United States Senator Ben Sasse says Alabama faced two bad choices Tuesday.
“I couldn’t have voted for either of these people and if you don’t reject two bad choices, when you have only two bad choices, you won’t get better choices in the future,” Sasse tells Nebraska Radio Network.
Democrat Doug Jones upset Republican Roy Moore in the special election to fill former Senator turned Attorney General Jeff Session’s seat. Jones took 49.92% of the vote in the unofficial tally with Moore winning 48.38%.
Sasse, a Republican, says though he couldn’t support Moore, he didn’t see a good alternative in Jones.
“If you’re pro-life as I am, you looked at this race from the end of the primary and you said, every outcome here is going to make December 13th a pretty sad day,” Sasse says. “But, I think one of the things that’s interesting that happened is you saw a lot of voters saying no to both.”
The percentage of write-in ballots cast in the election edges close to 2%, greater than Jones’ margin of victory.
Sasse believes the outcome of the Alabama race illustrates a sobering fact: neither party has a vision of how to restore the rule of law, rebuild a civil society, create economic opportunity, or even how to engage in civil discourse.
“But I think the Republican brand is very, very toxic and there’s polling that shows that people under 30, only about 8% of them say they would ever consider voting for a Republican,” according to Sasse. “Well, as somebody who believes the conservative things I believe, I want to argue for and advocate for conservative policy positions, but in a way that isn’t polluted by all the nonsense of so much of what is happening in the national Republican Party and I think the biggest take away from Alabama is not that Doug Jones won, but that Roy Moore lost.”
The Jones’ win narrows the Republican majority in the Senate, now down to 51 Republicans and 49 Democrats.
Sasse says though he is a Republican, his party affiliation is not the most important identity he has.
“The most important identities I have are father and husband and Christian and neighbor and Husker football addict and conservative and American and somebody who takes an oath to the Constitution,” Sasse says. “I am a conservative, but I am a Republican with lots more asterisks around it, because this party needs to be more persuasive and winsome about what it stands for 10 years in the future. And, right now, the party’s not doing a good job of explaining that.”