Alabama election: Moore takes early lead; NYT projects win? *UPDATE* Fox calls for Jones

Alabama election: Moore takes early lead; NYT projects win? *UPDATE* Fox calls for Jones
Rallying the troops. (Image: Screen grab of Fox News video, YouTube)

The polls have closed in Alabama, and the early news is that Republican Roy Moore has a meaningful, if narrow, lead.

At the top of the hour, Fox just reported on a rumored New York Times projection that Moore would win.  At the moment, with about 21% of the vote in, Moore is up 51.3% on Democrat Doug Jones, who has 47.4%.

That’s less narrow than it was 30 seconds ago.

In the interest of getting this thread up, I will post it, and add developments and commentary shortly.

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NBC reports that Senate Republicans will huddle on Wednesday morning to “discuss next steps” if Moore wins.

I’m hearing Brit Hume on Fox deliver the GOP talking point that if the party had sent Luther Strange, or another old-consensus Republican, to today’s election, such a GOP candidate would be “way ahead” of Doug Jones tonight.

I saw people making that case around the Web today.  I don’t think they get it.  This isn’t the Atlanta suburbs (like Georgia-06 a few months ago).  And even if it were, there’s a non-dismissible argument to be made that a less-homogenized Republican candidate would have won bigger there.

Larry Elder is making some sense right now, if where he’s going with it is that there needs to be an actual investigation of the allegations against Moore.  There hasn’t been one; all we have to go on right now is a grab-bag of unprovable charges.  I can manufacture charges against every single one of you out there in the space of five minutes.  That should not be the standard by which we demand that people either take themselves out of action, or be hounded off the public stage.  Either have an investigation of the accusations against Moore, with some rigor to it, or shut up about them.

Turns out Elder seemed to be talking more about how Republicans need to not “die on a hill” by defending Moore.

And that’s why the Deplorables just get more and more determined.  Dying on that hill equals defending the right of every one of us to due process.  It continues to amaze these voters — as it does me — that so much of the GOP has found the type of allegation that finally, for its purposes, trumps due process, and needs to be settled by sanctimonious assumptions about guilt.

Just as I go to update this, Fox is saying Jones is in the lead.

But that’s not what the numbers are saying.  Freudian slip?

Time will tell.

*10 PM Eastern* The race is tightening again, reportedly as the vote tallies mature from the urban counties, where Doug Jones has most of his support.  With 76% counted, Moore is showing 50.7% to Jones’ 47.9%.

If that changes in the next 5 minutes (countdown to 10 PM-actual), I’ll update rather than retyping the numbers above.  Moore has been ahead the whole time I’ve been watching, but the spread shifts by several tenths of a percentage with every increase in the counted tally.

By the actual counted numbers, Moore is leading (the percentage hasn’t changed more than a tenth from the above), but Fox continues to flog the theme that projections for the blue counties would give Jones a narrow win.  Interesting.  I don’t remember ever seeing Fox do this before.

10:10 PM Eastern:

Closing up more.

Relatively big write-in vote definitely having an impact.

Alabama GOP chairman points out that failure to get the big things done — Obamacare, tax reform (so far) — is having an impact on the vote as well.  He’s probably right; it seems logical all the way through the tiers of analysis.  I’m not sure it’s a dominant factor in this race.

*10:30 PM Eastern* At the bottom of the hour, with 91% of the vote in, Fox calls it for Jones.  Jones has taken his first lead of the night, 49.5% to 48.9% for Moore.

Jones’ narrow lead holding as the tally edges to 95%.  It may widen a bit since the remaining votes are coming from the blue urban counties.  It was about 49.6% Jones, 48.9% Moore a few minutes ago.  It’s been shifting all night; the actual difference in raw votes is about 12,000 now, up from about 9,000 at 10:30.  All the media majors have called it for Jones now.

In terms of the partisan outcome, I’m not all that worried about it.  Our mechanism of national politics is creaking along on fumes now, as it is.  People who think this predicts anything about the 2018 midterms, or the larger future of America, are fooling themselves.  Too much is changing.  That goes for the expectations of both the conventional-thinking Republicans and the conventional-thinking Democrats.

I do have concern that what we’ve just witnessed is a stampede caused by scare tactics.  Frankly, I was never sure Moore would win the 12 December face-off anyway, and I think we could have gotten this very electoral result without all the sudden allegations made against Moore.

But they were made, and what the left learned is that they worked, to galvanize the GOP against itself.  You think the political left isn’t going to use that one again?  Remember, they don’t have to be able to prove anything, to use such allegations for political purposes.

That’s a tough standard to beat.  It has made me sick to see so many people calling shame on anyone who thought Moore should have due process and a day in court.  I think Al Franken should have due process and a day in court too, and John Conyers and Blake Farenthold — none of which means I like or think very highly of any of them.  But I hope all the shame-callers out there are prepared to live without fairness or the benefit of the doubt in the days ahead.  Because by their own standard, that’s what they’re going to have to do.

In any case, congratulations to Doug Jones.

J.E. Dyer

J.E. Dyer

J.E. Dyer is a retired Naval Intelligence officer who lives in Southern California, blogging as The Optimistic Conservative for domestic tranquility and world peace. Her articles have appeared at Hot Air, Commentary’s Contentions, Patheos, The Daily Caller, The Jewish Press, and The Weekly Standard.