An Additional Note on Moore Support
To add to my post form earlier, I would recommend this column in the NYT by Quin Hillyer: How Roy Moore Survives.
He raises two key points that are worth highlighting. The first, which I did not mention in my post, Alabamians have a deep-seated resentment about perceived out of state inference. As such, the following is likely representative of a large number of Alabama Republicans:
Cody Phillips, the extremely genial president of the Baldwin County Common Sense Campaign (the local Tea Party’s name), said he thinks Mitch McConnell, the Senate Republican leader, is behind the attacks on Mr. Moore. Also, he said, he is sure the leftist billionaire George Soros “has provided a lot of money from the Democratic side.”
And of course Mr. Bannon himself kept repeating variations of the demagogic charge that “the globalists in Washington, D.C.,” eagerly anticipate that “if they can destroy Roy Moore, they can destroy you.”
Keep in mind in terms of explaining outcomes: it doesn’t matter if any that is true. It matters what specific voters believe.
The second point is a reinforcement, of sorts, of points I made which is that policy preferences will overshadow allegations. This is especially true if we consider how most voters acquire information:
a series of polls and anecdotal evidence suggested in the past week that support for Mr. Moore was rallying and that larger numbers of Alabamians now believe the worst allegations against him are fake news. This may be hard for outside political junkies to understand. But political junkies often don’t have a clue how voters think. Avid politicos may think a reasonable reader would conclude that most of the accusations against Mr. Moore are credible. But most Alabama voters, even now, haven’t actually read the original reports. Most of them get their news in snippets, either by word of mouth or in TV reports they half-see while herding kids to the breakfast table.
The easy, not-immediately-illogical assumption by most voters is that allegations from 40 years ago, against a man in the statewide public eye for 25 of those years, are inherently suspect if they arise suddenly in a campaign’s final month. Voters don’t parse the details, and many of them consider Washington Post stories to be mere noise from the hated elites.
These people at the rally are absolutely not supporting a man for the Senate despite believing he fondled a partially disrobed 14-year-old. They are supporting a man they think did no such thing, but who is being attacked by powers resentful of Mr. Moore’s supposed moral authority on issues like abortion, same-sex marriage and public religious displays.