Roy Moore’s Loss is a Hit for Democrats: Reflections on the Alabama Special Election

By Cameron Dominy

Yesterday, the worst possible outcome for the Democratic Party occurred in the state of Alabama; they won a Senate seat.

Leading up to what has proven to be one of the more divisive races in American political
memory, Republicans were faced with a difficult choice. Either they could back Roy Moore, who is credibly accused of child molestation, or Democrat Doug Jones, a proponent of late term abortions, as well as a bevy of other unpalatable positions for conservatives. A write in campaign was the best alternative, but this was hindered by the President’s hesitance to disavow Moore, or name a write in candidate.

Democrats, on the other hand, waited patiently for the RNC or the President to endorse Moore. John Conyers and Al Franken, in the early days of sexual assault accusations against them, were lauded by Democratic leadership. Conyers was an “icon”, Franken a “comedian.” Neither were initially disavowed. Calls for the resignation of both men came only after the GOP had inexorably tied themselves to Moore, through funding and Presidential endorsement.

This was clever, albeit obvious, political gamesmanship by the Democratic Party: Make two representatives resign in places where they will surely be replaced by Democrats. Conyers will “appoint” his son, and the Governor of Minnesota will name a Democratic fill in for Franken.

The cost is minimal. And for it, either Moore drops out and throws the race to Doug Jones, or Moore stays, in which case the Republicans are the party of child molestation. It would appear that with Moore’s unexpected loss, Democrats have overplayed their hand. The narrative can no longer be “the Republicans voted in a child molestor.” Rather, it must state that “Republicans in Alabama made the honorable choice.”

In two years time, Jones will easily be defeated in a district which gave Jeff Sessions 97 percent of the vote. Republicans can look back then, knowing they dodged a bullet while losing a seat.

Cameron Dominy is a Masters Student at Cevro Institute in Prague, Czech Republic. Follow him on twitter @camdom7

One thought on “Roy Moore’s Loss is a Hit for Democrats: Reflections on the Alabama Special Election

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  1. The only flaw I see with this argument is not acknowledging that Jess Sessions ran unopposed when he garnered 97% of the vote. Jones will certainly run in 2020 and will be an incumbent with a few years to prove his worth. Either way, in no way can this be counted as a loss for Democrats. Sure, they lost the strategic “Republicans put a child molester in office” slogan, but he wouldn’t have been there long. He would have been thrown out and the Governor of Alabama would have replaced him with a conservative choice that the Dems would have had no chance of beating in 2020. At least now there is a chance.

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