The GOP Lost a Great Opportunity with Roy Moore’s Defeat

By Kent R. Kroeger (Source:, December 13, 2017)

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The beltway pundits this morning are saying, for the Republicans to have any chance of staving off an electoral disaster in 2018, Roy Moore had to lose in the Alabama senate election.

Not so fast.

Yes, Roy Moore would have been a malignancy attached to U.S. Senate Republicans. But he also would have represented an opportunity for the congressional GOP to distinguish themselves from such a man.

I’m old to remember how the Democratic Party in the 1970s used Alabama Governor George Wallace for the same purpose. And it worked….up to a point.

Could the Republicans have made such a pivot given their current White House occupant’s support for Moore? Why couldn’t they?

An ethics investigation process exists in the U.S. Senate to remove people like Roy Moore, who most likely had a historical pattern of inappropriate contact with female minors, a potentially illegal contact with at least one female minor. It is unlikely Moore would be convicted in a criminal trial on these allegations given the time passed and politicization of his case. However, had he been elected to the U.S. Senate, his fellow senators would have held him to a tougher standard than the American criminal justice system.

Fewer and fewer congressional Republicans are afraid of Donald Trump, who is proving to be a tragically bad leader of his own party. Why would they be? Donald Trump and Steve Bannon aren’t organized enough to influence more than a small handful of party nominations. It’s a big party and GOP party regulars still control the party nomination process for the vast majority of congressional races.

Had he been elected, Moore would have been publicly flogged and humiliated for the sole purpose of allowing Senate Republicans to cleanse their ranks and image of Moore’s stink.

Of course, the Democrats would work hard to deny the Republicans the positive sanitizing effects of expelling Moore from the Senate. But that is politics. Nothing is set in stone. Like a football game, until the game is played, nobody can know for sure what the outcome will be.

We will never see the political game around U.S. Senator Roy Moore. Perhaps the GOP would have lost that game, but why would anyone be so confident the Democrats could capitalize on Roy Moore’s presence in the Senate hallways.

At a minimum, the internecine war on Moore would have made for great television and high ratings for MSNBC. Potentially, Roy Moore could have served as the GOP’s version of Al Franken (D-MN), a soon-to-be a former U.S. Senator.

Unlike Franken, however, Moore would have deserved being cast out of the chamber and the GOP would have benefited far more than the Democrats did by chasing Franken out.


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About the author:  Kent Kroeger is a writer and statistical consultant with over 30 -years experience measuring and analyzing public opinion for public and private sector clients. He also spent ten years working for the U.S. Department of Defense’s Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness and the Defense Intelligence Agency. He holds a B.S. degree in Journalism/Political Science from The University of Iowa, and an M.A. in Quantitative Methods from Columbia University (New York, NY).  He lives in Ewing, New Jersey with his wife and son.