After the Democrats and liberals and anti-Trump Resistance worked hard and scored a string of crucial election victories across the nation last Tuesday, there was some expectation that the upcoming U.S. Senate election in Alabama might get lost in the shuffle. Republican candidate Roy Moore held a healthy lead, and he was running in the kind of conservative state where even a weak Republican tends to win. Then Moore’s child molestation scandal exploded, and suddenly the election has become a referendum on society at large. It’s also become a no-win situation for the GOP which grows trickier by the day.
When it comes to Roy Moore’s alleged sexual molestation of underage girls (including a fourteen year old), there are larger and more important issues at play than the mere outcome of an election. That said, the political ramifications of this scandal are having far a reaching impact. Some Republicans in Congress have outright called for Moore to drop out of the race, while others have added the “if these allegations are true” caveat in a seeming attempt at splitting the difference.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell – a previous fence sitter – changed his tune today, stating that he believes the girls in question, and calling for Moore to immediately drop out (link). McConnell is so politically craven and calculating, it’s unlikely that he suddenly grew a conscience. It’s more likely that he’s either taken a look at the latest poll numbers and concluded that Moore probably won’t win, or he’s decided that he doesn’t want the hassle of Moore winning and coming to Washington with this creepy scandal in tow. The GOP Senate majority would have to immediately launch an investigation into Moore, which would create endless headlines about the scandal and a long lasting political nightmare for the party.
This is the latest sign that the GOP simply doesn’t know what to do. Roy Moore appears to have no intention of dropping out. The national Republican Party leadership can’t force him out of the race, and it’s too late to get a new name on the ballot. Mitch McConnell is now suggesting a Republican write-in campaign, which at this late date would probably only serve to siphon enough votes away from Moore to make sure he loses. McConnell knows this – so it means he’s now trying to find a way to make sure Roy Moore loses. That means it’s time for the Resistance and the left to make a full court press for Democratic candidate Doug Jones.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report