The Corner

Politics & Policy

Roy Moore Won’t Drop and There’s No Way to Make Him

Absent some catastrophically undeniable new allegation, Roy Moore isn’t going anywhere. There’s no way to force him off the ballot at this point. In fact, even if he dropped out, his name would still appear on the ballot because we’re within the 76-day window when it’s too late to change a candidate according to state law. Regardless, for its part, the state party is showing no appetite for trying to dump Moore.

So, the only mechanism for a non-Moore Republican is a write-in campaign. Its chances of success would be highly doubtful. The name bandied about is Luther Strange, who was soundly beaten by Roy Moore in the primary run-off, in part because voters thought the circumstances of Strange’s appointment to the senate were shady. For him to come back and run in the general after losing the primary is unlikely to sit well with voters.

Someone else, anyone else, would be a much better choice. But there aren’t many potential names who have the standing to potentially win a write-in campaign. Maybe former governor Bob Riley? But why would anyone with any credibility or political future want to run a write-in campaign that would have very uncertain chances of success, earn the hatred of some portion of the party, and inevitably involve litigation as every aspect of election law is fought over in coming weeks?

No, the only good option would be for Roy Moore to decide to drop out himself, and that’s not happening. The only man who could force him to change his mind is Donald Trump. The president still hasn’t made a big pronouncement on the race. If he were persuaded that Moore is a sure loser (I’m not sure that’s true at this point), he conceivably could urge Moore to quit, even if it’d obviously be awkward for Trump to dump anyone based on allegations of sexual impropriety.


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