Roy Moore Is Not Going Anywhere… Neither Will His Voters

As prominent Republicans call for Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore to step down amid allegations that he had inappropriate sexual contact with a 14-year-old girl in 1979 when Moore was 32, the flamboyant Republican is refusing to drop out of the race. In a series of tweets Thursday night, Moore vowed to “NEVER GIVE UP the fight!”

“The Obama-Clinton Machine’s liberal media lapdogs just launched the most vicious and nasty round of attacks against me I’ve EVER faced!” Moore said in the first of four tweets. “We are are in the midst of a spiritual battle with those who want to silence our message.”

“The forces of evil will lie, cheat, steal –– even inflict physical harm –– if they believe it will silence and shut up Christian conservatives like you and me,” Moore said in the second tweet in the series.

“I believe you and I have a duty to stand up and fight back against the forces of evil waging an all-out war on our conservative values!” the third tweet said. “Our nation is at a crossroads right now — both spiritually and politically.”

“Our children and grandchildren’s futures are on the line. So rest assured — I will NEVER GIVE UP the fight!” Moore concluded.

The final tweet also contained a statement in which Moore said that the accusations were a “fabrication” and a “completely false and desperate political attack.”

The accusations against Moore are serious and credible enough to end the Senate hopes of a candidate in any era but this one. Republican leaders, including President Trump, have urged Moore to withdraw from the race, but it is Donald Trump’s example that will inspire Moore and his supporters to fight on. After all, it was only last year that Republicans decided that a history of sexual assault was not disqualifying for their presidential nominee.

The Moore campaign can make a credible case that the accusations against Moore are less damning than those against Donald Trump. In Trump’s case, the candidate was caught on tape in 2005 when he was 59. There was no denying the candidate’s own words. In Moore’s case, it is his word against that of his accusers about events almost 40 years ago. Moore says that the accusations are not true and many of his supporters will take him at his word.

There is also a difference in the amount of evidence. At least 16 women came forward against Donald Trump and his supporters considered them all liars in spite of Trump’s admissions on the “Access Hollywood” tape and boasts of sexual conquests in his books. In Moore’s case, the candidate has been happily married for 33 years and does not have a reputation as a ladies man. Even if Moore’s supporters accept the accusations as true, Moore’s track record for the past three decades gives them room to write off the incidents as youthful indiscretions that are not representative of his current character.

Finally, the argument could by made that voters looked the other way with Donald Trump because the possibility that Hillary Clinton would become president was simply to horrible to accept. A similar argument can be made that preserving the Republican majority in the Senate so vital that it is necessary to overlook Moore’s actions of four decades ago.

Republicans have been unable to advance their agenda already and a loss of the Alabama seat would cut the GOP majority to a single vote. This would effectively end any chance of enacting conservative reforms. It would also make it easier for Democrats to win control of the Senate outright next year.

For all these reasons, Roy Moore will not leave the race and the vast majority of Republicans will stand by him. After elevating an admitted philanderer and “p-ssy grabber” to the head of the party of family values and the country as a whole, it will be easy to stand by someone like Moore. After compromising your principles once, it is very easy to do it again.

For a Republican Party that now seems to put politics over character and values, the descent has been swift. A year ago the party found a way to excuse Donald Trump’s behavior as “locker room talk” and private matters between consenting adults. Now many Republicans are well on the way to rationalizing child molestation.

 

 

 

Son of a Mitch! McConnell Voted Least Popular Senator in Poll

The votes are in, the ballots counted, and now it’s official.  The GOP’s very own Mitch McConnell—up until now, known primarily for his razor sharp political instincts and his rakish wit—is America’s least popular senator:

According to Morning Consult’s latest Senator Approval Rankings – compiled from a poll of 255,120 registered voters in 50 states from July 1 to Sept. 30 – Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is yet again America’s least popular senator.

In Kentucky, one-third of voters approve of McConnell’s job performance, while 55 percent of voters said they disapprove — more than any other senator.

McConnell’s net approval, the difference in his approval and disapproval percentages, dropped 15 percentage points, the third-largest drop in the Senate, from the second quarter, according to the survey. The slide came as he failed to advance Obamacare repeal — a key pillar of the GOP’s political agenda since the law’s enactment in 2010.

This ranking, by the way, puts McConnell well behind Democrat Bob Menendez, who registered only 41% disapproval from his constituents—and he’s on trial for corruption.  Granted, Menendez is from New Jersey so they grade on a curve over there, but come on!  A guy who’s about to spend the next three to five years playing Shawshank with a hairy cellmate named Dutch is outpolling the distinguished gentleman from Kentucky?  For the second time?  Right about now, Harry Reid must be kicking himself for retiring.

