Monday, November 20, 2017

Perfect Issue for Trump

Progressive voters wonder how Trump could be popular.  Here is why.


Trump saw a perfect issue for himself, and he jumped on it.  Trump defines himself by his fights.  It creates a simple, easy to understand message.   

Amid the controversies over great, but complex issues, regarding changes to American tax rates and the Affordable Care Act, Trump finds an issue that will motivate voters.  It fits the big Trump narrative.

Just the kind of conflict Trump seeks
Three very foolish young men on the UCLA men's basketball team visited some stores in China and allegedly shoplifted some items.   They were detained by Chinese authorities. The young men were black. The offense happened just before Trump visited China.  During the trip Trump asked China to let the young men go.  China consented.   After they arrived home Trump prompted them, saying they should be thanking him for pulling strings for them.   They held a press conference and thanked him.

And then it got really good for Trump.   

LaVar Ball, the father of one of the young men groused about his son having to thank Trump: "What was he over there for?  Don't tell me nothing.  Everybody wants to make it seem like he helped me out."  He said that Trump didn't do very much and that people "try to make a big deal out of nothing."

This is a perfect narrative for Trump because he had a perfect villain.    

Part of Trump's appeal is that he voiced the resentment felt by many white Americans who feel that whites are the primary victims of discrimination.  Polls show that feelings of white disadvantage is widespread, and that feeling was highly correlated with Trump voters. They feel blacks get the advantages of "affirmative action;" blacks get special privileges; blacks feel entitled and take those advantages for granted.  More generally, they feel that the life struggles of white people are overlooked and disrespected by Democrats, but are appreciated by Trump.

LaVar Ball kept talking, so it got even better for Trump.  He minimized the crime. "They try to make a big deal out of nothing sometimes.  I'm from L.A.  I've sen a lot worse things happen than a guy taking some glasses.  My son has built up enough character that one bad decision doesn't define him."

Now Trump had what he needed: the right enemy.

The matchup itself is the message.  

Law-and-order-Trump versus black criminality, entitlement, and ingratitude.


It fits Trump's narrative of white resentment of black criminality and unearned entitlement.

1.  Black criminality, justified as not a "big deal".
2   Black entitlement.
3.  Entitled black athletes embarrassing UCLA and Americans generally.
4.  Black ingratitude.
5.  Trump representing law and order.
6.  White authority figure (Trump) being dissed by entitled black lawbreakers.

The three young men will have their supporters but they consolidate a lot of disapproval.  We hear of swaggering, entitled Division One athletes being indulged and taking no-show classes.  We witnessed an parent enabler. 

LaVar Ball vs. Donald Trump
This matchup gives Trump political capital.  This puts the news on the right subject for Trump, Trump the good guy. This is Trump being on the side of law and order.   

Amid the complicated issues of tax policy and health care policy the public wonders who to believe, who sees things the way they see things.  This issue is easy to understand and shows him defending law and rectitude and good parenting.  Voters can figure that If he seems reasonable here, amid naysayers, then maybe the public can trust his judgement on those complicated things like taxes and health legislation.  Trump is on their side.

No nationally prominent Democrats will defend the players or the father, but the damage to Democrats is done.  The athletes are black--core members of the Democratic constituency team.  Trump--who is widely accused of embarrassing America--in this case got to stand for  not shoplifting and not embarrassing America.  


Trump understands simple, powerful messages.  This issue is golden for him.



[Late addition:  Trump is calling for the NFL to suspend a player who sat during the national anthem.   He calls it disrespect for America. It is another iteration of the same matchup.  Trump thrives on this.] 















Sunday, November 19, 2017

Trolling the Left

Trump is good at it.

Donald Trump is a troll.   It works for him, and he loves it.


Definition of a troll:   "One who posts a deliberately provocative message on a newsgroup or message board with the intention of causing maximum disruption or argument."


Donald Trump does not win arguments.  He doesn't need to.  Instead, he captures and dominates the media coverage of the argument, changing the subject to a frame that suits him.  He says provocative things, things so outrageous, that the media thinks it simply must cover it. 

In his book, Crippled America, Trump described what he does to capture the media attention:  "If you do things a little differently, if you say outrageous things and fight back, they love you."  

It is no secret.  He is proud of it.

The media covers the bright, shiny object, the outrageous and provocative, and Trump provides it. The media is a sucker for it.  He controls the news.  His primary opponents were furious and frustrated.  It was all Trump all the time.  

