The defeat of Republican candidate Roy Moore by Democrat Doug Jones is not only astonishing in a state like Alabama but also delivers a blow to President Donald Trump, who came out strong for Moore leading up to election night.
This is the third recent loss Trump has had to swallow, following the failed bids of Ed Gillespie in Virginia and Trump's initial pick in Alabama, Luther Strange.
Combined with recent Republican losses in statewide elections in Virginia and New Jersey, Moore’s defeat blows a hole in Trump’s aura of political invincibility that will embolden Democrats as they prepare for the 2018 congressional elections.
The president has shown that he believes his supporters will follow regardless where he leads or what he does, but voters seem to be challenging that belief.
Trump, who once said he could shoot someone on Fifth Avenue and still win votes, found his limit with Moore -- even in a state he won by 28 percentage points just one year ago.
On Wednesday morning, Trump changed his tune and said he knew all along that Moore couldn’t win because “the deck was stacked.” “The reason I originally endorsed Luther Strange (and his numbers went up mightily), is that I said Roy Moore will not be able to win the General Election,” Trump said on Twitter Wednesday morning. “I was right! Roy worked hard but the deck was stacked against him!”