Republican Senate nominee Judge Roy Moore is being asked by party leaders – from Mitch McConnell to Paul Ryan – to drop out of the race for U.S. Senate from Alabama. Others, in diminishing numbers, are sticking with the religious conservative. So what should he do? It is our position that Roy Moore should drop out of the race – but not for reasons being stated by many national and party leaders.
First, I freely admit that stepping aside sets a dangerous precedent. Given that there is no proof of inappropriate action on the part of Judge Moore, by stepping down, he will invite future, invalid accusations against political leaders on the verge of scheduled elections.
Second, stepping aside seems to run contrary to the “innocent until proven guilty” standard in America. Again, this will set a precedent with negative consequences, if Moore ends his race for Senate, while declaring his innocence in the face of unproven accusations.
Third, it must be noted that the timing of the five accusations against Judge Moore is more than coincidental. For five women to all come forward after 40 years, all on the eve of an election, is not coincidental; it would seem the timing is politically motivated. That does not invalidate their claims, but it does call them to more scrutiny than if these accusations had come 40 years ago or apart from political consequences.
Having said that, I believe Judge Moore should step aside for three reasons.
First, his denials have been tepid, at best. In a recent interview with Shawn Hannity, Moore was asked if he remembers dating teenage women when he was older than 30. His response: “Not generally.” Then he said, “I don’t remember dating any girl without the permission of her mother.”
Second, Moore should step aside for the sake of his family. To continue in this race is to invite further scrutiny that his wife and children don’t need.
Third, the judge should quit the race for the sake of his party. If he stays in the race, it is likely that another Republican – with full party support – will enter the race as a write-in candidate. And the result will likely be that the two Republicans split the vote, roughly 30-30, allowing Democratic candidate Doug Jones to win with just 40 percent of the vote.
Five things could happen in the race.
1. Roy Moore could win.
2. Doug Jones could win.
3. A write-in candidate could win.
4. Roy Moore could win, then get expelled by the Senate.
5. Governor Kay Ivey could delay the race, in order to get another Republican on the ballot.
It’s hard to say what will happen at this point. It’s a crazy set of circumstances, to be sure. But what is clear is that none of this is good for the country. If the five accusers are telling the truth, this isn’t good for them. Either way, it’s not good for Moore’s family. And it certainly isn’t good for the people of Alabama or the Republican Party Moore seeks to represent in the United States Senate.
So, for the benefit of all concerned, Judge Roy Moore should step out of the Senate race – and in the process, out of the front pages of every newspaper across the country. It’s time for Judge Moore, his family, his state, his party, and his country to move on.