Alabama's new Democrat senator: An avoidable disaster

The Alabama Senate race was a disaster for Republicans that was entirely avoidable.  The Republican governor, Robert Bentley, appointed Luther Strange to replace Jeff Sessions.  Bentley had ethical problems of his own and resigned.  The replacement Republican governor, Kay Ivey, then chose to hold a special election to fill the seat this year.  Ivey could have allowed Strange to hold the seat until November 2018, the next federal election date.

Though Strange voted with President Trump 100% of the time, Steve Bannon apparently thought this was not enough.  While Trump endorsed Strange in the GOP primary, Bannon (I guess) knew better who was the pro-Trump candidate in the race and endorsed Roy Moore.  Even before any disclosure, true or not, about Moore's past history with teenagers, he was an awful candidate in many ways.  Consider him an Alabama version of Todd Akin. 

Then the Washington Post story appeared.  Of course, it appeared only after Moore had won the primary.  Had the disclosures occurred before the primary, Strange, who lost by a modest margin (26,000 votes), might well have won.  But the Washington Post wanted Moore to be the nominee, as did whoever fed the Post the story.  This is similar to what happened in the Missouri Senate race where Democrats attacked Akin's opponents, hoping to get Akin to be the nominee, knowing full well that at some point, he would open his mouth and be doomed.

The fact that influential black Democrats Cory Booker and Deval Patrick came to campaign, and that Barack Obama and Joe Biden made robo-call tapes, suggests that Democrats had internal polls that showed a real shot at victory and wanted to boost black turnout.  This is Alabama, lest we forget, where Trump won by 28% in 2016.  So thank the governor, who was an idiot for scheduling the election when she did, and Steve Bannon for somehow thinking Trump's choice of candidate was the establishment swamp tool of Mitch McConnell.  Yes, after all, Strange backed Trump only 100% of the time.  Not enough.  He needed to be taken down. 

The GOP now is down to 51 senators, and Jones will not face the voters again until 2020.  Republicans had better get tax reform done before Jones is sworn in, or Bob Corker's no vote means that Susan Collins can blackmail the party to get anything she wants in this bill or commitments for other things.

When legendary baseball manager Casey Stengel took over the brand new expansion team, the New York Mets, he plaintively asked, "Can't anyone here play this game?" – which became the title of a book by Jimmy Breslin.  The GOP has been in business for a century and half, and yet the question is a fair one for the party, too.

The Alabama Senate race was a disaster for Republicans that was entirely avoidable.  The Republican governor, Robert Bentley, appointed Luther Strange to replace Jeff Sessions.  Bentley had ethical problems of his own and resigned.  The replacement Republican governor, Kay Ivey, then chose to hold a special election to fill the seat this year.  Ivey could have allowed Strange to hold the seat until November 2018, the next federal election date.

Though Strange voted with President Trump 100% of the time, Steve Bannon apparently thought this was not enough.  While Trump endorsed Strange in the GOP primary, Bannon (I guess) knew better who was the pro-Trump candidate in the race and endorsed Roy Moore.  Even before any disclosure, true or not, about Moore's past history with teenagers, he was an awful candidate in many ways.  Consider him an Alabama version of Todd Akin. 

Then the Washington Post story appeared.  Of course, it appeared only after Moore had won the primary.  Had the disclosures occurred before the primary, Strange, who lost by a modest margin (26,000 votes), might well have won.  But the Washington Post wanted Moore to be the nominee, as did whoever fed the Post the story.  This is similar to what happened in the Missouri Senate race where Democrats attacked Akin's opponents, hoping to get Akin to be the nominee, knowing full well that at some point, he would open his mouth and be doomed.

The fact that influential black Democrats Cory Booker and Deval Patrick came to campaign, and that Barack Obama and Joe Biden made robo-call tapes, suggests that Democrats had internal polls that showed a real shot at victory and wanted to boost black turnout.  This is Alabama, lest we forget, where Trump won by 28% in 2016.  So thank the governor, who was an idiot for scheduling the election when she did, and Steve Bannon for somehow thinking Trump's choice of candidate was the establishment swamp tool of Mitch McConnell.  Yes, after all, Strange backed Trump only 100% of the time.  Not enough.  He needed to be taken down. 

The GOP now is down to 51 senators, and Jones will not face the voters again until 2020.  Republicans had better get tax reform done before Jones is sworn in, or Bob Corker's no vote means that Susan Collins can blackmail the party to get anything she wants in this bill or commitments for other things.

When legendary baseball manager Casey Stengel took over the brand new expansion team, the New York Mets, he plaintively asked, "Can't anyone here play this game?" – which became the title of a book by Jimmy Breslin.  The GOP has been in business for a century and half, and yet the question is a fair one for the party, too.