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Roy Moore And The Battle For Control Of Congress

Roy Moore Gun

Alex Castellanos, who has worked on the campaigns of Republican candidates for President and worked in Republican political circles for more than two decades, warns that electing Roy Moore to the Senate could end up costing Republicans the House:

Moore in the U.S. Senate would be a gift to Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi. They would hail him as the GOP’s poster boy. Leading up to the midterm elections of 2018, he would star in every Democratic attack ad and a constant barrage of assaults on Republican candidates by the new media.

The Left would glue Moore’s name to every ballot in every congressional and Senate race, and the battle ground is different than in Alabama. Republicans now hold 23 congressional districts Hillary Clinton carried. Democrats need only 24 seats to take the House. Even without Moore as the face of the Republican Party, the GOP House majority is in jeopardy.

Add a 5 or 6 percent Democratic bump of angry, anti-Trump, anti-Moore, suburban, educated women who pour out to the polls in a movement that extends “the reckoning,” and the GOP House is no more. The Senate could fall apart, too. And then?

A Democratic House would waste no time impeaching Trump. A jump-ball Senate, whether controlled by Democrats or Republicans, would be forced to try him. Democrats would vote unanimously to remove Trump from office. And some establishment Republicans, no different than Democrats when it counts, would love to rid themselves of Trump, too. They could go back to business as usual under the wounded presidency of Mike Pence.

In the chess game of politics, sometimes you are required to sacrifice a pawn to save the king. What, on Tuesday, December 12, will be your choice?

You are not just electing Moore or Jones. You must choose between sending Moore to the Senate and losing the House. You must choose between one GOP Senator from Alabama or three or four fewer GOP senators from other states. You must choose between Moore in Washington and the premature end of Trump’s presidency.

More often than we think, the right thing to do is the smart thing to do, too. Measure twice and cut cleanly. Keep Moore at home. You will have wiped a smile from Schumer’s face.

Castellanos’s piece is obviously aimed at conservative voters in Alabama and it’s at least somewhat significant that it was posted this morning at The Federalist, the conservative website founded by Ben Domenech, a noted pundit on the right who has gained increased prominence on the right in recent years. The piece is means largely as a warning, and is similar to predictions that have been made by other Moore critics on the right who have come out against Moore over the past month or more, many of whom are also part of that wing of the movement that dubbed itself as “Never Trump” during the race for the Republican Presidential nomination last year. Like Castellanos, these pundits and activists have spent the better part of the last month or more warning that electing Roy Moore to the Senate could end up being disastrous for a Republican Party that’s already set to face an uphill battle in 2018 in both the House and the Senate. This is one of the reasons why we’ve seen so many Republicans in the House and the Senate come out publicly against Moore. While many of them are no doubt disturbed by Moore controversial views, the addition on top of that of the allegations of sexual impropriety on his part makes him potentially even more poisonous than he already likely is for the Republican Party generally, especially in battleground districts and states, among independent voters who might otherwise be inclined to vote Republican but who are turned off by the allegations against Moore and by Moore’s views. This is especially true given the current climate that has resulted in revelations of sexual harassment and other improprieties by many men in entertainment, the news media, and politics. In this climate, the fact that Moore could end up in the Senate is, along with the fact that Donald Trump is President, something that will place increased scrutiny on a whole host of Republican candidates.

It’s impossible at this point, of course, to measure the impact that Moore is or could be having on the race to control Congress next year. For one thing, with eleven months yet to go before voters go to the polls it’s far too early to make anything approaching an accurate prediction about what might happen in the battle for control of either the House or Senate. As things stand, Democrats have a lead in the Generic Congressional Ballot, with the RealClearPolitics average showing voters saying they’d vote for a Democrat at 45.5% and those saying they’d vote for a Republican at 37.2%, giving Democrats an 8.3 point lead. The numbers are narrower in the Pollster average, which shows an average of 39.9% of respondents saying that they’d vote for a Democrat and 34.4% saying they’d vote for a Republican, giving Democrats a 5.9 point edge. While both of these are favorable numbers, they’ve been relatively stable for the past several months and don’t necessarily indicate which way the midterms are likely to go.

Notwithstanding the caveats above, though, it seems clear that Roy Moore will end up being as much a weapon against Republican candidates as Donald Trump is likely to be. This will be especially true in battleground districts and states where Republican candidates might be potentially vulnerable, and the message is likely to be aimed at the middle-class suburban voters and female voters that I discussed above. If enough of these voters are turned off by the combination of Trump and Moore then it could end up being quite problematic for Republicans indeed. Whether or not this results in the Democrats taking control of Congress as Castellanos predicts is something I’m not willing to predict just yet, but it’s also something I’m not willing to rule out. Republicans have made common cause with an ideology and with people that are clearly poisonous not only to them but also to American politics in general. Whether it comes in 2018 or later, it seems clear that they are going to pay some kind of price for that, and they will totally deserve. When it does happen, of course, they’ll have nobody to blame but themselves.

