Defeats incumbent Senatorial appointee, Luther Strange, despite Trump’s endorsement
“Big Luther,” as Trump nicknamed him, was saddled with trouble from the beginning.
He was appointed to office and many Alabama voters thought the decision was corrupt.
It was made by the embattled, embarrassed, and now-departed Gov. Bentley.
Somehow, the investigation of Bentley was stopped by the State AG’s office, headed by Strange. It’s not hard to figure what most people thought of that.
Still, Strange was the incumbent, was endorsed and funded by Sen. Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell, and, thanks to McConnell, received Trump’s endorsement.
Trump and Pence made trips to Alabama but never attacked Moore and, in fact, said they would support him in the general election. Moore is not so appealing to a general population but is still likely to win in a Deep Red State.
Backed by Steve Bannon and the populist wing, Moore’s win is a “victory for Trumpism but not for Trump.” The president will take some (small) comfort from that. And he’ll be leery of opposing that movement again at the ballot box.
Who is the Big Loser, Besides Luther Strange?
Who is the big loser? Mitch McConnell.
He loses twice over. First, he loses a reliable vote in the Senate. Roy Moore is a loose cannon (though he lacks much firepower). Assuming he wins the seat, he won’t be a reliable vote any more than Mike Lee or Susan Collins.
Second, ole Mitch is not going to enjoy his talks with Trump. He got Trump to endorse a loser. Trump is gonna love that. Mitch couldn’t get his own guy over the finish line and managed to associate Trump with the thing he hates most: losing. And, of course, Mitch cannot get key legislation passed. Trump is gonna treat him like road kill, restrained only by his desperate need to pay tax cuts and tax reform.
Moore is Less
As for Moore, he is
- Dumb as a box of rocks, which doesn’t seem to faze Alabama Republican voters
- Knows nothing about public policy, which takes some doing for a man who has been in public office for years
- Considered by Alabama Republicans to be the authentic voice of populist anger and religious fervor.
It was this last point–populist fury and Moore’s identification with it–that led to his victory.
Expect to hear plenty from the Democrats about the “rule of law” in our country. They will move to exploit Moore’s flat refusal to remove the Ten Commandments from a court building, despite being to do so by a Federal Court. We’ve been through that issue before in our country. It was decided right the first two times. Moore’s refusal to obey a legitimate court order is despicable. It got him booted off the Alabama State Supreme Court but was apparently a feather in his cap politically. Uggh.
With all those deficits, it tells you a lot about the primary electorate’s mood that he won. And it tells you a lot about how conservative Alabama is that Moore is favored to win the General Election.