So who really won last night? It wasn't Doug Jones. Unless something drastic changes in the next three years, he should be crushed handily by a more mainstream Republican in 2020 when Trump is at the top of the ticket in Alabama. Like my Senator Joe Donnelly, who is I believe the only Democrat holding state-wide office in Indiana, Jones is destined to be a one-term Senator, and an abbreviated term at that. A Soros aligned pro-abortion Democrat doesn't have much of a future in Alabama politics, especially once he starts voting in lockstep with Chuck Schumer.
No, the real winners are a mixed bag.
The mainstream media is a big winner. They found a tool to use against untamed Republicans like Roy Moore, a perfect accusation in this climate of sexual harassment and "assault" that occured four decades ago. In a world of #MeToo accusations of sexual misconduct are as good as a death sentence. I don't think the media quite understood what they unleashed and as Democrats like Al Franken and John Conyers go down in flames it sort of seems like this victory might be a Pyrrhic one but they still got their winning tactic. I expect to see variations of this trick employed again, probably as soon as 2018, with an unprovable accusation is used to undercut conservative candidates. The media in the urban enclaves of D.C, New York and elsewhere despise people in places like Alabama and Indiana and by defeating Roy Moore they feel a sense of getting even for their humiliation on election night 2016.
Another big winner was the "Never Trump" style "conservatives" that hate Trump and hate his right hand man during the election, Steve Bannon. Over at once reliably conservative but now mostly irrelevant National Review, David French crows that "conservatives" that stayed home, wrote in candidates or even voted for radical Leftist Doug Jones were "taking a stand". People like French and the loathsome Bill Kristol are of the old school Republican establishment that don't care about vulgar things like winning elections and passing legislation. They just care about their cushy positions at think tanks and their status as pet, tame "Republicans" that get invited to appear on CNN and to write for the New York Times. These champagne conservatives are like their neighbors in the media that occupy the fancy zip codes around D.C. and New York in that they don't like, don't trust and often are openly ugly toward the very people Republicans rely upon to win elections. Roy Moore epitomized every caricature they have created about Republican voters in fly over country. They hated him from the get-go and the accusations of misconduct decades ago were as welcome a gift to them as they were to the media.
Some really big winners last night were RINO "Republicans" like Susan Collins of Maine, Jeff Flake of Arizona and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska. With the GOP lead in the Senate down another vote and with only a razor thin majority in the Senate, the demands of big government Republicans like Collins will be overwhelming. They will be able to demand huge concessions for their votes and with no margin of error they will get what they want. I don't expect anything positive like national concealed carry reciprocity or real immigration enforcement reform to be enacted until after the 2018 elections but you can bet Susan Collins, Flake and others like them in the squishy Republican middle will be getting all sorts of attention and money from lobbyists and special interest groups for the next year or so.
A surprising winner in this is the Alt-Right. That may seem counter-intuitve given silly essays like this one from Douglas Schoen where he mentions that this election was a blow to Steve Bannon and the Alt-right, especially since Bannon isn't Alt-Right by any definition of the term. But look a little deeper at the numbers. We once again see a huge racial disparity in an election. According to CNN, 96% of blacks in Alabama voted for Jones and they made up almost 30% of the voters even though they are only around 17% of the eligible voting population. Whites voted pretty overwhelmingly for Moore, almost 70%. Every kind of White voted as a majority for Moore, even White college educated women that presumably were swayed by the sexual harassment allegations, voted for Moore by a narrow margin:
|From CNN, accessed 12/13/2017|
The electorate is increasingly divided into White Republicans and Black/Latino Democrats. This plays into the racial self-interest message of the Alt-Right: all politics are identity politics and you had better start thinking about protecting your own racial identity because everyone else is thinking about theirs. The Alt-Right wasn't on the ballot in Alabama but you can bet they will use the results above to advance their message.
This is what I wrote on Facebook in response to a post from Robert Gagnon regarding the David French post I mentioned above.
The election itself was just a sideshow for a much larger struggle for the heart and soul of the Republican party. People like David French, Bill Kristol and NRO in general represent the old school Republican party that is happy to lose as long as they preserve their sense of genteel respectability and keep getting invited on TV. Moore was a flawed candidate, as they all are, but the efforts to suppress the Republican vote from NRO and others speaks volumes about the loyalty of those old school voices of pseudo-respectability that once dictated what it means to be conservative.The 2017 Alabama Senate special election was a huge proxy fight that got out-sized attention from the media that normally doesn't care about Alabama one way or the other. It has also been an absolute circus. Now all the effort and attention will shift to the 2018 mid-term elections where a lot of Democrat Senators like Joe Manchin (WV) and Joe Donnelly (IN) are very, very vulnerable. Given that Democrats have a lot of vulnerable seats to defend and three quarters of the total seats up for re-election to defend in general which will strain their resources, not to mention the general fatigue over Trump bashing in the media, the booming economy and stock market and the absolute inability to make any charges stick to Trump and we could see a major shift in the Senate make-up come January 2019 which only a little over a year away from now.