Why Roy Moore just won’t concede

On Tuesday night, Doug Jones beat Roy Moore in the Alabama Senate race.

How do I know, you ask? Because here is the vote count per the Alabama Secretary of State’s office:

Jones: 671,151 votes (49.92%)

Moore: 650,436 votes (48.38%)

You can see the same info on CNN’s website.

While the vote isn’t yet certified — that won’t come for several weeks — and the totals could move a few votes here or there even John Merrill, the Alabama Secretary of State who acknowledged he voted for Moore, has told CNN that it is “highly unlikely” that Moore could come close to winning the race. (Each of Alabama’s 67 counties are required to report the results to the Alabama secretary of state’s office by Dec. 22. Then, the state’s Canvassing Board has until Jan. 3 to formally certify the results.)

Ok then. Let’s move on! Right? Right! [shakes hands, begins to walk away…]

Wait, what’s that? Moore hasn’t conceded yet?

Yes, that’s right! In fact, Moore’s campaign hasn’t said much of anything since releasing this video on Wednesday explaining why he isn’t getting out of the race just yet.

Here’s the key bit:

“We are indeed in a ​struggle to preserve our republic​, our civilization​, and ​our religion and to set free a suffering humanity. ​And the battle rages on. In this race, we have not received the final count​ to include ​military and provisional ballots. This has been a very close race and we are awaiting certification by the Secretary of State.”

The thread on which Moore is hanging his refusal to concede is impossibly thin.

In elections in which the two candidates are separated by 100 or fewer votes, then the formal certification in each county can matter. A wrongly counted handful of ballots here or there can make a big difference.

This is not that. What Moore is banking on is that there are 20,716 votes for him and 0 for Jones in the military and provisional ballots. That would give Moore a one-vote victory. And, it is about as likely as the Cleveland Browns winning the Super Bowl next year. Actually, it’s less likely than that. The Browns currently have an 0-13 record.

On Friday, President Donald Trump made his views clear. Asked whether Moore should leave the race, Trump said: “I think he should.” And, according to CNN’s Kaitlan Collins, Steve Bannon, who was one of Moore’s most high profile backers, has also urged the former state Supreme Court Chief Justice to bow out.

What, then, is Moore really up to?

He’s in denial, sure. (“If only I got 20,000 votes and my opponent got none, I’d win!”) But, Moore’s candidacy was also always more crusade than campaign. And, in his mind, crusades don’t ever, really end.

Go back and read the first part of Moore’s statement above. “We are indeed in a ​struggle to preserve our republic​, our civilization​, and ​our religion and to set free a suffering humanity,” he said. “And the battle rages on.”

For Moore, at least, it does.