Somewhere 30,000 feet above America, President Trump picked up his phone on Air Force One to call Roy Moore and to give the accused child molester his endorsement. Opponents condemn it. Supporters herald it. But will history record it as significant?
At this point, a presidential endorsement can’t hurt Moore. But the nod is not the silver bullet that the beleaguered Republican advertises. Anyone who doubts this should talk to incumbent Sen. Luther Strange.
Ahead of the September primary, Trump offered his support over Twitter and in person, tweeting his endorsement online and rallying for the candidate in person. Thinking Trump invincible down south, Strange dropped policy in favor of personal politics, running hard on his personal friendship with the president. This seemed smart in a state where Trump beat Hillary Clinton by nearly 28 points. But it wasn’t enough.
Moore beat Strange like he'd stolen something, winning 55 percent of the vote to his opponent’s 45 percent.
After the Strange loss, Trump went hard for Ed Gillespie in the Virginia governor’s race only to suffer another defeat. Post-2016, Trump is 0-for-2.
But with Moore, Trump may have found a winner.
Polling has the beleaguered judge ahead of Democrat challenger, Doug Jones, despite the sustained allegations that Moore dallied with underage teenagers back in the 1970s. It seems, that Alabama will elect him anyway and improve the president’s electoral record in the process.
How much of the credit Trump can claim remains unclear. His endorsement certainly didn’t help the other Republican.