There will be many explanations for Democrat Doug Jones’s victory over Republican Roy Moore in Alabama’s special election Tuesday.
The obvious: voters rejected a candidate who had been accused of molesting an underage girl.
Moore supporters also believe the Republican establishment abandoned him. And the establishment is blaming Steve Bannon for backing Moore in the runoff.
But there is another factor: Doug Jones simply worked very hard.
According to his own campaign, Jones held well over 200 campaign events over two months — an average of more than three per day.
True, he outspent Moore by a staggering margin — six-to-one on television ads alone — and he had lots of outside help from left-wing groups.
Yet there will be questions about the way Moore decided to spend his time doing things other than campaigning — for example, leaving the state to catch the Army-Navy game.
In Moore’s defense, it might be said that the onslaught of accusations, and the relentless hostility of the media, made it more difficult for him to interact with voters.
But give credit to Jones to doing what he needed to do to put himself in a position to win.
He focused on minority voters, whom he needed to turn out at Barack Obama-esque levels. He downplayed his own opinions, which on many issues place him at odds with the Alabama electorate.
Above all, Jones focused on issues that matter to voters. He spoke, for example, about the renewal of the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), which the media have ignored but that a recent poll suggested is the top priority among all other issues facing Americans today.
Last month’s result in Maine, where voters approved an expansion of Medicaid under Obamacare, was a sign of the political potential of health care issues as Obamacare collapses.
Democrats will take heart from the result in Alabama. It is their second big victory in as many months, and they are confident of their own political momentum as they head into the 2018 midterm elections. The Senate still seems to be out of reach, but the House is within striking distance for Nancy Pelosi.
And on Capitol Hill, both the Democrats and the anti-Trump Republicans will feel emboldened to stand up to President Donald Trump on a variety of issues.
Among the Republicans, the recriminations have already begun.
Realistically, it is difficult to judge the strength of a populist insurgency based on a race as quirky as this one has been, with astonishing accusations dropped into the mix just weeks before Election Day. (That will not stop pundits from pillorying each other.)
But one basic truth should be remembered: there is no substitute for hard work. And Doug Jones worked hard enough to earn the win.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He was named one of the “most influential” people in news media in 2016. He is the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.