Finley: Alabama should end Bannon’s run

Nolan Finley
The Detroit News

The debacle in Alabama should drive a wooden stake through the heart of Steve Bannon.

The GOP’s Dark Prince is sucking the center out of the Republican Party, emptying it of its proud tradition of measured policymaking, fiscal responsibility and respect for individual liberties and leaving behind a monster built of nationalism, racism and fanaticism.

Bannon’s evil plot to remake the GOP in his own intolerant image failed miserably in the Alabama Senate race — thankfully for those of us who hold hope Republicans will return to their honorable roots.

Even the reddest of red states couldn’t abide Bannon’s hand-picked handmaiden, Judge Roy Moore, a frothing fanatic who was well out of the mainstream even before he was accused of dallying with underage girls.

Bannon envisions a corps of Roy Moores who will rise in 2018 to challenge Republican senators, nearly all of them true conservatives, but not conservative enough to meet his never-compromise litmus test.

He’s targeting every incumbent up for re-election except Ted Cruz. The first to fall was Sen. Luther Strange, who lost to Moore in the GOP primary. We know how that turned out. For the first time in a quarter century the Heart of Dixie is sending a Democratic senator to Washington, leaving an already precarious Republican majority whisper thin.

Strange was not a liberal. He wasn’t even a moderate, by most non-Bannon standards. Neither is Bob Corker, or Jeff Flake, or most of the others on the hit list.

Flake of Arizona and Corker of Tennessee have already announced their retirements, anticipating bruising primary battles. If the Republican base heeds Bannon’s call to nominate arch conservatives to replace them, those seats, and others, will fall to Democrats.

What will happen to the Donald Trump agenda then? That’s what Bannon claims to be battling for in this GOP Civil War.

But a Senate controlled by Chuck Schumer and the Democratic Resistance Movement will slam the door on Trump. The president may as well decamp to Mar-a-Lago for his final two years.

Democrats demonstrated in Alabama they know the formula for defeating a Bannon acolyte, even in a state that remains solidly behind Trump.

Alabama’s new senator, Doug Jones, is a liberal. But not of the insufferable Elizabeth Warren variety. Notice the Democrats didn’t trot out Warren or Bernie Sanders to rally their base in Alabama. They kept Jones talking about the things important to his state’s voters and away from issues that divide them.

He became an acceptable choice for those unwilling to hold their nose and vote for Moore just to protect a Republican seat.

Granted, Moore came within a whisker of winning, and had it not been for the 40-year-old allegations of sexual impropriety, he likely would have won. But Democrats are skilled at digging around in closets.

Vanquishing the Republican establishment comes at a price. Moore was outspent on television ads 12-to-1 by Jones. Major GOP donors avoided touching the race.

Bannon may be able to whip a frenzied base into nominating his whackos, but Republicans should take note that he hasn’t yet demonstrated he can bring them across the finish line.

Catch The Nolan Finley Show weekdays 7-9 a.m. on 910 AM Superstation.