On Tuesday night, supporters of Roy Moore headed into the RSA center in downtown Montgomery, Alabama. They were excited and had good reason to be. Polls showed Mr. Moore ahead. President Trump had carried Alabama by 28 points.
As the polls closed, the music started. A solo musician played upbeat Christmas songs and the crowd cheered as the early results put Mr. Moore ahead of far-left wing Democrat Doug Jones.
The crowd was upbeat. Why shouldn’t they be? The thought of a Democrat winning a state-wide race in Alabama was inconceivable.
As Mr. Moore’s lead hit its apogee at nine points, a small group of conservative political operatives huddled to the side of the room. They did not share the crowd’s joy. Mr. Moore was ahead but the precincts that were reporting in early were mostly rural counties that Mr. Moore would lead in. Of concern were the Democrat strongholds of Birmingham and Montgomery. Even worse, the affluent suburbs that Mr. Moore needed were not coming in.
As Birmingham, Montgomery and Mobile reported, Mr. Moore’s lead vanished, then turned in to a deficit. The crowd’s quieted and finally, as if to emphasize the reality of what was happening, the musician launched into a mournful version of “Amazing Grace.”
Roy Moore lost and he lost badly.
The bigger question is why?
Whenever a candidate who is expected to win or who should win a race loses, the blame has to fall on the candidate. There is no way to sugarcoat this. Roy Moore was a horrible candidate.
He never ran negative ads against his opponent. He did not do rallies at the end of the campaign. He had no get-out-the-vote effort. His wife was one of his major campaign spokesperson.
Mr. Moore did not campaign the last four days of the election, and one report said he even went to the Army-Navy football game.
The only explanation seems to be that he just assumed he would win in a red state like Alabama, no matter what.
Mr. Moore is not the only one at fault in this race. Congressman Mo Brooks was the early favorite of the conservative base. The Washington establishment wanted appointed Sen. Luther Strange. The establishment spent millions in the primary to go after Mr. Brooks and they succeeded. That forced a run off between Mr. Strange and Mr. Moore, and Mr. Strange could not close the deal.
After Mr. Moore won the primary, there was open war between the Moore campaign and the Washington establishment. And when the weaponized, questionable allegations against Mr. Moore appeared, it was the perfect excuse to drop Moore.
The Republican virtue signalers gave the affluent, moderate Republicans the excuse they needed to stay away from the polls or write in someone else. With a margin of 20,000 votes for Mr. Jones and 22,000 write in votes, it is a pretty good assumption that most of those write in votes, under normal circumstances would have gone for the Republican candidate and with those, Mr. Moore would have won.
By giving credence to the weaponized accusations, the GOP has set the precedent for these types of attacks against Republicans in 2018. Even now, the Democrats started a round of Mr. Moore like accusations against President Trump.
Who lost Alabama?
Everyone did. Mr. Moore did not make the kind of effort necessary to win. The Republican establishment was all too eager to prove the conservative accusation that they would rather see liberal Democrats win than conservative Republicans.
The Alabama special election was a complete dumpster fire.
If the GOP isn’t careful, it will turn the entire 2018 election into the same kind of disaster.
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