NPR’s story about the special election in Alabama got me to wondering:
The NPR story points out that abortion is likely the lone issue that’s keeping regressive voters on Roy Moore’s side in spite of everything. “For some Alabama voters, supporting abortion rights may be a sin worse than some of the sexual misdeeds Alabama GOP Senate nominee Roy Moore has been accused of…” It indicates GOP voters are willing to compromise on taxes, on civil rights, on any number of issues — just not on abortion. They’re willing to overlook the credible accusations against Roy Moore, and willing to overlook the facts that he violated federal court orders and was removed from the bench twice, as long as it means restricting women’s rights.
But what if the script was reversed?
Is there an issue that Democratic voters feel so strongly about that they’d vote for a child molester who had also been kicked out of elected positions for intransigence? Does anyone know of such an instance — in which the moral scales were tipped so strongly in favor of the Republican but Democrats voted for their guy anyway? I can’t think of one.
I know regressives like to inject former president Bill Clinton into every unrelated conversation, and this is one conversation where it’s worth considering. Could he be an example of this happening? No. He doesn’t meet the criteria. (1) He was never removed from office for wrongdoing — he was Arkansas’ attorney general, governor for multiple terms, and U.S. president for as long as the law allows. (2) When he was first elected to national office, there were questions about Clinton — an extramarital affair, and possibly a conflict of interest regarding his wife’s law firm — but no serious or credible criminal allegations. (3) There was no one issue around which Democrat voters could rally.
If there was only one such issue, which one would it be? If anything, I find Democrat voters to be too fragmented, too unlikely to agree on which issues are crucial, too different in their willingness to compromise. In fact, the only things I’ve seen Democrat voters unite on in recent years are (1) opposition to the dung-stain in the White House, and (2) being generally decent and empathetic people.
In the hypothetical scenario, my prediction would be that Democratic voters would stay home — thus giving the election by default to the Republican opponent. The Democrats I know wouldn’t vote for an alleged child predator in the hopes of getting another seat in Congress. The Democrats I’ve interacted with online wouldn’t put forth a candidate as failed and morally bankrupt as Roy Moore (who said earlier this week that America was at her “greatest” during the slavery era). The Democrat responses I’ve seen to national surveys and polls show that they simply wouldn’t tolerate someone who has failed as often as Moore.
Have I missed any factors here? Am I being unfair?
(Yes, one thing I’ve missed is that the election hasn’t happened yet. It’s all speculation at this point whether GOP voters are really bad enough at being humans that they’d vote for Moore. I’m writing this under the assumption that they really are that horrible, having seen how many of them supported the embarrassment that is Donald Trump.)