How on earth does a Republican lose a US Senate race to a pro-abortion first time statewide candidate in Alabama? A generic Republican statewide in Alabama is favored to win about like the Harlem Globetrotters are over the Washington Generals. Trump won Alabama with 62%.
The answer is Steve Bannon.
Roy Moore now joins the pantheon of Breitbart-fueled, crappy, purist candidates like Sharon Angle, Richard Mourdock, Todd Akin, and Christine O’Donnell. Roy Moore will now become a verb like “don’t let your Senate seat get ‘Roy Moored’”
The reason I originally endorsed Luther Strange (and his numbers went up mightily), is that I said Roy Moore will not be able to win the General Election. I was right! Roy worked hard but the deck was stacked against him!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 13, 2017
This contrived battle for “purity” where fratricide is a predictable outcome is the brainchild of someone who is in way over his head and he’s hurt millions of Republicans as a result. Tax cuts will now be harder to attain. Obamacare will be that much harder to roll back. Conservative judicial nominees will be that much harder to confirm.
Candidly, Roy Moore was a flawed candidate from the get-go. In 2012, his statewide race for Supreme Court yielded only 52% of the vote. And he was removed from office. He’s not had any sort of history in performing anywhere near generic Republicans. Trump was right initially to back Strange (also not an awesome candidate), but Strange would have unquestionably beaten Jones.
This race has real impact in Mississippi as well.
First, it shows that a seriously flawed Republican candidate can lose to a Democrat even in the reddest of red states. I firmly believe that if Doug Jones had been a pro-life Democrat, the margin in the race last night would have been Jones +5-7 points. There were a lot of Republicans who held their nose to vote for Moore purely on that issue. Of course in 2014, Travis Childers was totally feckless. But Republicans in Mississippi should now be “woke”. If they push a highly polarizing, flawed candidate through the primary in 2018, there are a handful of pro-life Democrats who could win in a squeaker. If Mississippians really want change in DC and to “drain the swamp”, it may come at a slower pace and with less vitriol than they’d like, but the path is to elect Republicans that are stable and electable that are right on the issues and let the process work.
Second, Chris McDaniel, who said of Bannon “I consider Steve to be a friend of mine, and I do follow his advice,” has changed his timing from “before the end of October” to after the first of the year.
When reached last night, McDaniel confirmed to me
The Democrat’s win in Alabama is very disappointing to conservatives because it now makes it more challenging to enact President Trump’s ‘Make America Great Again’ agenda — one I strongly support. But my decision is based on what is right for Mississippians and what I know is right for conservatives across our nation. That has not changed. I will announce it sometime after the first of the year.”
McDaniel and Bannon’s game is to try and convince you that your 95% friend is really your 5% enemy. Personally, I just want people who can do math and understand that politically, 50% + 1 is the only math that matters. Period. McDaniel fundamentally has not understood that in either the state Senate or in his run for higher office. Bannon apparently does not either. Anyone who would go into Alabama the week before the election and make fun of someone for going to the University of Alabama is too dumb to function. And that’s coming from someone who grew up an Auburn fan.
Even Erick Erickson agrees.
Y'all, there have been lots of warning signs that Steve Bannon isn't the political genius he claims to be. But you need look no further than him going to Alabama to brag that he went to the Ivy League and @JoeNBC only went to the University of Alabama.
— Erick Erickson (@EWErickson) December 12, 2017
The only thing that could be worse for McDaniel is if Roy Moore didn’t concede and tried to dream up some ill-conceived, against-all-odds election challenge to keep this spectacle going. Wait, that might actually be happening.
Finally, this has to be a chilling blow to outside money that would fuel a McDaniel challenge of Wicker. It’s hard not to think that if the money was really already in place that McDaniel would be announced, and having a highly polarizing figure who’s similar to McDaniel in a lot of ways lose might really force the billionaire hedge fund purists of the world to not tilt at windmills like the Mississippi Senate Race. It would be hard enough to unseat a popular and well-funded incumbent in Wicker in an 8-9 month primary. Now that time frame would be compressed to look more like 5 months. In the 2014 cycle, McDaniel was in full swing in October 2013. That made a difference in defining Cochran as he was out working when Cochran wasn’t. But as I’ve said before, Wicker is a different candidate. McDaniel will have to do more than post on Facebook to try and define him. But until such time as McDaniel is a declared candidate, it’s almost impossible for him to do anything.
Folks, this stuff matters. If you support Donald Trump, and I know a lot of my readers do, don’t get wishy-dreamy. The reality is that Trump won because of two things (1) he ran against Hillary Clinton and (2) he was successful in that he could effectively communicate the stakes of a Clinton presidency and got ALL Republicans and a few independents to lay down their swords for a couple of weeks in November 2016 to win. But Republican success nationally right now is tenuous at best.
Just remember – it can happen here.
"They're not gonna keep 'em off the field tonight!" pic.twitter.com/n82yhZhgk8
— Deadspin (@Deadspin) December 13, 2017