Few political candidates had become as controversial as Roy Moore, the candidate in Alabama’s special election, who stands accused of sexual misconduct with teenage girls when he was in his 30s.
Moore, a former judge, running to replace Jeff Sessions in the Senate, captured the Alabama Republican primary against Luther Strange, who was endorsed by President Trump. Moore’s reputation as a Christian and his support of President Trump’s agenda were crucial factors in his victory over the well funded Strange.
As Moore launches his last week of campaigning for the December 12th special election, he continues to meld his Christian beliefs with “populist right-wing” narratives.
This week, the former judge turned his attention to one of the favorite targets of the international right, billionaire financier George Soros. Moore seized on Soros days after Breitbart News, who has endorsed Moore, posted a story claiming The Ordinary People Society, a non-profit that has been helping felons register to vote, is funded by George Soros.
Late last year, we exclusively reported the following in regards to anti-Trump protests:
“George Soros is not funding these (anti-Trump) protests,” Soros spokesperson Michael Vachon said in an interview. “This is a fiction promoted by the alt-right.”
In an interview yesterday Moore stated:
Soros is certainly trying to alter the voting populous. That’s true. He is pushing an agenda. And his agenda is sexual in nature. His agenda is liberal, and not what Americans need. It’s not our American culture. Soros comes from another world that I don’t identify with.
Moore did not elaborate on what exactly is sexual about Soros’ agenda, although his allegations do have some truth. Although Moore did not mention the Holocaust survivors Jewish heritage, the claims that Soros, a Hungarian born American citizen, is “not our American culture,” has led to accusations of anti-semitism. However, some would note Soros is prominent in controversial political agendas, gives very little of his money to Jewish causes, and considers himself an atheist.
The candidate went on to say:
I wish I could face him, face him directly. And I’d tell him the same thing. No matter how much money he’s got, he’s still going to the same place that people who don’t recognize God and morality and accept his salvation are going. And that’s not a good place.
Moore suggested Soros is headed to hell, specifically stating:
No matter how much money he’s got, he’s still going to the same place that people who don’t recognize God and morality and accept his salvation are going"... And that’s not a good place.”
This is not the first time Moore has attacked Soros. In September, Moore tweeted a Breitbart story claiming that Soros funding was behind attacks against the candidate.
The Power of Christ… In Alabama
Following the interview, Moore carried his religiously charged language over to Twitter, where he tweeted about abortion, a fundamental Evangelical platform:
I have said very clearly that Roe v. Wade is not established precedent. It’s a violation of the Constitution. I will not backtrack on that...we’re seeing millions of young Americans killed because of abortion.
He followed up with a tweet that just stated, “We've got to go back to the recognition of God!”
Despite the allegations, Moore’s Christian identity remains central to his public image and campaign platforms. Considering that 86% of Alabamians identify as Christian, with 49% subscribing to the Evangelical branch of the Christian faith, and only 1% of people in Alabama identifying as a member of a non-Christian religion, it’s unsurprising that Moore’s Christian values have held up against the accusations and attacks from his own party.
“The Soros Plan”
The media was quick to vilify Moore for his comments, but for Alabama’s right-wing voters, Moore’s statements aren’t out of line.
To Moore and the Republican voters of Alabama, this is classic Soros. From the US to Hungary, Soros has been accused of using his vast fortune to fund left-wing organizations, including Black Lives Matter, to meddle in elections. Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban refers to this as the “Soros Plan,” while in the US the term “Soros Army” is often thrown around.
In the past year, Orban has routinely cracked down against non-profits funded by Soros, including the graduate university, Central European University, one of the crown jewels of Soros’ Open Societies initiative.
As for April’s parliamentary elections near, conservative leaders across the pond have also ramped up their rhetoric against Soros. In an interview last Friday, Orban stated that Hungarian intelligence had revealed a network run by Soros aimed at influencing the spring elections. These same accusations have been echoed by right-wing leaders across Europe and the US.
Polling has been inconclusive but shows that there is a path to victory for Moore, despite the allegations of sexual impropriety. While much of America is left wondering how Alabamians are willing to support a man accused of sexual misconduct with underage girls, a CBS poll provides some insights.
The poll found that 71% of Republicans in Alabama do not believe the accusations against Roy Moore. Instead, they think the allegations are a part of an attack orchestrated either by Democrats, the media, or both. This poll not only emphasizes the potential for a Moore victory, but it also highlights the growing distrust between Republican voters and the media, serving as a microcosm of the more significant political climate and perhaps offering a taste of what the coming midterm elections might hold.
It seems that to many Republican voters, the accusations against Moore have only cemented his status as an outsider candidate. Many view the former judge as a good figure slandered by the liberal media, with some even going as far as to claim that George Soros is behind the allegations. Huffington Post reports speaking to one Alabamian Republican voter who believes women are being paid to accuse the former judge. Who does she think is making these payments? George Soros.
Media figures have been quick to ridicule Moore’s Christian comments. Although ridicule may make for a compelling political weapon, the fact is that it has left many of the Americans who view Christianity as the bedrock of their political identity, feeling as though they are personally under attack, especially in light of weak quality journalism in recent years and controversial comments by people including Barack Obama. For some, they even perceive a sense of camaraderie between themselves and Moore. Should Moore emerge successfully, the media needs examine the effects of their endless parade of narratives that Americans are sick of hearing, before the midterm elections.
Roy Moore faces Democrat Doug Jones is a special election next Tuesday to fill the Senate seat left vacant by Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Although President Trump had previously supported Moore’s Republican rival Luther Strange, he has now endorsed Roy Moore.