Still, it’s not all bad news.  Congress is held in somewhat low esteem by most of the American people—at around 13% approval, their popularity hovers somewhere between OJ Simpson and Harvey Weinstein—so it’s not like McConnell is alone in his public disdain.  On the other hand, to be the most reviled in that particular rogues gallery is quite the achievement.  It’s kind of like being voted the Uday Hussein of the Senate:  “You thought the other guys are bad, but look at me!”  If not for all the Chamber of Commerce and insurance company lobbyists on Capitol Hill, McConnell might start to feel unloved.

Might I suggest some couples therapy, before Republican voters get tired of waiting for McConnell to break it off with the establishment and keep his campaign vows?  Actually advancing a conservative agenda would be a good show of faith.  Right now, tax reform is out there like a big bouquet of flowers and a yuge box of chocolates, just waiting to charm the pants off your base.  They won’t play hard to get if you’re ready to show them some real commitment.

Otherwise, they’ll just keep asking, “What have you done for me lately?”  And they’re not going to like the answer.

Trump Admin Not Enforcing Russia Sanctions Passed by Congress

The Trump administration is not implementing the sanctions passed almost unanimously by Congress in July, and the leaders of the Senate Armed Services committee are not happy about it.

The bill, passed in the wake of proven Russian meddling in our election last year, was signed under strong opposition from the President. Sens John McCain and Ben Cardin sent a letter to the President 12 days after the deadline, urging him to follow through on identifying which entities were going to be sanctioned. That was 13 days ago. The president is now four weeks overdue on this providing this list, and is not responding to requests for an explanation of the delay.

The sanctions go much further than the ones ordered last December in response to initial awareness of Russia’s meddling, primarily because of the detail of that meddling that became public during GOP-led investigations into the election.

The bill outlined for sanction entities that:

  • undermine US cybersecurity on behalf of the Russia government
  • invest certain amounts in Russia’s energy export pipelines
  • conduct “significant” transactions with Russian defense and intelligence agencies (though this will come into effect six months from now)
  • commit, or assist in, serious human rights abuses
  • commit acts of “significant” corruption
  • provide support to the Syrian government to acquire arms
  • invest, or facilitate the investment of, $10 million or more in the Russian government’s privatization of any state-owned asset in a one-year period that could unfairly benefit government officials or their associates.

The sanctions went further to detail a dozen types of sanctions which should be imposed upon such entities, once identified, including the revoking US visas, restricting exports and freezing money or property.

 

 

 

Kid Rock Tells Howard Stern If He’s Running for Senate

For several months, Kid Rock has teased the possibility that he would jump into the race for the Senate seat in his (and my) home state of Michigan. A successful bid for for the Republican nomination would set him against three-term, incumbent Democrat Debbie Stabenow. The potential that the GOP would double down on the decision to nominate unpolished, tell-it-like-it-is candidates with celebrity creds in place of actual governing experience has been more likely than that he would actually run, despite performances to the contrary at his shows and hints dropped via Twitter all summer long.

But again, how many times did Donald Trump flirt with running for president before his decision to actually do it in 2016? He floated the idea in four straight decades without a serious run, enough that many observers didn’t take him seriously until he actually became a candidate. On top of that, as The Daily Beast reported, Rock himself claims that Trump-backer Steve Bannon encouraged him to run. If Bannon seriously just wants to watch the world burn, the opinionated “Bawitdaba” singer with absolutely zero political knowledge or experience is an ideal pick. So it isn’t insane for those analysts who were outflanked — by Trump’s successful run — in attempting to predicting what was possible to assume that Rock might just be serious.

Polls have showed Rock trailing Stabenow significantly in polls despite his platinum-sales-level name recognition — aside from two polls, one solid one from the Trafalgar Group and one from “Delphi Analytica” of questionable legitimacy. Of course, polls often missed the mark on Trump’s primary and election day performance as well, so they wouldn’t seal the deal. I’m not sure if it would be worse to nominate him if he did have a chance in the general than if he didn’t.

Those of us not looking to burn it all down can breathe a collective sigh of relief: Kid Rock is not running for Senate.