Vox article: Click Here
Ezra Kline made this point in an article in Vox this summer.  Trump wins by dominating the news, not winning the argument   He cited the then current example of Comey's testimony on evidence of Russian involvement in the Trump campaign. Trump uses his formula of deny, de-legitimize the critic, then make the subject Trump's accusations about Comey-the-leaker.  

It is not just the media who gets trolled. The left falls for it, too.


The current news is about Trump's flagrant, outrageous hypocrisy in having made accusations against Al Franken.  Trump is well aware that his comments are shocking. That is the point.  The media covered it, changing the news to just how guilty Franken is: a little guilty or a lot guilty, and whether Franking's apology was good contrition or confirmation of guilt.  There is no winning outcome because the very subject is degree of Democratic misbehavior.   Meanwhile, people on MSNBC panels talk nonstop about just exactly what Franken did, the quality of his apology, just exactly what the sin was.

Cynical, brilliant, and very effective.

A better issue for Democrats
Democrat are chasing the shiny object, ignoring the big news.  This week the House passed a major tax bill. 

The tax bill's primary elements of change are to cut the corporate income tax rate and to eliminate the estate tax and alternative minimum tax--items of value only to the very wealthiest Americans.  Democrats could be framing the issue over whether this bill is a gigantic giveaway to multimillionaires and a betrayal of the middle class,  or merely a really big giveaway and betrayal.  That question has the benefit of being factual, being important, and being one that helps define the GOP as indebted to the very wealthy at the expense of the middle class, and defines Democrats as the party fighting for regular Americans.   That is a winner.

But MSNBC is on my television right now.  Look at what Trump said!  Trump of all people accused Franken.  What exactly did Franken do.  A panel of six all chime in.

Trump trolls, and it works.

A college classmate, acting as a spokesman for Trump, put it this way:  "Asked to comment on this latest development, his spokesperson responded, in a rare moment of truth-telling, 'You still don't get it?  He is just f**cking with you, because he knows it drives you crazy.  He gets off on that."

Trump does love it.  He taunts Hillary, telling her please, please run again.  Steve Bannon urges Democrats to keep fighting.  Democrats fight over the subjects Trump puts out there.  It drives them crazy.

He gets off on that.


Saturday, November 18, 2017

Liberals should lighten up.

The pure and sanctimonious liberals kill off their friends.

Some liberal voices call for him to resign.

Their Imperfect friends are easier targets than their sworn enemies.


Some of the comments in Facebook groups and among my college classmates urge Al Franken to resign.  What he did was inexcusable.

Here is an example:  

"Shouldn’t we be clamoring for his resignation?  I saw a tweet today from someone arguing that because of his progressive views (I’m paraphrasing here) that “we” need to stick by our allies, but, c’mon. Harassment is harassment. Liberal, conservative, intelligentsia, moron, it’s all the same, is it not?  If we try to parse this stuff we are doomed, methinks.  If there was ever a time for a bright line test it is here and now.  Senator, step down." 

This point of view is widespread and it has a logic to it.  Don't be a hypocrite.  We cannot condemn bad behavior if we tolerate imperfection within our own team.  After all, the political right has triumphed using "What-About-ism".  Trump colluded with Russia, well, what about Hillary and Benghazi?   Trump groped women, well, what about Bill Clinton?

A stupid joke.

Al Franken is guilty of making a sophomoric joke.  As this blog wrote yesterday, the supposed "smoking gun" photograph is the posed photograph of a joke, not documentation of a sexual assault.  Look at the shadows under his hands.  Look at his face.   He is posing. It is absolutely fair for someone to say the joke is tasteless and abusive and they don't like it, but this is disapproval of a sophomoric joke.  Indeed, by treating the performance of a joke to a room of people as similar to a rape or forceful assault devalues the meaning of women who experienced much worse.

For their own political self interest, liberals need to lighten up.

Liberal sanctimony does not frighten the political right.  They understand that it serves their purposes of scaring off the general public.  They call it crazy political correctness.  Liberal sanctimony does frighten the liberals.   It has even their allies and supporters  walking on eggshells.

Joke about a woman asleep being vulnerable to groping?  Offensive! Some things must not be joked about. Resign from the senate.  Jokes on this promotes “rape culture.”


Joke about older guys needing a long time to pee?  Offensive!  It insults older men and they are offended.  It validates "ageism culture."

