Conservative commentator Pat Buchanan can sum up the case for embattled Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore in six letters — J-U-D-G-E-S.
In a column this week, the former aide to Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan argued that the stakes in the December 12 special election in Alabama to fill the seat once held by Attorney General Jeff Sessions could literally be life and death.
MORE NEWS: Drugs Flowing Into US At Biden Border
“That Alabama Senate race could determine whether Roe v. Wade is overturned,” Buchanan wrote. “The lives of millions of unborn may be the stakes.”
A new poll Wednesday by JMC Analytics suggested that Republican Moore leads Democrat Doug Jones by 5 percentage points. But other polls show Jones ahead of Moore, who has been accused of making inappropriate sexual advances toward young women and girls when he was in his 30s.
Buchanan’s case for Moore echoes a similar argument that proved persuasive with Christian conservatives mulling whether to vote for another Republican politician dogged by questions over his personal conduct — President Donald Trump.
As a candidate, Trump never seemed a natural fit with the Religious Right. He has been married three times, fumbled a Bible verse during a speech at Liberty University, and has been accused of sexual harassment by several women. But Christian conservatives concluded that the fate of the federal judiciary could not be entrusted to Democrat Hillary Clinton.
Trump won and has delivered. Conservative activists and legal scholars generally are thrilled with his choices for the bench, from Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch to trial and appellate slots throughout the country.
Buchanan argues the same logic applies to the Alabama election. He noted that the GOP’s ability to confirm judges is tenuous with only 52 seats.
“If Democrats pick up the Alabama seat, they need only two more to recapture the Senate, and with it the power to kill any conservative court nominee, as they killed Robert Bork,” he wrote.
On paper, the 2018 midterms look favorable for Republicans in the Senate. The Democrats have far more seats to defend, and many of them are in states where Trump won last year. Republicans, on the other hand, look vulnerable in only one or two states.
But Buchanan noted that midterms have a way of humbling the party in the White House. He noted that Dwight Eisenhower’s Republican Party lost both houses of Congress in 1954 despite ending the Korean War. Ronald Reagan’s Republicans lost 26 House seats in 1982 despite passing a historic tax cut the year before. Democrats got blasted under Bill Clinton and Barack Obama.
That history should discourage complacency, Buchanan wrote.
“Hence, this coming year may be a do-or-die year to recapture the Third Branch of Government for conservatism,” he wrote.