On Howard Stern’s show this morning, Rock told the shock jock host that the tease was just that, in a statement of vocabulistic acuity typical of both Stern’s guests and Rock himself:

F— no, I’m not running for Senate. Are you kidding me? Who couldn’t figure that out? I’m releasing a new album. I’m going on tour too. Are you f—ing sh–ing me?

He also managed to call The New York Timesa little bit gay,” which no doubt delights anyone otherwise disappointed that they won’t be able to roll with Rock (electorally) next year.

Rather than punch the ticket for Senator Kid Rock in November of 2018, you can pick up his new album in November of 2017. That is as close as I will ever get to promoting his music — despite the fact that some of his headbangers are a guilty pleasure of mine. Promoting the new album and the accompanying tour was perhaps his aim. Rock explained that “even people in his circle who were ‘in on the joke’ started to take it seriously,” according to the Detroit Free Press. “‘No, we’re not doing it,’ he said he’d tell them, ‘but let’s roll with it for a while.’

The game must come to an end eventually it seems. Sadly, not all frightening campaign prospects follow that same law. Michigan Republicans interested in holding on to some small semblance of sanity in the party can loosen their grip on their chairs as they read this. Kid Rock is not running for Senate.

Sen. Flake Won’t Seek Reelection, in Speech: “I Am Holier Than None”

“I rise today to say: enough.”

This afternoon, Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) announced he will bow out of the reelection for his senate seat. While in a fierce battle of words with the president the last few months, he clearly had a long game here, publishing a book in August titled “Conscience of a Conservative,” which opened party wounds immediately upon it’s release.

In taking to the Senate floor, Sen. Flake held nothing back in criticizing the current state of politics and directly chastising the president, by title in his speech. At times emotional, often firm, he appealed to our values in a way that disparaged no one, but focused on particular behaviors.

Take the time to read the entire thing, and consider his words carefully, regardless of whether you stand with or against President Trump.


FULL TEXT:

Mr. President, I rise today to address a matter that has been much on my mind, at a moment when it seems that our democracy is more defined by our discord and our dysfunction than it is by our values and our principles. Let me begin by noting a somewhat obvious point that these offices that we hold are not ours to hold indefinitely. We are not here simply to mark time. Sustained incumbency is certainly not the point of seeking office. And there are times when we must risk our careers in favor of our principles.

Now is such a time.

It must also be said that I rise today with no small measure of regret. Regret, because of the state of our disunion, regret because of the disrepair and destructiveness of our politics, regret because of the indecency of our discourse, regret because of the coarseness of our leadership, regret for the compromise of our moral authority, and by our — all of our — complicity in this alarming and dangerous state of affairs. It is time for our complicity and our accommodation of the unacceptable to end.

In this century, a new phrase has entered the language to describe the accommodation of a new and undesirable order — that phrase being “the new normal.” But we must never adjust to the present coarseness of our national dialogue — with the tone set at the top.

We must never regard as “normal” the regular and casual undermining of our democratic norms and ideals. We must never meekly accept the daily sundering of our country – the personal attacks, the threats against principles, freedoms, and institutions, the flagrant disregard for truth or decency, the reckless provocations, most often for the pettiest and most personal reasons, reasons having nothing whatsoever to do with the fortunes of the people that we have all been elected to serve.

None of these appalling features of our current politics should ever be regarded as normal. We must never allow ourselves to lapse into thinking that this is just the way things are now. If we simply become inured to this condition, thinking that this is just politics as usual, then heaven help us. Without fear of the consequences, and without consideration of the rules of what is politically safe or palatable, we must stop pretending that the degradation of our politics and the conduct of some in our executive branch are normal. They are not normal.

Reckless, outrageous, and undignified behavior has become excused and countenanced as “telling it like it is,” when it is actually just reckless, outrageous, and undignified.

And when such behavior emanates from the top of our government, it is something else: It is dangerous to a democracy. Such behavior does not project strength — because our strength comes from our values. It instead projects a corruption of the spirit, and weakness.

It is often said that children are watching. Well, they are. And what are we going to do about that? When the next generation asks us, Why didn’t you do something? Why didn’t you speak up? — what are we going to say?

Mr. President, I rise today to say: Enough. We must dedicate ourselves to making sure that the anomalous never becomes normal. With respect and humility, I must say that we have fooled ourselves for long enough that a pivot to governing is right around the corner, a return to civility and stability right behind it. We know better than that. By now, we all know better than that.

