Is Doug Jones Doomed?

You may recall that in the aftermath of Bob Dylan’s controversial experimentation with gospel music, there was a brief period of time when some gospel acts enjoyed some success among “secular” audiences. One such act was a group known as the Clark Sisters, who had a fairly popular tune called “Expect Your Miracle”:

I’m looking for a miracle
I expect the impossible
I feel the intangible
I see the invisible

The sky is the limit
To what I can have
The sky is the limit
To what I can have…

“Expect Your Miracle” would make a great theme song for Doug Jones’s US Senate campaign. Actually, the old Laura Nyro/Deniece Williams tune “It’s Gonna Take a Miracle” might be an even more appropriate song—because that may well be what it will take for Jones to defeat the alleged sex fiend who is his opponent.

Only the most naive among us were surprised to learn that Roy Moore—the man who allegedly liked to use the nearest high school as his Tinder—has recaptured his lead over Jones in some recent polls. (A new Washington Post poll has Jones up by three points, but let’s be honest: if you’re ahead of a reputed pervert by only three points nine days before an election, that’s not a good position.) Moore, Donald Trump and the far-right media machine have apparently brainwashed a critical mass of Alabama voters into believing that the allegations of amorous amorality against Moore are nothing more than a Satanic conspiracy. Lord have mercy.

Moore has effectively won this election even if he loses it. If Jones pulls off the greatest US Senate special-election upset since Republican Scott Brown defeated Democrat Martha Coakley seven years ago, Moore and his minions will simply allege fraud and theft, declaring that under no circumstances would the people of Alabama vote in good conscience for a baby-killing, God-denying, gun-grabbing, wealth-redistributing, Schumer-loving, Pelosi-obeying Democrat. The right-wing media machine will assault Jones as though he were a male Elizabeth Warren. The level of hatred directed towards Jones could well rival, in terms of its intensity, the opprobrium directed towards Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.

Of course, it’s quite likely that things will never get to that point. On December 12, there will be plenty of Alabama voters who, in effect, only see Moore’s name on the ballot. Those voters view the Democratic Party the same way Democrats view the Green Party—as a fringe outfit not worth the time of day. The evidence against Moore means nothing to them. Ex-evangelical Frank Schaeffer explained the thought process of this sort of voter in a 2009 appearance on MSNBC’s The Rachel Maddow Show:

…[T]he mainstream–not just media, but culture—doesn’t sufficiently take stock of the fact that within our culture we have a subculture which is literally a fifth column of insanity that is bred from birth, through home school, Christian school, evangelical college, whatever, to reject facts as a matter of faith…There is no end to this stuff. Why? Because this subculture has as its fundamentalist faith that they distrust facts per se…And the Republican Party is totally enthralled to this subculture to the extent that there is no Republican Party. There is [only] a fundamentalist subculture which has become a cult.

How ironic that a man with the last name of Jones is running against a cult leader. Like Trump, who has convinced his cheerleaders that the Michael Flynn scandal is a nothingburger, Roy Moore has handed out cups of Flavor-Aid laced with the cyanide of cynicism—and his eager followers have swallowed it down in one gulp.

Imagine, for one moment, Roy Moore in the US Senate. Imagine him demonizing those he regarded as domestic enemies of the United States with McCarthyesque fervor. Imagine him denying climate science and attacking climate scientists with a rage even Jim Inhofe couldn’t muster. Imagine him doing to Kamala Harris what Jesse Helms did to Carol Moseley Braun.

If enough Alabama voters take to the polls on December 12 with grievance in their hearts and Fox News talking points in their heads, we won’t have to imagine it. Sadly, we will all live it.

D.R. Tucker

D. R. Tucker is a Massachusetts-based journalist who has served as the weekend contributor for the Washington Monthly since May 2014. He has also written for the Huffington Post, the Washington Spectator, the Metrowest Daily News, investigative journalist Brad Friedman's Brad Blog and environmental journalist Peter Sinclair's Climate Crocks.