… And the Horse You Rode In On

Pundits are lining up on both sides of the political divide to opine on what a landmark, earth-shattering victory it was for Democrats in Alabama, or is it the beginning of the end for Republicans thanks to Roy Moore. They apparently think that one seat in the Senate closing the margin from four to three is earth shattering and that it foretells Democrats taking back both the Senate and the House. 

Hyperventilation over Doug Jones is misplaced. Regardless of whether you believe Judge Moore or not, he was a highly flawed candidate having lost his share of elections along the way. It took a Judge Moore to elect Doug Jones. Any other Republican candidate would have defeated Jones handily despite the massive amount of out of state spending that occurred in support of Jones. As of December 1st Jones raised $9.9 million to Moore’s $1.7 million. Jones appears to have won by 1.5%, not exactly a mandate, but a win for a Democrat in Alabama. Next time around Jones will, in all likelihood, not have the support of establishment Republicans. Next time around it will be about policy positions and in that future Doug Jones will be short lived as the Junior Senator from Alabama.

When polling showed 50% of Alabama voters thought the charges against Moore had validity, the game was thrown into the toss up category. Given his misstatements and his inability to come up with consistent answers to the charges against him, well, we’ve seen the result.
Do I think Roy Moore was more than a little bit creepy; you bet. Do I think Gloria Allred is a hack; absolutely. Do I also think that 40 year old complaints should be taken with a bit of a grain of salt and pursued with some level of objectively; yes! Do I believe that, in general, charges of sexual misconduct will be weaponized beyond the impact of the deed; likely so. Will guilt or innocence be the determining factor, not for a while, not until the impulse to jump on the “me too” bandwagon loses a bit of steam and we realize that asking a lady for her number does not reach the standard of misconduct appropriate for weaponization.

The reality is that an additional Democratic seat is not Leader McConnell’s problem. It’s the 5 to 10 Republicans who may or may not support any given piece of legislation that pose the real challenge. Those members of the world’s “greatest deliberative body” have proven just how insular and petty they can be. Hate for Trump can, apparently, overwhelms love of county. Add to that institutional hypocrisy and Republicans have defined the parameters of their downfall having nothing to do with Doug Jones.

So we say good riddance and goodbye to Judge Roy Moore and the horse he rode in on.