Category: Election 2018

The Alabama Shit Show

I knew things were going to be bad when twice-defrocked theocrat Roy Moore won the Republican nomination for the Senate. But I didn’t imagine it would be this bad. I’ve been tinkering with those post for days, but things keep happening. I’ll assume you’re mostly up to date, so I’ll just highlight a few thoughts.

First, while Moore is obviously innocent until proven guilty, I find the allegations against him both credible and disturbing. He has admitted to dating high school girls when he was in his 30’s. There are reports that his creepy behavior was well-known in the area. The original WaPo article interviewed at least 30 sources. And the two women who have accused of non-consensual acts both crossed me as truthful. Innocent until proven guilty is our standard for criminal proceedings. But for someone who is going to be a Senator, someone who is going to wield real political power, someone who could, at some point, hold the fate of the country in his hands, I think a higher standard is required. People should not vote for Moore. And if elected, he should step down.

Moore is still leading in the polls and I expect him to win. A lot of people are rallying to his side and some have said the allegations make them more likely to vote for him. I want to be clear: this is not because people approve of his behavior; it’s mostly because they think this a Democratic Party dirty trick. That hasn’t been helped by a slew of garbage fake stories about how the yearbook signature is both too good and not good enough, how the restaurant Beverly Young Nelson worked at didn’t exist, how the women were paid money. It’s included things like faking a letter of support from 53 pastors and an obviously robocall from a “Bernie Bernstein” claiming to be looking for dirt on Moore.

With that caveat, I have read people saying that a pedophile would be preferable to a Democrat. This is deeply deranged partisanship. It’s not like Doug Jones is a lunatic or something. He’s a law-and-order mainstream Democrat who supports gun rights and defense spending. His big claim to fame was prosecuting the Alabama church bombers. Yes, losing that seat will hurt the GOP’s agenda. On the other hand, holding it has done exactly zilch for their agenda. And if the GOP’s governing ability comes down to whether a deranged, creepy bible-thumping hypocrite like Moore is in power, the party is deeply lost.

Given the rash of sex abuse scandals that have erupted lately, I’ve seen a number of Democrats saying that they should have taken the allegations against Bill Clinton more seriously. I’m glad to hear that but their mea culpa is a decade late and a billion dollars short. It’s easy to be intellectually honest once you’ve got nothing to lose. If Hillary were President right now, they’d still defending Bill. Hell, they’ll probably go back to defending him again come, oh, December 13.

American politics is broken and our parties are broken. If our parties were functional, we would not have seen the Clinton-Trump fiasco of last year and we would not be seeing the Roy Moore fiasco of this year. All three disasters would have been nipped in the bud. But the leadership of both parties is now filled with people who think politics involves scoring points on Twitter and raising oodles of cash from special interests. The practical aspects of politics — building constituencies, recruiting good candidates, defusing opposition — has gone out the window.

I’d like to say the electing Moore is the apotheosis. But things can always get worse.

When Moral Victories Aren’t Victories

The Left Wing is in a tizzy because the special election to replace Mike Pompeo ended up closer than expected:

Republican Ron Estes beat back a surprisingly strong challenge from an unheralded and underfunded Democratic challenger to claim a special election victory in Kansas’ 4th district on Tuesday night.

A win is a win — and Republicans avoided the catastrophic outcome of losing in a congressional district where President Donald Trump won by 27 points last November. But in Estes’ victory there are warning signs for Republicans preparing for the first midterm election of the Trump presidency in 2018.

Let’s count up the number of winds the Democrats had at their back: Brownback is one of the most unpopular governors in the country; Estes was his treasurer and Brownback budget management is a big reason he’s unpopular; Trump is unpopular, currently at 42% approval in RCP’s poll-of-polls; the Democrats didn’t put a lot of money but they did focus on this as a potential pickup. And they still lost by about seven points.

The Democrats are very big on these “we almost won” things. But ultimately, a win is a win. The Republicans keep the seat and will likely keep it in the near future. It shows you how utterly beaten the Democrats are at a national level that a seven-point loss can be spun as a turning of the tide.

Is this a warning for 2018? Sure. But it’s no more a warning than Trump’s poll numbers and the general discontent out there. Every politician should be in fear of losing his job. But predicting 2018 is foolish at this point. At this point two years ago, Clinton was supposed to crush Trump by twenty points (actually, she was supposed to crush Jeb Bush). The 2018 election will be decided by what the economy is doing and how well Trump is doing. A small Kansas election is a much of a harbinger as … well, Clinton’s one-time 60+ approval rating.

Update: I did want to add one note. Brownback is unpopular because his “cut taxes and uh, something something supply side” economic agenda didn’t work. He deserves criticism for that. But so do the liberal governors who have almost bankrupted their states as well, notably Dannel Malloy, who is happily driving Connecticut right into a brick wall and is the second most unpopular governor in America. Are we going to hear about how elections are referenda on the liberal economic agenda?

I won’t hold my breath.