I don’t think it’s a sure thing that Roy Moore will win next week, but it looks like the smart bet. The interesting question to me is: What happens once he’s in the Senate? Mitch McConnell is clear he doesn’t want Moore in the Senate and that the Ethics Committee will take a hard look at Moore. Putting aside the thorny thicket of precedents and procedures involved in expelling a senator for behavior that took place before he was elected, the political dynamics are fairly fascinating.
Some Republicans will probably be wary of overturning the will of the voters, particularly given Moore’s perverse status as some kind of folk hero of the Bannonistas. Others will probably be eager to see him go, not just on the merits or to make it clear to their own voters they want no association with the man, but also because the governor of Alabama would surely replace him with a more reliable Republican vote.
But what about the Democrats? Having Moore in the Senate will be a fundraising and messaging gift from God, particularly if they ultimately hound Al Franken from the Senate, which looks increasingly likely.
Last month, our Alexandra DeSanctis called a bunch of Democratic senators and asked whether the Senate should expel Moore. The responses were remarkably non-committal. Of course, the Democrats can’t publicly say they want the Alabamian albatross, but I hardly think it’s too cynical to imagine a scenario where Chuck Schumer finds a way to keep Moore around through the 2018 election.