Roy Moore, Luther Strange, and the Lessons of the Alabama Senate Primary

At one point, it looked as if there might be only days left in Sessions’s tenure, and his position still appears precarious; it now seems to depend on his openness to obstructing justice. In other words, Sessions might be out of his new job with two rounds of voting still to go to determine who gets his old one.

.. Roy Moore, meanwhile, had quit his most recent job, as Alabama’s chief judge, after being suspended for telling other state judges not to listen to their colleagues on the federal bench—not even those on the Supreme Court.

..  It was his second time losing that job: the first was in 2004, when he defied a federal-court order saying that he needed to take a large stone statue engraved with the Ten Commandments out of his courthouse.

.. But while, or maybe because, he has any number of problems with the Constitution, Moore does not have a problem with Trump. When he was asked about the President’s endorsement of Strange, Moore saidthat he wasn’t worried about losing Trump voters, because “They’re voting for his agenda, which I firmly believe in.” He has presented himself as someone who would be willful and stubborn enough, or just extreme enough, to follow Trump even if Party leaders decided that it was madness to do so. Also, he rode a horse to the polls to cast a vote for himself.

.. Robert Bentley, in a case involving ethics and campaign violations, and what was, reportedly, a wildly indiscreet affair with an aide. (Certain of Bentley’s family members recorded his conversations with the aide, and the transcripts were, inevitably, published online.) At the same time, Bentley, exercising his gubernatorial power, was interviewing candidates to replace Sessions in the Senate—one of whom was Strange, the man investigating him.

.. the Senate seat amounted to a favor to a prosecutor from a man facing potential felony charges. Strange could have waited to run in the primary against whomever Bentley did appoint. Instead, he headed to the Senate, with little regard for how the circumstances of his appointment may have compromised him.

.. Mo Brooks, a member of the Freedom Caucus, who campaigned on the premise that he is more Trumpish than Trump’s designated candidate because he, like Trump, is disdainful of McConnell, who is a Washington insider and not nearly enough of an absolutist.