MATTHEW CONTINETTI: The First Primary in the Party of Trump.
The argument between Moore and Strange was over who would best serve Trump. The fact that both contestants highlighted their allegiance to the president underscores the true significance of the result: This was not a primary over who would represent Alabama in the United States Senate as a member of the Grand Old Party. It was the first primary in the Party of Trump.
The election of Moore was not an aberration but part of a long-running trend. Moore’s voters are Trump’s voters: rural, working class religious conservatives furious at Beltway insiders more interested in lowering the corporate tax rate and upholding standard legislative procedure than in building a wall along the southern border and protecting religious liberty. Moore’s method is also similar to Trump’s. Both men are inflammatory, both are unpredictable, both are conspiracy-prone, and both are the self-appointed defenders of powerful cultural symbols such as the Ten Commandments and the National Anthem against subversion from the left. Their constituencies not only do not watch CNN, they loathe the network and its peers for trying to impose on audiences a set of non-traditional and politically correct values. As Trump said of National Enquirer readers in 1999: “Those are the real people.”
That Strange lost despite Trump’s support shows that Trumpism is bigger than Trump himself — and Continetti’s column is a nice reminder that Trumpism even predates Trump as a political force.
Both parties have been shaken to the core by this ongoing realignment, but it remains to be seen whether the swamp can actually be drained.