What If The Moore-Jones Election Was Reversed?

NPR’s story about the special election in Alabama got me to wondering:

“What if the roles were reversed? What if it was the Democrat who was accused of philandering with teen girls, who had been removed from high government offices twice for violating court orders, who had a history of horrible policy and behavior? Would Democrat voters stick with him out of ‘principle’ or because of one issue?”

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.)

  1. I’m a lifelong Democrat, and I can tell you that *some* of us probably would go ahead and vote for the hypothetical scumbag. But I don’t think we would as a group. You see, most of us are decent people at heart. (I’m not speaking of the DNC politicians, but of us voters.) The only reason we engage with politics at all is to help spread our decency. I wouldn’t give a flip who was in power, if they were doing decent things. I wouldn’t vote at all if our leaders were legislating better educational outcomes, chipping away at income inequality, working on (finally) passing the ERA, protecting the rights of every religious (and non-religious) person. But instead, a bunch of them are hateful theocratic plutocrats, who think the world should be run by a few wealthy assholes. So I vote to protect other people. I vote to protect women and children. I vote to protect brown people from the ravages of white people. I vote to protect minority religious groups from the hate that is Christianity. I vote to protect atheists from the hate that is majority religion. And so on.

    So no, I couldn’t vote for a failed human being, even if I thought he would vote with me on an incredibly stupid tax bill, etc.

    One huge difference here, though, is that it’s not just “hold my nose to vote for a predator so we get another Senate seat”. It’s that all the bills they want him to pass are destructive to our democracy. If his voters can’t even see that *every* part of their agenda is anti-American and anti-human, then our grand experiment in democracy might be close to ending.

  2. Dana says:

    For me personally, I would sit home, or perhaps write in a candidate. They only time I would vote for someone I thought was a “bad” person would be if I thought the other candidate was worse (I take issue with the Democrats who couldn’t “hold their nose” and vote for Hillary and opted to sit out the election). Sometimes it is more important to vote against someone than for someone.

    • Wil C. Fry says:

      You bring up a good point — about Mrs. Clinton. Obviously there are scenarios when I think both candidates are poor choices. It’s rare, of course — and often due to misinformation. (I admit I was misinformed in 2000, when I thought Bush and Gore were equally bad candidates.)

      In a case like Clinton-Trump, one was clearly far, FAR worse of a person and would be far, FAR worse as a president. I voted for Clinton in the hopes of avoiding a Trump presidency.

      In a hypothetical future election in which both candidates faced credible accusations like Moore’s, it would come down to policy and previous experience. If both had policies as bad as Moore’s, and both had been kicked out of office for being a failed judge like Moore was, I would stay home or vote for an independent.

      Of course, in the case of Clinton-Trump, one was a failed businessman while the other was a successful politician. One offered horrific policy promises and the other promised to make the world a better place.

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