Some Thoughts After Roy Moore’s Defeat in Alabama

Doug Jones speaks at a campaign rally in Birmingham, Ala., on Monday night, Dec. 11, 2017. Alabama voters went to the polls Tuesday, Dec. 12, to decide between Jones, a Democrat, and Roy Moore, a Republican, in a special Senate election that is destined to be remembered as one of the strangest and ugliest campaigns ever held in a state not lacking in unsightly politics. (Bob Miller/Copyright 2017 The New York Times)

Roy Moore lost in Alabama last night. I’m glad he did. Moore is a despicable human being based on his feelings about homosexuals alone, not to mention the credible accusations of sexual misconduct with teen girls.

I’m not glad Alabama had to elect a Democrat to keep Moore out of the Senate, though. That’s going to make the Republican push for policy reforms harder in the coming year.

I have some thoughts for Republicans, Democrats and the press.

Democrats

There is a lot of gloating this morning from the left, but Democrats should remember that the outcome of this special election didn’t hinge on some shift in the political winds in Alabama. The state is about as Republican as it ever was, and Jones isn’t likely to be re-elected when his seat is on the ballot again in 2020.

It might do our liberal friends well to reflect on just how narrow a victory Jones won. Despite Moore running an bizarre, inept, scandal-plagued campaign he still managed to get 48 percent of the vote. Jones, at 49 percent, won with only a plurality of the vote.

Hundreds of thousands in Alabama, in a special election with unusually high turnout, still thought Moore was a better choice than a  Democrat despite all we ugliness we learned about the Republican candidate during the campaign.

Democrats need to figure out how to stop alienating red state voters.

Republicans

How in the world did Roy Moore end up as the Republican candidate in this race in the first place? If Democrats are out of touch with red state voters, the Republican establishment is out of touch with its base. Trump was evidence of that. Moore’s ascendance was more evidence.

A very large faction of rank-and-file Republicans are angry and lashing out, and they don’t seem to care much if their antics lose elections and deteriorate the GOP’s ability to govern.

Republicans have got to heal those wounds or Democrats will begin to make up the electoral ground the lost under President Barack Obama.

The Press

In another time the Washington Post well-sourced piece on Moore’s alleged indiscretions with teen girls – one of them as young as 14 – would have tanked his campaign. He would have withdrawn. Even if he’d stayed in the race, he wouldn’t have come close to winning.

But this is 2017, and the press has lost a lot of credibility with the public.

The response to this reality from most in the journalism industry is to blame everyone but themselves.

Social media. The President and other politicians for their “fake news” maneuvering. Even the public for seeking out media which conforms to their political biases.

But what if the press took a long, hard look at themselves? At the lack of political diversity in newsrooms. At the concentration of the media in certain urban, coastal areas?

It might be a worthy exercise.

Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com, a columnist for the Forum News Service, and the host of the Rob (Re)Port on Fargo-based WDAY AM970 from noon-2pm weekdays.

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