It's happening: Trump to campaign for Roy Moore after all -- kinda sorta

He’s not going *to* Alabama, he’s going *near* Alabama. Which is a cuck move, no? If you’re going to endorse the guy, endorse him. There’s no running away from him at this point. Especially since, if he wins, Senate Republicans are going to start squawking at each other about whether Moore should be expelled. Trump will be forced to weigh in on that and of course he’ll say that Moore should stay, declaring “the people have spoken.” His base would freak if he did anything else. And the media would demand to know why, if he thinks Moore should go because he’s been accused of sexual misconduct by multiple women, Trump himself shouldn’t resign for the same reason.

If he’s destined to embrace Moore after the election, he might as well embrace him before. The odds of Moore embarrassing Trump by losing in an upset are slim and none, and slim’s on his way out of town given the recent polling.

Trump is expected to hold a campaign-style rally in Pensacola, Fla., about 20 miles from the Alabama line, next Friday. The rally is four days ahead of the Dec. 12 special election in Alabama, where Moore faces Democrat Doug Jones.

At the Dec. 8 rally, advisers said the president is likely to attack national Democrats and may attack Jones. It is unclear if Trump will fully wade into the race.

Pensacola is in the same media market as Mobile, Ala., which could allow Trump to reach Alabama voters without having to actually travel to the state and specifically rally for Moore.

The only obvious reason not to hold the rally in Alabama itself, for maximum impact, is because Trump doesn’t want to make it any easier for the media to tar him by association if Moore loses. But they’re going to do that anyway. Trump has anti-endorsed Democrat Doug Jones in an impromptu press conference outside the White House and on Twitter. He’s not encouraging Republicans to stay home or to write in a candidate; Moore’s the only Republican who can win, so that’s what Trump wants. It’s silliness to pretend otherwise.

Maybe holding the rally in Florida is insurance in case any damaging new accusations against Moore emerge between now and then. If he schedules a rally in Alabama and then a new bombshell drops, Trump is stuck. He’ll either have to cancel the event, which will be read as a vote of no confidence in the candidate by the White House, or he’ll go ahead with it and look really bad hugging a man who’s momentarily swimming in sleaze. By scheduling the rally for Florida, near the Alabama border, he can go ahead with it no matter what happens and tailor his message accordingly. If there are no new allegations by then, he can endorse Moore. If there are, he can avoid mentioning the race altogether and just do a standard tax-reform pitch or whatever. The media will still punish him for pushing for Moore’s victory on Twitter but that cake is already baked.

Since we’re on the subject of Moore, I’m obliged to mention his Twitter feud today with Jimmy Kimmel, which is very 2017 even by the endlessly absurd news standards of 2017. Kimmel started it by sending a comedian to Alabama to heckle Moore during a speech at a church, of all places. Moore’s been trying to deflect the scandal coverage by hammering his “Christians against the elites” message even harder than usual lately, telling the audience last night that the stories about him chasing teenaged girls (and allegedly assaulting one of them) are a plot by an unholy coalition of lesbians, gays, bisexuals, and socialists. The goal is to convince voters that if they’re not thrilled with the idea of voting *for* Moore, they should at least vote *against* the bad guys by sending him to the Senate. (Which is Trump’s message too. Stop the Democrat!) Kimmel’s stunt allowed him to add Hollywood elites to the roster of bad guys, so he did.

Each man represents a slice of American culture despised by the other’s fans. No losers in that exchange.

Here’s Kimmel’s guy making a fuss at church. Increasingly I’m interested not so much in the outcome of the Senate race, which is a very likely Moore win, or even the result of a Senate vote on expelling Moore as whether the Senate even holds a vote at all. Remember, some very powerful Republicans are on record as saying Moore should be kicked out if he wins, starting with Mitch McConnell and NRSC chairman Cory Gardner. McConnell has reportedly “predicted” Moore’s expulsion while Gardner has called for it to happen. That’s going to be a very heavy lift, though, with Trump in Moore’s corner, energized by his victory in Alabama, and populist voters bristling at the dreaded establishment attempting to oust a duly elected senator over unproven allegations. McConnell will need at least 19 Republicans to back him and some, like Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz, have already begun to hedge. If he can’t get 19 there’s no point bringing an expulsion motion to the floor and forcing a painful vote for Senate Republicans who’ll fear alienating their constituents if they vote to expel Moore and alienating everyone else if they don’t. There won’t be a vote.