Joke about PMS or menopause or what it is like to be married to a woman who experiences those?  Offensive!  No man can do it, never, ever.  It insults women, and projects the notion that women have unique problems and weaknesses. It validates “misogyny culture.”  

I am growing more and more concerned that this country will re-elect Donald Trump.  One bad presidential election was not a sufficient lesson and liberals may need a second. 

 Leftist moralism and values-purity is perceived out in red-state-flyover-regular America (that place with a majority of electoral votes) as burdensome and scolding. People don’t like to be scolded.  They don’t like being told that they are racist, misogynist, or should feel guilty about having white privilege. They don’t like being fearful, wondering how they will be condemned for being who they are.

The solution is not to purify our own.  There is no one pure enough for people of sanctimonious character.  This is politics.  There will always be critics.  There will always be some former staff person, or some constituent for the next hero (Kamala Harris, Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders) eager to come forward and say that this hero was condescending, or tasteless, or offensive, or failed to listen, or had a spouse whose college lost money, or some other sin. 

Everything offends somebody.
The answer for liberals is not better purity.  The answer is to lighten up.  

My liberal progressive friends don’t just condemn real racists and and real sexual assaulters; they condemn the careless misdemeanants, people like Al Franken.  They condemn the people who make stupid jokes, the people who stumble over the pronouns for a transexual, the people who actually think that “ALL lives matter” was a pretty good slogan. 

They condemn the imperfect and round them up with the genuinely bad.  The political result is that a vast body of people think liberal judgment is unrealistic, and they are tired of the sanctimony.  

So they vote for Trump.  At least Trump won’t call them a rapist for telling a stupid joke.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Feeding Frenzy among the Cannibals

We are witnessing the ongoing destruction of the political class in America.


They are doing it to each other.  It is happening out of revenge, opportunity, and fear.  When the mood is outrage it isn't safe to sit back.   

Look closely.  This isn't furtive lust.  It is silly humor.
It started as tit for tat revenge--killing each others' hostages-- but has transformed into a melee.  

Hollywood and the media outed some of their own: Ayles and O'Reilly from Fox; Mark Halperin from MSNBC.  Entertainment has outed and shamed Harvey Weinstein, Louis C. K., Kevin Spacey.  Republicans are turning on their own--McConnell and Ryan telling Moore to withdraw.  Democrats are turning on Al Franken, shaming him, returning his campaign donations, and Senator Kirsten Gellibrand saying that Bill Clinton should have resigned over the Lewinsky revelations.

Donald Trump laid low on Roy Moore but instantly tweeted blasting Al Franken for the unwanted kiss and grope, something "really bad," he said.

Weinstein's shaming followed O'Reilly's, but that wasn't the start.  The left's shaming of Trump and his dozen accusers drew the counterpunch of Trump blaming Hillary for shaming Lewinsky.  This frenzy of accusations over past deeds has a long history.  People seeking revenge on the other side have lots of scores to settle.

Throughout politics, the media, Hollywood, and business powerful people are reflecting on their past lives and wondering if they are next.  There appears to be no statute of limitations.  The past is not the past and no misbehavior or hurt feeling disappears.  There is no safe harbor.   

Not even humor.  Franken is being accused of being caught red handed in doing furtive groping.  Note there are shadows under his hands.  Note he is mugging for the camera.  This may well be stupid humor, but it is not lust.  He is not groping her.  He is posing for the camera publicly pretending to be groping her.   


What is going on here?


Some of the new outrage is simply partisan opportunism.  It is warfare and these are sniper attacks on vulnerable people on the other side.  Get O'Reilly.  Get Al Franken. Get Roy Moore.  There are news narratives and Senate seats at stake.  Shoot the enemy's leaders.

Some of the new outrage is frustration on the right that Bill Clinton seemed to have gotten away with something sexually shameful and came out stronger for it, then frustration on the left that Donald Trump did the same thing after the Access Hollywood revelations.  It demonstrated that powerful men do not pay a catastrophic price for sexual predation, and it is infuriating.  So people become furious.

Some of the new outrage is the feeling of power in calling out a persistent element of modern American society, which is that rich and powerful people feel entitled to use that status to gain sexual favors.  In the current moment people are acting shocked.  Yet the notion of women using sexual wiles to "sleep their way to the top" is a well known cliche.  The phrase "casting couch" is another cliche.  We are aware of its presence, now women are openly objecting, getting heard, and getting people fired.

We are witnessing a revolution.  Power to the previously disempowered.

