Steve Bannon declared war on Mitch McConnell last week. So far though, the only casualties are Republicans and soon the conflict could cost the GOP a Senate seat. Judge Roy Moore is deadlocked against Democrat Doug Jones in the special Alabama senate race.
A new Fox News poll shows the pair tied among registered voters with 42 percent of the electorate apiece a little less than two months before the Dec. 12 election day. In a state President Trump won by 28 points against Hillary Clinton, a state that hasn't sent a Democrat to the Senate in two decades, Republicans are now on the defensive.
Some of the blame belongs with Moore, whom Bannon helped elevate over incumbent Sen. Luther Strange. Best known for fighting the removal of a statue of the 10 Commandments from the Alabama Supreme Court, the judge has also been a walking-talking gaffe machine, displaying startling policy ignorance and using more than questionable language about minorities. Unsurprisingly, 21 percent of Jones supporters admitted they're not so much voting for the Democrat as they're voting against the Republican.
But the controversies of that candidate don't excuse the inaction of Bannon and McConnell. Since the end of the September primary, both men have gone AWOL in Alabama. After dropping millions of dollars during the primary, McConnell's campaign arm, Senate Leadership Fund, announced they won't fund Moore. Bannon's group, Great America Again, also hasn't spent a dime in support of the candidate.
Unless Bannon or McConnell relent, if they don't get over past wrongs, Moore could lose. Both sides blame each other. "The obvious reason," that McConnell hasn't backed Moore a conservative strategist explains "is that the only vote that matters to him is who will vote for him as leader." While an establishment operative asks why they'd help Bannon "when he's trying to take over the party?"
Regardless, one of them has to be a bigger man or they'll lose Alabama, and maybe end up in place they don't want to be: the minority. Moore isn't an ideal candidate but he's the one Alabama wanted. Republicans should stop their self-cannibalization before it's too late.
Philip Wegmann is a commentary writer for the Washington Examiner.