Roy Moore, defier of Supreme Courts, thumper of Bibles, hater of gays and everyone else who is not exactly like Roy Moore, is the Republican nominee for Senate in Alabama. He was removed, twice, as chief justice of the state Supreme Court; first for refusing to remove a massive, unconstitutional 10 Commandments monument that he had erected at his courthouse, then for trying to opt Alabama out of obeying Obergefell v. Hodges, the Supreme Court decision that legalized gay marriage. He thinks separation of church and state is “a very religious process,” that the rulings of the Supreme Court do not apply to the great state of Alabama, that homosexuality should be criminalized, and that Muslims have infiltrated the U.S. and enforced Sharia in parts of the country. Maybe in Illinois! He isn’t sure, as he told Vox’s Jeff Stein recently.
Now he is running for Senate, which means we’ll hear a lot more of the sort of rhetoric he offered at his victory party last night. Via CNN:
“We have to return the knowledge of God and the Constitution of the United States to the United States Congress,” Moore said.”I believe we can make America great, but we must make America good,” he said. “And we cannot make America good without acknowledging the sovereign source of that goodness ... which is almighty God.”
At least he’s a snappy dresser:
When Moore announced his campaign, he didn’t seem like a viable candidate. He had competed in the Republican gubernatorial primary twice, in 2006 and 2010, and lost badly both times. His main opponent this time around, Luther Strange, handily out-raised him, but Moore did have the support of Breitbart, Steve Bannon, and other luminaries of the nativist right-wing.
Moore is now the party’s candidate for Senate for a number of reasons, among them that his brand of fanaticism is familiar in Alabama. But two factors likely played a significant role in boosting his campaign. First, Strange was dogged by accusations of corruption. Second, Donald Trump is president, and Republicans are not done sending outsiders like Donald Trump to Washington. Trump is still popular in Alabama. And his endorsement of Strange notwithstanding, he resembles Moore in their shared Islamophobia, racism, and inability to speak in coherent sentences. Call that last trait “authenticity” if you want; that’s how many voters seem to perceive it. Trump himself has realized he backed the wrong horse; according to ProPublica’s Politwoops project, he has already deleted a string of tweets endorsing Strange.
So Moore will run for Senate, and because he is running for Senate in deep-red Alabama he will probably win. This doesn’t mean the Democratic Party should avoid investing in Doug Jones’s race. It should treat this like a race it can win, at least for morality’s sake; Moore is an unabashed bigot who spoke to the white nationalist Council of Conservative Citizens in 1995, and Jones prosecuted two of the Klansmen behind the Sixteenth Street Church bombing. The prospect of Senator Moore should horrify Democrats into making Jones’s race the best they’ve run yet.