It’s over. Even Trump, a man not known to turn down a good “rigged!” conspiracy theory, acknowledges it. Most of MAGA-land seems to have accepted Alabama’s verdict too, apart from a few dimwits on social media scratching their heads over how Moore could have led for most of the night on Tuesday only to have Jones blow past him at the end (psssst, the populous Democratic urban areas took longer to count) and darkly theorizing about black voters being bused in from Mississippi. You never can tell what the sinister left-wing cabal that rules Alabama might be up to.
Refusing to immediately concede a close election isn’t that unusual. Hillary had to sleep on it before digesting the reality of Trump’s electoral college win, right? What’s galling about Moore pulling this is that he seems unable to accept responsibility for blowing an election when he bears so much responsibility for its outcome. He’s always run weakly in Alabama compared to more generic Republicans; it’s a cliche by now but true that any other GOP pol in the state would have beat Jones comfortably. Only a singularly offensive nominee could have electrified Democratic opposition while short-circuiting Republican turnout at a magnitude sufficient to turn Alabama blue. He even got a gift in the form of a opponent who’s a nut on abortion, and he still blew it. And when the WaPo scandal story appeared, he handled it about as badly as he reasonably could have. If he had been nominated in a state that was even the slightest shade of purple, he would have been destroyed. When you miss the chip-shot field goal that loses the Super Bowl, you don’t pout and demand an official review. Especially after everyone else has left the stadium.
For cripes sake, even Mike Huckabee is demanding some dignity.
Roy Moore won’t concede; says will wait on God to speak. God wasn’t registered to vote in AL but the ppl who voted did speak and it wasn’t close enough for recount. In elections everyone does NOT get a trophy. I know first hand but it’s best to exit with class.
— Gov. Mike Huckabee (@GovMikeHuckabee) December 13, 2017
Maybe that’s part of it, that Moore convinced himself that God would speak through the results and simply can’t fathom the reality that he wasn’t chosen. That reminds me of his spokesman, Janet Porter, allegedly telling Nancy French in 2008 that she didn’t love America because she preferred the Mormon Mitt Romney to the evangelical Mike Huckabee in the GOP primary. If Huckabee versus Romney was a litmus test on patriotism and Christian virtue, imagine how much more of a litmus test Moore versus Jones was. Surely the good lord prefers the former to the latter. So how can the vote totals be accurate?
Meanwhile, at the White House, there’s more than enough blame to go around:
The president himself spread the blame. He faulted his former chief strategist, Stephen K. Bannon, for selling him what one outside adviser described as “a bill of goods” in urging him to support Roy Moore, and he faulted Moore himself for being an abysmal candidate.
In the lead-up to Tuesday night, he had also groused about Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), saying he had been too aggressive in trying to push out Moore.
Fingers are pointing at the RNC too. Chairman Ronna McDaniel — sorry, Ronna Romney McDaniel — is reportedly annoyed that Trump pressured the committee to re-enter the race on Moore’s behalf after they had retreated following the scandal news, but no one held a gun to her head. Said a source to the Examiner after Moore’s defeat on Tuesday night, “Congratulations on dropping the Romney name and picking up a pedophile. Proud day for the RNC.”
Here’s Moore, somehow not managing to get through a four-minute election postmortem without mentioning sodomy. I’m not sure why he wanted to be a senator in hindsight, as the Senate’s not where a traditional-values warrior is going to make a mark. You’re only one of a hundred in the chamber and you’re subject to a filibuster rule on legislation that blocks the majority from imposing its will even when it has 59 votes. The most Moore would have been able to do in the War On Sodomy would have been to grill Supreme Court nominees on their willingness to overturn Lawrence v. Texas and Obergefell v. Hodges — but even that’s premised on the idea that McConnell would have allowed him a seat on the Judiciary Committee, which he almost certainly wouldn’t have. So what was Moore hoping to do as a senator? He would have been better off running for governor, where he’d have a constant spotlight to make theatrical moral stances like the ones he made while on the Alabama bench. Small problem there, though: He’s already run for governor of Alabama twice, getting blown out the first time by the incumbent and finishing fourth in a field of four competitive candidates four years later. You’d think he’d have taken a hint by now that the voters don’t much like him. But no, here he is, eyeing a recount.