Now that Alabama’s polls have closed, a burning question remains; what can we expect with a Roy Moore win, or a Doug Jones win? As the results come trickling in, it’s time to consider those possibilities. Let me assure my readers of one thing – this is not an endorsement of either candidate. This is strictly based on the empirical evidence which has presented itself.
IF ROY MOORE WINS…
As exit polls suggest this race is too close to call, Roy Moore supporters are making it a point on social media to make grandiose statements about the former Alabama Supreme Court justice’s chances of victory. A win for Moore would do more than just give his most strident supporters reason to celebrate; it would buoy a Republican Party which has suffered many serious defeats in the past year. Aside from the SCOTUS ruling upholding President Trump’s most recent travel ban, much of the GOP agenda lay in tatters. The current Republican-led tax reform bill, now in conference committee, was passed in what amounts to “desperation mode” for the party. Reports out of the Senate were that the bill was actually being revised and adjusted while it was being voted on. A Roy Moore win would solidify the GOP majority in the Senate, and give President Trump some serious breathing room.
Alabama has been working, for years, to dig out from under the image of the state being run by a collection of backwoods wack-a-doodles and segregationists.
More important, a win for Moore would give the Republicans some serious tailwinds coming into the 2018 Election. Congressional approval ratings are hovering just above those of journalists and lawyers, and a Republican victory in the Yellowhammer State could bolster conservative hopes that the most recent mild electoral erosion was little more than an aberration. Moore’s abrasive, outspoken style so mirror President Trump’s, it would also offer some serious strategy guidance for House Republicans who are in “toss-up” races and would benefits greatly from an energized based. As win for Moore would also give Trump a new attack dog, one whose bombast could run serious interference with the media and the President a screen to distract voters and the media from his own misadventures with Special Investigator Robert Mueller.
As for the accusations against Moore regarding sexual harassment, a perfunctory vetting of a Senator-elect Moore by his soon-to-be peers prior to his seating and swearing in could offer the GOP a chance to show they are serious about ferreting out any sort of hanky-panky which could endanger the tenuous approval of the base constituency. The “fence sitting voters” in the party would likely demand some sort of investigation into Moore’s dealings, and even the appearance of consternation by his peer, albeit likely short-lived, could do nothing but help the GOP and their allies.
IF DOUG JONES WINS…
A Doug Jones victory would spell serious trouble not just for the Republican Party, but for President Trump. More than it, it would represent a seismic shift in Alabama politics. The state, long known more for the segregationist politics of George Wallace enthusiasts than for Jones’ own prosecution of the suspects in the case of the 1963 Birmingham Church Bombings, would have to be viewed as one in electoral transition for the first time since the 1970s and 80s, when Southern Democrats migrated in droves to the GOP. Jones, who campaigned on a platform of being a Senator of “all Alabamans,” would not only become a target for conservative heckling, but potentially an actual target for violence from fringe aspects of Alabama politics, including neo-Confederates and white nationalists.
As far as the practical side of a Jones victory goes, the GOP would already see its razor-thin majority reduced to that of a rabbit hair. It is presumed that Al Franken’s successor in Minnesota is likely to be a Democrat in the near-term, so Jones would join Harry Reid and Chuck Schumer in making as much hay as possible in the upper chamber. More important, a Jones’ win could become a massive rallying cry for the Democrats, who could use this to energize their base in traditionally conservative states to pull some upsets in 2018. Such a groundswell within these states could not only upset the apple cart, but also give Trump a headache so large, all the Diet Coke on earth won’t be able to ease his pain.
Such a groundswell within these states could not only upset the apple cart, but also give Trump a headache so large, all the Diet Coke on earth won’t be able to ease his pain.
This brings up an even greater danger to the GOP – while they achieved a presumed conservative majority in the SCOTUS, future appointments could face serious push-back. A Democratic victory in Alabama could embolden more moderate Republican Senators to switch sides when the occasion suits. For the GOP, there is one area of consolation for the more extreme conservative wing – a Jones win will most certainly lead to Mitch McConnell’s removal as Majority Leader, which would certainly be red meat the party could throw to Trump voters as a means of saying “we heard you, and we know you’re angry.”
THE FINAL ANALYSIS…
Regardless of who wins, Alabama has to face some serious issues with their own politics. Be it the resignation of Bob Bentley from the governor’s office in disgrace, or Moore’s own sexual harassment accusations, the people of the Heart of Dixie will have to do some serious soul searching. Alabama has been working, for years, to dig out from under the image of the state being run by a collection of backwoods wack-a-doodles and segregationists. A Moore victory would require, at the very least, a deep dive into his peccadilloes, one which his supporters may not be ready to come face to face with. A Jones victory is one which will, at the very least, herald a transformative period of state politics, one which may get very ugly, very fast.