Apologies for the long gap between blogs. This was due to a technical problem, now resolved.
Sanity prevails – for now.
Call it wishful thinking, if you like, but I can’t help wondering whether Roy Moore’s defeat in the Alabama senate race dislocates the red-state, blue-collar allegiance to Donald Trump. A complete fracture would be too much to ask. But Trump endorsed Moore, if only for the mathematical calculation that Moore represented a vote for the tight Republican majority in the senate, and has been rebuffed by many an Alabamian voter who went for Trump in the presidential election.
Then again, while the Democrats have won the state for the first time in a generation, it is no miracle. The margin of victory was so close that a recount may be necessary. Moore himself has indicated that he will seek one. This thing is not quite over yet.
The other cautionary note that gets in the way of my nascent optimism is that, although Moore was defeated, he ought to have been roundly defeated. In the event, nearly half the voting population of Alabama went to the polls prepared to ignore the vile reputation of a man accused of sexual harassment and child molesting, and who is palpably unfit for office – any office – in myriad other ways.
All this may say more about Alabama than it does about America, but not much more. Before we get all high and mighty about Alabama, let us remind ourselves who sits in the White House. Trump did not get there on a fluke, even if the Electoral College does have a habit of skewing results. His election says a great deal about America.
In short, at a time when sexual predators are being exposed in the media by the dozens every week, Moore was only just pipped to the post when he should have lost in a landslide of earth-shaking proportions.
Still, let us travel hopefully and worry about arriving later. Trump, not to mention the matter of Moore’s vile behaviour, has been rebuffed by a staunchly conservative state in the Deep South and that is surely more than a minor inconvenient mid-term setback of the kind that all presidents suffer and usually reverse.
Alabama is Trump territory. He says all the things that red-necked Alabamans could ever wish to hear – short of restoring slavery – and which Roy Moore preached in evangelical terms – including an apologia for slavery – on the campaign trail. Even Ms Moore risibly weighed in at one point. When asked about accusations that Moore is anti-Semitic, by pointing out that “we have a lawyer who is a Jew”. (The audience appeared to be too shocked to react, either with laughter or disgust.)
That sanity has prevailed, and that Moore – subject to any recount – will not be taking a seat in the senate that should have been his for the asking, is a sanity check of sorts. And it saves the senate leadership the administrative chore of throwing him out, which it almost certainly would have.
Even in the amoral, gutless ranks of the Grand Old Party, there are vaporous sighs of relief in the crisp Washington air this morning.