EDITORIAL: Roy Moore and the lessons of Alabama

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The special Senate election in Alabama scheduled for Dec. 12 pits accused child molester Roy Moore against Doug Jones, the guy who, in 2001, prosecuted the Klansmen found guilty of the 1963 firebombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church that killed four young, black girls.

Though many in the country have expressed outrage over Moore’s continuing candidacy, especially after he was outed as a 1980s mall creeper, in Alabama he remains stubbornly ahead in the polls — which, as we’ve learned since the last election, mean nothing.

But forget about handicapping the election for a moment, because no matter who wins this one, it’s already become a startlingly revealing moment in our nation’s history.

To date, nine women have accused Moore of acts ranging from general scuzziness to outright sexual assaults and pedophilia that occurred when they were between 14 and 17 years of age. A chorus of voices in his own party called for his withdrawal — but that was last week, before Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey declared that Moore’s Republican-ness would be the only things he would consider when casting her vote for him, and encouraging other Alabamians to do the same. And it was before President Trump offered his own endorsement of Moore via Twitter, which read in part: “We need his vote on stopping crime, illegal immigration, Border Wall, Military, Pro Life, VA, Judges 2nd Amendment and more. No to Jones, a Pelosi/Schumer Puppet!”

On  the other side of the aisle, accusations have been leveled at sitting congressmen Rep. John Conyers, who resigned on Tuesday, and Sen. Al Franken, who immediately called for an investigation into… himself.

And now, Republicans in Washington DC have gone quiet on the Moore front, perhaps detecting a shift in the political wind or maybe just hoping the thing will spin out of the news cycle before the election goes down on Tuesday.

The consequences of this election drift far beyond the borders of Alabama. A Senate majority hangs in the balance here, as the president pointed out. More so, no matter who wins we will learn something about this country, its voters and their attitudes towards women.

In so many ways, we already have.