ALABAMA VOTERS will pick a new senator in December, and their choice is between one of the most divisive, counterproductive figures in U.S. politics and a well-qualified, even-tempered former prosecutor. In other words, there is no choice. Former judge Roy Moore (R) is unfit to serve. Former prosecutor Doug Jones (D) would be a credit to the state.
It is cliche to say that Mr. Moore’s strange rise has been fueled by anti-Washington anger. Yet electing Mr. Moore would be a sure way to worsen Washington’s problems. His unapologetic extremism would pour gasoline on the already raging fire of partisanship and dysfunction.
Mr. Moore repeatedly forced the Alabama Supreme Court into unwinnable fights on tangential side issues, rather than keeping the institution focused on its job. If you think the Senate has failed to attend to the country’s real problems, just wait until he gets there. Mr. Moore spins up “facts” to serve his worldview, as when he claimed that sharia was in force in Illinois or that the law required football players to stand for the national anthem. He called for a de facto religious test when he argued that Muslims elected to represent their communities should not be seated in Congress. This would have appalled the Founding Fathers and should alarm believers of all stripes.
Mr. Moore’s judicial record shows contempt for the law. No matter how you felt about his campaign to display the Ten Commandments on state property, once a federal court had made a decision on the matter, he should have complied. Instead he refused, leading to his removal from the bench. After eventually making his way back into black robes, he was sidelined a second time after again refusing to obey federal court rulings.
Mr. Moore’s mockery of his judicial oath is only one indication of questionable moral fitness. Another is how he profited from his charity. The Post’s Shawn Boburg and Robert O’Harrow Jr. uncovered that, though Mr. Moore said he did not take a “regular salary” from his nonprofit, he in fact claimed a big office, a bodyguard and a $180,000 yearly salary. Though he did not get his full salary every year, he still received a promissory note for back salary, for which the charity had to take a second mortgage on its historic building.
Some Republicans may be tempted to overlook these shortcomings in deference to Mr. Moore’s party label. In this instance they should evaluate his opponent, Mr. Jones, with an open mind. Mr. Jones has not shied from Democratic policy positions, but he has run a high-minded campaign, avoided inflaming voters with divisive social issues and insisted that both sides should cooperate. He is distinguished in character and temperament. A former federal prosecutor, he boasts a record that should appeal to those seeking a leader devoted to the rule of law who will put the country first. Alabamians should reject the radical lawbreaker Mr. Moore and send Mr. Jones, a smart, experienced pragmatist, to Washington.