Roy Moore lost, but GOP isn't off the hook for supporting him

Roy Moore lost, but GOP isn't off the hook for supporting him
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Roy Moore lost the Alabama Senate race 49.9 percent to 48.4, according to the AP, but the albatross will hang around the GOP necks for a very long time.

Prior to election day, Trump enthusiastically campaigned for a man who has been credibly accused of child molestation. On Monday, the day multiple women came forward to tell in excruciating detail how Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpSenate gears up for battle over witnesses in impeachment trial Vulnerable Democrats tout legislative wins, not impeachment Trump appears to set personal record for tweets in a day MORE allegedly sexually harassed and assaulted them, Sen. Kirsten GillibrandKirsten GillibrandAdvocacy groups decry Trump's 'anti-family policies' ahead of White House summit This bipartisan plan is the most progressive approach to paid parental leave Bombshell Afghanistan report bolsters calls for end to 'forever wars' MORE (D-N.Y.) led the calls for him to resign. The next day, Tuesday, Trump hopped on Twitter and accused Sen. Gillibrand of effectively offering or agreeing to sexual favors in exchange for campaign contributions.

She was in a bi-partisan bible study when she heard the news.

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The RNC, which gave money and help to the candidate accused of child molestation, doubled down for Trump, sending out a hit piece on Gillibrand and her Republican House and Senate colleagues remained largely silent.

Alabama voters nearly elected Roy Moore, who has admitted to “dating” teenage girls and has been accused of sexually molesting a 14 year-old girl.  

Meanwhile, Roy Moore’s wife insisted they’re not anti-Semitic because, after all, one of their lawyers is Jewish and we learned that Moore suggested everything would be much better if women and African Americans didn’t have the right to vote. His foundation released a video suggesting former President Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaDemocrats' self-inflicted diversity vulnerability Gaetz: We didn't impeach Obama even though 'a lot of constituents' think he abused his power Live coverage: House panel debates articles of impeachment MORE is a Muslim; Moore’s campaign spokesman said his candidate thinks only “Christians” should be allowed to serve in Congress; and Moore thinks homosexual acts should “probably” be illegal.

And those are his good points, at least to nearly half of Alabama voters worked up into a rage by Trump guru Steve Bannon like we’ve not seen since the tiki torch carrying alt-right marchers in Charlottesville last summer.

The accusations against Roy Moore helped topple his candidacy and the accusations against Donald Trump will, and should be, the elephant in the room to be addressed by every Republican running for office in 2018 and beyond — especially federal office. Silence is tacit approval and endorsement and that won’t fly.

Democrat Doug Jones’ narrow win over Moore in Alabama provides temporary relief for the GOP.  But soon (say, 2018 midterm election year beginning in a matter of days), each GOP congressional incumbent, particularly in the United States Senate, will have to answer for their complacency, or why some of them may have spoken out against Moore but remained silent on Trump’s disgusting tirade against Gillibrand and his 19 accusers.

While there was a nearly unfathomable amount of guilt and shame embedded in this Senate race, there is a very bright spot that highlighted the better angels in America and provided a ray of hope for our ailing democracy.

Pollsters may scratch their heads over the “mystery” of why Alabama’s African-American citizens made up 30 percent of the total voters on Tuesday — a seriously impressive number (even surpassing their turnout for Obama in 2012) in any election but especially an off-year special election. It’s not as if there was any special effort on either side to court their votes until the final moments in this nail biter. But show up they did.  It was democracy in one of it’s finest moments, proudly and uniquely American.

Sometimes, being patriotic and doing the right thing comes easy to Americans when they understand how important it is and how critical their voice is regardless of what comes before the hyphen.

In the immediate aftermath of this ugly campaign, we will remember only the ugliness. But when the smoke clears and we begin to exhale with relief that we avoided a catastrophe, we will remember who were our election day heroes.

Cheri Jacobus is a former congressional staffer, RNC spokesperson and political consultant. Follow her on Twitter @CheriJacobus.