Tuesday's Senate election in Alabama was one for the record books. At this time of year, most Alabamians are focused on their favorite football team's postseason. But in an odd twist, Alabama voters went to the polls to decide between Republican Roy Moore and Democrat Doug Jones.
With all the fervor of winning football fans, supporters of Jones celebrated his shocking victory over Moore.
This election presented us with many instructive moments about the state of our politics. Here are some of the winners and losers from this process.
Doug Jones: He ran a smart campaign, playing up his biography and appealing to groups turned off by Moore. Still, Jones' path to the Senate was undoubtedly cleared by a series of Republican blunders. Let's face it, for a Democrat to win a statewide election in Alabama required an unbelievable amount of lucky breaks. Give Jones credit for capitalizing on them.
Journalism: The Washington Post deserves the bulk of the credit for working to reveal multiple stories of Alabama women who claimed Moore preyed upon them when they were teens and he was in his 30s. This work and other reporting by Alabama-based reporters made the case for journalism's invaluable worth to a democracy.
Sen. Richard Shelby: The Tuscaloosa Republican boldly proclaimed he could not vote for Moore given all his baggage. This surely changed the minds of many Alabama voters and in the process saved our state from embarrassment.
Senate Republicans: Sure, Republicans' majority in the Senate is down by one vote, but they dodged a bullet in the shape of 30-second TV ads tying Moore to their re-election campaigns.
Roy Moore: His campaign was virtually a textbook example of what not to do in the middle of a crisis. After The Post's story broke, the candidate largely avoided facing up to reporters about the allegations. Instead, he made sporadic appearances before rural, Moore-friendly audiences. As a result, he never put the issue fully behind him.
Gov. Kay Ivey: Our governor would have been on the other side of this ledger save for ill-considered remarks made in late November. After replacing the disgraced Robert Bentley, Ivey quickly changed the date for the special election to fill out Jeff Sessions' Senate term, moving it ahead by 11 months. Yet, she harmed her reputation last month when she told reporters she (a.) believed Moore's accusers but that she would (b.) vote for Moore regardless because "we need to have a Republican in the United States Senate to vote on things like the Supreme Court justices, other appointments the Senate has to confirm and make major decisions."
Alabama Republicans who aren't named Richard Shelby: Most of Alabama's political establishment was doing their own version of the Mannequin Challenge, standing very still and keeping their mouths shut lest they offend Moore and President Donald Trump by speaking out against the disgraced judge.