The Strange Political Race in Alabama

28 September, 2017, 00:42 | Author: Laura Christensen
  • Former Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore displays a gun during a campaign rally held in support of his Senate candidacy on Monday Sept. 25 2017 at Oak Hollow Farm in Fairhope Ala

In a 2002 legal brief he branded homosexuality an "inherent evil". But he also trumpets more recent and widespread aspects of modern Christian nationalism.

But not all religions.

Moore was boosted by nonstop positive coverage from Breitbart News. In recent days, he even suggested - falsely - that communities in IN and IL are living under Sharia law.

"We have to return the knowledge of God and the Constitution of the United States to the United States Congress."
And in today's Republican Party, those views - and his unapologetic willingness to voice them - will make him a major player on the ideological right of the party. Moore, who lost his position as Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court twice, for ethics violations, was the candidate of choice for Trump's former chief strategist and current Breitbart chief Steve Bannon. Soon he was on the Moore bandwagon, breaking with his former boss and bashing Washington's elites, alleging that they think Alabama voters are nothing but "a pack of morons". "Roy Moore is unfit to serve; all you have to do is ask [Sen.] Mitch McConnell about that".

Numerous opinions Moore wrote as chief justice suggest he is a staunch opponent of abortion and gay rights. Last year, he was permanently suspended after a disciplinary panel ruled he had urged probate judges to defy federal court decisions on gay marriage and deny wedding licenses to same-sex couples.

It is unclear if candidates in this mold will be able to succeed in 2018. Moore could fall in line with leadership once he's in office, of course.

Moore faces Democrat Doug Jones in a December 12 special election. Ron Johnson (R-WI) about Moore, playing a clip of the Alabama candidate saying in December that he didn't believe former President Barack Obama was born in the United States, and another in which he said the teachings of Islam were "completely opposite what our First Amendment stands for".

In a race that started as something of a political reconsideration and ended up displaying the right's tolerant segregation, the triumph by Mr. Moore, one of the most persistent figures in Alabama politics, will likely encourage other anti-bureaucracy conservatives to summon mandatory Republicans in the succeeding year's midterm election. But it's far more important than that indicates - it's a marker in estimating President Donald Trump's hold on the GOP. Rather than speak out against the open intolerance and bigotry that has found a comfortable home within the Republican Party, GOP officeholders have winked and nodded at the Roy Moores of the world - and his supporters.

Rather than excising bigotry and extremism, they've sat back and remained silent as it's metastasized within the Republican Party.

Ultimately, more polling and study is needed to determine exactly where Moore's support came from.

Democrats think they've found a strong candidate in Jones, 63, a former US attorney best known for prosecuting two Ku Klux Klan members in the 1963 bombing of Birmingham's 16th Street Baptist Church that killed four African-American girls.

Michael A. Cohen's column appears regularly in the Globe.


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