Right and Left React to the Allegations of Sexual Misconduct Against Roy Moore

Writers from across the political spectrum on the Alabama Senate race that has been upended by accusations that the Republican candidate once made sexual advances toward teenagers.

The political news cycle is fast, and keeping up can be overwhelming. Trying to find differing perspectives worth your time is even harder. That’s why we have scoured the internet for political writing from the right and left that you might not have seen.

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From the Right

Scott Jennings in The Courier-Journal:

“For Trump supporters reflexively jumping to Moore’s defense, please stop making stupid arguments. You are hurting the president.”

Mr. Jennings, a former adviser to President George W. Bush and Senator Mitch McConnell, the Republican leader, has a novel idea for how President Trump should respond to allegations against Roy S. Moore. The president should encourage the Alabama Republican party to withdraw Mr. Moore’s name from the slot, and urge voters to write in Attorney General Jeff Sessions for the position he left behind. It’ll be “zigging when everyone thinks he’s going to zag,” Mr. Jennings argues. Read more »

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David Harsanyi in The Federalist:

“ ‘Due process’ shouldn’t be code for ‘Let’s dismiss anything inconvenient to our political fortunes.’ This isn’t a criminal proceeding.”

Mr. Harsanyi has a healthy dose of skepticism about the mainstream media, writing that “the establishment media gave former presidents and senators who were likely sexual predators virtual free passes for decades.” But that doesn’t dissuade him from considering The Washington Post’s article chronicling Mr. Moore’s alleged relationships with teenagers to be a “credible” and “solid piece of journalism.” It is fair, argues Mr. Harsanyi, to support Mr. Moore based on policy — like his views on abortion — despite these accusations. “But don’t tell me you’re sure Roy Moore is innocent.” Read more »

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David French in National Review:

“Roy Moore will not lose his life, liberty, or property if voters reject his bid for high office.”

Mr. French reminds his readers that “Constitutional protections for due process apply when the state is attempting to deprive a person of ‘life, liberty, or property.’ ” It does not apply when you are at risk of being deprived of a seat in government. Just as it is “entirely fair for voters to analyze the available facts about Hillary Clinton’s email scandal [...] without waiting for the outcome of a civil or criminal proceeding,” so is it entirely fair to voters to assess Mr. Moore’s character based on reports in The Washington Post. People who know better, he writes, are disingenuously calling for due process, knowing full well that “it’s a good way to coax good people into ignoring problematic claims while soothing their guilty conscience.” Read more »

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From the Left

Kathryn Brightbill in Los Angeles Times:

“The allegations against Roy Moore are merely a symptom of a larger problem. It’s not a Southern problem or an Alabama problem. It’s a Christian fundamentalist problem.”

Ms. Brightbill, who grew up as an evangelical Christian, explains why so many on the religious right are excusing Mr. Moore’s relationship with teenage girls. In the world “which Moore travels in and I grew up in, 14-year-old girls courting adult men isn’t uncommon,” she writes. This story, according to Ms. Brightbill, just signals how pervasive child sexual abuse is in this community. “The evangelical world is overdue for a reckoning.” Read more »

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Amanda Marcotte in Salon:

“Here’s the thing to remember here: Alabamians already knew that Moore was a far-right evangelical who is deeply enmeshed in an extremist form of patriarchal Christianity. Republicans in that state are likely familiar with the fetish that far-right evangelicals have for young teenagers.”

Don’t expect Mr. Moore’s supporters to abandon him, warns Ms. Marcotte. Appeals to morality won’t work with a group that elected a nominee who bragged about groping women. She adds, “It’s patriarchy, not morality, that is the animating force behind the Christian right that has elevated Moore.” Read more »

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Mark Joseph Stern in Slate:

“In his opinions, Moore has positioned himself as a righteous crusader for evangelical justice with a profound concern for the emotional and spiritual well-being of children. In his life, Moore has allegedly engaged in the precise abuse he has accused gay people of perpetrating.”

For Mr. Stern, the allegations against Mr. Moore are even more stark when put alongside his history on the judicial bench, ruling against gay people for two decades. He argued that gay people should be barred from adopting children because “homosexual conduct by a parent is inherently detrimental to children,” echoing suggestions by the Family Research Council that gay parents were more likely to engage in child molestation. In light of the reporting from The Washington Post, writes Mr. Stern, “Moore’s fixation on protecting children looks much more disturbing.” Read more »

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Finally, From the Center

Perry Bacon Jr. and Harry Enten in Five Thirty Eight:

“It would still be an upset if Jones won. This is Alabama. But considering Moore’s already weak standing and the recent accusations against him, it wouldn’t be a huge upset.”

For now, at least, it looks like Mr. Moore intends to stay in the race. If he does, what chance does his Democratic challenger, Doug Jones, have in defeating him in the special election? Mr. Bacon and Mr. Enten put his chances at low, but not zero. Here, they outline what would have to happen for Alabama, one of the nation’s reddest states, to elect a Democrat to the Senate. Read more »

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