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How​ ​Republicans​ blundered into Roy Moore ​and​ ​derailed​ ​a​ ​conversation about​ ​sexual ​assault

How​ ​Republicans​ blundered into Roy Moore ​and​ ​derailed​ ​a​ ​conversation about​ ​sexual ​assault
From CBC - December 11, 2017

If Republican grandees in Washington had not been so determined to handpick Alabama's next senator, they might not be burdened now with thelaw-breaking, religious zealot Roy Moore, an alleged child molester and a man nostalgic for a time in U.S. history"when families were unitedeven though we had slavery," as their candidate in Tuesday's special Senate election.

"It's the stupidest string of nonsense that I have ever seen in my life," Alabama political writer Josh Moon said as he recounted the chain of clumsy missteps and scandals that led Republicans to blunder into this colossal mess of an election with Moore on their ticket.

Establishment Republicans in Washington had wanted former Alabama attorney general Luther Strange to represent the party. Strange had already been appointed to the Senate,picked to serve on an interim basis by then-governorRobert Bentley. That seemed to the D.C.apparatchiks to have gone pretty smoothly.

But the truth was that it had not gone smoothly at all. As attorney general, Strange had been in charge of investigating a sex and corruption scandal involving governorBentley. He'd abandoned that for the Senate appointment.

To Alabama voters it smelled fishyas though Strange got the Senate seat as a quid pro quo for shutting down his investigation of the governor.

When all the dirt came out, Bentley resigned in disgrace. But Strange came away from it badly damaged, too.

"And so out of that, everybody said, 'You know what? We really hate Luther Strange, and he will never have that Senate seat," said Moon.

'In strolls Roy Moore'

Still, up in D.C., Republican fixers missed all the warning signs and continued spending millions of dollars to mow down every reasonable alternative to their preferred candidate in the Alabama Senate primary.

Strangelost anyway and, says Moon, "in strolls Roy Moore," a former Alabama state judge with a history of controversy. Soon after came the allegations, reported by the Washington Post, about Moore's alleged behaviour with young girls decades ago.

Two women accused Moore of sexual misconduct when they were 14 and 16 and he was in his30s. Others say Moore attempted to start romantic relationships with them when he was in his30sand they were teenagers.

For a couple of weeks, Republicans tried to wriggle out of the disaster they'd made for themselves by standing up for Moore's accusers"I believe the women," said Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell.

D.C. Republicans tried asking Moore to step down. They tried threatening him with expulsion if he wins the Senate election. They tried withholding money from his campaign.

But they gave all that up when the president donated his full-throated support to Moore and urged Alabamians to get out and vote for him.

Innocentuntil proven guilty

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