It now looks as if Roy Moore, the Republican candidate for the Senate in Alabama, will win his race, despite the publicity about his alleged improper behavior with a 14-year-old girl 38 years ago, and maybe others young girls as well.
There are four reasons Mr. Moore may win.
First, the Moore story was broken by The Washington Post, which has little or no credibility among Trump supporters, who also tend to be Roy Moore supporters. Having savaged Donald Trump relentlessly, The Post is seen as a propaganda arm of the Democratic Party. Nevertheless, and ironically, The Post’s story on Mr. Moore may have been factually correct.
But the timing of the story has probably created suspicion among voters. Why didn’t The Post publish the story before the primary, which would have given Republican voters in Alabama the opportunity to select Luther Strange, Mr. Moore’s opponent in the Republican primary, to be the nominee?
Voters may assume that The Post wanted Mr. Moore to be nominated because it thought he would be easier for the Democratic candidate, radical abortionist Doug Jones, to beat. Democrats may think that theory cynical. It’s not. Because The Post, a house organ of the “resistance,” has been so vehemently opposed to President Trump, the timing of its Moore story seems like a deliberate attempt to interfere in the electoral process.
Which means, probably, even some people who think The Post’s story was true may vote for Mr. Moore anyway. They don’t want to be manipulated by the liberal media.
A second reason is that the things Mr. Moore is reported to have done took place many years ago. The girl, Leigh Corfman, was young, and presumably impressionable, meaning her memory may, in the intervening years, have been “impressed” by movies or other stories about unwanted sexual advances. There’s a reason we have statutes of limitation: After 38 years, memories fade or get altered by subsequent events and stories. The point is, Alabama voters don’t have to think that Ms. Corfman was lying. All they have to believe is that her memory is not trustworthy.
A third reason is that many of the voters may have concluded that the Roy Moore of today is not the Roy Moore of 38 years ago. His life has been exemplary. His wife supports him. Probably a lot of voters in Alabama did things 38 years ago they wouldn’t like to have chronicled in the press.
A fourth reason is that many of the voters are committed Christians, which makes it doubly likely they will vote for Mr. Moore. First, they believe in forgiveness (even absent a confession, which in this case would be politically suicidal). Second, they think Mr. Moore will carry the flag in Washington for a Christian polity, so opposed by the liberal media that has been trying to paralyze Mr. Trump.
Some of those goals are key to the culture war the U.S. has been engaged in for decades. Mr. Trump, with a friendly Senate, may achieve significant and lasting victories in that war: changing the shape of the judiciary, supporting religious liberty and practices, limiting abortion, and shrinking the power of the leftist state.
In the 44 years since Roe v. Wade was decided, there have been 50 million abortions. That is death and destruction that makes the (not-yet-proven) fondling of a few underage girls 38 years ago seem less disqualifying.
Roy Moore looks like an enthusiastic Trump soldier in the culture war of our time. The voters of Alabama may be willing to accept him, 38-year-old warts and all, in the service of something historically important. You may call that “expediency.” Mr. Moore, and his supporters would call it “victory. “
Meanwhile, back in the fever swamps of the left, cynicism is riding high. Democrats are stampeding to denounce other Democrats who have been exposed as sexual predators. But the Democratic Party has, for a quarter-century, been the party of sexual predators. Until only moments ago, Democrats were feting Hillary Clinton, the nation’s enabler-in-chief of sexual predation.
Now, the Clintons’ day is over and the Democrats are frantically trying to clean up their act because feminist women are a significant part of their base. Getting rid of Sen. Al Franken is an easy call: Minnesota’s governor is a Democrat and will appoint another Democrat to fill his seat.
If the Republicans had abandoned Mr. Moore, the Democratic candidate, Doug Jones, would almost surely win the Alabama Senate seat. But if Mr. Moore wins, and then further evidence emerges indicating he is simply not fit to serve, Republicans can force him out and Alabama’s governor, a Republican, can replace him with a Republican. Some Republicans may even vote for Mr. Moore, hoping he will be removed, but knowing that the seat will still be held by a Republican.
Cynical? Please. Welcome to politics.
• Daniel Oliver is chairman of the board of the Education and Research Institute and a director of Citizens for the Republic.