INITIALLY the mood at Doug Jones’s election-night party was genial but uneasy. Guests knew Mr Jones was closer to winning one of Alabama’s Senate seats than any Democrat in a quarter-century; they also knew that Mr Trump won the state by 28 points, and the last two Republican Senate candidates won 63.9% and 97.3% of the vote. So they smiled, and made all the right hopeful noises, but around the corners of their eyes you could see them bracing for disappointment.
Rural votes came back first; they solidly favoured Roy Moore, the Republican candidate (pictured above, to the right). But as the night wore on, Mr Moore’s lead shrunk. As votes from Alabama’s cities returned, it vanished. When networks finally called the race for Mr Jones, at around 9.30pm local time, the crowd’s scream was almost primal, as much disbelief as joy. Mr Jones captured the crowd’s mood in the first sentence of his...Continue reading