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CNN: Democrats have a new Southern strategy

December 19, 2017

by Ron Brownstein

With Doug Jones’ upset victory in last week’s Alabama US Senate race, Democrats are solidifying a new model for rebuilding their tattered competitiveness in the South.

Jones benefited from the unique vulnerabilities of his opponent, Republican Roy Moore, who was a deeply polarizing figure even before he was besieged by allegations that he had pursued relationships with teenage girls, some of them underage, while in his 30s.

But the coalition that Jones mobilized closely resembled the voter alignments that have powered other recent Democratic victories in governors’ races in Virginia, North Carolina and Louisiana. Above all, Jones demonstrated that Democrats could simultaneously inspire passionate turnout from their base supporters, led by African-Americans, and make inroads with centrist white-collar white voters — each of which, for different reasons, is recoiling from Donald Trump’s tumultuous presidency. That combination allowed Jones to overcome Moore’s lopsided margins among blue-collar, evangelical, older and rural whites — the four building blocks of the Trump coalition.