A tough fights ends in the emergence of a GOP fighter.
Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is an investigative journalist and writer focusing on the radical left and Islamic terrorism.
Early this century, the Southern Poverty Law Center sued to remove the Ten Commandments from an Alabama courthouse. The case ended with Judge Roy Moore, the democratically elected Alabama Chief Justice, being removed from the bench for refusing to take down the Ten Commandments.
“Justice was served today,” the president of the leftist hate group cheered. "A public official who defied the law was removed from office.”
But the Southern Poverty Law Center couldn’t keep Roy Moore down no matter how hard it tried.
Last September, the SPLC was still fighting to remove Moore from the bench after his return. Now it will have to fight to remove him from the Senate because Roy Moore does not give up.
Roy Moore didn’t give up when a Federal judge and the Alabama Supreme Court ordered him to take down the Ten Commandments. He didn’t give up when he was removed from the bench. He didn’t give up in the face of a ruling by the United States Supreme Court and another suspension. He didn’t give up when he was massively outspent in every election. Including this one. Because he doesn’t give up.
There’s something to be said for a man who fights for what he believes in. And who won’t give up.
Agree or disagree with Roy Moore, no one can deny that he’s a fighter who overcomes long odds. He won his first election as a longshot candidate despite being outspent ten to one. He won his second election after being outspent six to one. He won the GOP Senate runoff last night after, once again, being outspent six to one. Including five to one on television advertising. And he won it by a landslide.
And by fighting for it, Judge Roy Moore earned his shot at the Senate.
It’s no secret that Republicans have lost winnable Senate seats when candidates with impeccable convictions, but poor electability, went to the front of the line. There’s nothing wrong with making electability a priority. A candidate who can’t win is just opening the door for a Democrat.
When Republicans replaced Jack Ryan with Alan Keyes, the outcome was the Obama nightmare. Keyes was a good man. But he wasn’t the right man to run against Barack Hussein Obama.
President Trump went down to Alabama to campaign for the candidate who could win. The presumption was that the most electable candidate was Luther Strange. By winning, Roy Moore proved he could win even when the big odds and the big money were against him. He proved that he deserved Trump’s support. Just the way that Trump proved that he deserved the support of his voters.
Principles and conviction are vital. But the acid test of politics is victory.
“I'm going to be here campaigning like hell for him,” Trump vowed if Moore won. And, in one of his final ads, Moore declared, “I can’t wait.” By winning, Moore earned that campaigning.
Trump is a businessman. He doesn’t reflexively support establishment or populist candidates. He needs to expand the Senate deck enough to be able to get things done without Democrat interference. And, at the very least, he needs a Senate firewall for his agenda and against the inevitable impeachment push.
These days, politics looks like war. And elections are tests by fire.
After Trump’s win, Democrats poured all their resources into winning special elections. And those were House races. There’s no doubt whatsoever that they will throw money into Alabama.
The Dems burned $40 million on four special elections. They are going to throw more than that into the pot for a Senate seat. Sessions won an uncontested election in 2014 with 97% of the vote after winning his seat by growing margins in every election.
But you can bet that this time around, it will be contested. Because while there might be seats that are statistically safe, there are no safe seats. The Democrat ethos is “total war” on every battlefield. And while the left is eager to stage campus riots and post selfies of themselves taking a knee, they are not about to neglect the old fashioned conflict of the election with its smears and provocations.
Some Republicans aren’t ready for “total war”, but Judge Roy Moore has been swimming in it for decades. He understands what it’s like to be the face of a culture war in a way few Republicans do.
And the election will just be a preview of the pitched battles in the Senate over ObamaCare, illegal alien amnesty and dozens of other conflicted issues that have left that body so fundamentally ineffectual.
It will take strength, courage and determination to face all that. And that is what the runoff was about.
Like Trump, Roy Moore persevered despite being outspent. He relied on populism instead of big ad spending. And, like Trump, he won because he is the face of a cultural counterrevolution.
Moore didn’t have the race handed to him on a silver platter. He had to fight for it. He was never the inevitable and untested candidate. Instead he, once again, had to overcome big odds to win.
And he did it. That is what President Trump respects.
There are plenty of electable candidates who can win when the odds are on their side. But, as we saw in the presidential election, the odds aren’t fixed. The polls are often wrong. Manufactured scandals shift the tide. And no Republican is so noble that the media can’t make him look lower than mud in a week.
The truly remarkable political creature is the “unelectable” candidate who wins anyway, who wins even though he isn’t supposed to, who wins even though the big money is against him and who wins even though the media spends all day shouting that he is the worst man that ever lived. That’s a true fighter.
Trump is such a candidate. So is Roy Moore.
The runoff wasn’t about populists and the establishment. It was a test of whether Roy Moore could do in a Senate election what he was able to do in his judicial contests. And the verdict is in.
Roy Moore and Donald Trump are certainly not the same man. Their beliefs differ in some areas. But they’re both fighters. And the GOP is looking for fighters more than for ideological conformity.
It needs men and women who are ready to fight for what they believe in. And who are good at it. Roy Moore proved once again in Alabama that he can fight. And that he can win.
When the race begins in earnest, two fighters will come together to campaign in Alabama.