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Alabama flees Moore: 'There are bridges you just don't cross'

Doug Jones
REUTERS/Marvin Gentry
U.S. Senate candidate Doug Jones acknowledging supporters at the election night party in Birmingham, Alabama, Tuesday night.

I did not believe Democrat Doug Jones would defeat Republican Roy Moore for the Senate seat. Luckily, I am long since over the idea that I know what will happen in the future. But at least I know it.

So, to belabor the obvious, which you have surely learned elsewhere, Jones seems to have won the special election (although as of press time Moore has refused to concede). There’s some talk in the Moore camp of a recount, but none of the smarties seem to be taking it seriously.

Jones likely will be sworn in in early January, shortly after the holiday recess. That will make it a 51-49 Republican majority, which is still a majority but obviously leaving little room for defections. A lot of commentators on the tube were saying it would mean a single Republican defection will prevent Senate Republicans from passing anything, but that’s not quite right. With Republican Vice President Mike Pence still able to cast a decisive vote in case of a 50-50 tie, the real number of Republican defections necessary to prevent anything much would be two. Still, the leverage and importance of the few most moderate Republican senators (hello Susan Collins of Maine) and maverick Republicans (hello John McCain) becomes even larger.

Jones will not have to face re-election until 2020. If there are no other vacancies created in the meantime by death or resignation, Democrats need just a net two pickups in 2018 to take control. (A 50-50 Senate would still be under Republican control because of the vice president thing.)

Two pickups is normally not a lot, and the president’s party often does poorly in the midterms. And this president is historically unpopular.

But, as I have mentioned previously, the Dems face an extremely daunting lineup in the Senate elections of 2018. Not because Republicans are popular but because of 35 Senate seats that will be on the ballot in 2018 (assuming there will be a special election for the Franken seat in Minnesota), 26 are already held by Democrats. Even in the not-exactly-likely chance that the Dems hold all their seats, their pickups would have to come from among just nine currently-Republican-held Senate seats that will be on the 2018 ballot. Those are tough numbers. And this whole fat paragraph has been a digression from the Alabama news, and that news has reduced the number of Dem pickups from three to two.

So, back to Alabama. How and why did this upset occur? Jones is getting, and probably deserves, props for running a good race. When the result is within about one percentage point, obviously every significant factor can be called the key. But on the CNN panel analyzing the results late last night, Ana Navarro, Republican strategist and frequent CNN panelist, erupted, thus:

If the Republicans of Alabama had nominated a potted plant, it would have probably beaten Doug Jones by double digits. They just happened to pick a pedophile. There are bridges you just don’t cross.”

Host/moderator Don Lemon could be heard suggesting that she include the word “alleged” in front of “pedophile.” But the point was made. 

Alabama’s senior senator, Republican Richard Shelby (who was a Democrat back in the day when Alabama was part of the solid blue South), stated publicly over the weekend that he hoped a Republican would win the election, but not Roy Moore. Shelby, who had voted absentee in advance, said he had voted for a Republican by write-in, and he encouraged others to do the same, but declined to name the person. There was some tap-dancing nonsense at play here, but, in fact, as I write this with all Alabama precincts having reported, the number of write-in votes was slightly greater than the size of Jones’ lead, meaning if you torture the numbers they might confess that Republicans who preferred a hopeless, symbolic protest vote to voting for Moore may have tipped the outcome.

Alabama is Alabama, and the results can be explained away by the bizarre Moore factor. But some will note that President Trump went all-in for Moore in the final days. The previous Election Day, featuring the two “bellwether” states of New Jersey and Virginia,  were also big wins for the Democrats. Of course, those are swing states and can also be explained away. But, thus far, other than managing to win the presidency with neither a majority or nor even a plurality of the national popular vote, Trump has not been able to deliver decisive help to any Republicans.

