I don’t know if Alabama is our most backward state, but it is certainly in the discussion. Interestingly, like Alabama, all of the others are red states and most are in the South. To a great degree that is by design and it certainly affects voting. Juxtaposition this with Alabama’s current Senate race and you have the basis of today’s article. Let’s explore.
Late last week the Washington Post published the statements of four women that claim Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore had sexual encounters with them when they were teenagers. At the time one of the women was 14 and Moore was 32. The age of consent in Alabama was then and still is 16. The activities she outlined constitute statutory rape. Remember at the time of the incident Moore was an Assistant District Attorney. Ignorance of the law is not a legal defense but Moore would be hard pressed to claim even that “defense”.
As of this writing Moore has (not very convincingly) denied all allegations. The difference between the reactions of Alabama and Washington, D.C. Republicans portends the future in my opinion. As of this writing Moore has refused to drop out of the race and I predict he will not.
National Republicans have largely abandoned Moore. A few, John McCain and Mitt Romney most prominent among them, have actually called for him to drop out of the race. Most D.C. Republicans have qualified their call with an “If the allegations are true” caveat. The Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee has severed a joint fundraising agreement with the Moore campaign. In reality the big GOP money people have cut him off. I like to give an accused politician the benefit of the doubt wherever possible but in this case, like several other recent sexual harassment and more cases involving public figures, the evidence is just too damning. (Interestingly the only one who has fessed up is a comedian.)
Alabama Republicans have, almost in lock step, defended Moore. Some have gone so far as to say they don’t care if Moore is guilty of all the offenses he is accused of. Some have tried to liken his actions to those of the biblical holy family. I’m far from an expert on the Christian scriptures, but their arguments don’t hold water even if you were willing to accept the ridiculous premise.
This illustrates the difference between Alabama and national politics. In many states Moore would be abandoned and forced to drop out. Alabama is so politically polarized and many of its voters never expose themselves to a reputable news source. People like Hannity, Limbaugh and Bannon are neither legitimate news sources nor do they bother to fact check the basis of their opinions.
There are three possible outcomes to this race. First, Moore can drop out. As of this writing he has not nor do I expect him to. He has already predicted that there will be further revelations. Why would that be? My opinion is because he knows there are other skeletons in his closet. (The fact that he profited from a supposed non-profit and evaded income tax in the process has been reported and never gained traction.) He feels (correctly) that it is almost impossible for a Republican to lose to a Democrat in Alabama in 2017 so he will take his chances on December 12th.
To date Moore has run a variation of the Rose Garden strategy and hardly made any public appearances. His campaign has been largely a stealth campaign. He is betting his big lead in the polls (10 to 15%) will hold. We will have to wait a few days for polling to come in, but what could happen is that the race tightens and it forces Moore out. In appearances and debates (to date Moore has refused to debate Jones) he could make a mistake(s).
The last possible outcome is that Jones scores an upset win on December 12th. That is certainly the outcome I want to see but I think it is extremely unlikely.
I think the electorate in Alabama is so brainwashed, polarized and prejudice (yes, racism plays under the surface here) that the majority of Alabamans will vote for a hypocritical, statutory rapist, pedophile, sexual predator before they will vote for a Democrat.
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