In embracing Roy Moore and his values, Republicans went all in for pedophilia, bigotry, and misogyny. And they lost.
Not only did Roy Moore lose Alabama's Senate race against Doug Jones, but in the process, the Republican Party cemented its status as a safe space for pedophilia.
A moment of moral cowardice will stain the party for years to come.
Despite his sordid past and bigoted present, Moore was able to count on the support of Donald Trump, who used his status as president to aggressively campaign on Moore’s behalf. Trump, who has admitted to sexually assaulting women, was eager to back his fellow Republican, even as credible reports of pedophilia surfaced.
Moore allegedly fondled an underaged girl when he was in 30s, and also made inappropriate sexual contact with other teenage girls.
He also has a history of making bigoted statements about Muslims and LGBT Americans. He was removed from Alabama’s Supreme Court for refusing to recognize the First Amendment’s separation of church and state and then again for defying United States Supreme Court’s ruling on marriage equality.
None of these factors was enough to hurt his support among Republicans, and most in the party were willing to stand with him and actively support these positions.
The Alabama Senate seat was vacated when Trump chose Jeff Sessions, once rejected for a federal judicial position due to his racist beliefs, to serve as his attorney general. That position will now be filled by Sen.-elect Doug Jones, who successfully prosecuted the Ku Klux Klan for murder.
Thanks to the political maneuvering of its leadership, the linkage of pedophilia and the Republican Party will be cemented, further turning the party that once claimed Abraham Lincoln into one in which serial sexual assault, racism, and now child molestation is no stumbling block in the pursuit of power.
Trump pushed Moore, specifically citing that he would be a reliable vote for his priorities despite his sordid past. It is an echo of the calculation made by Speaker Paul Ryan, who has merged his agenda with Trump’s.
Votes for millionaires’ tax cuts and cutting the safety net of programs like Obamacare, Medicare, and Medicaid are what the Republican Party seeks. If it means they have to turn a blind eye to pedophilia and misogyny, they have clearly made their choice.
They chose poorly, and in deep-red Alabama where Democrats have continually come up short a line was drawn in the sand between depravity and decency.
This has just begun.
In the coming mid-term elections, voters across the country will also have a chance to repudiate the pro-pedophile Republicans. The playing field in most congressional districts will not be nearly as favorable to Republicans as Alabama was, even more so now that the party is weighed down with the legacy of Trump and Moore.
That was the scene that played out in Virginia, where the gubernatorial candidate running on Trump’s racist, anti-immigrant agenda was resoundingly rejected as Democrats won up and down the entire ticket.
Republicans chose to be the party that welcomes in pedophilia. Americans have the power to make them pay for it.