Jones’ victory speech was short. He’s no great orator. He said:

This entire race has been about dignity and respect. This campaign — this campaign has been about the rule of law. This campaign has been about common courtesy and decency and making sure everyone in this state, regardless of which ZIP code you live in, is going to get a fair shake in life.

Then he turned to a great orator and perhaps became the first winner of an Alabama election to quote and paraphrase the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. It went like this:

As we approach this history -- as we approach this crossroads, we have work to do. We have work to do in this state. To build those bridges within this state. To reach across with those that didn't vote for us to try to find that common ground.

I'm pledging to do that tonight. But I will tell you, tonight is a night for rejoicing because as Dr. King said, as Dr. King liked to quote: 'The moral arc of the universe is long but it bends toward justice.’

Tonight, tonight, ladies and gentlemen, tonight, tonight in this time, in this place, you helped bend that moral arc a little closer to that justice. And you did it — not only was it bent more, not only was its aim truer, but you sent it right through the heart of the great state of Alabama in doing so. Thank you, all. I love you. 

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Comments (47)

Jones won.

Moore's concession isn't required. If losers could keep those elected from taking office by refusing to concede no one would ever take office.

Not a question of requirement

It would be an effort to tie Jones up in court with a recount and questions about election procedures. Ideally (for them), the GOPs would try to delay his seating in the Senate.

Even in Alabama

You have to have legal grounds to demand a recount, Moore has no grounds nor does he have any support from his party. The Alabama Secretary of State is going to certify the results. For a judge, the guy has exhibited an astounding lack of legal understanding throughout his career.

Moral Arc, Indeed

The bridge too far for Alabama voters is a series of credible accusations of child molestation. Good on them for having standards, but based on policy, I can't fathom why Moore got as far as he did.

Moore was removed from the Alabama Supreme Court two times for ethics violations (I would have thought being removed once would be the kiss of death for a political career). He has shown an utter disdain for the rule of law and for the US Constitution. When you add in his comments on race and gender, it's a wonder he wasn't relegated to the margins of discourse years ago.

I read recently that the "New South" of which we used to hear so much bypassed Alabama. I have to wonder if that isn't correct.

Moore's removals

Correction: Moore was twice removed as state Chief Justice for defying the federal courts, which means violations of the US Constitution.

* He was removed once as Chief Justice for ignoring a federal court order to remove his Ten Commandments monument from the Alabama Courts building.

* After he again won election as Chief Justice, he was suspended for ordering lower court judges to ignore the SCOTUS decision legalizing same-sex marriage.

Those weren't ethics violations. If he had won the Senate race, he would have taken an oath to uphold the Constitution. Since he had twice violated it as Chief Justice, chances are about 100% his saying "I do" would have been a lie.

True

His violations were defying federal court orders, but they were ruled to be violations of the Canons of Judicial Ethics.

This is important. We don't

This is important. We don't know for sure, but we can reasonably assume that he did not lose because of his views on any matter of policy. Or his character beyond his predilection for young girls.

Then there's 2020

NPR interviewed Bradley Byrne (R-AL CD1) this morning. His downstate district is the SW part of the state that includes Mobile. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alabama's_congressional_districts#Current_districts_and_representatives)

He said his family has lived in Alabama for a couple of centuries, so he knows the state. His flat out prediction is that Jones will lose in 2020. (https://www.npr.org/2017/12/13/570405265/rep-byrne-doug-jones-will-lose-...)

Alabama being Alabama, I see no reason to doubt him.

Except that he's a Republican

trying to make a self fulfilling prophecy.
Even Alabama has changed in the past couple of centuries.

Alabama's changed?

How, exactly?

Did you notice the number of write in votes and how that number compared to the margin of victory?

so

Al Franken was thrown under the bus for pretty much nothing. Glad Jones won and hope he enjoys his 2 years in office.

Trump and the Republicans are

Trump and the Republicans are playing to a decreasing demographic (older, blue-collar, evangelical, and non-urban white voters) while actively alienating an increasing demographic (African Americans, Hispanics, younger voters, college-educated and suburban whites, especially women).

