As prominent Republicans call for Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore to step down amid allegations that he had inappropriate sexual contact with a 14-year-old girl in 1979 when Moore was 32, the flamboyant Republican is refusing to drop out of the race. In a series of tweets Thursday night, Moore vowed to “NEVER GIVE UP the fight!”
“The Obama-Clinton Machine’s liberal media lapdogs just launched the most vicious and nasty round of attacks against me I’ve EVER faced!” Moore said in the first of four tweets. “We are are in the midst of a spiritual battle with those who want to silence our message.”
“The forces of evil will lie, cheat, steal –– even inflict physical harm –– if they believe it will silence and shut up Christian conservatives like you and me,” Moore said in the second tweet in the series.
“I believe you and I have a duty to stand up and fight back against the forces of evil waging an all-out war on our conservative values!” the third tweet said. “Our nation is at a crossroads right now — both spiritually and politically.”
“Our children and grandchildren’s futures are on the line. So rest assured — I will NEVER GIVE UP the fight!” Moore concluded.
The final tweet also contained a statement in which Moore said that the accusations were a “fabrication” and a “completely false and desperate political attack.”
The accusations against Moore are serious and credible enough to end the Senate hopes of a candidate in any era but this one. Republican leaders, including President Trump, have urged Moore to withdraw from the race, but it is Donald Trump’s example that will inspire Moore and his supporters to fight on. After all, it was only last year that Republicans decided that a history of sexual assault was not disqualifying for their presidential nominee.
The Moore campaign can make a credible case that the accusations against Moore are less damning than those against Donald Trump. In Trump’s case, the candidate was caught on tape in 2005 when he was 59. There was no denying the candidate’s own words. In Moore’s case, it is his word against that of his accusers about events almost 40 years ago. Moore says that the accusations are not true and many of his supporters will take him at his word.
There is also a difference in the amount of evidence. At least 16 women came forward against Donald Trump and his supporters considered them all liars in spite of Trump’s admissions on the “Access Hollywood” tape and boasts of sexual conquests in his books. In Moore’s case, the candidate has been happily married for 33 years and does not have a reputation as a ladies man. Even if Moore’s supporters accept the accusations as true, Moore’s track record for the past three decades gives them room to write off the incidents as youthful indiscretions that are not representative of his current character.
Finally, the argument could by made that voters looked the other way with Donald Trump because the possibility that Hillary Clinton would become president was simply to horrible to accept. A similar argument can be made that preserving the Republican majority in the Senate so vital that it is necessary to overlook Moore’s actions of four decades ago.
Republicans have been unable to advance their agenda already and a loss of the Alabama seat would cut the GOP majority to a single vote. This would effectively end any chance of enacting conservative reforms. It would also make it easier for Democrats to win control of the Senate outright next year.
For all these reasons, Roy Moore will not leave the race and the vast majority of Republicans will stand by him. After elevating an admitted philanderer and “p-ssy grabber” to the head of the party of family values and the country as a whole, it will be easy to stand by someone like Moore. After compromising your principles once, it is very easy to do it again.
For a Republican Party that now seems to put politics over character and values, the descent has been swift. A year ago the party found a way to excuse Donald Trump’s behavior as “locker room talk” and private matters between consenting adults. Now many Republicans are well on the way to rationalizing child molestation.