Here, today, I stand to say that we would better serve the country and better fulfill our obligations under the constitution by adhering to our Article 1 “old normal” — Mr. Madison’s doctrine of the separation of powers. This genius innovation which affirms Madison’s status as a true visionary and for which Madison argued in Federalist 51 — held that the equal branches of our government would balance and counteract each other when necessary. “Ambition counteracts ambition,” he wrote.

But what happens if ambition fails to counteract ambition? What happens if stability fails to assert itself in the face of chaos and instability? If decency fails to call out indecency? Were the shoe on the other foot, would we Republicans meekly accept such behavior on display from dominant Democrats? Of course not, and we would be wrong if we did.

When we remain silent and fail to act when we know that that silence and inaction is the wrong thing to do — because of political considerations, because we might make enemies, because we might alienate the base, because we might provoke a primary challenge, because ad infinitum, ad nauseum — when we succumb to those considerations in spite of what should be greater considerations and imperatives in defense of the institutions of our liberty, then we dishonor our principles and forsake our obligations. Those things are far more important than politics.

Now, I am aware that more politically savvy people than I caution against such talk. I am aware that a segment of my party believes that anything short of complete and unquestioning loyalty to a president who belongs to my party is unacceptable and suspect.

If I have been critical, it not because I relish criticizing the behavior of the president of the United States. If I have been critical, it is because I believe that it is my obligation to do so, as a matter of duty and conscience. The notion that one should stay silent as the norms and values that keep America strong are undermined and as the alliances and agreements that ensure the stability of the entire world are routinely threatened by the level of thought that goes into 140 characters – the notion that one should say and do nothing in the face of such mercurial behavior is ahistoric and, I believe, profoundly misguided.

A Republican president named Roosevelt had this to say about the president and a citizen’s relationship to the office:
“The President is merely the most important among a large number of public servants. He should be supported or opposed exactly to the degree which is warranted by his good conduct or bad conduct, his efficiency or inefficiency in rendering loyal, able, and disinterested service to the nation as a whole. Therefore, it is absolutely necessary that there should be full liberty to tell the truth about his acts, and this means that it is exactly as necessary to blame him when he does wrong as to praise him when he does right. Any other attitude in an American citizen is both base and servile.” President Roosevelt continued. “To announce that there must be no criticism of the President, or that we are to stand by the President, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public.”

 