Continue on.

Double down.

The only way that becomes sustainable is the removal of democracy.

Yes

…and Mr. Bannon's reported goal, that of eliminating "the administrative state," would likely do just that. Take away the bureaucrats, rules and procedures, all the structure and "stuff" that modern Republicans love so much to hate, and what's left is the whim of a strongman, or perhaps a cabal of strongmen (e.g., corporate CEOs), making and enforcing policy and rules as they see them, and as they see fit.

This is the real point

When voting turnout matches the state's demographics as it did in this case, the GOP will lose. Their main election strategy is voter suppression.

This is what Democrats were

This is what Democrats were saying before last year election – remember “blue wall?” And younger voters become more conservative as they age. But if you are correct – it’s scary.

Worth noting

Moore is a abhorrent human being and was a terrible candidate - before the WaPo report and allegations came out. Sadly, nearly 50% of Alabama voters liked what they heard regardless.

Bannon is now 0 - 5...

The tax bill especially, like the bulk of #GOP policies, will hurt the majority of Alabama residents. Will that matter in 2020?

Yes, I nearly fell out of my seat this morning . . .

It was so close last night, and I feared for the worst, but I was pleasantly surprised this morning, to learn that Doug Jones had won. And his victory speech may have been brief, but sometimes short speeches are the best. I liked it.

Thanks again, Eric. And thanks for mentioning the comment made by Ana Navarro. I hadn't heard that one. I laughed out loud (at work!)

And lastly, YES!!! There are some bridges you just don't cross!!!! Good for the people of Alabama who came out to vote and showed the country what they stood for!!! And good luck to Doug Jones and the entire state of Alabama!

The Media's Role

Roy Moore richly deserved to lose, and the country and the Republican Party are better off with him not being in the Senate. But I still wonder about the timing of the Washington Post stories that revealed his sordid past.

When did they first know about those allegations - before or after Moore won the GOP runoff? NBC had the incriminating Access Hollywood video on Trump (...grab them by...) before he was nominated, and deliberately sat on it until just before a Presidential debate when its disclosure could most damage him. NBC also knew about Harvey Weinstein long before Ronan Farrow's NBC story about Weinstein - a major Democratic donor - was killed for political reasons.

I regret to say that I have little trust in the mainstream media, which is more openly partisan now than ever in the 40+ years I've closely followed political news.

Me Too

I also have a distrust of the lamestream media. We all know just where large corporations sit on the political spectrum, and it's not on the left. Or the center. It's on the far right. Low corporate taxes with generous amounts of corporate welfare, few regulations, no protections for labor rights. The media has an agenda, and it's consistent with that of the 1%.

Look no further than net neutrality for evidence of this. Couldn't agree with you more Mr Weber.

Bigger than sex and the Judge?

"It’s not just scandal: Moore lost in Alabama because the GOP agenda is toxically unpopular -- Republicans are now in trouble everywhere.

"The larger issue is that the Republican Party is led by an unpopular president and unpopular congressional leaders who are pursuing an unpopular agenda, and it's putting them in massive electoral peril . . . Republicans have been ignoring warning signs all year [and] the GOP's results in 2017 have really been quite bad."

www.vox.com/2017/12/12/16766840/alabama-senate-election-results-moore-jones

The article goes on to list the main "quite bad" results. Among them was this:

"The Republican tax bill is less popular than any previously passed tax bill."

That got me to looking up the most recent Quinnipiac poll on that topic and it turns out the numbers they came up with back that up (in spades): Americans don't like it much more than they liked the "Repeal and Replace" plan but, in keeping with the "new normal," Republicans are paying no attention to the American public.

"December 5, 2017 - GOP Tax Plan Benefits Rich, U.S. Voters Say Almost 3-1"

https://poll.qu.edu/national/release-detail?ReleaseID=2504

(Quite a few other semi-interesting, not good for Republicans, stats in their results.)