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About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    Moore looks so cute in his cowboy costume.
    There is a lot of hyperbole in Castellano’s piece…but the general point is spot-on.
    Moore and Trump will be weaponized, as they should be.
    But it’s going to take more…
    Democrats still need to put up quality candidates with a solid message. Running against sexual deviates like Denture Donnie and Cowboy Roy will only get them so far. The transgender woman that won in Virginia won because she had an agenda; fixing congested roads and making the General Assembly more transparent. Democrats need to learn that lesson.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 1

  2. gVOR08 says:

    I don’t think a lot of voters in AL read the Federalist. Or anywhere else for that matter. But I suppose Castellanos hopes to be widely quoted. If Republicans are afraid electing crazy people will make their party look bad, maybe they shouldn’t have worked so hard to build the craziness.

    And I’m confident Moore will help out by continuing to say crazy things after he’s elected. (Although I have some fondness for his opinion we should repeal all the amendments after the 10th. Without the 22nd we’d likely be in Obama’s third term.)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  3. MBunge says:

    So, is this prediction more or less reliable than the declarations that Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem would cause untold havoc? And just so I can put it on my calendar, when is that mass unrest and violent reaction supposed to begin?

    Mike

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 15

  4. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    @MBunge:
    Oh…one of the supporters of child molestation and sexual assault is here to opine. Joy.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  5. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    BTW…Denture Donnie just hit 37.3% approval in the RCP Polling Average…a new low.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  6. Mister Bluster says:

    And just so I can put it on my calendar, when is that mass unrest and violent reaction supposed to begin?

    Several days ago you dimwit!
    US Jerusalem move: Fury spreads from Jakarta to Rabat

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 0

  7. Neil Hudelson says:

    @Mister Bluster:

    Why, it’s almost as if Mr. Bunge has never read the foreign press in his life.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0

  8. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    OT…Sarah Sanders just accused the press of purposefully reporting false information in order to damage Denture Donnie.
    As an example she used ABC’s Brian Ross who made a mistake, and was then suspended for four weeks without pay.
    Not a good day for democracy.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  9. CSK says:

    I really, really have to say this: If the Encyclopedia Britannica needed a photograph to illustrate the entry defining “horse’s ass,” they could do no better than the image of Moore above.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  10. Franklin says:

    Even if he loses, if I were a Republican I wouldn’t hang my hat on “we narrowly avoided electing a child molesting Senator!”

    Some damage is already done, although I admit people’s memory will fade faster if he goes away.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  11. Mikey says:

    @Daryl’s other brother Darryl:

    The transgender woman that won in Virginia won because she had an agenda; fixing congested roads and making the General Assembly more transparent.

    Indeed. Defeating the state’s chief homophobic bigot was a delightful bonus, but Ms. Roem’s agenda would have been just as successful if she were still Mr. Roem.

    It’s hard to lose in Northern Virginia with a good plan to relieve traffic congestion. We plan our lives around that shit up here.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  12. JKB says:

    To help things along, THIS TV is running Woody Allen’s 1979 ‘Manhattan’ tonight. You know the acclaimed movie about a 42-yr old NYC television writer dating a 17-yr old high school girl.

    Isaac Davis: She’s 17. I’m 42 and she’s 17. I’m older than her father, can you believe that? I’m dating a girl, wherein, I can beat up her father.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  13. Mister Bluster says:

    @iJustKeepBabbling:..blah, blah, blah.

    You don’t have to watch it Zippy.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  14. Gustopher says:

    @JKB: So many things wrong…

    – First, 17 is substantially less worse than 14.
    – Second, the movie “Manhattan” is fiction
    – Third, Woody Allen is not running for Senate
    – Fourth, no one has said that Woody Allen isn’t creepy as can be

    If the moral bar is “at least he didn’t marry his own stepdaughter”, you might not be trying hard enough. Just admit that you care more about a Republican sitting in the Senate than you do about him molesting children.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  15. Gustopher says:

    Also, gosh, I feel reassured that Roy Moore and his wife aren’t anti-Semetic. Their lawyer is jewish!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  16. Guarneri says:

    Trouble for Republicans? Oh, I don’t know. Drowning a young lady in his car while driving drunk didn’t seem to hurt a Teddy, except for the fake neck problem. He went on to become a “lion.”

