How Doug Jones could pull off a stunner in Alabama

But he does have a path. Here’s how it looks, according to interviews with nearly a dozen Democrats within and near Jones’ team since Moore was hit with accusations of pursuing — and in two cases abusing — teenage girls. First, create a permission structure for alienated Republicans who are skeptical of Moore — primarily those who voted against him in the GOP primary — to cross the aisle. At the same time invigorate the base, especially African-Americans, who make up over a quarter of registered voters, according to the Alabama Secretary of State’s office. And finally, keep the national Democratic Party and its despised brand as far out of the picture as possible, while still benefiting from its money.

Even before the parade of Moore accusers came forward — a sixth did so on Wednesday — local Democrats were quietly upbeat. Controversial in state politics for decades, Moore received just 51 percent of the vote in his last statewide race — during a 2012 election cycle in which Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney carried Alabama with 60 percent of the vote.