It’s painful to watch the Republican Party walk slow motion into a buzz saw, especially when some of its deregulatory efforts are beginning to pay off.

Republicans should be preparing to go on the offense in 2018, rather than what they’re spending their time on now: calculating how many House and Senate seats they’ll lose next November.

America saw job growth in 2017; the nation’s enjoying the lowest unemployment rate in years as well as an historically high stock market value. And for all its faults, the Trump administration’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel was the stuff of Ronald Reagan. Truly.

Instead, the Republican National Committee is cutting the throats of Republican candidates running in swing districts across America next year by going all in for accused child molester Roy Moore in the Dec. 12 special election for U.S. Senate in Alabama. It is political malpractice — in the extreme.

A cardinal rule in using opposition research in campaigns is making sure your candidate hasn’t done the same thing for which you’re attacking your opponent. It sounds obvious, but you’d be surprised how often campaigns make the mistake.

Democrats right now — right before the nation’s eyes — are cleaning house in preparation for an all-out assault on Republicans next year on the issue of sexual misconduct. It’s unmistakable.

Gone is Wisconsin Sen. Al Franken; gone is Michigan Rep. John Conyers and gone will be any other Democratic member of congress who has sexual misconduct charges made against him as credible as the ones made against Conyers and Franken.

Moore is the least of the Republicans’ problems. The real target for Democrats will be President Donald Trump himself. In this new and extraordinary environment of women speaking out about past sexual transgressors, expect those who have already accused Trump — all 19 of them — to get a wide second hearing in 2018. With their side of the field cleansed, Democrats can now credibly pound away at Republicans, demanding that they call on Trump to resign, not on the Russia collusion probe, but over the sexual assault allegations lodged against him.

Many individual Republican senators have publicly rejected Moore’s candidacy, and the National Republican Senatorial Committee appropriately pulled out of the race almost immediately after the sexual assault allegations against him came to light. But with Trump and the Republican National Committee helping Moore down the stretch, all the goodwill that may have come from that has been washed away.

What a mistake.

William F. B. O’Reilly is a consultant to Republicans.