Political News

How partisanship won the Alabama election

Posted December 12, 2017 7:34 p.m. EST

— Regardless of who actually gets the Senate seat, there's already one clear victor in the Alabama Senate race: partisanship.

According to exit polling in the race, 49% of voters said they believed the allegations about sexual harassment and misconduct by Moore were probably or definitely true. Another 45% said those same allegations were probably or definitely false.

Here's the truly depressing part: 9 out of 10 people who said they voted for Moore believed that the allegations were false while 9 in 10 people who voted for Doug Jones said they believed the allegations were true.

That's remarkable. Partisanship determined which reality voters in Alabama chose to believe.

People backing Moore saw him as the victim of a media conspiracy that the women making the allegations were somehow complicit in. (No evidence has come to light that the women knew each other or that they colluded in any way regarding their decisions to come forward.)

People who voted for Jones believed wholeheartedly in Moore's guilt on these charges, despite the fact that he has denied all of them and said he has never met any of these women.

Two alternate worlds. Same state. No agreement on facts or even on a neutral arbiter who could help separate fact from fiction.

The Point: This is the new reality in our politics, a reality ushered in by Trump's 2016 victory. Facts are fungible -- and subject to the partisan lens through which you see the world. No matter which lens that is, a world without agreed-upon facts should terrify you.