Donald Trump is a witness and authority:  I cite Donald Trump here, not to shame him, but to use him as an eyewitness giving un-guarded testimony:  "I'm automatically attracted to beautiful women--I just start kissing them, it's like a magnet.  Just kiss.  I don't even wait.  And when you're a star, they let you do it.  You can do anything, grab them by the pussy."

Sniper attack.
A lot of people were stars in their own realms: newsrooms, movie sets, business and corporate offices.  They felt entitled, and sometimes with good reason.

We are witnessing a period of turmoil that happens when the cultural rules change.  In the thirty years of brokerage offices from 1985-2015 I watched the culture change from strongly masculine to carefully sanitized, driven there by lawsuits from female Financial Advisors and staff people, by bad publicity from some incidents in a "Boom Boom Room" in New Jersey, by the increasing number of female Advisors, and by changing mores generally.  What was thought OK in 1985 was not OK by 2015.

Some men, perhaps coached by a mother, a wife, or by an HR department, stayed ahead of the wave of change.  Some did not.   Some, like Bill Clinton, were caught by the past in the form of Paula Jones.  Some, like Donald Trump, as recently as the 2005 Access Hollywood brag, were slow to understand the landscape of a business world that now better empowered women.

The rules are changing.  Twenty five years ago it would have been shameful to be outed as gay; now not. Now the shame would be to openly criticize a person for being gay.  And now the shame is to to have been heterosexual and to have made an unwanted sexual advance.  

What constitutes unacceptable behavior?   Whatever the accuser says loudly, clearly, convincingly.  If a person was offended, then it was an offense.  New rules.

Who survives and who is crushed by the changing rules?   It all depends on whether then revelations damage or confirm a brand.  Donald Trump and Bill Clinton presented to the public as alpha male bad boys.  Their public outing showed mis-behavior, not hypocrisy, while it confirmed their power and virility.  We value strength in a President.  It hurt Bill Clinton more than Trump because Clinton projected himself as an enlightened modern man,  empathetic and supportive of women's equality, married to a peer.  Trump projected himself as someone who was tired of political correctness, so while Republicans were shocked by his Access Hollywood comments they ended up voting for him. As he said, he was a star.  Women let you. That is power.  For both Clinton and Trump, the job was Commander in Chief, and people want to see that you have power and know how to exercise it.  

O'Reilly, Halperin, and Spacey were positioned as truth tellers, not leaders.  Being shown to be "abusers" undermined their brand.  They folded and left the scene.

Roy Moore might survive.  He is positioned as a victim of liars and liberals, and by attacking McConnell and the Washington Post he has worked to frame this election not about dating very young women, but about whether Alabamans want to represent them a conservative values or a  Democratic abortion-loving secular multicultural liberal.

Al Franken's advantage in keeping his seat is the same thing that will make him un-electable as president.  He was a comic. His kiss and photo was a mistake.  He really is good inside, instantly apologizing, it was just a joke, a stupid joke, not really reflective of who he is, he said.  That ironic separation between statement and reality that is inherent in a comic will likely save his Senate seat.  He only pretends to grope and he doesn't justify it for a second.  He accepts the premise of his accusers.  Ultimately, that comes across as both weak but compliant. Comics are the side-kick and theater Fool, not the King.  They are talkers, not doers. He won't be president.









Thursday, November 16, 2017

Trump wants a trophy. Democrats should give him one.

Erase Obama

There is a human need to have a trophy, a sign our lives mean something special.


Trump, especially, wants his trophies.

Democrats can work with that.  Democrats likely have the power to choose what trophy he gets.


Donald Trump has never hidden his love for big trophies of ownership and achievement.   His life is full of trophy hunting and trophy display.  Trump Tower.  Mar-a-Lago.  Trump Taj Mahal.  Three trophy wives.

The human need for trophies are in the news.  Yesterday someone bid $450 million for a painting probably painted by Leonardo da Vinci.  It is a little damaged and there is a little uncertainty about the actual painter, but the money to buy it is real.  It is somebody's great trophy.  "This was a thumping epic triumph of branding and desire over connoisseurship and reality," according to a New York art dealer quoted in the New York Times.

$450 million.  "Crowd gasps at record"
Also yesterday, in another of the Trump era reversals of Obama policies, the US Fish and Wildlife Service just announced the reversal of a policy that forbade the importation into the US of elephant trophy heads from Zimbabwe and Zambia.   The ruling was praised by hunting rights advocates at the NRA, and decried by spokesmen for protecting elephants categorized as "threatened." 

