(AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)

The biggest losers: Donald Trump, Steve Bannon

Trump's agenda hits a roadblock. Bannon's influence is greatly diminished. And Republicans wonder what's next


Charlie May
December 13, 2017 1:32PM (UTC)

The biggest loser in Alabama's special election on Tuesday night is without question, President Donald Trump, who suffered his second consecutive loss in the state after endorsing a failed primary candidate, and eventually the disgraced Roy Moore, despite his landslide victory in the state in the 2016 presidential election.

The seat formerly occupied by Attorney General Jeff Sessions in the U.S. Senate will soon be filled by the Democratic challenger, Doug Jones, whose opponent, Moore, was heavily endorsed by the president and his former chief strategist — a leader of the conservative insurgency movement — Steve Bannon.

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Bannon's political skills are now fair game. The Wall Street Journal called Bannon a "loser."

"The Alabama result shows that Mr. Bannon cares less about conservative policy victories than he does personal king-making. He wants to depose Mitch McConnell as Majority Leader even if it costs Republicans Senate control," the editorial said. "GOP voters, take note: Mr. Bannon is for losers."

The surprisingly high blue turnout —  specifically among black Americans — in a ruby red state, dealt a significant blow to the president's agenda and also shook up the dynamics of power in the Senate. The Republican majority is now razor-thin, at 51-49.

Hours after the election, Trump attempted to perform damage control as he reasserted his personal image in an attempt to prove he is immune to defeat.

In a tweet that can only be described as out-of-character, Trump congratulated the Democratic victor shortly after the race was called.

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Early on Wednesday morning, Trump needed the world to believe he had still been right, so he justified Moore's loss and claimed he accurately predicted Moore would lose in the general election.

The president can twist himself into a pretzel in his attempts to spin the events in Alabama on Tuesday night as a win, but it does nothing to change the fact that the White House and the Republican Party come out of this wearing nothing but shame.

It's only fitting that "Fox & Friends," Trump's go-to source of comfort food, helped ease the pain on Wednesday morning by downplaying the significance of the historic election and deflecting the blame off Trump.

"This was not a referendum on Trump. I feel like it was a referendum on Harvey Weinstein," co-host Ainsley Earhardt said. She also added that the allegations against Moore made it "hard for women to go to the polls and vote for him" which is demonstrably false.

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Moore dominated turnout for white women, both with and without college degrees, by large margins, according to exit polls.

After Alabama votes, what's next? Tune in to "Salon Talks" Wednesday at 12 p.m. ET and 9 a.m. PT to watch Salon's Amanda Marcotte, Alyona Minkovski and Jeremy Binckes break down what the results of Tuesday's Senate election mean now and looking ahead to 2018. Watch "Salon Talks" on FacebookPeriscope and salon.com.

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Charlie May

Charlie May is a news writer at Salon. You can find him on Twitter at @charliejmay

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Related Topics ------------------------------------------

Alabama Special Election Alt Right Doug Jones President Donald Trump Republican Party Roy Moore




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