“One Easy Trick” to solve the Roy Moore mess

I voted!

Will Franken resign, or won’t he?  It won’t matter much to Minnesota voters, because Franken is a reliable party-line voter, and any replacement is likely to be as well.  In the short-term, it’ll be a Democratic appointee; in 2018, there’d be a special election.  Conyors?  That seat’ll be filled by a special election, and the district is so heavily Democratic that its last Republican representative served in 1948.

In Alabama, we’re looking at a meaningfully different situation.  If Roy Moore were to leave, or if voters were to punish him for his misdeeds in the voting booth, they get a Senator who is ideologically wholly at odds with the preferences of his state.  Objectively, one might say that it’s their own damn fault for voting in the primary for a man who, even prior to the teen-dating/molesting allegations should not have been a party nominee, given his past history of being removed from the office of State Supreme Court Chief Justice due to his refusal to remove the 10 Commandments monument from the Supreme Court building.  But there are issues of turnout and large numbers of candidates:  Moore received  164,524 votes in the first election, and 262,204 in the primary run-off, 55% of the total.  Luther Strange was also hobbled by an ethics scandal that had forced the resignation of the governor who had appointed him, Robert Bentley — “Bentley cooties,” they were called.

It’s also the case that, while Moore’s calculated approach of denying everything (when he could have at least said, “yes, I tended to date younger woman at that time in my life, but I never knowingly dated anyone too young nor forced them to do anything”) is even sleazier for the fact that he paints himself as a True Christian, there’s nothing he could have done that would have been able to give Alabama voters an alternate Republican choice.  And even if, immediately upon the scandal breaking, someone had declared themselves a write-in candidate, it would have split the vote.  And, again, he is a creep for reasons that don’t rely on the veracity of these women’s accounts, so you can’t really expect that he’d pledge to resign after winning the election to secure a Republican seat.

Which leaves us with Doug Jones.  If that man wishes to “put country over party,” there’s one thing he can do:  acknowledge that, if he wins the Alabama seat, he didn’t do so in a fair contest in which voters judged his policies preferable.  He can acknowledge that he doesn’t have a mandate to vote in ways that the people of his state object to, by large majorities.  And, having recognized that, he can resign, offering the people of Alabama the opportunity to elect a Senator without being hobbled by last-minute surprises.

If they still choose Moore, of course, well, then that truly is their own damn fault.

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