And, speaking of constituent-deafness and the tax bill, another article that caught my attention last night has this headline:

"Congressional Republicans in advanced talks to reduce the tax rate for top earners to 37 percent as part of final tax bill"

www.washingtonpost.com/news/business/wp/2017/12/12/congress-could-finali...

I'm a million or so miles away from being a tax expert or capable of comprehending what is or isn't in the bill, but when it comes to the question of, "What might it take to make the same thing happen to the tax bill that happened to the repeal and replace bill?" I found myself thinking this:

If people who ARE capable of deciphering the current tax plan would dig into it enough to figure out how it would impact American women's financial situation compared to the way it would impact men's (and passed that info on to their Congressional reps), the result COULD prove to be a fairly powerful talking point (for a diverse chorus of Congressional women AND men), given the current "political landscape" and all.

I'm just guessing, but I wouldn't be surprised to find out there's more than one (or 100) things in the bill that would, surprise surprise, leave women all across America somewhere way out there, near the short end of the money stick because . . . You know: The current crop of make America great again men of America in power are pining for the days when "the little woman" didn't need to "worry her pretty little head" about nasty bothersome things like money. "Now now, Honey . . . Don't you worry about that. I'll take good care of the money because that's a man's job."

Just a week or 10 days left to stop it -- and it would be a long-shot (because Republicans are SO desperate to pass ANYthing and do it before the totally annoying public runs it off the rails) -- but if the evidence is there in the bill and enough loud, "news cycle" noise was made next week, it could be enough.

Or maybe some other Christmas Miracle will come out of the blue to blow it up and close out a near-perfect first year of our Supreme Leader's and Republican's complete control of the government of the USA! USA! USA!

Moore lost because he was

Moore lost because he was labeled pedophile. Republican agenda has nothing to do with his loss – Vox is as partisan as it can be and its pieces rarely have anything to do with reality.

Underacheiver

Moore has always been an underachiever. His percentages in state wide contests were always below those of other GOP contenders in comparable races. He's always had a lot of baggage, even before the recent allegations that he cruised the local shopping malls looking for dates in his 30's, when most of us fellas give that up when we get a high school diploma.

You may be correct but it

You may be correct but it just proves my point that Republican agenda has nothing to do with Moore’s defeat.

Reality

One could also argue that Doug Jones won because of his record. African American voters went overwhelmingly for Jones, due both to Moore's racial statements (things were not better when we had slavery, and repealing all constitutional amendments after the first ten would repeal the amendment that outlawed slavery), and Jones's better record on race. In what some have called an act of "political courage," he prosecuted the surviving Klansmen responsible for bombing the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham.

On a side note, while we're congratulating Alabama for not electing a child molester to the US Senate, let's remember that it was an act of "courage" to prosecute two men who fire-bombed a church and murdered four little girls.

I don’t know much about Jones

I don’t know much about Jones but he could have been a perfect human being and still lost to a Republican not named Moore. That is exactly my point: with 1% difference, it is obvious that Moore’s character and specifically accusations against him were the ones that didn’t allow him to win. And please note that Moore was not accused of just harassing women but young women, teenagers, which is the worst sin in conservative Alabama. It’s important to understand that people who voted for Moore did it not because they didn’t care about allegations and what Moore did but because they didn’t believe in those allegations “discovered” in exactly the right time.

"The worst sin in conservative Alabama."

"And please note that Moore was not accused of just harassing women but young women, teenagers, which is the worst sin in conservative Alabama." Not to everyone. There is a sizable number of people in the evangelical communities who think that it is entirely appropriate for older men to "court" much younger girls. Marry them young before they get any ideas about independence, is the idea.

Yes, it's creepy as all get out.

Hint: Look for the diff between realistic and notional

I don't know how you got so directly plugged-into what you think of as reality, but if I was placing a bet on whose perspective is closer to an accurate reflection of the political situation in America, I'd have to go with Vox, Quinnipiac and the Washington Post.

