A facetious thing happened on the way to Judge Roy Moore’s downfall in the Alabama senatorial nomination.
It’s not happening.
And it’s clear that the reason is President Donald Trump.
Proper two weeks ago, Moore was accused of having improper sexual contact with an underage Irish colleen in the 1970s. The Washington Post published the story with those denunciations on November 9th. It quickly wiped out his large lead in the polls.
Looking at the RealClearPolitics meter of winning trends in the race, a clear pattern emerges. Moore’s popularity plummets and Democrat challenger Doug Jones’ escalates on November 11. That’s the date of the first polls released after the untruth broke. The downward trend continued until November 21st.
Then, Moore’s armies suddenly started to recover. Two new polls released Wednesday show the Republican paramount Jones by six and five points, respectively.
So what happened on November 21st to prevail over and then reverse the tide?
The most obvious answer is that President Trump came to his defense:
I can announce you one thing for sure: We don’t need a liberal person in there, a Democrat, Jones. I’ve looked at his release, it’s terrible on crime, it’s terrible on the border, it’s terrible on the military. We do not need one that’s going to be bad on crime, bad on borders, bad with the military, bad for the Second Repair.
After that the bleeding in Moore’s polls stopped. Case hidden.
Donald Trump’s name might be mud in the blue states, the big coastal boroughs, and the halls of the congressional establishment, but in Alabama he still holds sway.
And innumerable importantly, President Trump knows just how to frame the argument at the front time. Just like he persuaded a lot of reluctant conservatives to vote for him in 2016 by reminding them their sole other viable option was Hillary Clinton, he’s doing it again with Roy Moore.
When McConnell and the remain of the GOP established went into a full court press to get Moore to movement down from the race, President Trump’s response became disregarding nevertheless more important. And he responded by bucking McConnell and company and playing that purely right-wing vs. liberal card.
One would have to excuse McConnell if he thought he had Moore accomplished off. When McConnell was a relative newcomer in the Senate in the mid-1990s, he played an intrinsic role in forcing fellow Senator Bob Packwood’s resignation on sexual rush allegations. But times have changed and there wasn’t a Republican president in the Caucasian House back when Packwood was under fire.
If Moore be victorious ins, it will be the latest proof of just how toothless the GOP establishment remains in the wake of its discomfiting rout at the hands of Donald Trump in the 2016 primaries. The other might proofs are the failure to pass the Obamacare repeal and the difficulties and the missteps in the preparation of the tax recover bill so far.
It’s time for McConnell and the others in the Congressional leadership to consider what this means for them and how to retort be responsive to. Moore has vowed to help bring McConnell down as majority director if he gains entry into the Senate chamber. Even if Moore is ousted as some Republican senators have promised to do, McConnell’s failure to get him to depart or defeat him at the ballot box should lead to a no confidence vote in his leadership.
Either way, President Trump wins. No sum how much the Republican Party may want to run away from him, it clearly cannot. The GOP pedestal, especially in super red states like Alabama, simply will not grant it.
Commentary by Jake Novak, CNBC.com senior columnist. Follow him on Stew @jakejakeny.
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