Moore will win
Despite his thumbless defense against very credible charges of sexual misbehavior against teen girls less than half his age, Moore continues to completely deny the accusations. The steadfast denials have blunted the effects of the accusations, it appears, but that's probably not the biggest reason Moore will win.
He's running against a typical Democrat, Doug Jones. By "typical" I mean passing all the Democrat litmus tests: pro-choice, pro-big-government, pro-identity politics. And President Trump has finally, carefully, weighed in.
“He says it didn’t happen,” the president told reporters at the White House. “You have to listen to him, also.”
Trump's reminder that Moore has consistently denied the allegations is important. It may sway enough voters who are undecided whether to stay home or vote for Moore to give him a small benefit of the doubt.
The race will be closer than it would have been without this bombshell--that goes without saying. But it won't be close enough to give Jones the win. I might be wrong here, but, barring more accusers coming forward, or some admission from Moore, the scandal seems to have played out and is now up to the voters.
Remember, in order for Moore to lose, Jones has to win. And the voters don't want Jones.
The Senate must seat Moore
An excellent piece in Politico by Stan Brand reminds us that the Senate's authority, though almost completely autonomous regarding its own members, is still constrained by the Constitution. The Senate must seat Moore because the Constitution sets forth the qualifications for office, which Moore meets.
One Supreme Court case provides a clue about the limits that may be placed on the Senate if it attempts to either deny Moore a seat or expel him once he has been seated. In 1967, a special House committee determined that New York Rep. Adam Clayton Powell’s staff had falsified travel expenses and had caused illegal payments to his wife. Rather than censure and fine Powell for this misconduct, the House voted by a simple majority to exclude—meaning, refuse to seat—Powell after his reelection. Powell sued, and when Powell v. McCormack made it to the Supreme Court, the court held that the House had acted illegally. The court held that while, according to Art I sec. 5 of the U.S. Consitution, “each House shall be the judge of the ... qualifications of its Members,” those qualifications are limited to age, citizenship and residency, as stipulated by Art. I sec 2. In other words, as long as Powell fit the age, citizenship and residency criteria for serving in Congress, the House had no right to refuse to grant him his seat.
If the Supreme Court ruled that the House must seat an elected member according to Article I, Sec. 2, then it will almost certainly rule that the Senate must seat an elected member (in accordance with the 17th Amendment) according to Article I, Sec. 3. Moore is qualified and elected, and therefore must be seated.
The Senate will not expel Moore
Article I, Sec. 5 of the Constitution allows the Senate to expel a member with "Concurrence of two thirds." Here's the sentence, in context.
Each House may determine the Rules of its Proceedings, punish its Members for disorderly Behaviour, and, with the Concurrence of two thirds, expel a Member.
No senator has been successfully expelled since 1862, and that was for supporting the Confederacy. Senators have been subject to votes for expulsion, but have either resigned first, their terms have ended, or they have survived the attempt. Expelling a senator for allegations outside of a courtroom, not subject to rules of evidence, from four decades ago that occurred well before the member was elected is a long shot.
In fact, based on cases and precedents going back to 1798, it's probably a non-starter. Why would the Senate waste its time with this kind of circus show when certainly the voters and the president will be pushing for legislative agendas. Once Moore is seated, his vote will be required. It is his vote, not his friendship, the GOP will need.
Moore will remain a pariah in the Senate, but no more than Al Franken. I don't expect Franken to withhold his vote, and neither should Moore.
In six months time, more Senators and other politicians will likely get hit with their own scandalous behavior, and Roy Moore will fade out of the news cycle.