December 13, 2017

Democrat wins in Alabama: This is a real problem

Last night Republican candidate Roy Moore lost the race for the Alabama senate seat vacated by Jeff Sessions. A Democrat won in Alabama. Time to panic. Well...maybe not. But there is a serious problem that needs to be addressed.

First, let's get a few things straight (which will be clarified later);
(1) This is not a sea change repudiation of president Trump.
(2) This was a self-inflicted wound by the GOP.
(3)  The Democrats are often a shrewd and always ruthless political machine ready to pounce on any opportunity, or to manufacture one as needed.

What happened? 

Voters in Alabama did not like Roy Moore enough to elect him to the senate.  Roy Moore was not an ideal candidate; the Establishment did not want Moore as their first second or third choice. The Tea Party/#MAGA faction did not want Moore as their first choice either. As a result of a battle between Luther Strange (the establishment's choice) and Mo Brooks (the populist choice). The primary tanked the chances of Brooks after the establishment went all in for Strange, going so far as to enlist president Trump to endorse him during the primary race.

When it came down to Strange and Moore, the people spoke - the establishment has failed Main Street America for decades, so Moore was their reluctant choice over another establishment vessel during the runoff election.  President Trump was dealt a bad hand, forced to endorse Moore in an effort to maintain a 2 seat advantage in the senate. 

The Democrats pounced, digging up either real or fictitious dirt on Moore related to allegations of inappropriate sexual behavior towards women from decades ago that mysteriously arose 30 days before the general election.

The result was a lot of Republicans stayed home and the depressed vote, along with an energized Democrat base was enough for a slim win for the Democrats in the state, and so too the senate.

This was all avoidable. The Republican civil war should be resolved as quickly as possible. The Establishment and the populist/Tea Party/#MAGA faction will have to learn to compromise with each other or else this ridiculous, unneeded loss will be repeated again and again.  The Democrats' civil war might be simmering as well but at the end of the day they fall in line with whomever the winner turns out to be.  And while that sort of toe-the-line mentality is not conducive to the healthy debate of ideas, given the state of affairs within the party,  maybe that's the truce that is necessary.

The truce is vital given that we know how Democrats will take any issue no matter how small or untrue or true it might be, and try to turn it to their political advantage. And they frequently do so quite effectively. This is the real problem.  The GOP may be a big tent, or want to be, and that's a good thing - as long as there is no fighting inside the tent.

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