Moore campaigns almost entirely about social issues — National Football League protests, the transgender menace — and the wild liberalism of Jones, a law-and-order prosecutor and deer and turkey hunter who says he has “a safe full of guns.” Jones’s grandfathers were members of the mineworkers’ and steelworkers’ unions: Birmingham, surrounded by coal and iron ore, was Pittsburgh — a steel city — almost before Pittsburgh was. Jones hopes economic and health-care issues matter more.
Evangelical Christians who embrace Moore are serving the public good by making ridiculous their pose as uniquely moral Americans, and by revealing their leaders to be especially grotesque specimens of the vanity — vanity about virtue — that is curdling politics. Another public benefit from the Moore spectacle is the embarrassment of national Republicans. Their party having made the star of the “Access Hollywood” tape president, they now are horrified that Moore might become 1 percent of the Senate. Actually, this scofflaw, twice removed from Alabama’s Supreme Court, once for disobeying a U.S. Supreme Court ruling, is a suitable sidekick for the president who pardoned Joe Arpaio, Arizona’s criminal former sheriff. Even after Donald Trump conceded that Barack Obama was born in United States, Moore continued rejecting such squishiness.
Absentee ballots are already being cast. Assuming that the Republican governor does not shred state law by preventing the election from occurring Dec. 12, Republicans’ Senate majority might soon be gone. It has been 21 years since a Democratic Senate candidate won even 40 percent of Alabama’s vote. It has, however, been even longer — not since the George Wallace era — that the state’s identity has been hostage to a politician who assumes that Alabamans are eager to live down to hostile caricatures of them.