Too far? Or not far enough? Despite the freakish rarity of a senator from one party donating to a candidate from another in our tribal age, some liberals on social media grumbled this afternoon that Flake’s hundred bucks was a paltry sum by political standards. Sheesh.
Country over Party pic.twitter.com/JZMTaEYdxQ
— Jeff Flake (@JeffFlake) December 5, 2017
He’s gone too far, writes Ben Shapiro:
Regardless of whether you oppose Moore, it’s unconscionable from a conservative perspective to promote Jones. Jones is a radical Leftist who supports abortion on demand. You can loudly oppose Moore — I do — without sending money to an unapologetic opponent of values in which you believe. This is why “abstaining” exists.
Ben Sasse didn’t like it either:
This donation is a bad idea.
It's possible to be against BOTH partial birth abortion AND child molestation. Happily, most Americans are. https://t.co/BjVH2gL69F
— Ben Sasse (@BenSasse) December 6, 2017
Yeah, I’d never send my money to a guy who supports abortion up to the moment of crowning, even as the sort of symbolic gesture Flake is making here. But let’s not kid ourselves that all of the Moore fans screaming at Jones right now for his grotesque position on life are doing so for principled reasons. For some — not all, but a lot — Jones’s abortion view is worth highlighting not because they find it disqualifying but because they think undecided Republican voters who really dislike Roy Moore might find it disqualifying and stick with Moore instead. No one summarized abortion’s place in the hierarchy of populist priorities better than Ann Coulter did two years ago:
— Ann Coulter (@AnnCoulter) August 16, 2015
If Trump declared tomorrow that he was pro-choice, half the GOP and three-quarters of evangelicals would scramble to justify it in order to resolve their own cognitive dissonance. He’s “only” pro-choice in the first trimester, he wants abortion to be safe, legal, and *rare*, yadda yadda. Here’s how far “Always Trump” Republicans — those who supported him in 2016 and will do so again in 2020 — stack up with the rest of the party on a basic question of legal and moral red lines:
Flake’s donation to Jones is, I think, a middle ground between backing a member of his party in Alabama whom he abhors and going full independent by renouncing his Republican affiliation. He doesn’t want to quit the GOP altogether despite the fact that he’s leaving office because, I assume, he truly believes that conservatarianism is both the past and the future of the party. If people like him quit, that future will be further distant. I’m seeing more of this sentiment among anti-Trump Twitter over the last few days, though, as first Trump and then the RNC have come around to embracing Moore:
Sane Republicans – you know, who do not support child molestation and anti-Semitism – now face a choice: do we finally just abandon the party to loons, or do we stay to try to anchor the party if there's any chance of recovery?
— Tom Nichols (@RadioFreeTom) December 5, 2017
If Moore loses next Tuesday night, no doubt with plenty of Alabama Republicans crossing over for Jones, Trumpers will rage that anti-Trumpers stabbed the party in the back. If Moore wins, anti-Trumpers will rage that the party has abandoned its last pretense of morality. It’s going to be an ugly scene on Wednesday no matter what. This is what divorce looks like.
Exit question: Does Flake realize that Moore will make far more money off of this donation than Jones will?
CALLING ALL PATRIOTS! Pro-amnesty, big gov't Republican Senator @JeffFlake just donated to my pro-abortion, open borders, anti-gun liberal opponent.
— Judge Roy Moore (@MooreSenate) December 5, 2017
Update: Here’s Jones throwing a roundhouse at Moore earlier today.
Doug Jones goes after it re: Roy Moore: "I damn sure believe and have done my part to ensure that men who hurt little girls should go to jail — and not to the U.S. Senate.” pic.twitter.com/BM7Oc7qsuf
— Slade (@Slade) December 5, 2017