Acting on conscience and principle is the manner in which we express our moral selves, and as such, loyalty to conscience and principle should supersede loyalty to any man or party. We can all be forgiven for failing in that measure from time to time. I certainly put myself at the top of the list of those who fall short in that regard. I am holier-than-none. But too often, we rush not to salvage principle but to forgive and excuse our failures so that we might accommodate them and go right on failing—until the accommodation itself becomes our principle.
In that way and over time, we can justify almost any behavior and sacrifice almost any principle. I’m afraid that is where we now find ourselves.
When a leader correctly identifies real hurt and insecurity in our country and instead of addressing it goes looking for somebody to blame, there is perhaps nothing more devastating to a pluralistic society. Leadership knows that most often a good place to start in assigning blame is to first look somewhat closer to home. Leadership knows where the buck stops. Humility helps. Character counts. Leadership does not knowingly encourage or feed ugly and debased appetites in us.
Leadership lives by the American creed: E Pluribus Unum. From many, one. American leadership looks to the world, and just as Lincoln did, sees the family of man. Humanity is not a zero-sum game. When we have been at our most prosperous, we have also been at our most principled. And when we do well, the rest of the world also does well.
These articles of civic faith have been central to the American identity for as long as we have all been alive. They are our birthright and our obligation. We must guard them jealously, and pass them on for as long as the calendar has days. To betray them, or to be unserious in their defense is a betrayal of the fundamental obligations of American leadership. And to behave as if they don’t matter is simply not who we are.
Now, the efficacy of American leadership around the globe has come into question. When the United States emerged from World War II we contributed about half of the world’s economic activity. It would have been easy to secure our dominance, keeping the countries that had been defeated or greatly weakened during the war in their place. We didn’t do that. It would have been easy to focus inward. We resisted those impulses. Instead, we financed reconstruction of shattered countries and created international organizations and institutions that have helped provide security and foster prosperity around the world for more than 70 years.Now, it seems that we, the architects of this visionary rules-based world order that has brought so much freedom and prosperity, are the ones most eager to abandon it.
The implications of this abandonment are profound. And the beneficiaries of this rather radical departure in the American approach to the world are the ideological enemies of our values. Despotism loves a vacuum. And our allies are now looking elsewhere for leadership. Why are they doing this? None of this is normal. And what do we as United States Senators have to say about it?
The principles that underlie our politics, the values of our founding, are too vital to our identity and to our survival to allow them to be compromised by the requirements of politics. Because politics can make us silent when we should speak, and silence can equal complicity.
I have children and grandchildren to answer to, and so, Mr. President, I will not be complicit.
I have decided that I will be better able to represent the people of Arizona and to better serve my country and my conscience by freeing myself from the political considerations that consume far too much bandwidth and would cause me to compromise far too many principles.
To that end, I am announcing today that my service in the Senate will conclude at the end of my term in early January 2019.
It is clear at this moment that a traditional conservative who believes in limited government and free markets, who is devoted to free trade, and who is pro-immigration, has a narrower and narrower path to nomination in the Republican party — the party that for so long has defined itself by belief in those things. It is also clear to me for the moment we have given in or given up on those core principles in favor of the more viscerally satisfying anger and resentment. To be clear, the anger and resentment that the people feel at the royal mess we have created are justified. But anger and resentment are not a governing philosophy.
There is an undeniable potency to a populist appeal — but mischaracterizing or misunderstanding our problems and giving in to the impulse to scapegoat and belittle threatens to turn us into a fearful, backward-looking people. In the case of the Republican party, those things also threaten to turn us into a fearful, backward-looking minority party.
We were not made great as a country by indulging or even exalting our worst impulses, turning against ourselves, glorying in the things which divide us, and calling fake things true and true things fake. And we did not become the beacon of freedom in the darkest corners of the world by flouting our institutions and failing to understand just how hard-won and vulnerable they are.
This spell will eventually break. That is my belief. We will return to ourselves once more, and I say the sooner the better. Because to have a heathy government we must have healthy and functioning parties. We must respect each other again in an atmosphere of shared facts and shared values, comity and good faith. We must argue our positions fervently, and never be afraid to compromise. We must assume the best of our fellow man, and always look for the good. Until that days comes, we must be unafraid to stand up and speak out as if our country depends on it. Because it does.
I plan to spend the remaining fourteen months of my senate term doing just that.
Mr. President, the graveyard is full of indispensable men and women — none of us here is indispensable. Nor were even the great figures from history who toiled at these very desks in this very chamber to shape this country that we have inherited. What is indispensable are the values that they consecrated in Philadelphia and in this place, values which have endured and will endure for so long as men and women wish to remain free. What is indispensable is what we do here in defense of those values. A political career doesn’t mean much if we are complicit in undermining those values.
I thank my colleagues for indulging me here today, and will close by borrowing the words of President Lincoln, who knew more about healing enmity and preserving our founding values than any other American who has ever lived. His words from his first inaugural were a prayer in his time, and are no less so in ours:
“We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained, it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory will swell when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.”
Thank you, Mr. President. I yield the floor.
UPDATE: in an interview following his remarks, Sen Flake was asked about those who say he was broken by President Trump, he responded, “oh, I’m still standing. I will tell you when I would be broken. It is if I were to say that the path to reelection is to embrace the president’s policies that I disagree with, and condone his behavior, which nobody should condone. That would be a broken man who does that. I feel good about where I am.”

BREAKING: Senate Acts on Filibuster-Proof Budget Blueprint for $1.5 Trillion Tax Cut, 51-49

Finally, we have something Republicans legislators can hang their hats on. This budget “blueprint” makes possible the estimated $1.5 trillion tax cut and allows that to operate under budget reconciliation rules–meaning no filibusters.

It really protects the filibuster more than it protects the tax reform proposal, which has yet to be worked out. From the New York Times:

“This is the last, best chance we will have to cut taxes,” said Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina and a member of the Budget Committee, who warned that the consequences would be ruinous if the party failed.

Graham continued:

“That will be the end of us as a party,” he said, “because if you’re a Republican and you don’t want to simplify the tax code and cut taxes, what good are you to anybody?”

Well, yeah. That about nails it.

Now on to negotiations with the House, which passed its budget resolution on Oct. 5.

BREAKING: Poll Shows Roy Moore Tied in Alabama Senate Race

A surprising new poll shows that Republican Roy Moore is tied with Democrat Doug Jones in the Alabama Senate race. Moore handily defeated incumbent Senator Luther Strange in the Republican primary last month.

In the new poll by Fox News, both Moore and Jones had the support of 42 percent of registered voters. The poll showed that only 53 percent of respondents were extremely or very interested in the race. Of those voters, Jones had a slight led of 46-45 percent.

