Alabama's Roy Moore proves Trumpism is more powerful than Donald Trump

Alabama's Roy Moore proves Trumpism is more powerful than Donald Trump
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If you followed the Republican primary race for Alabama’s seat in the U.S. Senate, you would think that President TrumpDonald TrumpLil Wayne gets 11th hour Trump pardon Trump grants clemency to more than 100 people, including Bannon Trump expected to pardon Bannon: reports MORE received a rebuke in the blood-red state. After all, the president campaigned for Luther StrangeLuther Johnson StrangeAlabama zeroes in on Richard Shelby's future Sessions hits back at Trump days ahead of Alabama Senate runoff The biggest political upsets of the decade MORE, the incumbent appointed to fill Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsHarris to resign from Senate seat on Monday Rosenstein: Zero tolerance immigration policy 'never should have been proposed or implemented' Sessions, top DOJ officials knew 'zero tolerance' would separate families, watchdog finds MORE’ former seat. Strange, who also received strong endorsements from Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellTrump has talked to associates about forming new political party: report McConnell, Schumer fail to cut power-sharing deal amid filibuster snag McConnell keeps GOP guessing on Trump impeachment MORE and Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanRevising the pardon power — let the Speaker and Congress have voices Paul Ryan will attend Biden's inauguration COVID-19 relief bill: A promising first act for immigration reform MORE, lost to former state Supreme Court Justice Roy Moore.  

In the face of a Trump-Ryan-McConnell backed opponent who outspent him by a 4-1 margin, Moore still won. He was victorious because he ran on the same populist platform that Trump did last year — the platform that millions turned out and voted for, but still haven’t gotten.

Moore’s victory suggests that “Trumpism” is more powerful than Trump himself.  

Why didn’t Trump back Moore? Let’s parse it out: The president was in a bind, likely feeling compelled to lend a hand to Sessions’ friend, Strange. There’s some credit in Trump’s loyalty. Moore said that the president didn’t support him because he didn’t know him. Perhaps figures like Mitch McConnell convinced the president that Strange was the key to the listless Republican efforts in Congress. Perhaps Trump wanted a bridge to establishment efforts on Capitol Hill.

Regardless, Trump bet on the wrong horse — and his voters made clear that they supported the president’s original agenda, even if he is losing sight of it.

Moore electrified the GOP base, bringing in support from the core of the party’s populist wing. Sarah Palin, Sebastian Gorka, Ben CarsonBen CarsonTrump's '1776 Report' released on MLK Day receives heavy backlash Biden has an opportunity to win over conservative Christians Ben Carson dismisses 25th Amendment talk: 'As a nation we need to heal' MORE, Louie GohmertLouis (Louie) Buller GohmertTrust between lawmakers reaches all-time low after Capitol riots Why Trump could face criminal charges for inciting violence and insurrection Democrats to levy fines on maskless lawmakers on House floor MORE, and most importantly, Steve Bannon, threw their lot in with Moore. To them, the former justice is a loud proponent of America First principles. Just the fact that the establishment figures dutifully lined up behind Strange was a neon sign to primary voters for who not to support.

After all, why support a stalled legislative agenda? An agenda that is going to compromise away any chance of the big ticket items Trump won on? Blocking funding for the wall? Considering amnesty for illegal immigrants? One that will leave ObamaCare in place because the fight in Congress is too “tough?” Balderdash.

President Trump has moved perilously close to the sun on wings of fake bipartisanship. Any hold of former Bush administration officials or Generals McMaster and Kelly is steering the White House further and further away from the administration’s original intent. Candidate Trump became a vehicle for this populist fervor; he gained in the polls when other candidates would have withered under media pressure.

Trump’s stature grew with Republican primary voters because they understood his unique threat to the GOP Establishment. He promised a way out of endless wars in the Middle East, bank bailouts, and millions of illegal immigrants flouting the law. His frankness was a refreshing and needed change from previous feckless Republican leaders. Steve Bannon and his team understood this. Many Democrats feared the moment President Trump successfully united these ideas with a firm approach in Congress. Fortunately for Nancy Pelosi and Chuck SchumerChuck SchumerNew York court worker arrested, accused of threats related to inauguration Schumer: Trump should not be eligible to run for office again McConnnell, McCarthy accept Biden invitation to pre-inauguration church service MORE, this hasn’t yet come to pass.

People around the nation didn’t turn out in droves last November to vote for Donald Trump, the man — they voted for Trumpism. They voted for the repeal and replacement of ObamaCare, lower taxes and a border wall. And if Trump turns his back on these policies and becomes like the Establishment GOP that his own voters detest, he will lose his base.  

I haven’t thrown in the towel on the Trump presidency. But without Bannon, Gorka, Miller, and others, Trump risks becoming part of the same-old, same-old leadership he was elected to combat. Trump ended the Bush and Clinton dynasties and won even as figures such as Mitt Romney fought him at every step. Nature abhors a vacuum — and he is just one or two steps away from vacating leadership at the highest level.

Joining the establishment would effectively end any hope of positive change over the next three years. One has to wonder how candidate Trump would rate the president today?

Kristin Tate is a conservative columnist and author of the book "Government Gone Wild: How D.C. Politicians Are Taking You For a Ride And What You Can Do About It." She was recently named one of NewsMax's "30 Most Influential Republicans Under 30." Follow her on Twitter @KristinBTate.