Steve's Blog

What Does the Democrat Victory in Alabama Mean?

At first blush, Republicans losing a Senate race in Alabama, a reliably Republican state, is a disaster. After all, just one year ago, Donald Trump trounced Hillary Clinton by 28 points there. And now the Dems have won in a state they just don’t win in anymore.

But after Republicans get over the initial shock of losing this race, I would suggest that we may have actually dodged a bullet. Because had Roy Moore won, Democrats and their allies in the mainstream media, would have been relentless in hounding Republican Senators and Congressmen about whether they believe Roy Moore or his accusers. Whether he should be seated in the Senate, or barred. And on and on.

If you’re one of my faithful blog readers, you may remember that I predicted this result just a few weeks ago, when the charges against Moore became public. The title of my blog was “Should Roy Moore Drop Out?” I answered that question in the first paragraph saying: “I’ll keep it short and simple. Yes.”

I went on to say there were two main reasons Moore should step aside. “The American people deserve better from the people representing them in elected office than someone who would harass those in vulnerable positions under them. That’s the real reason Roy Moore should step down – people he wants to represent in the Senate deserve better. A second reason he should step down, is that in my opinion, he’s going to lose.”

The bottom line is, Roy Moore was a flawed candidate. There were multiple credible allegations that he had made improper sexual advances to young women – one as young as 14 years-of-age. His defense was embarrassingly weak. He should have dropped out. He didn’t. As a result, Republicans lost a critical Senate seat. One we never should have lost.

This debacle reminds me a lot of what Republicans should have learned back in the 2012 Senate election cycle. We lost four Senate seats that year for failure to keep in mind a basic principle of politics – sometimes bad candidates, are just bad candidates.

In Delaware, Republican Congressman Mike Castle would have been a shoe-in to win the open Senate seat, but he was defeated by a fringe candidate in the Republican primary, Christine O’Donnell, who famously declared that she was “not a witch.” She subsequently lost to the Democrat in the general election. And there went that Senate seat.

In Missouri, Republican Congressman Todd Akin was doing pretty well in the race to unseat Democrat Senator Claire McCaskill, until he clumsily waded into the abortion debate, saying that victims of “legitimate rape” rarely get pregnant. He went from being up in the polls prior to that remark, to losing the race by 15 points. Another Senate seat bites the dust.

In Indiana, a safe Republican Senate seat was lost when longtime Republican Senator Richard Lugar was beaten by Richard Mourdock in the primary, and then in the general election Mourdock proceeded to opine that “even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something that God intended to happen.” The voters of Indiana felt otherwise, and Republicans lost that Senate seat.

And finally, Republicans had a great chance to knock off then-Democrat Senate Majority Leader, Harry Reid. Unfortunately, Republicans in Nevada managed to nominate the one candidate Harry Reid could probably beat, one who had a tendency to commit verbal gaffes, and Harry Reid beat her by eleven points, even though Reid had started out the race with a miserable approval rating – 39% positive to 49% negative. Another golden opportunity kicked away.

So how should Republicans view the Alabama race? It could’ve been worse. Had Moore won, the constant barrage of questions about him would have been a complete distraction. But that’s not to say it’s clear sailing for Republicans in the upcoming election cycle. Far from it. When one party wins the White House, the other party usually does very well in the next Congressional election cycle. So Republicans have to plan for the worst, and hope for the best. Pass legislation that’s good for the American people (like the upcoming tax bill.) And then get ready for what could be a tough election cycle.

And stop nominating stupid candidates.

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