Intraparty conflicts aren’t pretty. Just ask any Democrat who got caught in the 1960s-70s battle that damn near destroyed that party in the wake of the Vietnam War.
I am thinking the Republican Party is about to launch a rhetorical bombardment on its own in the aftermath of that stunning loss in Alabama, where Democrat Doug Jones beat Republican Roy Moore in the race for that state’s U.S. Senate seat.
Let’s re-trace a few steps for a brief moment.
- Moore challenged U.S. Sen. Luther Strange, the Republican appointed to fill the seat vacated by Jeff Sessions, who became U.S. attorney general. Donald Trump endorsed Strange, campaigned for him and then watched him lose the GOP runoff race to Moore, who had been backed by Trump’s former senior White House strategist, Stephen Bannon.
- Then came the allegations against Moore from several women who accused him of sexual misconduct. “Establishment Republicans” began fleeing Moore. They withdrew their previous endorsement. Senate GOP leaders said he was unfit for a Senate seat. Then the president decided belatedly to endorse Moore, meaning that Trump and Bannon were back on the same team.
- Moore then lost the election to Jones, a former federal prosecutor. The race was close but it falls outside the margin that triggers an automatic recount. Moore hasn’t yet conceded to Jones. Trump congratulated Jones. Then he tweeted something about how he knew all along that Moore couldn’t win, that the “deck was stacked against him.” What utter crap! The deck was stacked in Moore’s favor, given Alabama’s tradition of backing Republicans over Democrats.
So, what does the Republican Party do now? Does it continue to fight among itself? Bannon considers himself to be a “kingmaker.” His latest candidate for U.S. political royalty has been toppled.
As for Trump? Well, his instincts aren’t so great either. No surprise, given that the president had zero political experience prior to being elected to the highest, most exalted office on Earth.
I sense an un-civil war is about to commence.