    Lion after lyin’ you know……..

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 3

  17. gVOR08 says:

    @Guarneri: That’s so 1969.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  18. JohnMcC says:

    @Guarneri: There was this family one time. They were known for being really strong conservatives. It was said about them that they ‘had learned nothing and forgotten nothing’. I forget what happened to them…. I think it wasn’t nice.

    But I’m sure that you’re different, my friend Guano. Really, really different.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  19. Lit3Bolt says:

    @Neil Hudelson:

    It wasn’t in Highlights magazine so he wouldn’t know.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  20. Terrye Cravens says:

    @Guarneri: Is Ted Kennedy running for office? Why, no, he is dead…and so is your argument.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  21. MarkedMan says:

    Shorter Guarneri: when Teddy Roosevelt was a young soldier he led US troops in immorally seizing land, and he later became a champion of the national park system. Therefore today anyone who is in favor of national parks has no right to speak on any subject.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  22. JKB says:

    @Gustopher:

    You are missing the point. Most voters are likely to be near 50 yrs old or older. That means they were teenagers or dealing with teenagers when these allegations supposedly happened. They have context. The “child molestation” refrain you and yours keep pushing is probably backfiring as those of the age know that at that time teenage girls dated older men. They did it by choice and made efforts. Nothing in the allegations reveal anything than teenage girls who were seeing an older guy who made a “move.” There is no coercion or grooming.

    You also need to accept that in the late 1970s, the battle for parents, at least in the South, were to try to keep their daughters, and sons, from adopting Hollywood morals of promiscuity and dating older men, or being a groupie. The girls did these things by choice, by being feminists and most do not now see their choices, as poor as they might have turned out, as anything but their responsibility. Although have come to feel that mom, or dad, should have tried harder to keep them from the freedom they sought by hook or crook.

    Now we see hypocrisy from the Left. You spent decades undermining traditions mores and now suddenly, when it is politically profitable, you are puritanical?

    Something most of the Left can’t seem to conceive of, people have memories and remember the past.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  23. the Q says:

    If Doug Jones came out against abortion, this election wouldn’t even be close as one poll found. Jones would be up double digits over Moore as this is a big issue to the rednecks.

    Question, so many of you were pis-sed at Bernie people who wouldn’t compromise and didn’t vote for Hillary, excoriating them for in essence electing Donald. So what if “Hillary ain’t perfect” some of you condescended, she’s still better than Trump.

    Can we put that same onus on the party’s radical abortion feminists who would rather lose to a child molester than have to sacrifice the “abortion on demand” plank that is a de facto litmus test for all Democratic candidates? Or his stance on the LGBTQ bathroom stuff?

    Abortion is legal and isn’t going anywhere. To have a Dem in the deep south be pro abortion shouldn’t be a big issue compared to electing a wingnut lunatic to office.

    Is having our Dem candidate be against abortion really such a huge issue compared to the wingnuts potentially repealing Obamacare, the inheritance tax, adding a trillion to the deficit, raiding social security and medicare to pay for the rich’s tax cuts?

    I would have no problem if in this case, a deep south Dem has to make a coldly calculated policy decision in order to beat a horrific alternative.

    And now you know how the Dems have, in the last 6 years,lost 1,100 state seats, the Congress, SCOTUS AND the Presidency.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 2

  24. Mikey says:

    @JKB:

    You are missing the point. Most voters are likely to be near 50 yrs old or older. That means they were teenagers or dealing with teenagers when these allegations supposedly happened. They have context. The “child molestation” refrain you and yours keep pushing is probably backfiring as those of the age know that at that time teenage girls dated older men.

    This is some of the dumbest bullshit you’ve posted yet. I’m 51 and if some thirtysomething man had shown up and tried to ask one of the girls in my 8th grade class out on a date, we’d have called the cops.

    Now we see hypocrisy from the Left. You spent decades undermining traditions mores and now suddenly, when it is politically profitable, you are puritanical?

    So now it’s “puritanical” to think a 32-year-old grabbing a 14-year-old by the crotch is a bad thing?

    What reality do you inhabit? Holy shit.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  25. JohnMcC says:

    @the Q: I agree that a D-party candidate who had no serious objection to so-called “pro-life” laws would win. In fact, every-frigging-body in the whole world has noted that Mr Jones’ statement about abortion sewed up a large number of anti-Jones votes.

    Brilliant.

    I am left with the conclusion that Mr Jones’ statement on ‘choice’ is an honestly held position. It would be if I (for one) were running. I imagine that most of the commenters here would make a public statement that we are in favor of a pregnant woman’s right to choose her course.

    You aren’t advocating a Democrat lie, now, are you?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0