The inside story of Doug Jones’s win in Alabama

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“The day before the Washington Post story came out, we were behind by one point, 46 to 45,” says Joe Trippi. “And the day before the election, we were ahead in our own survey by two points. We ended up winning by 1.8.”

This, Trippi says, was the reality of the Alabama Senate election. It was a dead heat when it started. It was a dead heat on the day it ended. And a lot of what the media thinks they know about it is wrong.

Trippi, who managed Howard Dean’s 2004 presidential campaign, was the chief media strategist on the Jones campaign. And in this conversation, he tells the inside story of that effort, and what people don’t know about it. The sexual abuse allegations against Roy Moore, for instance, played a more complex role than many realize — the Jones campaign found that they often re-tribalized a race that they were desperately trying de-tribalize, and would occasionally boost Roy Moore’s numbers.

Trippi says the central insight of the Jones campaign was that many voters, including many Trump-friendly Republicans, are already exhausted by the chaos and hostility of Trump’s Washington, and they're open to alternatives. That was the opportunity Jones exploited, and it’s a lesson Trippi thinks other Democrats could learn in 2018. Here's how the Jones campaign did it.

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