As Roy Moore’s loss became reality, many conservatives began to question the Faustian bargain they were forced to make. Sure, there’s credible evidence that the man has a penchant for pedophilia, and he was twice removed from the Alabama Supreme Court for refusing to enforce the laws he was sworn to uphold, and he believes a host of conspiracy theories, and his wife bragged that “one of our attorneys is a Jew,” but, hey, at least he’ll vote for tax cuts.
Thankfully, in the end, Alabama put country before party, which was the phrase Sen. Jeff Flake wrote in the memo section of the $100 campaign check he wrote to donate to the Jones campaign. In the short term, the Jones victory is problematic for a party struggling to accomplish anything with its wafer-thin congressional majority.
Roy Moore can no longer be used against the Republican Party
In the long term, however, this is the best possible outcome the Republicans could hope for.
It may not seem that way now, but the reality is that the national reputation of a party willing to accept a likely pedophile into their ranks would spell disaster at the ballot box, both in 2018 and beyond.
The #MeToo movement continues to gain momentum, and President Trump is its juiciest target. With Trump all in for Moore, the entire GOP would have been caught up in the morass, and a Democratic majority in the House and Senate would not just have been likely, but virtually inevitable.
Now, Republicans can try to scramble to recapture some of the moral high ground they abandoned when they decided to throw in with Moore.
Some of that ground, however, is no longer available, because Donald Trump stands right smack dab in the middle of it.
Republicans took the first step away from Trumpism
But make no mistake: tonight was a direct repudiation of Trumpism by one of the reddest of red states. It was a deep humiliation of Steve Bannon, who envisioned Roy Moore as the vanguard for a rancid new pseudo-conservatism that purged the Grand Old Party of the impure and abandoned principle for populism.
But it was a big win for the country – and on the first night of Hanukkah, no less! Given Mrs. Moore’s blithe dismissal of Judaism in recent days, that seems like poetic justice.
(Image via screenshot of Roy Moore’s speech on election night wherein he refused to concede the race.)