How Roy Moore Fits Into Bannon’s War on the GOP

Time: “Moore is not only a culture warrior. He is a populist Christian and a soldier in the larger Republican revolution that is rooted in frustration with Washington and prizes anti-establishment anger over all else. The same uprising that carried President Donald Trump into the White House looks poised to deliver an even more disruptive figure, one the party cannot control…. And the revolution is about to spread well beyond Dixie. Its field general, former Trump strategist Stephen Bannon, says he is recruiting a slate of insurgent outsiders who will vow to topple the Republican ruling class.”

“Bannon’s strategy is to knit together a disparate coalition, from evangelical populists to small-government libertarians, to take on the proverbial swamp. Already Bannon is jetting around the U.S., meeting with major Republican donors in a bid to convince them to defect from McConnell’s team…. If Moore loses in December, it would shave the party’s cushion in the upper chamber to a single vote—which means there is an outside chance that Moore’s rise and Bannon’s crusade could cost the party control of the Senate, giving Democrats the numbers, and the subpoena power, to thwart every aspect of Trump’s agenda. And in the much more likely event that Moore wins, the Senate is about to become harder to govern—if that’s possible.”

Dead Heat In Alabama

A new Fox News poll in Alabama finds Roy Moore (R) in a dead heat with Doug Jones (D) for U.S. Senate, 42% to 42%, with another 11% unsure.

Among just the 53% of Alabama registered voters who are “extremely” or “very interested” in the race, Jones has a one-point edge over Moore, 46% to 45%.

Undisclosed Deal Guaranteed Moore $180K a Year

Alabama U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore (R) once said that he did not take a “regular salary” from the charity he founded to promote Christian values because he did not want to be a financial burden, the Washington Post reports.

“But privately, Moore had arranged to receive a salary of $180,000 a year for part-time work at the Foundation for Moral Law… He collected more than $1 million as president from 2007 to 2012, compensation that far surpassed what the group disclosed in its public tax filings most of those years.”

“When the charity couldn’t afford the full amount, Moore in 2012 was given a promissory note for back pay eventually worth $540,000 or an equal stake of the charity’s most valuable asset, a historic building in Montgomery, Ala., mortgage records show. He holds that note even now.”

Can Democrats Beat Roy Moore In Alabama?

“The Republican primary victory last week by Roy Moore initially delighted Democrats who saw the inflammatory Alabamian’s humiliation of the Republican establishment as prime evidence that the Trump era had intensified the right’s unremitting internecine wars,” the New York Times reports.

“But now Democrats are grappling with an all-too-familiar question of their own: how and even whether to confront a Republican Senate candidate whose views they find repugnant but who may be unbeatable in a deeply conservative state — no matter how much money liberal donors pour in to defeat him.”

Said Democratic strategist James Carville: “If you can’t run against Roy Moore, then what kind of party you got?”

Trump Infuriated After Backing Loser

“Returning from a high-dollar fundraiser in Manhattan on Tuesday evening, an infuriated President Trump watched aboard Air Force One as Fox News called the Alabama Senate primary for Roy Moore against Trump’s favored candidate, Luther Strange,” CNN reports.

“What ensued was a barrage of angry venting at his political team and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who had consolidated establishment GOP support behind Strange.”

“He went to bed ’embarrassed and pissed’ following the election loss, according to a person familiar with his mindset. Trump, multiple sources said, is furious with McConnell, and feels outdone by his former aide Bannon.”

Republicans Choose Authoritarianism Again

Jonathan Chait: “The Republican Establishment has suffered through the Trump presidency, filling the news with a constant stream of caustic, mordant, off-the-record comments attesting to their sense of regret. The presidency is exactly the chaotic shambles the Trump campaign was, and the legislative results are much less than his party hoped to win when it made its pact with the devil. The nomination in Alabama of Roy Moore for U.S. Senate offered the party a chance to reconsider whether the prospect of supporting the team, and the incrementally higher prospects of enacting some tax cuts and social spending rollbacks, is worth the cost of elevating a dangerously unhinged demagogue for public office. The entire party, without any apparent hesitation, is leaping at the chance to make the same deal again.”

“Moore is hardly a carbon copy of Trump. He is religious where Trump is secular, fanatical where Trump is cynical. But he shares the president’s two most pertinent attributes. First, Moore is a purveyor of paranoid conspiracy theories, such as the belief that Sharia law has taken hold in American communities, or that Barack Obama was not born in the United States. Second, and more distinctly, he is not a small-d democrat.”

Trump Deletes Tweets Endorsing Strange

“After enthusiastically endorsing an Alabama senator’s campaign for re-election, President Trump distanced himself on Tuesday night from the candidate’s loss in the most Trumpian way possible: He deleted his supportive tweets,” the New York Times reports.

“Hours after Senator Luther Strange, a Republican from Alabama, lost in Tuesday’s primary runoff, Mr. Trump excised at least three favorable Twitter posts, including one sent Tuesday morning.”

Moore Wins GOP Senate Nomination In Alabama

“Roy Moore, a firebrand former chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court, overcame efforts by top Republicans to rescue his rival, Sen. Luther Strange, defeating him on Tuesday in a special primary runoff,” according to the Associated Press.

“The outcome in the closely watched Senate race dealt a humbling blow to President Trump and other party leaders days after the president pleaded with voters in the state to back Mr. Strange.”

Washington Post: “For conservative opponents of the current Republican leadership, the victory was a godsend — literally, for many — and a validation of the larger effort to replace the current leadership of the Republican Party with a more populist crowd.”

Trump Says He Expects Strange to Lose

President Trump “began distancing himself from a Luther Strange loss before ballots were even cast, telling conservative activists Monday night the candidate he’s backing in Alabama’s GOP Senate primary was likely to lose – and suggesting Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell would be partly to blame,” Politico reports.

“Trump told conservative activists who visited the White House for dinner on Monday night that he’d underestimated the political power of Roy Moore, the firebrand populist and former judge who’s supported by Trump’s former chief strategist Steve Bannon.”

A Moore Win Could Spark a Populist Revolt In 2018

First Read: “If Roy Moore is victorious tonight – and if he wins the general in December – that will only strengthen the Steve Bannon/Breitbart/Nigel Farage forces in future GOP primaries. Think Arizona (where Sen. Jeff Flake is incredibly vulnerable), Nevada (ditto Sen. Dean Heller) and even Colorado (where Rep. Mike Coffman has dared Tom Tancredo to primary him).”

Trump Stumps Against ‘Ray’ Moore

President Trump called into Alabama radio hosts “Rick and Bubba” this morning and warned that “Ray” Moore would open the state’s U.S. Senate seat to Democrats, the Birmingham News reports.

Said Trump: “Luther Strange is going to be a great Senator. He loves Alabama, he loves the state and he loves the country. He will absolutely win against the Democrat. Ray will have a hard time. If Luther wins, the Democrats will hardly fight. If Ray wins (Democrats) will pour in $30 million.”

When host Rick Burgess clarified that Moore’s first name was Roy and not Ray, Trump came back with why it’s “not a good sign” when the president doesn’t know your name.