Newt Gingrich is right.
I haven't said that before, and hope I never have to again. But these are strange times, indeed.
On Friday night President Trump unoficially campaigned for US Senate candidate Roy Moore by speaking, 59 miles east in Pensacola, Florida before an exuberant crowd in the Mobile, Alabama media market.
Appearing in the Florida Panhandle, in which the President is very popular, gave Trump the opportunity to promote Moore in a state- Alabama- in which the President is very popular. It was a gift to the media and, especially, to the people of the United States of America.
Whatever Donald Trump's ignorance or emotional state, he can read polls and understand political strategy. This race has been over for a few weeks now, once Moore stablized his support and his numbers after an initial dropoff due to his courtship, or failed courtship, of underaged females.
Yet, if polls are to be believed- which in this case they shouldn't- the outcome Tuesday probably will be close, and is quite uncertain.
Thankfully for all, when the final tally is in, the media will be able to flatter the people of Alabama- and by extension, the American people- by suggesting that Trump made a difference. Though unpopular nationally, he is not only popular in Alabama but is, still and significantly, President of the United States of America and (not really) leader of the free world. Voters will be said to have been aroused by the strong support he gave to his fellow conservative Republican, which compensated for (alleged) outrage at immoral behavior.
Ultimately, Roy Moore will have won because it's very difficult for a liberal or even moderate to beat a conservative or even moderate in Alabama, which may have become the most reliably Republican state in the Union. However, there will have been an additional reason, obscured by the convenient intervention of the President, for the victory of a man dubbed a "child predator."
We should have noticed when after candidate Trump's numbers declined following release of the Access Hollywood tape, they bounced back and Trump ultimately went on to a stunning victory.
Nevertheless, we didn't understand then and- whatever our recognition now- will not acknowledge it after Moore's victory. (If Doug Jones pulls it out, I'll concede error, and be shocked. So will Trump be shocked but he won't admit it: "I wasn't even in Alabama!")
The additional reason will be: people don't care. Oh, of course, some people do care- but they already were planning to vote for the Democrat, in a situation very similar to that of the presidential race.
Disturbingly, it's Newt Gingrich who apparently understands. As a loyal Republican, he won't admit that Moore won because people are relatively unconcerned about sexual misbehavior. But he does realize that the outrage of those in the political class is not matched by actual human voters.
Ignore (if you can), the ex-congressman's evocation of the term "'lynch' mob," which should be used roughly as scarcely as "Nazi," "Holocaust," "slavery," or "Hitler." Conversing with Laura Ingraham, he cites a "weird puritanism," and starts making sense (beginning at 5:46 of the video below) with
Al Franken was a comedian. Comedians often do weird things. He was in the entertainment business. He was doing the kind of things people in the entertainment business do. Now, maybe I'm wrong but I haven't seen anything they say he's done since he was a senator.
(Representative John) Conyers had a lot of good reasons to reture, but on the other hand- no hearings, no witness. This is Venezuela, this is Cuba, this is every third world banana republic.
That may be a bit of hyperbole but is a reasonable observation, as is
I think they do it because they get together at a cocktail party, look each other in the eye and go "oh, my God, can you imagine...."
I mean, we're in an age which by any reasonable, I mean, this is cultural anthropology to me. This is when the natives go nuts.
Gingrich went with "cocktail party" because his party of elitists is always anxious to paint the Democratic Party as the party of elitists. However, he realizes what most people in the public eye won't admit. It's beyond difficult for a man (to a lesser extent, a woman) to be in a situation- especially a public situation- with a woman and suggest "this really has gotten out of hand" or "we should consider the cirumstances" or even "not all crass behavior is alike."
Many people- and this includes voters- believe one of those three things, a combination of them, or at least something else which propels them to believe the current outrage far exceeds the odiousness of the behavior.
Most of those individuals will vote Republican. It is not that these folks think Trump never abused women or that Moore never atttempted to abuse girls. They are smarter than they sometimes appear to those of us on the left- and even when not, believe some of the behavior did occur.
They believe, however, that the actions are being exploited by the left for political gain, which they would not believe if they thought that this behavior were as noxious as the media and individuals in public life clearly believe they are. In that case, they would regard the uproar and condemnation as justified or at least not brazenly, politically exploitative.
Folks are being excoriated, fired or forced to resign or otherwise penalized, for acts ranging from the brazenly criminal to the insignificant, committed recently or in the distant past. If the likely happens Tuesday, Roy Moore will become one of 100 individuals serving in the more esteemed legislative body of the most prestigious and powerful nation in the world. Thirteen months earlier, Donald J. Trump was elected President of the United States of America and still is President of the United States of America.
A backlash is coming. It is coming because the reality for many people is: they just don't care.