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Why the old South turned his back on the Republicans

The defeat of an ultra candidate, charged with sexual abuse, in conservative Alabama has ignited Trump's alarms. The result was, however, narrow

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Why the old South turned his back on the Republicans

Judge Roy Moore started calling him rock back re for 2003. Two years earlier, when he took office as President of Supreme Court in Alabama, he had installed in vestibule of building a granite monument with Ten Commandments weighing two and a half tonnes. When federal justice conferred on him to withdraw it--for that which blurred barriers between church in state--he preferred to leave. Then he came back. He had been chosen again for post in 2013, but legalization of gay marriage throughout country was too much for Roy rock, so he ordered judges not to issue licenses to same-sex couples. The ethics committee ended up expelling him.

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Last Tuesday he went to vote in special election to Senate mounted on horseback and with a cowboy hat. He was prepared big for a new comeback as a senator for Alabama. When at night he saw that he had lost election in front of a Democrat, he rejected result and encouraged his people to leave outcome "to God." The next day, he chose to accompany divine action of something more tangible and began to raise funds to investigate counting of votes. In message to his followers it was clear: "Today we no longer recognize universal truth that God is author of our life and our freedom. Abortion, sodomy, and materialism have taken place of life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness. "

Moore feels a rider of faith and if anything has to be recognized from this week is ability to work something like a miracle: that Alabama, bastion of religious conservatism, has chosen a Democratic senator for first time in 25 years. The last, 1992, Richard Shelby, was so decaf that at two years passed to Republican ranks. The tectonic plates of old South were moved this Tuesday: Jeff Plain, of 57, voted first Democrat politician of his life; Republican Madison Harvey, 20, stayed at home; Patricia Mokolo, of 45, saw one of largest mobilizations of African-American voters remembering, and even a Republican senator campaigned for null vote. This senator, by way, was famous Shelby from 92.

Alabama is a state of four million inhabitants full of old acquaintances. Doug Jones, Democrat who has just become a senator, is a moderately known man on his land because he indicted two members of Ku Klux Klan who perpetrated in 1963 an attack on a Baptist church in Birmingham where four black girls died. "Jones was better, but most of all, he didn't want to vote for Roy Moore," explains Plain, project manager for a manufacturing company in Huntsville. "I am a Christian and I appreciate your faith, but I disagree with stance adopted in many things, is a guy who does not comply with Constitution. For example it is very radical with homosexuals, I have no problems with ir way of life. "

Roy Moore goes to vote on horseback in Gallant, Alabama, last Tuesday. CARLO ALLEGRI REUTERS

Moore, aged 70, claims something like a ocracy: he argues that United States was founded on Christianity and refore Bible prevails over legality. Starting from that base, he says that homosexuality itself should be penalized, like bestiality, believes that a Muslim should not be able to hold a public office in United States and that 9/11 attacks had something to do with Americans having moved away from God.

At beginning of November, image of also known as Ayatollah of Alabama suffered an unexpected blow: Several women made sure that y had sexually harassed m decades ago, when he was a thirties and y were underage. In Gadsen, his hometown, some neighbors began to tell press that, indeed, at that time y vetoed in a mall because it was dedicated to molesting teenagers. It was knockout for college Madison Harvey, who voted Republicans in four elections he has had a chance, including Trump's: "With se accusations he could not vote for him, although he was not already in agreement with what he thinks of or Matters, such as abortion. "

Moore lost race especially with women. 35% of white supported Democrat, a good result this piece of old South, and, in case of African-Americans, made it 98%. Patricia Mokolo, who works at NAACP, historic civil rights advocacy organization, says voting mobilization y have achieved in community was staggering. "I followed results like a football game, when Jones won, I woke up all kids, it was great. Moore had many problems, also racial, like what he said of slavery. "

It refers to a September rally, when an African-American asked him what he understood by "Big America" that Trump intended to recover and judge Moore responded that for him, big America was that of founding fars "in which families were united , even if re were slavery. "

Words like this burn blacks of Alabama, where racial trauma literally emerges in every corner of ir capital. Montgomery was one of main slave markets in America, with 164 registered brokers who bought and sold men, women and children who lived in store-tuned stores until it was time to auction m. There were so many deposits as hotels and banks. One of main was on Dexter Street (formerly called Calle Comercio), same in which Roy Moore held on Tuesday night election party departed in burial. And a few blocks away, anor sign recalled bus stop in which Rosa Parks began fighting segregation of blacks.

Accountant Daren Freeman, aged 45, Republican all his life, had his vote in favor of Jones decided before scandal. "Moore said things with a lot of racial burden, he represents a relic of Alabama's past, of an ugly past, when he said that of slavery."

Last Tuesday's result ignited Republicans ' alarms in face of 2018 legislatures and injected some optimism into some Democrats overwhelmed by Conservative majority in Chambers and supreme. Says Gordon E. Harvey, history professor at Jacksonville University, that "if a Democrat can win in Hyperconservative Alabama, he can do it anywhere," but warns that things do not change easily in sourn state, that "it will be very difficult Renew that victory. " "Moore was a defective item and next time Republicans will not put a candidate with so many weaknesses," says Harvey.

Only 20,000 votes of difference avoided arrival to Washington Senate of Roy Moore, which had been imposed in primaries to a more moderate Republican, Lur Strange. "Alabama carries a long and shameful history of lack of support for public education that results in a reactionary and uninformed stance on policies of race, gender or social welfare and, of course, re persists a white racism that falls very easily in Demagoguery of politicians like George Wallace, Donald Trump or Roy Moore, "says Allen Tullos, a historian at Emory University.

Tullos is author of Alabama Getaway, a very critical book about state's political imaginary and radical conservatism. In his view, "White fundamentalism is historically linked to value judgments that are formed in childhood." "Patriarchal values, punitive ology, racism, sexism or homophobia are learned early in school, in family and in church, and once y are learnt, y pass from generation to generation, it is very difficult to eradicate m," he says.

The judge has voted for him in spite of all this, like Barry, an 55-year-old military man who disagrees with his religious fundamentalism, but he trusted law to limit his excesses and preferred a Republican in Washington. But re are those who supported him precisely for those ideas, because, as Brenda said, a retiree, in his election party: "You're never too radical when you're on right side."


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