Now that the Alabama Senate race is mercifully over with a Democratic victory, I don’t expect to see conservatives destroying property, gnashing their teeth, screaming at the sky, weaving therapy baskets or floating conspiracy theories of Russian collusion. However, there are some interesting take-aways from this important race.
Before the allegations of sexual misconduct, Roy Moore was already a polarizing figure and a terrible candidate. He was the product of a right-wing overreach when the GOP establishment tried to force a RINO on the people of Alabama in Luther Strange.
Lost in this tug-of-war was Mo Brooks, who would have represented the values of Alabama voters well and would have easily defeated Doug Jones by double-digits. Just more GOP bumbling to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.
Alabama voters were genuinely torn between a flawed candidate accused of sexual misconduct or sending a pro-abortion, big-government, open-border leftist to Washington to represent them. In the end, Doug Jones was successful in avoiding policy issues and only had to convince enough voters that Moore should be treated as a convicted pedophile.
To black voters, he was no different than super-bigot George Wallace from the 1960s. Nearly 23,000 voters were disgusted by either choice and penned a write-in candidate. Mr. Jones won the election by 20,715 total votes.
Fox News was anxious to try out a new polling toy that it was sure would be the most accurate barometer for predicting victory. The network’s new polling system showed Jones would win in a landslide by 10 points. He won by 1.5 percent.
Hey, Fox, what time is it? Time for a new polling system.
Speaking of new toys, it appears the Democrats have discovered a new card to go with the race card, which they shamelessly play at every election. This one is called the “sexual misconduct” card.
Moore’s alleged victims will now fade back into their 40 years of silence because they’ve served their only purpose. Now that Democrats don’t have to defend Bill Clinton’s rape charges any more, they will surely exploit this as a new weapon against their opponents. We are seeing it happening now with Trump, as it appears the Mueller inquisition is coming up empty and falling apart.
It’s a perfect political game for Democrats who are void of any vision or new ideas. Anyone can make the charge – no evidence is necessary, it is impossible to disprove, and voters will run from anyone associated with it like leprosy.
Let’s see how many of the Republican Senatorial candidates in 2018 will face charges of sexual misconduct. All the vetting in the world cannot protect them. The charges don’t have to be true to be effective – and Democrats know it. So do their partners in the media.
Another take-away is that Democrats were much more fired up than Republicans in Alabama. The total turnout was over 40 percent, which far exceeded expectations. Jones got more than 90 percent of Clinton’s 2016 vote, while Moore’s support was half of what Trump received.
Will this be a springboard for Democrats nationwide in 2018, or will this loss awaken Republicans from their complacency to better prepare them for so many key Senate races next year?
The biggest take-away is that all of this would not have been necessary if Trump hadn’t chosen Sessions as his attorney general. The crazy Mueller inquisition would also have not been necessary. How I wish Trump would have chosen someone like Rudy Giuliani, who would not have recused himself from the overwhelming corruption all around him. We would finally be seeing justice in the Justice Department. Sen. Elmer Fudd could have stayed in Alabama, and no one would have given Roy Moore a second thought.
Finally, this race has the outward appearance of a big victory for Democrats and a big setback for Republicans, but I think inside the war rooms of each party there is a totally different mood. Democratic strategists must be very disappointed that they will not be able to tie the horrible accusations against Moore around the neck of every Republican. They will be forced to create fresh smear tactics.
Meanwhile, Republican strategists are relieved that crazy Uncle Roy will not be dragging the party down with endless investigations. For them, they lost the battle in Alabama – but it sets them up nicely to win the war in 2018. That is, unless Republicans find a way to blow it, which always remains a strong possibility for the GOP.
Gil Mertz is a former Agua Dulce resident.