There's a lot—maybe too much—to be said about Doug Jones' surprising win in last night's special Senate election in Alabama. But nothing is more important than the basic point that the Democrat didn't win the race, the Republicans lost it by running Judge Roy Moore, an actual theocrat who refused to follow the laws of our legitimate secular government when they conflicted with, among other things, his belief that the state should not sanction marriages between same-sex individuals and his "right" to drop a giant monument with the Ten Commandments on court property.
It's hard to wave away the pervy accusations against Moore, which clearly were a major reason so much attention was focused on the battle to pick a replacement for the Senate seat vacated when Jeff Sessions left to become President Trump's attorney general. But it's important to sideline them at least for a while, because everything about Moore was terrible if you believe, as the GOP claims to, in limited government. For Moore, who complained about Sharia law becoming the law of the land in various parts of the United States, who railed against homosexuality with a fervor not seen since Anita Bryant was hawking Florida orange juice, and who openly hated on immigrants like his fickle sponsor Donald Trump, the contemporary world is a fallen, sick place and he rejects it.
And now it has rejected him. To say that an Alabama Senate seat is safe for Republicans is an incredible understatement. You'd have to be, well, a child molester not to pick up such an easy win. But it was more than convincing accusations about Moore pursuing jailbait back in the 1970s and '80s that contributed to his loss. Moore represents a unified field theory against modernity. He counsels women not to run for public office (real ladies don't do that), he questions whether Barack Obama was really born in America (not because of his blackness but because of his foreign-sounding name), he's skeptical of free-trade agreements (why should foreign goods be any less awful than foreign people), and on and on. Pot legalization and abortion are hippie madness and we of course need to spend more on non-gay soldiers and weapons systems. He gestures toward cutting the size and spending of government but with even fewer specifics than "generic Republican." We know precious little about Roy Moore's deep thoughts on actual economic policy issues because he doesn't care about those issues, not because the media focused only on his Reagan-era creepiness.
Moore's loss should be a wake-up call for the Republican Party, which is still enjoying its historical heights of power when it comes elected officials in federal, state, and local governments. Roy Moore wasn't a challenge to longstanding Republican attitudes and strategies but their pure distillation. If Roy Moore can't win in Alabama running as a conservative who cares more about culture war issues than about seriously reducing the size, scope, and spending of the government, nobody anywhere else can either.
The GOP of the future—if it wants one, that is—is going to have drop many of the causes that brought it to power and get serious about delivering a vision of government and society that isn't predicated upon fear of the world and a commitment to maintain absolute control over all of our lives.
Bonus video: 13 Non-Pedophile Reasons You Can Hate Roy Moore