It was one of the most talked about, fiery, controversial — and at times disturbing — Senate races in recent history. And finally, it's over.
In what can only be described as a huge upset, Democrat Doug Jones defeated Republican Judge Roy Moore in a special election that, at times, felt more like a Jerry Springer episode than a race for Senate.
Jones and Democrats should celebrate this win and all that it stands for: A victory against President Trump, who backed Roy Moore big time; a victory against a backward, dying generation of bigotry and sexism; a victory against an alleged child predator, and the party who would — unconscionably — defend him.
While Republicans will sulk for a moment, they will also attempt to brush this election under the rug and move on to other business.
Doug Jones beats Roy Moore in tight Alabama Senate race
But the stain of Roy Moore will be hard to wash away.
How, for example, do Republican senators try to push messaging on tax reform, health care or literally anything else when every time they appear in front of reporters they will be asked why they supported an alleged child molester?
Or, when another Democrat is invariably accused of sexual harassment or assault, how can Republicans convincingly muster any criticism when the party backed him and the President — also accused of sexual assault and harassment — endorsed him?
But beyond the day-to-day nuisances of having the ghost of Roy Moore troll the Senate for the next few weeks or months, is the havoc Moore wreaks on the GOP in 2018 and 2020. This election gave us countless quotables that will linger in the air like a southern green stink bug.
Roy Moore supporters called black congresswoman racial slurs
Just imagine any one of the many campaign ads and bumper stickers that are right there, ready to be cut.
Without even getting to the sexual allegations, take any number of Moore's own inflammatory and embarrassing comments — that 9/11 might have resulted because we "legitimize sodomy (and) abortion," or that homosexual conduct should be illegal, or calling Native-Americans and Asian Americans "reds and yellows." That might have flown under the radar in Alabama, but in Not Alabama those things are likely to be a turnoff.
Or take what his spokesman, Ted Crockett, said just hours before the election to CNN's Jake Tapper, which was that a Muslim can't run for elected office because he'd have to swear on the Bible. (This is not true).
There were plenty other doozies. How about the stunning abandonment of any pretense of moral high ground by folks like former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, who when pressed on why Republicans should support an alleged child molester said:
Most Americans think Roy Moore should be booted if he wins Senate
"But you know it's down to the fact that as long as [Sen.] Al Franken [D-Minn.] is in the Senate, and [Rep. John] Conyers [D-Mich.] is staying in office, why not have Roy Moore?"
Then there was a whole genre of wacky, pseudo-religious defenses of Moore's reputed preying on young girls like the one from state auditor Jim Zeigler:
"Take Joseph and Mary. Mary was a teenager and Joseph was an adult carpenter. They became parents of Jesus. There's just nothing immoral or illegal here. Maybe just a little bit unusual."
Or the cache of blame-the-accusers lines, like this one from Alabama State Rep. Ed Henry:
STASI: President Trump is terrified of women
"If they believe this man is predatory, they are guilty of allowing him to exist for 40 years. I think someone should prosecute and go after them. You can't be a victim 40 years later, in my opinion."
Or this one, from — ick — a pastor close to Moore:
"They must have had some sweet dreams somewhere down the line. Plus, there are some 14-year-olds, who, the way they look, could pass for 20."
I could go on and on and on. Again, in Not Alabama these lines — and the sheer volume of them — are disastrous for the GOP. The GOP knew this, but carried on anyway.
The cynic might say, but look what Donald Trump got away with and he was still elected.
To which I say, no one else is Trump.
And, child molestation trumps sexual harassment, so to speak. Both are bad, one is worse. The President's own daughter put it best: "There's a special place in hell for people who prey on children." Don't think that one won't hang around for a while.
Less obvious a problem, though, than the lingering and odious detritus of the failed Moore campaign, is the great lie that Republicans told voters in the Alabama special election, which was that issues like abortion, guns and immigration were more important than character, values and morals. Of course, that isn't true. But more importantly, if our principles are so fragile that they'd hang on a single Senate election, we aren't doing a good enough job standing for them.
Ultimately, that bargain - our morals for a seat - didn't get Republicans anything. And I'd wager a horse named Sassy that it will prove disastrous for years to come.
Contact Cupp at thesecupp.com.