Today, Donald Trump endorsed Republican Alabama Senate Candidate Roy Moore – religious fanatic, anti-gay marriage, Islamophobic, pedophiliac Roy Moore, the most dangerous Senate candidate since David Duke. For the past few weeks, the President has soft-pedaled around a firm endorsement. If they’d been against a Democrat, Sean Hannity would be on TV demanding their damnation at the hands of Satan himself. But the Republicans’ desperation to hold their ranks in Congress knows no bounds, so Trump finally gave up the ghost and endorsed him.
Putting Pelosi/Schumer Liberal Puppet Jones into office in Alabama would hurt our great Republican Agenda of low on taxes, tough on crime, strong on military and borders…& so much more. Look at your 401-k’s since Election. Highest Stock Market EVER! Jobs are roaring back!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 4, 2017
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has not gone so far as to endorse Moore, but he has already walked back on his earlier criticisms. When first learning of the allegations, he called for Moore to remove himself from the ticket. Yesterday, he stated, “The people of Alabama are going to decide a week from Tuesday who they want to send to the Senate…It’s really up to them. In the end, the voters…will make their choice.” By shrugging off Moore’s behavior this way, McConnell exemplifies how the Conservative Entertainment Complex has contaminated the Republican base, perverting the famous words of Vince Lombardi: “Winning isn’t everything, it’s the only thing.”
Sally Albright, a political organizer and communications director who works with the Democratic Party, says, “I am happy that the women [accusing Moore] are having their day in court,”, “but as anyone from Alabama could’ve told you, this was not the way to go after him… victimhood and martyrdom are his superpowers.” Moore first made his reputation as a professional martyr in the early 2000s, when he was tried for violating the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment by displaying the Ten Commandments in the courthouse he presided over. Reporter Randall Balmer, in a Washington Post editorial, recollected his intransigence over the court’s decision to strip him of his judgeship, repeatedly espousing the belief that the Founding Fathers “were aware of no religion other than Christianity.” Untrue as this may be, he has convinced himself and his supporters that they are the ones being done wrong.
“This is a fundamentalist Christian base,” Albright says, “who believes 16 is the perfect age to date and marry women because they don’t have their own identities. They see this as outsiders [like McConnell] coming in and criticizing their way of life…coming in and telling them what to do makes them latch on harder.” It’s true: according to this Pew study, 49% of Alabamans are Evangelicals, and many of their defenses of Moore are rooted in Biblical literalism. Jim Ziegler, a prominent religious spokesperson in the state, cited the stories of Joseph and Mary, and Zachariah and Elizabeth (the parents of John the Baptist) to defend Moore. “His base will walk through fire to vote for him,” Albright continues, “because they think he walks through metaphorical fire for them.”
There is some debate over how much Moore’s pro-life views are a major factor driving his support, and a Huffington Post poll released today says that only 1.5% of Republicans questioned might consider voting for his Democratic opponent, Doug Jones. But take it with a grain of salt, since it was conducted at the beginning of November, before the Washington Post gave voice to his victims. Albright warns journalists not to put too much faith in the polls: “I have no idea what a likely voter looks like, and I’ve asked my friends who vote for pollsters, and they haven’t given me an answer that makes a lot of sense…I don’t know how you figure out what these reluctant Republicans are going to do, whether they vote or not, or what will happen when they get to the ballot box. There are too many variables.”
One good sign is that “Country Club Republicans” who Albright has been in contact may cross the line to vote for Jones because they fear Moore will be terrible for business in their state. And fortunately they say there has been a lot of Get Out the Vote activity in places like Birmingham, Montgomery, and Tuscaloosa. For Jones to win, it will take a huge push to get voters to the polls. And with an endorsement from Donald Trump, their enthusiasm to vote for Moore may deliver him to a position he is manifestly unqualified to hold.
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Jeremy Fassler is a writer and journalist living in Brooklyn, New York.