Some Thoughts on Roy Moore's Boatracing of Luther Strange

Former Alabama Chief Justice and U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore, greets supporter Patricia Jones, right, before his election party, Tuesday, Sept. 26, 2017, in Montgomery, Ala.(AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)
Former Alabama Chief Justice and U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore, greets supporter Patricia Jones, right, before his election party, Tuesday, Sept. 26, 2017, in Montgomery, Ala.(AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)

Former Alabama Chief Justice and U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore, greets supporter Patricia Jones, right, before his election party, Tuesday, Sept. 26, 2017, in Montgomery, Ala.(AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)

 

There have been several posts about yesterday’s results from the GOP Senate Primary in Alabama.

Luther Strange was boatraced.

Strange didn’t lose last night, he was repudiated. He lost 55-45.

Strange’s loss was not a surprise.

Alabama polls have shown Moore leading comfortably from Day One. The only two outliers were an internal poll by Strange’s campaign and another poll commissioned by the NRSC. A victory for Strange would have been a 1-3 point loss. Everyone knew that.

Trump got a wake-up call.

I disagree with my colleague, Joe Cunningham. I don’t see any evidence that Trump went “all in” for Strange. Trump didn’t want Strange (that sounds pretty weird, doesn’t it? Because a lot of Trump’s life was devoted to wanting strange), he was convinced to support him. Trump’s support was the minimum necessary in order to be able to say he had supported Mitch McConnell. Keep in mind, at the rally he held for Strange, Trump mused about his endorsement being a mistake and said he would support Roy Moore if he won the primary. I think Erick Erickson calls this exactly right:

https://twitter.com/EWErickson/status/912983762971037696

From this campaign, it looks as though that Trump is the creature of a significant populist backlash in the nation rather than leading a movement. As the old saying goes, “There go the people. I must follow them, for I am their leader.”

(As a late edit, I just noticed NRO has the same observation.)

The real proof of this will be in the upcoming primaries where some GOPe senators may face a primary stranger. If I’m right, you will not see Trump helping them out.

McConnell has been shown to be a toothless ally.

If you followed the activities of McConnell’s PAC, the improbably named Senate Leadership Fund, they tried to pull the same stuff on Roy Moore that they did to Chris McDaniel in his race against doddering adulterer Thad Cochran and it didn’t work. It is estimated that McConnell dropped something on the order of $9 million on the race and Strange spent another $4 million in GOPe dollars. If you want to identify the major loser it was Mitch McConnell who threw the kitchen sink into the race and couldn’t make it close.

Moore’s victory will have an impact far beyond Alabama.

Most observers think the combination of Moore’s impending victory in Alabama and lots of people willing to spend lots of money to unseat him, led Tehran Bob Corker to announce he would not run for reelection. The magnitude of Moore’s victory is going to act as blood in the water in contested primaries, like those faced by Jeff Flake and Dean Heller, and open races where the GOPe has a preferred candidate.

https://twitter.com/Matt_ryan18/status/912741478866280448

It isn’t a coincidence that McConnell dropped all that money on this race. He saw a win there as a way of impressing upon the lumpenproletariat of the GOP base that they weren’t all that important. The failure demonstrated that McConnell’s money can’t buy victory and that has a great value.

The Senate will be a lot more interesting.

It is entirely possible that the number of reporters based in Washington will double just to cover what Moore has said lately.