Originally Published: December 18, 2017 6 a.m.
They and their soulmates in the liberal media can celebrate the victory by Doug Jones in Alabama’s U.S. Senate race until next fall.
They can continue to fool themselves into thinking that Republican candidate Ray Moore’s narrow defeat was a sign from above that the Democratic Party will regain control of Congress in 2018.
And that Moore’s defeat will prove to be the beginning of the end for President Trump.
But what happened on that Tuesday in the reddest state in America — the state Donald Trump won by a landslide — was not a harbinger of the death of the GOP.
The Moore-Jones contest was a bizarre one-off — a controversial, nationally publicized, expensive, hard-fought special election featuring a horrible Republican candidate that will go down as one of the most embarrassing races in modern electoral history.
Jones, the Democrats and Trump-hating media have good reason to high-five each other over their victory — in the short run.
But the biggest loser on Tuesday was not President Trump, who publicly supported Moore in the final days.
It wasn’t even the incompetent GOP, whose meddling national leadership made Jones’ seemingly impossible win possible.
The biggest loser by far was Steve Bannon, Roy Moore’s chief cheerleader and future puppet-master.
Moore was his “flawed” candidate, as I’ve heard some people in the GOP call him.
I’m not an establishment Republican. But I know stupid when I see stupid.
MOORE WAS ACCUSED OF SEXUAL MOLESTATION!
AND HE WAS NOT ABLE TO CONVINCINGLY DEFEND HIMSELF!
That’s why Moore lost.
That’s why so many Republican women stayed home.
That’s why so many Republicans would not put their party’s political interest above a candidate who had been credibly accused of molesting teenagers decades ago.
That’s why 22,780 Alabamans cast write-in votes — 2,000 more than Jones’ margin of victory.
Moore and his backward brand of Christian “conservatism” were an embarrassment to Republicans long before he was accused of molesting teenagers half his age.
No matter how important it was to preserve the GOP’s slim majority in the Senate, President Trump and the Republican National Committee never should have jumped back in the game and backed Moore.
Now the Moore loss is hung around their necks — and they’ve given the Democrats a great campaign ad for the 2018 elections:
“Hello voters. We don’t support child molesters. Republicans do.”
Nevertheless, all this happy talk in the liberal media about the Moore-Jones race being a referendum on Trump is simply not true.
It was a referendum on Moore and Bannon. That’s all.
In fact, President Trump actually dodged a bullet when Moore was not elected.
Moore would not only have been an ongoing GOP embarrassment. He would have been a Bannon puppet in the Senate, not a Trump puppet or a Mitch McConnell puppet.
What Republicans have to do now to keep control of the Senate is what President Trump said — find better candidates.
That’s not going to be easy.
Anyone running for office today has to be willing to have anything bad they did in their entire life plastered on the front page of the local paper.
Everyone, including me, did something wrong or stupid in their life they don’t want to see made public.
So President Trump may want the GOP to find better candidates, but good luck on that. Jesus died on the cross a long time ago.
Michael Reagan is the son of President Ronald Reagan, a political consultant, and the author of “The New Reagan Revolution” (St. Martin’s Press). He is the founder of the email service reagan.com and president of The Reagan Legacy Foundation. Visit his websites at www.reagan.com and www.michaelereagan.com. Send comments to Reagan@caglecartoons.com. Follow @reaganworld on Twitter.