In Alabama, the outcome of a Republican civil war will soon be decided

[ Originally published on this site as post ]

And the polls are open. The Alabama Republican primary to replace ex-Sen. Jeff Sessions, now ensconced as the person in charge of hollowing out civil rights laws in the Trump administration, at least for as long as he can continue to dodge Trump’s tantrums, is emblematic of the state of the Republican Party in roughly a dozen ways. The race is between appointed Sen. Luther Strange, favored by party elders because he is not Roy Moore, and Roy Moore, favored by the Alabama base because he is a twisted, crooked, and open theocrat who has made a name for himself on the State Supreme Court by repeatedly ignoring laws and court orders on the grounds that God Himself has nullified those laws, because reasons.

So the battle lines are drawn between a far-right burn-it-downer and a far-right burn-it-downer who is manifestly incompetent and quite possibly not in his right mind—a man whose selling point, to the Republican base, is a deep-seated contempt for both the Constitution and society at large. We’ve been here before, and the manifestly incompetent nut vowing to do illegal things because he damn well wanted to is now holed up in the Oval Office. He spends most of his time there watching TV.

If the polls are correct, he may soon be joined by a man who believes he is the singular interpreter of What Jesus Wants, and vows to inflict it on as many people as possible. Behold the modern Republican Party; if there’s an ideology underneath any of this that does not revolve around sticking it to the rest of the country just for the sheer pleasure of doing so, it’s been long buried.

But what a fight it’s going to be. You’ve got white nationalist-enabler Steve Bannon, fired from the White House and back in his old gig demanding far-right rule or bust.

Mr. Bannon did, though, take aim at the Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell, who has helped oversee a multimillion-dollar advertising campaign against Mr. Moore, calling Mr. McConnell and his allies “the most corrupt and incompetent group of individuals in this country.”

A vote for Mr. Moore, Mr. Bannon argued, “is a vote for Donald J. Trump.”