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Viewpoint: Compromise is Key for Democrats in 2018

Doug Jones victory over Roy Moore earlier this month gives the Democratic Party hope for significant change in 2018.

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Democrat Doug Jones’ victory over Republican Roy Moore in an Alabama special Senate election on December 12 set off shock waves throughout the political world. As liberals and Democrats fight Trump and the GOP at every step, this win gives hope for a greater chance at change in 2018.

The success of Jones in the conservative state of Alabama is telling.

Doug Jones speaks to supporters after winning victory in an Alabama special Senate election. (Image: Real Clear Politics video screenshot)

If Democrats can steal a seat in the deep south, then it may mean that races once thought as locks for Republicans could be contested throughout the country. Through canvassing, activism and good old grassroots campaigning, the political left can begin to claim a majority in Congress.

But if this newly found optimism is to turn into further future success, compromise is essential to ensuring victory.

This is not a call to ignore the rights that Democrats have long fought for.

Earlier this year, some within the party called for blindness towards abortion policy so long as it would mean electing more Democrats to elected office. Many were rightfully enraged at this suggestion and it set off a fierce debate within the party about compromise and who the left should represent.

Abortion, along with many other key issues, is something that any successful Democrat should never compromise on. But it’s not solely this that continues to cause a rift within the left. It’s this same divide that left a bitter taste in the mouth of many in the 2016 elections.

Democrats must look forward with an open mind. No one candidate will be perfect. And to flip formerly conservative seats, the party will have to work to elect people that not everyone thinks are ideal.

It did not take long for Doug Jones to create controversy, for example.

Just days after defeating Moore — who was accused of preying on underage women during the campaign, but was still supported by the GOP — he ignited controversy by saying he doesn’t believe that President Trump should resign because of the sexual assault accusations levied against him.

While much of the Democratic base has been calling for the president’s impeachment or resignation for months, Jones’ refusal to do so left many wondering whether or not to trust him to always align to their interests. In separate comments, the incoming senator also said that he may not always vote across party lines.

While it is easy to disagree comments made by Jones, these matters must also be put into perspective. His defeat of Moore saved America from yet another moral collapse. The election of an alleged pedophile would only add to the utter embarrassment that has befallen the country for the past few years.

And regardless of the moral implications of Moore, he would have all but ensured that the Senate could pass legislation more easily. There’s no way to fully predict what Jones will do in office, but he will give the people of Alabama greater representation than the alternative.

The Democratic Party, as a whole, must refuse to count Doug Jones out before he even begins. While he will never be a true progressive, his presence will likely help combat GOP efforts.

Collectively, the diverse liberal party apparatus must unite for the common good of taking back Congress. These spirited discussions can certainly be helpful to emerge the new and old generations of like-minded liberals, but they must never get in the way of the ultimate goal.

The Doug Jones Democrats of the world must be welcomed by the party just as much as they welcome the Elizabeth Warrens. It is within this ability to compromise that the party will grow, learn and win.

Lauren Grimaldi is a senior political science student at Roosevelt University in Chicago. She is the Editor-in-Chief of the Roosevelt Torch, the school's student run newspaper. When she graduates in May, she hopes to find work in policy reform, political campaigns, or writing. Follow her on Twitter @laurengrimaldi_ to learn more about her obsession with politics and baseball.

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