How red is Alabama? According to Gallup, it’s the fifth-most conservative state in the nation.
Democrat Doug Jones could not have won Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ old Senate seat Tuesday without the direct and indirect help of Republican voters.
On the one hand, they helped by not voting in droves for deeply flawed GOP nominee Roy Moore. And on the other, they helped Democrats by nominating Moore in the first place.
Conservatives across the nation dreaded either outcome: a Jones win, in which case the Republicans’ paper-thin majority in the Senate would become really thin, crinkly paper paper thin – or a cringe-worthy Moore win, in which they’d have to apologize for their guy.
Many conservatives were secretly, or not-so-secretly, hoping Moore would win – denying Democrats the seat – but then be turned out by his fellow Republicans after an ethics inquiry over Moore’s alleged past preference for trolling teen and maybe even underage girls.
A lot of conservatives found something else to watch on TV election night.
We understand why Judge Roy Moore appeals to his base. He touts the Bible and guns while excoriating the Washington establishment. There was likely a good segment of Alabama voters, too, who may have voted for Moore in defiance of either the political establishment or the media trying to tell them what to do.
The truth is, there were too many credible complaints about Moore – including the townspeople of Gadsden, Ala., reporting that the young-adult Moore’s penchant for young girls at the local mall was legendary.
Moreover, Moore had twice been removed from the Alabama Supreme Court – once for defying a federal order to remove a Ten Commandments monument he’d erected at the Alabama Judicial Building, and again after ordering state officials to deny gay couples marriage licenses, in defiance of a U.S. Supreme Court decision.
In between those two removals from the state high court, voters had put him back on it.
But the salacious allegations against him this time around were just too much.
A state’s voters are absolutely free to vote as they please. But their regrettable nomination of Roy Moore to the U.S. Senate has now put the Trump agenda of lower taxes and more freedom – which a majority of Alabama voters support – in serious jeopardy.
It’s a good bet Mr. Jones will be but a placeholder for the last three years of Jeff Sessions’ term. It’s likely a Republican will be elected to take his place.
Likely. Not automatic, as we’ve seen.
Primary voters will have to do better than Roy Moore.