Alabama Teaches America a Lesson

Alabama Teaches America a Lesson, by Peggy Noonan.

To see it in terms of the parties or Steve Bannon is to see it small. The headline to me: American political standards made a comeback. Roy Moore’s loss was not a setback for the GOP; it was a setback for freakishness. It was an assertion of prudential judgment by the electorate, and came as a relief. …

Thirty-three states have U.S. Senate races next year. Primary voters should absorb what happened to Alabama Republicans after they picked Mr. Moore. They took it right in the face. They misjudged their neighbors. They were full of themselves. They rejected the sure victories offered by other contestants and chose a man whom others easily detected as not well-meaning. They weren’t practical or constructive and they didn’t think about the long term. They didn’t, for instance, take into account that there were independents in the state whose support could be gained with the fielding of a more serious Republican. …

Conservatives who are real conservatives don’t ape the social-justice left and make politics a daily freak show. They keep their cool, argue their case, build broad appeal and become, in this way, politically deadly. …

In the face of unprecedented hostility from the media and bureaucracy, perhaps this is too much of an ask:

Mr. Trump’s political malpractice has been to fail, since his election, to increase his popularity and thus his power. He has a core but it remains a core. He could have broadened his position with a personal air of stability and moderation, and with policies that were soft-populist. He has failed to do so, primarily due to his self-indulgence—his tendency to heat things up when he should cool them down; his tendency always to make the situation a little worse, not a little better. His tweets, his immaturity, his screwball resentments and self-pity alienate and offend. …

The Democrats are now united only by identity politics — hatred of white men etc. — and hatred of Donald Trump:

The biggest silence in American political life is not from the Republicans, who can’t stop arguing. It is from the Democrats when they are asked what they stand for. What economic policy do they want? What is the plan, the arrangement they hope to institute? What philosophy are they trying to put in place? What in terms of foreign policy do they want?

Domestically the only thing they’re clear on is identity politics. Who’s going to unite or find the place of common ground between the rising left and the older middle? What program can accomplish that?

Donald Trump has been a great gift to the Democrats. Opposition to him is the one thing that keeps them united. But he won’t be there forever — they’ll try to see to that! — and when he’s gone, the squirrels will really begin to fly. …

The future:

We are a divided country. The special counsel’s findings could prove momentous. Everyone involved should sober up, think about the long term, and be aware of the impression they’re making.

A simple lesson from the Alabama election and the last presidential election is that Roy Moore and Hillary Clinton were both uniquely poor and unappealing candidates (and both from Alabama).