Doug Jones has scored a major upset and defeated Republican Roy Moore in Alabama’s special Senate election. The winning margin was about one and a half percent.
But Roy Moore was not the biggest loser last night. That dubious title belongs to Donald Trump – who, in the last weeks, tossed his support to Moore.
It can be argued that Roy Moore was such an awful candidate that even Trump’s cachet couldn’t help him.
It can also be argued that Trump’s cachet either isn’t what it used to be or never was in the first place. And that Trump made an absolutely terrible judgment call in supporting someone as objectionable as Roy Moore.
No matter how you argue it, though, Doug Jones is now the Democrat Senator from Alabama.
In terms of legislative politics, this is a major disaster for Republicans, who now own just a 51-49 majority in the Senate.
Since Democrats virtually always vote as a unanimous bloc against everything the Trump administration proposes, it means Republicans cannot win unless they do just about the same. 96% Republican support (i.e. two defections out of 51) will kibosh any proposed legislation or appointment.
But, like most dark clouds, there is a silver lining here as well.
Roy Moore’s presence in the senate would have posed enormous problems for the Republican Party, both in terms of the allegations against him, and his intolerant religious zealotry.
But because Moore lost, President Trump – still wiping the egg off his face – and his party can put him in their rear view mirror, instead of having to explain/justify his presence in the senate throughout next year’s midterm elections.
So it goes.