SPOTLIGHT

How Do You Solve a Problem Like Alabama?

Republicans have a Senate nominee accused of sexually assaulting teenagers.

Beverly Young Nelson the latest accuser of Alabama Republican Roy Moore, shows her high school yearbook signed by Moore, at a news conference, in New York, Monday, Nov. 13, 2017. Nelson says Moore assaulted her when she was 16 and he offered her a ride home from a restaurant where she worked. Anticipating Nelson's allegations at the news conference, Moore's campaign ridiculed her attorney, Gloria Allred, beforehand as "a sensationalist leading a witch hunt."
AP Photo/Richard Drew
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Kyle Trygstad
Nov. 14, 2017, 10:05 a.m.

The political implications for what happens over the next month in Alabama stretch far beyond the state’s borders.

Outside of any personal moral outrage, the fact that the allegations against Roy Moore not only put the Alabama seat in play but threaten to hinder the GOP legislative agenda and infect the party’s entire platoon of Senate challengers next year has led Republicans to begin both a public and private push to sink their own nominee.

Assuming Moore continues to defy calls to step aside, NRSC Chairman Cory Gardner urged the Senate to expel Moore if he wins, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell discussed with Vice President Mike Pence the possibility of a write-in campaign by Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

Either option, along with the less-desired possibility of Democrat Doug Jones winning and holding the seat until at least 2020, would allow the GOP to separate from a disastrous candidate. But each would also lead to further complications, which include flaming the anti-establishment fire and putting the majority in significant jeopardy.

Kyle Trygstad

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