by WorldTribune Staff, September 28, 2017
Even though President Donald Trump endorsed his establishment opponent, Roy Moore’s victory in the Alabama GOP primary for the U.S. Senate moved the Trump Revolution forward, lawmakers and analysts say.
“There’s no doubt in my mind that this is going to be a determining factor for a lot of Deep South states, no question,” said Mississippi State Sen. Chris McDaniel, who lost a primary contest against Sen. Thad Cochran in 2014 but is considering another Senate primary run in 2018.
“If Alabama can send a true conservative to Washington, and Texas can send a true conservative to Washington, so can Mississippi and Tennessee and Florida and other states,” McDaniel said.
Rush Limbaugh said that Trump’s strategy in endorsing Luther Strange was merely aimed at garnering Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s favor.
“He endorsed the loser because at the time it happened, he was trying to buy appeasement with Mitch. Trump is frustrated in trying to get his agenda done in Washington. He thought he would try appeasing Mitch McConnell. I knew it wasn’t going to work,” Limbaugh said on his Sept. 27 radio broadcast.
“But what the drive-bys are missing here is that the voters of Alabama knew exactly what was at stake here and sent an insider packing.”
Limbaugh said Moore’s victory was really about the power of “Trumpism.”
“The voters were consistent here. They [media] are saying that Trump’s influence is over. No. No. No. What it means is – Trumpism is bigger than Trump. The people in Alabama saw Trump endorse the wrong guy… they are invested in Trump. They are more so invested in Trumpism. Without Trump, there isn’t any Trumpism.”
Many of Moore’s backers, including former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon, sought to make the Alabama contest a referendum on McConnell, who has grown increasingly unpopular with the base.
Analysts say several GOP incumbents are seen by Bannon’s camp as vulnerable to the same kind of anti-Washington messaging present in the Moore-Strange contest, even though the Republican Party controls the White House, the House and the Senate.
“If you can defeat a guy like Luther Strange by simply tying him to Mitch McConnell, what does that mean for guys like Jeff Flake and Dean Heller, who are literally Never Trumpers, or a guy like Roger Wicker, who’s in Senate leadership?” said Andy Surabian, a senior adviser to Great America Alliance, a group with close ties to Bannon that supported Moore in Alabama.
Surabian’s, who was referring to Republican senators from Arizona, Nevada and Mississippi, said “I hope none of them have a long-term lease in Washington D.C.”
Heller’s primary challenger, Danny Tarkanian, tweeted his congratulations to Moore and added: “Primary voters showed they’ll drain the swamp across country.”
In an interview with McClatchy ahead of the election, Tarkanian argued that Heller would be in a weaker position with the staunchly pro-Trump GOP base than Strange was.
“I haven’t seen that Luther Strange was a Never Trumper, that he did anything against Trump,” said Tarkanian. “On the contrary, Heller was one of the first Never Trumpers in Nevada. He cost Trump the election in Nevada.”
Meanwhile, a group that put millions of dollars behind Strange in Alabama says it will now back Moore.
Senate Leadership Fund President and CEO Steven Law said that Moore won the nomination “fair and square.”
Law says Moore “has our support, as it is vital that we keep this seat in Republican hands.”
Moore will face Democrat Doug Jones in December.