For the good of Alabama and his party, Roy Moore should immediately remove himself as the Republican candidate in the special U.S. Senate election.
Even if the allegations that Moore had sexual contact with underage girls some 40 years ago are nothing more than trumped-up charges fueled by dirty politics, he should put the interests of the state ahead of his own and step aside. Even if he thinks himself a victim and his accusers as evil, Moore should end this today.
Things are not going to get better between now and the election, not for Moore, not for the state’s Republican Party and absolutely not for Alabama.
If you think economic development and job creation are already an uphill battle in Alabama, just wait and see what happens if Moore should win the election. The national and international news will be wall-to-wall as national Republican leaders side with Democrats to fight against seating the evangelical Moore in the Senate. George Wallace and Bull Connor did lasting damage to this state’s economy when they fought against the civil rights movement. If Moore doesn’t want his home state to face that kind of backlash again, he should step aside. At this point, he is as politically toxic as one could possibly be in an age when there apparently is little shame left on either side of the political aisle.
It never should have gotten this far. If then-Gov. Robert Bentley had not appointed Luther Strange, the man whose job it was to investigate the embattled governor for illegal activity, to the vacant Senate seat shortly before Bentley resigned in disgrace, we might not be here. Voters saw through that ruse, and enough voted for Moore to give him the GOP nomination. Had another, more appropriate person taken that seat temporarily, Moore might not have found his way into being the party’s nominee.
As it is, in this heavily Republican state, voters will choose between a progressive Democrat and a religious firebrand who is accused of being a sexual predator. Unfortunately, but not surprisingly, there are far too many voters in this state who would choose to defend Moore against these charges before considering casting a vote for a Democrat.
With a fifth woman coming forward Monday to claim Moore assaulted her when she was 16, the attention on this election could not possibly be more embarrassing for the Republican Party. Already, a host of national GOP leaders have called on Moore to step aside. That chorus is certainly going to grow louder, and it should. Those who qualified their call for him to step aside “if the allegations are proven to be true” are going to fall to the minority. The allegations and Moore’s weak response to them have already made that qualification an afterthought.
Moore’s initial denial of the first round of accusations fell flat. Now, the accusations are increasing. If he cares more about Alabama than his political career, he should drop out. If he doesn’t, he definitely doesn’t deserve our vote.
The Tuscaloosa (Alabama) News published this editorial on Nov. 13.