The second Hanukah miracle occurred last night when Doug Jones defeated Roy Moore for the vacant US Senate seat from Alabama. While some of us thought this might happen, truth be told, I didn’t really believe it until late last night. The people of Alabama indeed helped America on the path to redemption. It is important to understand what happened and recognize that there are as many heroes as there were villains in this vignette of American politics.
First and foremost, hero status goes to Republican Senator Richard Shelby of Alabama. While his governor was saying that she believed the women, but supported Moore anyway, Shelby went on national television on the Sunday before the election and declared he had written in another name as Moore was unacceptable. This was after Moore was endorsed by the President. Also, Mitch McConnell gets a minor award for never quite falling into the trap of thinking that if Moore won it was OK and another Republican seat, after all. Corey Gardner, the Republican Senator from Colorado and head of the Campaign Committee, never wavered in his opposition to Moore, and Mitt Romney was unequivocal in his opposition to Moore.
Democrats need to ask themselves the question, “what would we do if, in a Democratic state, we had a Moore-like candidate?” It is easy to call for stands of conscience when it is the other team’s guy.
And now the villains. First, let us remember that before the reports about the teenagers he pursued and, in some cases, molested, Roy Moore said that Muslims should not serve in Congress, Gays should be put in prison, and slavery really was the good old days. As to those of us who are Jewish, we were to be consoled by his wife’s announcement on Monday that “our lawyer is a Jew.”
This is the person supported by many Republicans before the stories about his infatuation with teenage girls and mall trolling were made public. It is true in this day and age that Democrats would have looked the other way for different reasons. Just ask Hillary about Harvey Weinstein.
But the real boosters of this man, Roy Moore, were Steve Bannon and Donald Trump. Bannon, who is almost hallucinatory in his ravings about the deep state and morality (he claimed the above-mentioned Roy Moore had more integrity in his little finger that the whole Romney family), not only backed him in the primary but convinced Trump to join the chorus of voices that proclaimed Moore’s infatuation with teenagers was old and, even if it did happen, it wasn’t as important as another Republican vote in the US Senate. When the President decided to weigh in, it was not a surprise. After all, 19 women claim Trump harassed or mauled them and he denies even knowing them. Another case of are you going to believe me or the pictures?
So, Trump had found his soulmate in Roy Moore. They have more in common than we thought. Maybe after this political disaster for the Republicans, someone will help Steve Bannon find a barber and a clothier. Surely Trump owes him that much.