Exposed: GOP’s Secret Plan to Remove Judge Roy Moore

Well, we knew this was coming.

The bombshell sex allegations against Alabama GOP Senate candidate Roy Moore have understandably got Republicans in a panic, because whether or not the charges are true, they’ve thrown what was supposed to be a safe Senate seat into jeopardy at a time when the GOP’s Senate majority is already too narrow for the party’s inept leadership to get anything done.

The problem for party leaders, though, is that the deadline has passed for replacing Moore with another Republican on the ballot. So they’re now brainstorming other ways to kick him out of the race. The Hill reports on what they’ve come up with so far:

Some party members are reportedly considering getting Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey (R) to move the date of the Dec. 12 special election to early next year, according to The New York Times. Based on Alabama law, it’s too late to remove Moore’s name from the ballot this close to Election Day […]

Ivey previously changed the date of Alabama’s special election, moving it up nearly a year earlier after then-Gov. Robert Bentley (R) resigned amid a sex scandal.

But it’s still unclear if the governor has the power to move the special election about a month before voters are set to head to the polls in a race pitting Moore against Democrat Doug Jones.

According to the Times, Ivey hasn’t ruled out moving the date again and indicated that she wants support from the White House first.

The state’s Republican Secretary of State, John Merrill, says he’s uncertain whether such a move would be lawful, and explained that even if it was, it might cause more problems than it solved:

I think the scenario you are introducing for me to comment on is highly improbable for this reason: we have people who have already voted in this election. Military servicemen and women have voted, absentee voters have already voted. There are hundreds of people who have expressed their preference on the race.

We shouldn’t be under any illusions here: many in the GOP establishment wanted Moore gone anyway because they fear he won’t play ball with party leadership. So it should come as no surprise that their first instinct would be to potentially disenfranchise Alabamans who’ve already voted. (And it can’t be reiterated enough that we wouldn’t be in this mess today if the GOP establishment and Beltway commentariat hadn’t forced them to choose between Moore’s checkered record and corrupt McConnell lapdog Luther Strange, instead of supporting the primary’s serious conservative candidate, Rep. Mo Brooks.

That said, the mess Alabama’s facing now is very real, and needs some sort of solution. As I previously wrote for TFPP, the truth of the scandal could still go either way — there are questions about the credibility of at least one accuser, but Moore’s latest answers to Sean Hannity also contained some alarmingly noncommittal language about not “recalling” whether he ever dated teenagers.

So what should be done? I would humbly suggest the following:

1) Leave Moore on the ballot and vote for him, with the understanding that the charges aren’t yet proven though that could change in the near future. The only alternative on the ballot, Democrat Doug Jones, believes in literally killing children, after all, the suffering Democrats would rain down on the American people is immense, and it’s a fantasy to think some last-minute write-in campaign with a brand-new name could win.

2) If Moore is vindicated after the election, great. But should Moore’s guilt be more conclusively established, the Senate can expel him. The governor would then appoint another interim senator, and Alabama would have another special election — and we’d see whether anybody in the GOP learned any lessons from this debacle.

Would it be ridiculous to have a special election to redo the special election we just had? Of course. But we live in ridiculous times, and until we get a crop of leaders who do the right thing before digging themselves into holes, things will only get more absurd.