All About Politics: Doug Jones, Mayor Bowser and Ballou High

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National Day of Jubilation

Tuesday, Dec. 12, should have been declared a national day of jubilation. Doug Jones beat Roy Moore.

Donald Trump is now a three-time loser. He backed Ed Gillespie for governor of Virginia and Gillespie got clobbered by Ralph Northam. Then he backed Luther Strange against Moore and Strange went down to defeat.

Sweetest of all, he campaigned for, robo-called and exhorted his supporters to vote for Moore and Moore lost.

Alabama can’t get more Republican. The last time they elected a Democratic senator was 25 years ago (Howell Heflin). Three years ago, Jeff Sessions, the present attorney general, ran unopposed.

Jones was a quality candidate. His victory was made possible by women (59 percent voted for him), young people (60 percent) and a massive turnout by African Americans (96 percent).

Add to that, the unlikely duo of senior Sen. Richard Shelby and Alabama native and NBA legend Charles Barkley. (For more about this, read my article at thehill.com tomorrow.)

The Senate will now be 51 Republicans to 49 Democrats.

The new year will see Dems having a chance to once again be in the majority. They are targeting an open seat in Arizona, where Jeff Flake is not running; Nevada, where Dean Heller is considered the most vulnerable GOP incumbent; and a recent possible shot at Tennessee, where Bob Corker is not running. In Tennessee, Phil Bredesen served two terms as governor. He is a popular Democrat in that overwhelmingly Republican state.

Tennessee will be tough for any Democrat. Trump carried it by 26 points.

In the House, the magic number is 24. Twenty-three GOP-held House seats were won by Hillary Clinton. Obviously, the Dems are targeting those seats.

Is a blue wave in the works for 2018? Could both chambers go Democratic? Right now, it doesn’t look like a dream any more for Democratic partisans. I promise to keep you informed right up to November 2018.

Bowser Fundraising

First, let’s comment on Mayor Muriel Bowser’s fundraising clout. She raised an impressive $1.4 million in 80 days. She still has plenty in the bank for the June 2018 Democratic primary. She has only spent a mere $68,000.

Peter Jamison breaks it down in the Washington Post. Once again, Bowser’s haul reflects her stated aversion to campaign finance reform or limitations. She takes $2,000 contributions from corporations, PACs and LLCs. I personally believe that only individuals should be allowed to contribute. But Bowser obviously does not concur.

I am still waiting to see if former mayor and current Ward 7 Council member Vince Gray jumps in the race.

Ballou’s Challenges

Now for Ballou High School. The WAMU report on attendance and graduation was devastating. Litzi Valdivia-Cazzol, Ballou’s 2017 valedictorian, wrote an article with D.C. social worker Mark Hecker which appeared in the Post’s local opinions section on Dec. 10.

This is a thoughtful piece that should be read. It gives a needed perspective on the difficulties that Ballou students face and must overcome.

But, I must say, standards have to be set and met. Erroneous and fraudulent data doesn’t help anybody. The principal of Ballou has been reassigned. That was a good move. Hopefully, new leadership will be established and drastic and dramatic change will be seen.

Ballou is part of a community that has many challenges, the biggest being the low incomes of most of the parents. Poverty, joblessness and housing anxiety are not incidental to the educational situation. The answer must be a community effort.

The Ballou marching band is a city treasure. It is nationally recognized and celebrated. This band demonstrates excellence. Everybody should look forward to the day when the school will have an equal reputation for academic prominence.

Political analyst and Georgetowner columnist Mark Plotkin is a contributor to the BBC on American politics and a contributor to thehill.com. Reach him at markplotkindc@gmail.com.

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