Nate Silver over at FiveThirtyEight explores the negatives for Republicans if Doug Jones wins the special elkection for the Alabama US Senate seat….
He also looks at the postives if Doug Jones wins the election that has pitted national Grand Ole party against the Alabama state party….
How bad is it for Republicans if Jones wins? It’s really bad. Having Jones in office would reduce the GOP margin in the Senate to 51-49, meaning that Republicans could afford only one defection on legislation such as tax reform. For example, if both Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine and Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska opposed a bill and everyone else voted along party lines, it would fail by one vote.
Moreover, whoever wins the special election will serve out the remainder of former Sen. Jeff Sessions’s term, which runs through January 2021. Having Jones in office already would make it considerably easier for Democrats to win the Senate in the 2018 midterms: With a win banked in Alabama, flipping Flake’s open seat in Arizona1 and Republican Sen. Dean Heller’s in Nevada would be enough to put Democrats in control of the Senate — provided (and it’s a big provision) that Democrats didn’t lose any of their own seats.
To play devil’s advocate: One could argue that control of the Senate in 2019 and 2020 isn’t all that high-stakes…
How bad is it for Republicans if Moore wins and remains in the Senate? It’s really bad. The inverse of Jones sometimes voting with Republicans is the likelihood that Moore would sometimes vote against Republican leadership. Moore’s policy positions actually aren’t all that different from Republican leadership on issues such as health care and taxes — he’s a culture warrior but not an economic populist. However, he likes to pick fights with the Republican “establishment” and might try to undermine Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. (That McConnell has said Moore should get out of the race would likely only make the antagonism worse.) A good analogy might be to Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, who has somewhat heterodox political views and is generally an unpredictable vote for McConnell.
But let’s not neglect the much greater consequence, which is that Republicans — if they didn’t expel Moore — would be seen as aiding and abetting, or at least tolerating, someone who has credibly been accused of being a serial child molester…..