Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Senator-elect Doug Jones (Photo: Justin Sullivan/ Getty)

Senator-elect Doug Jones (Photo: Justin Sullivan/ Getty) 

It’s Not Just Scandal: Moore Lost In Alabama Because The GOP Agenda Is Toxically Unpopular

Republicans are now in trouble everywhere.

Matthew Yglesias

 by Vox

The easy thing for Republicans to tell themselves after the stinging loss of a Senate seat in Alabama is that they only went down to defeat because the party had the misfortune to nominate someone accused of preying on teenage girls.

And there is something to that. But the Republican Party nominated a man accused of sexual misconduct to run for president in 2016, and that didn’t stop him from winning 62 percent of the vote in Alabama. Donald Trump didn’t just win Alabama a year ago — he won by a larger margin than Mitt Romney, John McCain, or George W. Bush. So while it’s undoubtedly true that the allegations played a role in the race, they hardly work as a comprehensive explanation of the outcome.

The larger issue is that the Republican Party is led by an unpopular president and unpopular congressional leaders who are pursuing an unpopular agenda, and it’s putting them in massive electoral peril.

Republicans have been ignoring warning signs all year

It is entirely normal for the party that occupies the White House to lose ground down ballot during midterm elections. That said, the GOP’s results in 2017 have really been quite bad:

Republicans in Washington are aware of all these facts, but seem, strangely, a bit indifferent to them. The experience of watching Trump — whom they all expected to lose as late as 7 o’clock on the evening of the 2016 election — triumphing against the odds has them dazzled. And the fact that in office, Trump, despite considerable speculation that he wouldn’t, has pursued a very orthodox Republican Party agenda has them pleased.

At the nexus of these two factors, they’ve decided to bank as many policy wins as they can and then hope to hit a stroke of good luck.

Republicans in Washington are aware of all these facts, but seem, strangely, a bit indifferent to them. The experience of watching Trump — whom they all expected to lose as late as 7 o’clock on the evening of the 2016 election — triumphing against the odds has them dazzled. And the fact that in office, Trump, despite considerable speculation that he wouldn’t, has pursued a very orthodox Republican Party agenda has them pleased.

At the nexus of these two factors, they’ve decided to bank as many policy wins as they can and then hope to hit a stroke of good luck.


© 2018 VOX

Matthew Yglesias

Matthew Yglesias co-founded Vox.com with Ezra Klein and Melissa Bell back in the spring of 2014. He's currently a senior correspondent focused on politics and economic policy, and co-hosts The Weeds podcast twice a week on Tuesdays and Fridays.

This is the world we live in. This is the world we cover.

Because of people like you, another world is possible. There are many battles to be won, but we will battle them together—all of us. Common Dreams is not your normal news site. We don't survive on clicks. We don't want advertising dollars. We want the world to be a better place. But we can't do it alone. It doesn't work that way. We need you. If you can help today—because every gift of every size matters—please do. Without Your Support We Simply Don't Exist.

Please select a donation method:

3 Million People Have Died of Covid Since Rich Nations Began Obstructing Vaccine Patent Waiver

"Every one of those deaths is a mark of shame for the governments of countries like the U.K. and Germany who have protected patents over human lives."

Jake Johnson ·


27 Groups Urge Congress to Close FBI 'Backdoor Search' Loophole

"Ending this unconstitutional practice is imperative to ensure that foreign intelligence surveillance does not swallow Americans' privacy rights."

Brett Wilkins ·



300+ Civil Society Groups Counter-Mobilize Against UN Food Systems Summit

"Repeating the agri-business-as-usual model to solve the food and climate crisis cannot deliver on the holistic and systemic transformation of our food systems we need today."

Kenny Stancil ·


House Dems Ask ExxonMobil Lobbyist to Testify About Climate Misinformation

"For decades, the fossil fuel industry and its allies have used the same tactics as the tobacco industry to spread denial and doubt about the harm of its products," the letter states.

Brett Wilkins ·