Thursday, January 11, 2018

Colorado Politics: Roy Moore’s fate shows character counts — while control of the House teeters

Sex scandals will be a political topic in the 2018 battle for control of the U.S. Congress. Roy Moore and Alabama highlighted character of the candidates and President Trump will be factors in the upcoming contests. Read my latest opinion piece in Colorado Politics, the state’s political website.

Roy Moore’s fate shows character counts — while control of the House teeters

My Dec. 6 blog on the Alabama Senate race opened with, “Alabama Judge Roy Moore is in the first post-Harvey Weinstein, Matt Lauer, sex scandal election.” His loss in a state that Republicans have held a near total lock on since the early 1990s was a powerful demonstration that character counts. Because of the uniqueness of the election and difficulty of capturing the turnout patterns of major constituencies; i.e., African Americans, rural whites, Millennials, and suburban women, final polls and conventional wisdom, including Democratic commentators, thought Moore was likely to eke out a win. Polls in the last week showed Moore winning by 4 to 9 points, except that the last reported poll conducted by Fox News had Doug Jones up by 10 points. Most observers thought the Fox News poll was an outlier, not a harbinger. But Jones won with about 21,000 votes, or 1.5 percent, of the 1.3 million votes cast.
The following are some conclusions from the election.

Paul Ryan Quits?
The election has significant impact for Republicans as the 2018 contests begin. The first casualty of the Alabama result may be Paul Ryan. He sees the election, as do most political observers, as a mirror image of the 63-seat disaster for Democrats in 2010. Ryan does not intend on being the minority leader, defending the ever embattled and seldom grateful Donald Trump. Clearly, the Alabama result begins to change the calculation for both House and Senate races. And, of course, some of the Republican problems in Alabama have not gone away. In spite of his stunning loss, Steve Bannon continues to recruit anti-Republican establishment candidates and the party’s Trump divisions are affecting races, such as in Arizona and Nevada. Read more…

Former White House Strategist Steve Bannon shakes hands with
embattled Senate Candidate Roy Moore at a rally in Alabama |
Jonathan Bachman/Reuters

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