Trophies don't have to make sense.  In fact, if they make sense they aren't really trophies--they are investments or items of practical utility, not symbols of achievement.  Trophies are displays, not tools. 


He bought the Plaza Hotel, openly admitting at the time that the purchase did not make sense, then lost it in bankruptcy.   He trolled Ted Cruz by displaying an unflattering photo of Heidi Cruz next to a glamour shot of his own wife.  He was criticized for it and did not back down one bit.  Look who I sleep with, loser!
Trump tweet.  Trophy wife.

If you've got it, flaunt it.  

Trump needs to abandon GOP policies if he is to achieve a trophy of the kind he wants.    He needed the GOP as a vehicle for his successful campaign of right wing populism.  Obama symbolized a new America, and Trump the GOP candidate and president is working to erase Obama, but the policies that got him elected are essentially negative.  They erase, they don't build. They push back against a tide of modernism and change.  They want a return to the past. Great again.

Trump realizes that coal is the past, not the future.  Trump realizes that American factories compete in a global market.   Trump communicated what he really wanted when he described the replacement for Obamacare:  something really terrific.

Trophies are not erasures.  They are something terrific.  

Democrats are positioned as the party to give him what he sorely wants.  It might be a great infrastructure program, and it will not be enough simply to repair roads and bridges.  Trump will want something new, big, and startling.  Something as big as an interstate highway system.  Something as showy as putting a man on the moon.  Something as life changing as LBJ's civil rights laws.  Or better yet, something as great as the Louisiana Purchase.

Plaza Hotel.  One of a kind.
Democrats need to act quickly.  A great infrastructure project, or a great revolution in health care that provides terrific health care, are projects that can give Trump the trophy he seeks.  Trump appears to be easily distracted.  Democrats should distract him from erasures by putting something big and possible in front of him.   It will be won with the votes of Schumer and Warren, and against the opposition of Ron Paul and Ted Cruz.  That is OK.  Big trophies are expensive, and Democrats are willing to borrow and spend, just as Republicans are.

They should act quickly because there are alternative paths for Trump, war, and Trump is surrounded by generals.  War with North Korea or war somewhere in the Middle East are options for Trump--ones that won't require cooperation from either Democrats or Republicans.  That is the easy path politically for Trump but it is not his preferred one.  He ran as a bellicose isolationist, not an interventionist.

Democrats will not like giving Trump a "win", but it would be a shared win.  Trump would undoubtably claim credit, and that is a price Democrats would have to pay, and they can claim credit.  Most will fall to Trump, but some to them.  Republicans will look like obstructionists because they would probably obstruct.

But the future is laid out in front of America.  Trump will demand his trophy.  Democrats have to power to decide what trophy it is, a great domestic achievement done primarily with Democratic votes, or it will be a war.

Democrats should choose peace.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Roy Moore still has a brand.

Mistake

The Roy Moore situation shows what happens when you damage your brand.


But he may be OK.  He didn't totally break it.




The political world of the past two years is an extended case study on branding.

Donald Trump entered the race with a brand established.  He was a rich New York real estate mogul, a high living playboy business tycoon with beautiful wives, and a decisive manner willing to make decisive changes.  "You're fired!"   He added to his brand the birther insult of Obama, which endeared him to Republicans.  Then, when he announced, he fleshed out his anti-immigrant, pro-native born American base by insulting Mexican immigrants (Mexico doesn't send its best.  Drugs. Rapists. Criminals.)  

Trump had his brand.

When he did "bad" things that caused Republicans officeholders to shudder, it didn't hurt him. They actually helped him.  In the Judge Curiel incident, his having said judges of Mexican heritage could not be fair to him confirmed his brand as a spokesman for white grievance against outsiders having been given status and power.  In the Access Hollywood tape of sexual entitlement he was confirming his brand as a person with power, unconstrained by political correctness.  If he could do that to women, just think what he could do to Mexico or maybe even China.

Inconsistent with brand as one "Fighting For Us."
Hillary damaged her own brand.  Hillary's own actions--speeches to Goldman, crony gifts to the Clinton Foundation, the special email server--all tended to undermine the brand she had worked to develop for 40 years, that of the dedicated liberal advocate for the underprivileged.  Sanders and Trump pointed out the inconsistency.  The notion of "Crooked" stuck.  She and her opponents broke her brand.

