normalized. Now — after Moore's defeat, and in the era of #MeToo — is the perfect time to hold him accountable.