The Republican Party Doesn’t Own Christian Conservatives

"He may not have lost by much—but with a tenfold increase in write-ins and a drop-off of 800,000 voters, it appears that Moore was too much for principled conservatives in Alabama." American Conservative

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Aaron Blumer's picture

The Dem. victory in Alabama will have painful consequences, but the nomination of RM was already a painful consequence of evangelicalism's increasing embrace of crass pragmatism (like another nomination back in 2016). Maybe the loss will be the beginning of a turn around. I've been saying since the Trump campaign that Christian conservatives -- and plain old conservatives in general -- have to somehow communicate to the GOP that they will not support just any warm body that they nominate. There has to be a limit somewhere to how low the party will go to "win." The Trump campaign was the moment to say "enough is enough." Too few conservatives sized the moment and so we not only got Trump, but also got Moore. Maybe Alabama is the beginning of conservatives finally saying, "Sorry, you're going to have to give us better nominees."

G. N. Barkman's picture

Except "the party" doesn't pick the nominees.  Voters do in the primaries.  Voters picked Trump.  Voters picked Moore.  "The Party"  (if you mean party leaders and apparatus) did not support either of these candidates.  Perhaps we should say, "Sorry, you're going to have to give us better voters."

G. N. Barkman

Bert Perry's picture

It wasn't the GOP that gave Roy Moore to the voters, but rather the voters.  Same thing with Trump, really.  Don't like guys who waste millions placing 10 commandments monuments all over and get kicked off the state Supreme Court twice?  Don't like strip club/casino owners on the ballot?  Where were you during the primaries, buddy?

Now granted, the GOP could do a LOT better job policing candidates to ferret out things like Moore's apparent habit of dating girls two decades younger than himself when he was young, but the big problem really on both sides of the aisle is that a lot of voters are letting the perfect be the enemy of the good and are staying home to allow the Trumps and Moores get selected while good candidates (Strange, Cruz, Rubio) languish because there is X or Y thing that is not absolutely perfect about them.  You can say the same thing about the Democrats, really.  You had an obvious crook simply because people weren't begging Biden to get off the sidelines.

GregH's picture

Aaron Blumer wrote:

The Dem. victory in Alabama will have painful consequences, but the nomination of RM was already a painful consequence of evangelicalism's increasing embrace of crass pragmatism (like another nomination back in 2016). Maybe the loss will be the beginning of a turn around. I've been saying since the Trump campaign that Christian conservatives -- and plain old conservatives in general -- have to somehow communicate to the GOP that they will not support just any warm body that they nominate. There has to be a limit somewhere to how low the party will go to "win." The Trump campaign was the moment to say "enough is enough." Too few conservatives sized the moment and so we not only got Trump, but also got Moore. Maybe Alabama is the beginning of conservatives finally saying, "Sorry, you're going to have to give us better nominees."

You have it wrong. The party did not want RM. Christian conservatives did.... And over 80% of those people voted for that guy.

You can't blame the party for Trump and Moore. Blame Christian conservatives. The Republican party is smart enough to know better. Idiot Christians are the problem.

Aaron Blumer's picture

It's true that voters pick nominees, but the party is heavily involved in both getting candidates to the primaries and influencing voters in the primaries. The party could have put a stop to Trump and could have put a stop to Moore. It's a matter of using the influence of leadership to demand that a candidate withdraw. They have lots of ways of doing that, but the most common is "Withdraw or I and everyone who listens to me will publicly disown you. And you manage to get elected, I and everyone who listens to me will refuse to support your agenda." It's been done before.

There was a major leadership capitulation to the less ("even less"!) principled elements of the party. I say "was," but it's not over yet. I'm just hoping it's beginning to be over.

But yes, there was a whole lot of pressure from idiot Christians and idiot non-Christians... and politicians are often not courageous. The situation called for statesmanship. I think Ben Sasse acted in that category better than most.

G. N. Barkman's picture

Not so sure your remedy will work, Aaron.  Trump and Moore both ran against the GOP party establishment as much as against Democrats.  Public party opposition (of which there was some), only increased their appeal to voters fed up with the status quo in Washington represented by both parties.

G. N. Barkman

Bert Perry's picture

...but expecting a political party to exclude part of its voter base is probably a fool's errand.  The kicker here is that grass roots people need to start persuading their neighbors to not support lunatics.

OK, granted, you could accuse me of being on a fool's errand with that one, too.