If you thought Republican Roy Moore was running a terrible campaign, just wait until you hear about the Democrats in Alabama.
All signs point that Democrat Doug Jones will go down in flames on Election Day, December 12, and it’s almost entirely his fault.
Successful candidates who run against their state’s partisan politics, such as Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, or Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.V., do so by bucking their party on a number of controversial issues and running as a moderate. Manchin, for example, loves to tote his support for the Second Amendment, while Collins is pro-choice.
By all accounts, Jones seems to think he’s running in a different state than Alabama, one of the most Republican and religious states in the union.
Jones’ path to victory is exciting the state’s black population and winning over college-educated suburbanites who don’t want the embarrassment of having Moore represent them in the Senate.
Jones, though, is running far-to-the-left of the state’s general population.
On the wedge issues of immigration, guns, abortion, transgendered bathrooms, and Obamacare, Jones appears to be running in Virginia, not Alabama.
Jones has slammed the idea of a border wall as a waste of money and voiced his support for amnesty for illegal immigrants who came to this country as minors. He said the Second Amendment has its limitations, said he’s proudly pro-choice, slammed Trump for repealing an Obama administration guideline to allow transgender students to use the bathroom and locker room of their preference in public schools, and has come out in support of universal healthcare and Obamacare in a state where premiums have risen by more than 200 percent.
At a time when partisanship is the only thing that matters to many voters, running to the far-left is not a way to appeal to Republicans who don’t like Moore. Nor is it politically savvy to campaign to religious black voters on the issue of transgender rights and abortion.
Despite the ability of Jones and the PACs that support him to pour millions of dollars into the state, it’s being spent almost entirely on ads which makes consultants rich but don’t guarantee a strong turnout. Since the allegations of sexual assault came out, Jones has been outspending Moore by a margin of 10-to-1, reported NBC News, but it hasn’t been reflected in public polls.
According to recent public polls, Alabama Republicans are coming home to Moore despite his many flaws. After falling behind in mid-November, four recent polls show Moore now leads Jones by anywhere from 2-6 percentage points. Not great in Alabama, but a world better than where he was just two weeks ago.
Change Research reported that their polling saw Moore go from a 3-point deficit on Nov. 16 to a 5-point lead just 11 days later, in large part due to Republicans — even those who voted against Moore in the primary are being energized to stop Jones’ progressive agenda.
Another polling firm, JMC Analytics, distributed a poll on Wednesday showing that Jones’ lead had shrunk to a deficit. Jones went from besting Moore by 4 points on Nov. 11 to trailing him by 5 points on Nov. 29, nearly a double-digit swing in just two weeks.
While the election is almost a couple of weeks away and anything can happen, it’s looking like Moore will pull out a victory simply because Republicans will be left with the choice of someone they don’t like or someone who will vote against all their interests.
Jones’ refusal to copy the model of other successful senators who move to the middle and buck state partisanship will ultimately be his demise.
Ryan Girdusky (@RyanGirdusky) is a contributor to the Washington Examiner's Beltway Confidential blog. He is a writer based in New York.
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