I have bad news. Roy Moore is going to win.
There was a lot of cheering and back-slapping among Alabama Democrats and other Alabamians with morals and decency last week when Moore officially announced that he was running for U.S. Senate again.
The thinking was clear: Doug Jones beat Moore once. He can do it again.
But that’s foolish.
I’ll explain why, but first, I need to get one big caveat out of the way: Moore’s toughest fight will be for the Republican nomination. And I’m not convinced he can win for one reason — he lost to Jones last time.
That’s a pretty big L to tote around, and it makes for easy talking points for opponents. It’s so easy that Donald Trump Jr., a walking bottle of Axe Body Spray, already landed on it.
Up against a real challenger — someone like Bradley Byrne or Jeff Sessions — Moore’s base might not be enough to push him over the edge if other far-right Republicans are convinced he could lose again.
That said, the one thing Moore has going for him is that the entire Republican establishment — from Mitch McConnell to Richard Shelby — is very publicly against him, and they’re threatening to “do everything” they can to beat him.
For better or worse, Alabama voters HATE being told who to vote for. Even if they’re constantly being fooled into voting for criminals, con men and carnival barkers, they like to believe that they’re the ones making the decision.
If the Trumps and others keep pushing against Moore, they’ll end up pushing him to another win.
And if that happens, I’m sorry to say that Roy Moore will be the next U.S. senator from Alabama.
That’s not a prediction. It’s a guarantee.
I say that because the numbers are easy. Jones beat Moore by just a little over 20,000 votes last time in a special election held in December with no one else on the ballot.
This time around, there will be a presidential race at the top of the ballot, driving voters to the polls, and there will be a straight-ticket Republican option on the ballot.
Alabamians love straight-ticket voting. We love anything that keeps us from thinking too much. No matter how bad it might be for us.
In last year’s midterms, an astonishing 60 percent of Alabama voters used that option. And as the rest of the country voted in more progressive candidates that have worked to make the lives of the common American better, Alabama voters handed an even bigger supermajority to a group of Republicans that has seen seven of its members indicted, including the governor, the speaker of the House and the House majority leader.
Those voters selected that option despite the fact that the Republicans they voted for presented exactly zero plans for addressing any of those voters’ major concerns.
Didn’t matter. They were on the team.
Voters were promptly rewarded by an effort to kill the state’s ethics laws — THE top priority, allegedly, among conservative voters in the state — and a massive tax increase that an overwhelming majority of conservative voters were against.
None of that matters, though.
Roy Moore, should he win the nomination, will be wearing the R jersey. And Doug Jones will not.
And that’s all that matters.
Makes no difference that Jones, in his brief time, has done more for regular Alabama workers than Jeff Sessions did in two decades. Makes no difference that Jones’ record and his campaign promises will be far, far more appealing to 90 percent of Alabama voters.
All that matters is the little R beside the candidate’s name, even if that name is Roy Moore.