Roy Moore was removed from office twice for offenses against his public duty, a major offense and a major penalty. He openly did an unconstitutional act of establishing a religion by putting a granite statue of the Ten Commandments in his courthouse, and he openly defied federal law regarding same sex marriage.  These acts--and his getting punished for them--helped him politically.  He didn't hide his actions.  He celebrated them. They confirmed his brand as a Christian cultural warrior.  People liked him for it.  The punishment he endured proved his sincerity.

Does his dating and and allegations of assaulting young women destroy his brand?  

No, not quite.

It reduces his brand but does not destroy it.  His brand had been to be a good man who was a fearless fighter for traditional cultural and religious values.   Now he is like Trump, a flawed man who is a fearless fighter for those values.  Moore, unlike Trump, had claimed to be virtuous  The new revelations hurt Moore because it shows hypocrisy, and a change in brand.  But that is only half his brand, and his base is familiar with Christian hypocrites.  Everyone is a sinner.  People can avert their eyes.  However, the Christian warrior part of his brand is intact, perhaps stronger than ever, since he is set upon by outsiders who presumably don't share Christian values, Alabama values.

Someone presumably hoping to help him has seen up a false flag opponent, by revealing robot-calls purportedly from the Washington Post.  The calls are fake, claiming to be "Bernie Bernstein," outsiders cynically offering to pay women to come forward for $5,000 in cash.  It fits the Moore narrative: Jewish yankees, paying people to lie about him.  In the face of angry opposition from secularists and "establishment" people and from political enemies on the political and cultural left, he remains a warrior for Christian values.  The choice is between him and an abortion-tolerating Democrat, and between an Alabama Christian and a liberal Jew.   

It is not just "who do you believe?"  It is also, "who wears your jersey and who wears the opposition jersey?"


Here are three predictions.

1.  Sean Hannity will call for Moore to drop out, but he will not.  This will exacerbate the difference between Fox News and Breitbart.   Moore will seek vindication at the ballot box.. 

2.  Donald Trump will essentially defend Roy Moore by saying that it is up to the people of Alabama to decide who they believe and that if they want to send a good Republican vote  to the Senate it is their choice.  

3.  Roy Moore will win the election and Republicans like Mitch McConnell will stop talking about it and quietly accept him as an erratic gadfly who votes with them on nearly everything important to them.  Republicans need his vote.



Tuesday, November 14, 2017

First, do no harm.

This helps Roy Moore

Democrats should stay the heck out of Alabama.

Don't sent "Freedom Riders."  Don't send "Clean for Gene" college students.  Keep the SuperPACs away.  Nothing printed in the Washington Post or New York Times will help.  Nothing McConnell says does any good.  

Stay away.


Roy Moore is in trouble, but he could easily win this election.  It would be a vindication.  The people of Alabama, knowing all the facts, might well choose to be represented in the U. S. Senate by Moore.  

That would be the political judge and jury.

White evangelical voters have made their political decision.  They render onto Caesar what is Caesar's and to God what is God's.  They do not demand virtue from their political favorites.  Notwithstanding the Access Hollywood recording, they supported Trump.  Notwithstanding "Two Corinthians", they supported Trump.   Trump would appoint an anti-abortion, anti-gay, anti-environmentalist to the Supreme Court and that was enough.

Clean for Gene:  don't bother.  Stay out.
Same with Roy Moore.  White evangelicals avert their eyes at personal sin and look at the potential vote in the Senate.  Moore will vote correctly; the Democrat won't.  They will render onto Caesar their workaday temporal vote.  Besides, sometimes God works through very flawed men.  Virtue is for church; voting is for who will do the job you want done.

Evangelicals have it figured out.  White ones will vote for Roy Moore, and some 31% of the electorate in Alabama are white evangelicals, a big plurality are rural, a big percentage did not finish college, and a huge percentage are Republicans.   It is a political fortress.

Roy Moore has one other great electoral foundation:  he has outside enemies.  An ongoing theme of this blog is that politics in America is tribal.  Voters know what tribe they are in in part by who they know to be the rival team.  Ones opponents help define your group.

The rival team for white rural evangelicals are the people who communicate that they think white rural evangelicals are hicks.   Alabama voters think they are subject to ridicule for speaking in tongues, for believing in full immersion baptism, for spanking their children in public, for being racist, for talking with an Alabama accent, for being patriotic, for being relatively poor, for their daughters marrying early and as virgins, for being who they are.  

The strongest argument that Roy Moore has is that outsiders--outsiders who sneer--are trying to tell Alabamans what to do.