Wednesday morning, Roy Moore lost the election to become an Alabama senator, and a lot of praise went out to the people of Alabama mentioning how important the victory of Doug Jones was. All sorts of analysis were made about the election, giving the impression, finally, that the strangeness of the Trump administration, and the results of his election, made some redemptive turn with the rejection of Roy Moore.
I must take a cynical look at the process.
I watched a few focus group videos of voters who were interviewed before and after the election. I watched many cringe worthy clips from campaign events. There’s a lot of celebration about the win, and I guess overall a win is a win, but I don’t take much solace in the fact that Doug Jones won by 1.5%. That’s roughly a separation of 20000 out of 1.3 million votes cast. If any other candidate had the negatives that Roy Moore went into the campaign with, and let’s take the sexual allegation off the table for a moment, maybe Moore could have won. Why do I say that? Before the sexual allegations were made, Moore was the odds-on favorite to win.
Before the sexual allegations, he was still a person who was removed from office twice because of not upholding the Constitution he was sworn to defend and support. He was a person who had made defamatory statements about gays, blacks, and other minority groups. If you are to believe the polls before the allegations, many Alabamians were overwhelmingly OK with Moore and his politics.
In the Republican primary, Roy Moore beat Luther Strange 54.6% to 45.4%. It seemed it was inevitable that Moore, who beat the establishment Republican Strange, could easily defeat his Democratic challenger.
That was before the allegations.
How some people defended Moore, including Moore himself, with the allegations of, at the very least, a man in his early 30s pursuing, let’s use the term barely legal girls, is frankly disgusting. Even if you discount the alleged sexual assault, many people in the state were perfectly OK, if he asked their mama’s permission, for a 30+ year old man to actively “court” (again, trying to use polite terms) barely legal girls.
In the focus group videos I saw, while most of the country were talking about how accusers have to be believed and men were losing their jobs over sexual assault allegations, there are a good number of people who didn’t believe the women who accused Moore. They thought they were part of some liberal agenda to smear Roy Moore. Some supporters of Moore would go on air and defend that if Moore asked for the parents’ permission, well, that was the way it was done in the day. With awareness and many examples of women and men who have come forward to talk of abuse and sexual misconduct years and even decades later, the Moore supporters were adamant that these women had to be dismissed because they didn’t come forward sooner.
I’d like to think there has been progress made in socially and politically, but with the takedown of so many people with similar allegations being made about them, I don’t take much comfort that Moore lost by 1.5%, considering in the primary he won by such a large margin. The reason why I’m concerned is I have the feeling were getting to the point, especially with die hard Republicans, the Moore bar is what needs to be reached to take down an otherwise disreputable individual. See, it wasn’t enough that the policies of Roy Moore were barely rejected by the public. Things were really piled on Moore, with the sexual allegations, to get just enough people to reject him and to elect Doug Jones.
I would argue, even without the sexual allegations, Moore should have been defeated easily, but polls before the allegations suggested he was leading the election. The sexual allegations should have buried him, but he lost by 1.5%.