Example . . .

Vox: "Republican Party is led by an unpopular president and unpopular congressional leaders who are pursuing an unpopular agenda"

Quinnipiac: "Tax Plan Benefits Rich, U.S. Voters Say Almost 3-1"

WP: "Republicans in advanced talks to reduce the tax rate for top earners to 37 percent"

President Tweety: "Democrats refusal to give even one vote for massive Tax Cuts is why we need Republican Roy Moore to win in Alabama"

Ilya G: "Republican agenda has nothing to do with his loss"

There's a reason the phrase is "connecting the dots" instead of "connecting the dot."

You may want to take a closer (or, most likely, first) look at the detail related to that Quinnipiac poll and maybe spend a moment or two considering the new Democratic Governors elected in New Jersey and Virginia last month, along with the change in the makeup of those state legislatures.

I don't recall anyone in either of those elections being labeled a pedophile or anything like it. But somehow I'm almost sure you would say (maybe even will say) the Republican agenda had nothing more to do with those (major) Republican losses than it did in Alabama.

I don't know if that's because you think the Republican agenda is a good, high-quality agenda that will benefit the majority of we the people or your political omniscience that makes you say what you say but, again, if I was betting on it, my money would be on Vox and many of the other sources you consistently dismiss as having little or no connection with whatever reality you're talking about.

OK, I can give you that Moore

OK, I can give you that Moore probably lost 1% for Trump’s low popularity and another 1% for the tax bill but he lost 25% because of the accusations. Let me put it this way: If Moore were not facing accusations of child molestation, who do you think would have won?

“You may want to take a closer (or, most likely, first) look at the detail related to that Quinnipiac poll and maybe spend a moment or two considering the new Democratic Governors elected in New Jersey and Virginia last month, along with the change in the makeup of those state legislatures.” Quinnipiac poll are national so you can’t apply them to specific states and Democrats wins in New Jersey and Virginia (all federal government employees live in Virginia) were based on those states leaning heavily to the left. Plus remember, those elections were before Republican tax plan…

I do think that Republican agenda for the most part is better for the country than Democratic agenda (there are exceptions, of course, as always) and I do know (from reading it for several years in a row) that Vox is a actually Clinton’s voice and its pieces for most part are below par, to say the least, because they are driven by agenda, not by search for the truth. This also applies to WaPo as well, by the way. If I had time and space, I could have provided many examples of that.

This is probably the best

This is probably the best outcome anyone could hope for.
Moore would have been a lame duck coming in, and wouldn't have been much help.

In addition to the accusations, Moore suffered from hubris. He thought he could lay back on his record and not have to put any effort into his campaign. He was wrong.

Unless Jones votes with the GOP >60% he's toast. He's probably toast anyway, but I could see him gaining traction if he supports tax reform, financing for the border wall and enforcing our immigration law to-the-letter (No DACA).

Oh, and he's also going to have to repudiate his pro-abortion stance.

Yeah, he's toast.

What record?

Moore had no record other than illustrating what a flake he is.
As for Jones, I wouldn't be so sure that his tenure will be short. There's a tsunami heading your way,and when Democrats turn out the vote, we win. 2018 will be our 2010.

What?

I thought Roy was your guy because he'd be "a reliable vote when it comes to dismantling leftist infrastructure" and that was good enough for you.

But, a couple days later, you saw it coming because of his hubris and lazy old bones?

And now your prediction is Jones will need to support tax "reform," building that big, beautiful, $26 million per mile wall (Mexico was going to pay for), putting out the deep dragnet to get rid of every last one of Them (so you and your buddies will be able to get one of those vegetable picking, slaughter house or roofing jobs in this full employment economy?) or he'll be gone in three short years?

And he'll need to go along with you when it comes to telling women what they can and can't do and deporting all those kids who were brought here when they were two and grew up here, never knowing anything different about America than you but that doesn't matter because you're threatened by them so they gotta go?