Previous polling had shown Moore with a lead over Jones. Two polls taken at the end of September showed Moore with a lead of eight and five points respectively. Those polls sampled likely voters, which are historically more accurate than polls of registered voters.

The new poll shows deep divisions in the Republican Party. Forty-two percent of Moore’s supporters have reservations about the GOP candidate, who has a history of controversial behavior and comments. Only 28 percent of Jones voters have reservations.

Moore’s history, including two unfinished terms on the state Supreme Court, explains why a third a Jones voters support the Democrat candidate because they believe that Moore is too extreme. Twenty-one percent say that they are voting against Moore as opposed to voting for Jones.

While campaigning for Luther Strange, President Trump worried that Moore might have problems in the general election. Two months before Election Day, that seems to be a real danger. Thirty-nine percent say that Moore is “out of step” with Alabama compared to 29 percent who say that Jones is too liberal.

In deep red Alabama, the electorate still favors the Republican, but the new poll should be alarming to GOP strategists. Expect both parties to pour money into the state to compete for the 11 percent of voters who are still undecided.

 

 

 

 

 

Roy Moore Will Be Another GOP Maverick – If He Can Win

Judge Roy Moore cruised to victory in the Alabama Republican primary runoff yesterday. Moore’s victory came despite heavy support by President Trump and Republican leaders in Washington for incumbent Luther Strange. In fact, some of the Washington endorsements for Strange probably did more to help Roy Moore than their intended recipient.

President Trump’s endorsement of Luther Strange had a limited effect. Polling in late August showed Roy Moore with 51 percent and 32 percent for Strange with 17 percent undecided. Moore won the actual vote 55-45 percent, which seems to indicate that a majority of undecided voters broke for Strange.

Politics makes strange bedfellows. Few have been as strange as the alliance between Donald Trump and Luther Strange, who was singled out as a “swamp creature” by many conservatives. Strange was hobbled from the start by opponents who tied him to two recent corruption scandals in Alabama. Strange was among the many Alabama politicians, including Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who took money from a company that was later charged with bribing a state legislator in connection with an EPA cleanup. He was also tainted by his appointment to the Senate by Gov. Robert Bentley at the same time that Strange, who was then Alabama’s attorney general, was investigating the governor for corruption in a scandal that eventually led to his impeachment.

In spite of appeals by the president and prominent Republicans, most conservative groups rallied behind Moore, who ran primarily against Mitch McConnell, who had also endorsed Strange. The August poll by JMC Analytics found that 45 percent said that McConnell’s endorsement made them less likely to vote for Strange. Forty-six percent said it made no difference.

The antipathy to the Republican leadership comes at an inopportune time. The Republicans have just suffered an embarrassing defeat on Obamacare thanks to a small number of Republican senators who deserted the party to vote against the Republican reform bill. Roy Moore has strong conservative and Christian credentials, but he will not be a senator who can be counted on to stand with the party on votes for bills like Graham-Cassidy.

Moore has a reputation as a maverick and a rebel. Moore was twice elected to the Alabama Supreme Court and was twice removed. In 2003, a panel ruled that Moore had violated the state ethics code and removed him from the bench after he ignored a federal court order instructing him to remove a Ten Commandments monument. In 2015, Moore was suspended again for ordering state judges to ignore the Supreme Court ruling that made same-sex marriage the law of the land. While Moore has remained true to his principles, his actions have not been effective at advancing his agenda.

President Trump, at this weekend rally for Luther Strange, made two key arguments for Strange. The first was that Strange was a loyal legislator who had been a reliable vote for the Trump agenda. Moore overcame this objection by running as a supporter of the Trump agenda, even if he might be less of a sure vote than Luther Strange. “Don’t let anybody in the press think that because he [Trump] supported my opponent that I do not support him,” Moore said in the New York Times after his victory.

Trump’s second point was that Moore might not be electable in the general election. He may have a point there. The eccentric former judge has a history of controversial remarks and even pulled out a pistol at a campaign rally the day before the election. The possibility of Moore pulling “a Todd Akin” and handing to the election to the Democrats with an outlandish comment is a real possibility.

In the crimson state of Alabama, as the Republican candidate, the race is Moore’s to lose. Whether Moore wins or loses, the Republican problems in the Senate will not be resolved and it will still be difficult to advance the Republican agenda. The real loser is the traditional Republican establishment whose endorsements were rejected by voters even as the candidates fought over who was President Trump’s best ally.