Republican U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore, center, looks at election returns with staff during an election-night watch party at the RSA activity center, Tuesday, Dec. 12, 2017, in Montgomery, Ala. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)
We can now report that Judge Roy Moore has lost in his campaign for Senate in Alabama. Democrat Doug Jones will be filling the seat left vacant by Republican Jeff Sessions, who went on to join the Trump administration.
Moore, of course, faced serious allegations of sexual misconduct in the final weeks of his campaign, and what’s more did a poor job of handling those accusations. From bad interviews to contradictory statements to generally making it clear that even if they were true it wouldn’t be a big deal, Moore and his campaign didn’t make the sale.
There are, it seems, limits to what voters will tolerate even in partisan interest.
Jones was the worst possible person that the Democrats could have put up against Moore in Alabama. That he won in Alabama of all places is very bad news for the GOP. The pro-abortion extremist could not be more out of step with voters in Alabama. His win was not only a rejection of Moore, but a repudiation of the power of Steve Bannon.
Bannon, and more recently President Trump, went all in Moore, as did many other Republicans including notably today Louie Gohmert. That embrace wasn’t enough to push him over, even though about 6 in 10 Republicans said that Trump’s endorsement made a difference for them.
Now that the GOP is free of Moore, and President Trump and Steve Bannon are not free of him, what remains is to see how it will affect power struggles within the party. Bannon is pitching himself as kingmaker, and is involved in races across the country.
In Alabama, though, Bannon failed to pull off a win. He will talk trash about how everyone was against him, but guess what? That’s every political race. Everyone is against you except for the people who are with you. That’s what this is all about. So having opponents is no excuse.
The fact is, he failed. And Alabama showed they weren’t ready to cope with the implications of voting for a man who is facing multiple allegations of sexual misconduct, including with minors, to represent them in Congress.
The other fact to face is that one seat in the Senate just went from red to blue. What happens with that will depend a lot on what happens with Al Franken.
We’ll see. In any case, Jones victory is nothing to celebrate. Neither candidate was going to be good news.