I’d really planned to, regardless of how the Alabama senatorial race turned out (I narrowly blew my “bet” on it, were I a bettor). Politicians aren’t supposed to blame the voters anymore than pundits are supposed to critique their presumed audience. Only Triumph and Don Rickles get a pass, really.
But there will be many in the GOP base (and commentariat) who blame Sen. Maj. Ldr. Mitch McConnell for his supposed meddling in this race, starting with the primaries. And the party establishment will take their shots at Steve Bannon, Ivy League populist.
But the main fault for Roy Moore losing to Doug Jones in deep red Alabama falls mostly on the voters who nominated Moore, an unfit candidate and one who historically underperformed well before allegations of sexual misconduct emerged against him. If they voted for Moore out of pique at McConnell (when they could have voted for Rep. Mo Brooks), well, they deserve to be ridiculed for acting like children. And if the theory is that McConnell is an evil anti-genius, well, this sounds more like designating the demon in a religious cult than a sober political analysis.
Similarly, Steve Bannon may be a well-heeled clown, but he didn’t date those teenagers. He aligned himself with Moore’s many faults, but they were Moore’s faults and no one in Alabama can claim those weren’t apparent before Bannon jumped on the bandwagon.
Not that the Democrats performed better in nominating Jones. There used to be conservative Democrats in places like Alabama; now there really aren’t and there’s no effort to nominate someone who might have crossover appeal, or even the minimum sort of appeal that might have made him a desperate fallback when the GOP nominated someone like Moore.
Accordingly, it took a barrage of credible accusations of sexual misconduct against Moore for Jones to win on the backs of GOPers who wrote in someone else, or simply stayed home (along with strong turnout from the Dem base). They elected a liberal who will likely be tossed out at the end of his half-term, in a mirror image of Scott Brown’s stunning Senate win in Massachusetts in 2010. They won a relatively short-term victory on a gamble, much like the GOP did in electing Trump last year over the scandal-ridden Hillary Clinton.
We’re not supposed to insult the voters. We’re supposed to pander, to flatter, to condescend. We’re not supposed to treat them as fellow citizens whose rights carry with them a certain moral obligation to nominate solid candidates instead of engaging in political primal scream therapy. I’m taking today off from that politesse, not least because I’m much more confident in betting on people not learning anything useful from this election than I was in predicting its outcome.
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