And if he doesn't play ball he'll be toast and your guys won't because you're takin' over and what happened in Alabama, as red as the reddest state in the universe, didn't mean a thing?

Okay . . . Glad we finally got the Judge Roy (and now the Jones) thing straightened out.

After the 10th

Bill,

What Mr. Senker meant is that "leftist infrastructure" would be all constitutional amendments after the 10th.

What you're asking

is for Jones to turn into a Republican.
Won't happen -- that's not how he won.

White Alabama Voters

Don’t read too much into the result that has been attributed to a strong turnout by African-American voters. A majority of white Alabama voters voted for the Grand Old Pedophile. And the state will have 2 years to increase voter suppression efforts.

African Americans are discovering

that Reconstruction may finally have ended, and that they do have real political power. The genie is out of the bottle.

Good Point

Given the slim odds of Jones re-election in 2020, his should not pull any punches in the next 2 years. No use trying to placate Alabama voters.

I am a conservative, not necessarily a

Republican and I am happy Moore lost. The one seat in the Senate would not have been worth the backlash of liberals screaming bloody murder. If Republicans can’t bring forward better candidates than Moore then they should lose elections. That is how Trump was elected (I’m surprised how conservative his policies are) no matter how many faults he had they paled in contrast to Hillary Clinton and her time in the public eye. Folks can only take so many lies, half lies and down right shady behavior.

That's why

more people voted for Clinton than for Trump.
His victory deserves an asterisk (you baseball fans know what I mean).

I’m a baseball fan and...

Your reference doesn’t make a bit of sense. If you are referring to Barry Bonds and steroids one can only assume it’s the false Trump/Russia collusion narrative that’s collapsing rapidly under scrutiny. If you are still whining about the electoral college it also doesn’t pass the smell test because it’s not as though the electoral college is new.

No

It's about the fact that Trump's popular vote loss was the greatest of anyone winning in the Electoral College.
And you're right: the Electoral College does not pass the smell test.

Also

Trump is as usual claiming innocence regarding an act no one has accused him of committing. The claim is not that Trump personally and actively concluded with Russia; it's that individuals active in his campaign (including his relatives did).
Mueller is still building his case -- wait until the Flynn really hits the fan.

So, based on your last sentence

Trump, the consummate liar, is on his way out because "Folks can only take so many lies, half lies and down right shady behavior." Well you nailed that one. That defines your guy perfectly. You are right, I'm done with him. In the beginning I gave Trump the benefit of a doubt, but "Folks can only take so many lies, half lies and down right shady behavior."

Not sure how you know how conservative Trump's policies are as no one can tell what his policies are. Every 15 minutes he goes a different direction. HE CAN'T EVEN GET REPUBLICANS TO FOLLOW HIM, not to mention Mexico who is going to pay for his ridiculous wall. One year into his term and not a single accomplishment - impressive. Remember Republicans are in TOTAL CONTROL and not a single accomplishment of note. If you think Trump was a better candidate you must raise your expectations.

Trump isn't on his way out... yet

When publicans suffer their midterm massacre next year, THAT'S when Trump will be on his way out. My only fear is that Democrats won't have their act together when they benefit from the Republican implosion. They should already be working on plans to repeal this tax cut, introduce Medicare for All, and deciding which of many violations they can impeach Trump AND Pence for.

I feel better

That "Folks can take only so many lies, half lies and down right shady behavior." Combine that basic dishonesty with blatant racism, misogyny, narcissism, greed, and complete lack of empathy, and you can make a very strong case that Roy Moore and Donald Trump are equally deplorable as human beings.

You Forgot

Shamelessly using the Christian faith to further one's desire for earthly power. That too.

Shakespeare...

"The devil can cite Scripture for his purpose."

Anne Lamott

“You can safely assume you've created God in your own image when it turns out that God hates all the same people you do.”