The belated reconciliation with Moore seems practically inevitable in retrospect. Roughly a month ago, when the first allegations against Moore were reported, I noted that the scenario posed not only a moral test for the Republican Party, but an uncomfortably familiar one. In timing, type, and circumstances, it was remarkably similar to what happened with Donald Trump and the Access Hollywood tape in 2016. About a month before the election, The Washington Post produced a highly damaging report about the candidate, with credible allegations of sexual misbehavior—in Trump’s case, boasting about committing sexual assault; in Moore’s case, multiple stories about him pursuing women under 18, in one case allegedly committing felony crimes with a 14-year-old, and in another allegedly sexually assaulting a 16-year-old. In both cases, the following few days produced even more allegations. In both cases, top Republicans fairly quickly expressed their disgust and withdrew their support.
But eventually, Republicans came back to Trump. Multiple officeholders who said they couldn’t in good conscience support him had by election day quietly reversed their position and reaffirmed their support for the GOP nominee. Nor was Trump the first time this had happened. In 2012, after Senate candidate Todd Akin of Missouri said that women couldn’t get pregnant in cases of “legitimate rape,” the party abandoned him. But it later became clear that the National Republican Senatorial Committee, whose chairman Senator John Cornyn had said there was no chance of a reversal, had quietly funneled three-quarters of a million dollars to Akin late in the race.
Of course, the parallel between the Trump and Moore cases just goes to persuade some backers of both men that it’s all a set up by the press, out to get conservative candidates. But you don’t have to take the liberal media’s word for it. Take McConnell, who said, “I believe the women.” Or Ivanka Trump, who said, “There’s a special place in hell for people who prey on children. I’ve yet to see a valid explanation and I have no reason to doubt the victims’ accounts.” Or Kellyanne Conway, who said, “Whatever the facts end up being, the premise, of course, the principle, the incontrovertible principle, is that there is no Senate seat worth more than a child.” Or even take the White House, which, before Trump weighed in, said that if the allegations against Moore were true, he should step aside.
Since then, no one has offered any evidence that the allegations against Moore aren’t true. In fact, there have only been more—more accusers, many of them with convincing circumstantial evidence, and who told their stories to acquaintances and family members at the time. Other reports have focused on Moore’s well-known taste for young girls and his supposed banishment from the mall in Gadsden, Alabama, for creeping teenagers out.