McConnell: I believe the women, Moore should step down
The Roy Moore child molestation scandal continues to grow, with Republican Senate Leader Mitch McConnell now publicly saying that he believes the women, and he is calling on Moore to step down. Here’s my take on why this matters….
First, as background, I wrote extensively about this story here, you can listen to my podcast about it here, and please donate to Roy Moore’s Democratic opponent Doug Jones here.
As you know, Moore is running in a special election this December 12 for the US Senate seat that Jeff Sessions gave up when he became Donald Trump’s attorney general. Moore is running against Democrat Doug Jones, who is a great guy, and now may beat Moore as a result of this scandal, particularly in light of the growing Democratic momentum following this Tuesday’s election blowout in Virginia and across the country.
Now, back to McConnell. Why does this update matter? A few points.
1. Can Doug Jones win?
Yes. It was always considered a longshot, but a doable one, but after the surprising success Democrats had nationwide in this past Tuesday’s election, Jones’ chances grew significantly. And now, after this past Friday’s allegations that Moore sexually molested a 14-year-old girl who he met at her custody hearing (creepy!), and is alleged to have hung out at high schools and malls looking to pick up teenagers when he was in his 30s, Jones’ chances grew exponentionally.
2. Then the GOP Senate steps in.
A number of Republican Senators had already taken back their endorsement of Moore’s candidacy, but McConnell’s statement this morning is a game changer in a number of way. It makes it nearly impossible for any Republican in Washington, DC to continue supportiong Moore. But more importantly, it raises the question of how McConnell, who has just said publicly that he believes Roy Moore is a child molester, can seat Moore in the US Senate if and when he wins in December.
Now, from the research I’ve done, it might be difficult for the Senate to not recognize Moore’s election as legitimate. Typically, the Congress can only say “no” to seating a new member if they believe the constitutional requirements were not met, such as the election not being legit. In Moore’s case, what the Senate could do is seat Moore and then immediately expel him from the chamber, which they very much CAN do. This was the approach they were going to take to remove serial sexual harasser, and former Senator, Bob Packwood. But the threat to do it was enough to force Packwood to resign.
So the question arises: How could McConnell NOT move to expel Moore after saying that he believes Moore is a child molester? He can’t.
Now, what happens after the Senate expels Moore in December? In many states, the governor can appoint a new Senator who serves until the next regularly-scheduled election. In Alabama, the governor appoints an interim Senator while a new special election is scheduled. So Alabama would have to hold ANOTHER election, and hope that Moore doesn’t win. I don’t know whether the local party could refuse to put him on the ballot. But it could get messy if Moore were to run again.
3. What does this mean for the GOP nationally?
Nothing but trouble. I’d like to think that Republican Senators are dumping Moore because of the goodness of their hearts, but in politics everything is political. They’ve calculated that they’re better off dumping Moore than keeping him, likely, in part, because they’re worried about the effect electing a child molester could have on the party’s national brand going into the 2018 election, and on the rallying cry Moore will be for congressional candidates, and grassroots Democrats, in the coming year.
But, any move against Moore risks creating more of a rift between the Trump-Bannon wing of the party (while Trump didn’t side with Moore, Bannon did) and the more sane McConnell-Ryan wing. (I know, we’re at the point where McConnell and Ryan are the adults in the room.) And that’s nothing but good news for Democrats. The more Republicans fight amongst themselves, the less time and money and energy they have fighting Democrats.
So all in all, if you wanted to stop Roy Moore, and cause the most damage possible to Republicans, that’s exactly what’s happening.
This is getting very interesting. Boy, winning is a lot more fun than losing.
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