After a stunning last minute comeback, multiple outlets have called the Alabama special election for Democrat Doug Jones.
Thank you ALABAMA!!
— Doug Jones (@GDouglasJones) December 13, 2017
JUST IN: CBS News projects Democrat Doug Jones wins Alabama Senate seat; "I think that I have been waiting all my life and now I just don't know what the hell to say," Jones tells supporters https://t.co/JhJTKxZ7LB pic.twitter.com/GziTJJHxHX
— CBS News (@CBSNews) December 13, 2017
This is a truly devastating setback not only for Donald Trump, but for Steve Bannon, who effectively bet the house on Moore.
Steve Bannon, strategic genius *
* Terms and conditions apply. Not valid in continental United States. Read hobo signs before relying on advice. Past performance indicative of future results.
— pourmecoffee (@pourmecoffee) December 13, 2017
For Republicans, this was a lose-lose situation. Had Moore prevailed, they would have likely launched an ethics investigation, but now they face what is perhaps an even more dire predicament.
— CNN Breaking News (@cnnbrk) December 13, 2017
— POLITICO (@politico) December 13, 2017
In an upset, Democrat Doug Jones is projected to win Senate seat in Ala. race roiled by misconduct allegations against Roy Moore https://t.co/CaMRZShEzZ
— Washington Post (@washingtonpost) December 13, 2017
— Fox News (@FoxNews) December 13, 2017
— Washington Examiner (@dcexaminer) December 13, 2017
Tonight, Alabama voters elected a senator who'll make them proud.
And if Democrats can win in Alabama, we can — and must — compete everywhere.
— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) December 13, 2017
— Walter White (@heisenbergrpt) December 13, 2017
For those in need of a reminder, read below for the details on what America just avoided thanks to Alabama voters who have (narrowly) chosen country over party and delivered a red state to the Democrats.
Obviously, the American political scene has devolved into a veritable circus since Donald Trump’s election.
That’s not to say it wasn’t a circus before a reality TV show host whose CV includes “WWE hall of fame inductee” swept into the Oval Office on a populist platform of grandiose promises, race-baiting, fearmongering, and outright lies, but what we’ve seen over the past year has been unprecedented.
Everyday the discourse gets more divisive, the scene more surreal, and in many ways, the Alabama special election is the culmination of it all. We’ve written voluminously about Republican candidate Roy Moore who for all the reasons listed here, has no place holding public office even if the recent allegations against him are completely false (full archive of posts here).
In the beginning, Donald Trump attempted to curry favor with the GOP establishment by backing Moore’s Republican opponent in the party primary. Steve Bannon, on the other hand, backed Moore.
When Moore won, it was widely seen as a testament to the idea that voters are still sympathetic to the populist message that got Trump elected – that would be the same message Steve Bannon is still pushing. So to Trump, there’s a sense in which Moore’s victory was “proof” that abandoning Bannon’s populism in favor of mainstream Republican politics is not a good idea.
Once the allegations against Moore starting piling up, it became clear that Bannon had made an egregious miscalculation. The Washington Post story about Moore came just a day after Bannon called for Mitch McConnell to step aside, and as the furor grew over Moore’s alleged misdeeds, so did the backlash against the Führer’s “war” to replace GOP incumbents with “outsiders.” Bannon stood by Moore, but people close to the Breitbart boss would later reveal that he has his misgivings.
McConnell has suggested that Moore, were he elected, would face an immediate ethics investigation.
For Trump, this is and has always been a lose-lose proposition. Backing Strange was a way to curry favor with the mainstream Republicans Trump needs to push his agenda forward, but not backing Moore was seen as a move away from the populism that helped win Trump the election.
You’d think, given the allegations against Moore, that this would be an easy call for the President. But it’s not. Because Trump has already thrown Roy under the bus once by endorsing Strange. To throw him under the bus again would be to effectively double down on the same kind of mainstream Republican politics that his base despises and that Bannon spends every waking hour railing against. So what did Trump do? Well, he decided to roll the dice with Moore starting earlier this month with a tweet and then continuing right up until Tuesday’s election.
Meanwhile, Steve Bannon has continued to push the envelope on Moore because, as noted above, if Roy were to lose it would be a grievous blow to the Breitbart boss and his master plan to replace GOP incumbents with Bannon-ites in 2018.
Last night, Bannon and Moore put on a show at the last rally before the election with Steve going so far as to throw shade towards Ivanka Trump (“there’s a special place in hell“) and Roy’s wife suggesting that he can’t be a racist because “one of our attorneys is a Jew”:
So just to be clear, this is an election that had the potential to put a man who has been accused of preying on children, who was twice removed as state Supreme Court chief justice, who earlier this year said the U.S. deserved 9/11 because “we legitimize sodomy”, who likens the Quran to Mein Kampf, who refers to Native Americans and Asian Americans as “reds and yellows”, and who is just generally an outrageous piece of shit, into the U.S. Senate.
According to early exit polls, a majority of Republicans think the recent allegations against Moore are false (54% said they’re “probably” false, and an additional 28% said they’re “definitely” false). White evangelicals (of course) overwhelming think the women are lying:
Let me just drive home the point with the following video which speaks for itself…
— CNN (@CNN) December 12, 2017