The Thinker: Rich Galen


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Moore was Less

Rich Galen

Wednesday December 13, 2017

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  • Senator-elect Doug Jones has this in common with Donald Trump: They each ran against the only person they could have beaten.

  • Roy Moore and Hillary Clinton.

  • Doug Jones will cause the GOP leadership in the U.S. Senate major headaches for the next few years (as a Class II Senator, he doesn't run again until 2020) but not as many headaches Mitch McConnell et al. would have had to deal with had Roy Moore shown up, cowboy hat, pistol, horse, and all, on the doorstep of the Capitol building demanding his seat.

  • With Jones, a real-time Democrat, McConnell can do the arithmetic: 51 Rs - 49 Ds (including independents that caucus with the Dems). With Moore in that seat, Republicans could never be sure what he was going to do, how he was going to vote.

  • Roy Moore might well have made GOP Senate leaders long for the good-old days of Ted Cruz and the shut-down battles.

  • But, that is not to be. Doug Jones won by about 1.5 percentage points - well outside the half percentage point trigger for an automatic recount.

  • Turnout in special elections are typically small - sometimes so small as to raise questions about their legitimacy.

  • The Alabama Secretary of State, John Merrill, had predicted about 25% of Alabamians would participate (compared to about 62 percent in the 2016 election). As reporter Mike Cason wrote for
    "More than 1.3 million of Alabama's 3.3 million voters participated for a turnout of 40.4 percent, according to unofficial results from Merrill's office."

  • Of course, everyone on the D side is taking credit, and when the margin of victory is this thin they all have a claim. If Black turnout hadn't been at Presidential levels, if so many White women with college degrees hadn't voted, if Roy Moore were not the weirdest person to appear on a statewide ballot since Christine O'Donnell had to spend money on advertising the fact that she was not a witch, Moore probably would have won.

  • But, they were and he didn't.

  • The losers are easier to identify: Steve Bannon and Donald Trump.

  • Bannon has built himself up to be the Mad Genius of American Politics. Maybe he is, but as The Lad (@ReedGalen) Tweeted last night:
    I tell people two things when they talk about @realDonaldTrump:
    1. If you say, "if that guy can do it, so can I." You are wrong.

    2. If some consultant rolls in and says, "I have the Trump playbook and know how to run it," you're getting bad advice.

  • Moore was such an abysmally flawed candidate that it is doubtful Trump's (or Bannon's) interference made any difference in the outcome.

  • If you are looking for a peek behind the curtain of the 2018 mid-terms, the elections this past November are a better example of the scenery being constructed.

  • Ed Gillespie, running for Virginia Governor on the Republican line, was a great candidate. He got whipped by nine percentage points. Jill Vogel, the GOP candidate for Lt. Governor, was likewise a terrific candidate. She got closer but still lost by nearly six percentage points.

  • In addition, Republicans running for the State Legislature got hammered. The House of Delegates had been under GOP control, 66-34. The dust has not yet settled with three seats being recounted, but as of today the GOP majority has shrunk to one: 50-49 with one seat still too close to call.

  • If nothing else, the Alabama result will add to the confidence of Democrats across the country that if they were ever going to run for public office with the wind at their backs, 2018 is likely to provide at least a category 3.

  • Donald Trump probably wasn't harmed. He has the unwavering support of about a third of the U.S. Population. Among Republicans, according to Gallup, he remains the darling of some 82 percent of Republicans.

  • But, an early indicator of trouble for Roy Moore was exit poll data showing - in the reddest of red states - Trump's job approval was even at 48-48.

  • The Alabama election is finally behind us. Doug Jones will likely take his seat in early January when the Second Session of the 115th Congress convenes with one less Republican vote.

  • Thanks to Moore.

  • On the Secret Decoder Ring page today: A explanation of Senate Classes, a link to the Washington Post's analysis, the Wikipedia link for Christine O'Donnell.

    The Mullfoto is of a pin that is a pretty good seasonal pun.

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