Politico reports from Montgomery:
Insurgent Roy Moore’s rout of incumbent GOP Sen. Luther Strange in Alabama’s special election Tuesday has senior Republicans bracing for a wave of resource-draining primaries across the map that could undermine their best-laid plans to defeat Democrats in 2018.
Moore’s win — over an incumbent who benefited from millions of dollars in spending by a super PAC aligned with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell — is certain to provide fuel for conservative challengers lining up to take on sitting senators in states like Arizona, Nevada and Mississippi.
The result was a major setback for President Donald Trump, who went all-in for Strange in a state where the commander-in-chief is overwhelmingly popular. And it emboldened Trump’s former chief strategist, Steve Bannon, who said the Alabama race is the opening front in a pitched midterm war against GOP incumbents — and an opportunity to undermine his nemesis, McConnell. After the race was called, Bannon stood backstage with Moore as the victorious candidate prayed.
As he introduced Moore at Tuesday’s victory party, Bannon made clear that he was looking far beyond Alabama, which he called the start of a “revolution.”
Roy Moore, the former Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice who was removed from office after refusing a federal order to remove a monument to the biblical Ten Commandments from the court building in 2003, would be unelectable in most areas of the country outside the Deep South. Moore is one of the last unrepentant “birthers” left, reportedly still questioning former President Barack Obama’s citizenship even after Obama has left office. After somehow regaining his position as Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice in 2013, he was suspended again for ordering local judges to ignore the U.S. Supreme Court ruling legalizing marriage equality. And just this year, Moore suggested that America’s “godlessness” was responsible for the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
All of which you might be tempted to think would put Sen. Cory Gardner, the chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) whose job it is to elect Republicans to the U.S. Senate, in a difficult position? But if you really think any of that stuff is even a moral speedbump for today’s NRSC, you don’t know Cory Gardner:
National Republican Senatorial Committee Chairman Cory Gardner, R-Colo., said in a statement Tuesdsay night, “Our focus is always on keeping a strong Republican majority in the Senate, and that includes Alabama. Roy Moore will be imperative to passing a conservative agenda, and we support him in keeping this seat in Republican hands.” [Pols emphasis]
There you have it, folks! Moore’s agenda is now validated by Sen. Cory Gardner as the “conservative agenda,” and he will be the Republican Party’s fully-supported candidate for the U.S. Senate in the December special election. Since it has been decades since the state of Alabama has elected a Democrat to the U.S. Senate, the odds are on Roy Moore’s side.
To us, the story of Moore winning out over the wishes of GOP brass and even President Donald Trump himself is just more evidence of the reactionary chaos gripping the Republican Party at this particularly ugly moment in the party’s long history. Where last year Trump was the fringe frontier the GOP’s radicalized, “low-information” base embraced over the warnings of every “responsible” player, this year Trump’s brand of pseudo-radicalism is passé–and the real radicals on the far right are stepping up to fill the vacuum created by Trump’s inability to make good on his ill-conceived promises.
And yes, that sycophants like Cory Gardner are rushing to embrace this madness is very bad for America. For everyone who lives in states that would never elect someone like Roy Moore–for example, Colorado–this is the part of the story that should leave you most unsettled.