There’s no question that the landscape rumbled in Alabama, but whether the tectonic plates tumbled anywhere else is something else. It was Republicans, after all, who dispatched Roy Moore to the island of lost luggage, and but for the 22,000 voters who wrote in a respectable name on their ballots — all of whom we can put down as sad, angry or distraught Republicans since partisans for Doug Jones would have had no reason to throw their votes away — Roy Moore would be the senator-elect today. No one with a basic familiarity with Alabama and its politics imagines that the state is returning to the Democratic Party to which it gave its allegiance for most of two centuries. That party is no longer with us.
Mr. Jones must enjoy his considerable Senate perks while he can. Like it or not, his only constituency for the next two years will be the Democratic caucus of the U.S. Senate, and for all his promises at home to “reach out to the Republicans” the only senators he can plausibly reach out to are Chuck Schumer and the Democratic leadership in the Senate. Otherwise, he will be the orphan in the Senate just as he will be the orphan in Alabama. Harsh, perhaps sad. But true.