It’s often said that you can know a man by his enemies. That being the case, we can know a lot about Judge Roy Moore by the blaring headline on Huffington Post last night: “Alabama Earthquake: GOP Picks Outsider Bigot.” Translated, this means, “GOP Picks Conservative Christian, Anti-Establishment Candidate.” Sounds good to me.
What does Moore’s victory mean in national, political terms? What does it mean in social and cultural terms?
First, Moore’s victory reminds us that the same anti-establishment wave that brought President Trump into office brought Moore the GOP victory.
To the extent Trump is associated with the establishment, to that extent, he loses much of his appeal. Conversely, to the extent a candidate is perceived to be anti-establishment, to that extent the candidate is embraced by the core of Trump’s base.
That’s why the president’s endorsement of establishment candidate Luther Strange only went so far. That’s why the investment of $30 million in GOP advertising funds only went so far.
Who wants the endorsement of the swamp? Who wants to be part of the swamp?
That’s why the crowd that attended the Trump rally last Friday in Alabama chanted, “USA, USA” more than “Luther Strange, Luther Strange.” And that’s why the president had to hedge his bets, with statements like, “I’ll be honest, I might have made a mistake.” And, “If his opponent wins, I’m going to be here campaigning like hell for him.”
That’s also why Trump immediately tweeted out congratulations to Judge Moore after his victory was announced, also deleting (!) his earlier tweets supporting Strange.
Second, Moore’s victory sends a message to the GOP establishment from fed-up Republicans across the country: “We’ve had it with your compromising and your political games. We’ve had it with career politicians in general. You represent what we reject. You represent one of the major reasons we voted for Donald Trump. Your time in DC is over.”
If recent headlines on Breitbart.com are to be believed – and note that Breitbart was all-in in support of Moore – then establishment GOP candidates up for reelection in 2018 are quaking in fear. (If Breitbart is also to be believed, Jared Kushner strongly advised the president to endorse Strange, providing another alleged example of Kushner counseling the president to do the opposite of what his base would expect.)
Third, Moore’s victory reminds us that there remain strongly conservative pockets throughout our country for whom biblical values are a positive, not a negative.
Let’s not forget that Roy Moore is known as the Ten Commandments Judge, and for the last 20 years, he has been involved in legal battles to keep these commandments in central, public view. It began when he hung a homemade version of the commandments in his courtroom in Alabama, refusing to remove them after the ACLU successfully sued him.
Then, when he became Chief Justice of Alabama, he “installed a 5,280-pound granite block that featured Constitutional quotes and two large tablets with the 10 Commandments outside the state Judicial Building. The move prompted a lawsuit from the ACLU and the Southern Poverty Law Center, among other groups, which Moore dismissed saying the 10 Commandments were the ‘moral foundation of U.S. law’ and therefore appropriate in a judicial setting.”
He was ultimately removed from office after refusing to comply with court orders, only to be reelected as Chief Justice in 2013, “but served only three years before being suspended again, this time for directing probate judges to continue to enforce the state's ban on same-sex marriage despite a U.S. Supreme Court ruling. Moore appealed his removal but then opted to resign and announced he was running for the Senate to replace Jeff Sessions, who had been named U.S. Attorney General.”
This is the man who just crushed establishment candidate Luther Strange, despite the endorsement of President Trump and a flood of establishment money.
In his victory speech last night, Moore said, "As long as it’s constitutional, as long as it advance[s] our society, our culture, our country, I will be supportive. As long as it’s constitutional. But we have to return to knowledge of God and the Constitution of the United States to the United States Congress."
“I believe we can make America great, but we must make America good, and you cannot make America good without acknowledging the sovereign source of that goodness, the sovereign source of our law, liberty, and government, which is Almighty God.
“We have become a nation that has distanced ourselves from the very foundation. Washington said that of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports.”
Moore also “spoke of protests, demonstrations, mobs, and racial strife, but that ‘we’re all made in the image of God.’”
Yes, this is the man who will likely be the next Senator from Alabama.
To be candid, it sounded like his speech came straight from the pages of Saving a Sick America, where I wrote, “Now, there is a widely circulated, powerful quote attributed to Alexis de Tocqueville, a quote that scholars agree does not originate with him. But regardless of who first uttered these words—if not Tocqueville, then one of his contemporaries— I wholeheartedly affirm the sentiments they reflect:
“‘America is great because America is good, and if America ever ceases to be good, America will cease to be great.’”
“These words underlie the central argument of this book: America can be great only to the extent that America is good, and for America to be good, it must recapture its biblical heritage. Stated another way, a theocracy is not the answer; returning to God’s Word is the answer.”
That was the message of Judge Roy Moore, and that is the message that still resonates with many Americans today.
Could it be that the tide is beginning to turn? That we are getting sick and tired of radical liberalism? Could it be?
The message from conservative Alabama is loud and clear.