Steve Bannon didn’t draft Roy Moore as a candidate, nor was he the proximate cause of Moore’s win in the Republican primary. But Moore’s defeat tonight is nonetheless a signature loss for Bannon’s political project, the goal of which is to replace incumbent Republicans with insurgents just like Moore.
It is important not to overstate Bannon’s involvement in the Moore campaign. Moore has been a figure in Alabama politics for years, and Bannon arrived late in the Republican primary when Moore was already ahead. His most visible contribution to the Moore campaign was to order his writers to cheerlead from the sidelines as the molestation allegations piled up, a pathetic endeavor that accomplished little. Moore’s elevation as a candidate owes to several factors.
But one of those is the corrosive influence that Bannon exerts on a portion of the Right. His mission is to find ridiculous candidates and convince voters and donors they are legitimate; for years he has used his highly-trafficked site in an effort to do just that. Yet tonight, his ideal candidate lost a statewide election in Alabama. We already knew that a party made in Bannon’s image would be repulsive. Tonight we learned it is not even politically viable.