Good afternoon, pals. An enormously significant special election is underway in Alabama, the president is single-handedly keeping the Coca-Cola Company in business, and Carson Wentz, your correspondent’s only light in this dark world, tore his ACL. God help us all.
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Today, let’s talk about Alabama.
What’s at stake
Everything, really! It’s always everything in Trump’s America, but the Alabama special election today is of particular significance, even in the apocalyptic political climes of 2017. A win for the Democrats means they have a better shot at taking back the Senate and an easier time jamming up the Trumpian agenda (which, in fairness, is doing a decent job at jamming itself up).
And that’s even before you get to the actual candidates in this race, and the fact that many, many people, including our president, are enthusiastically going to bat for a Republican candidate who’s accused of sexually assaulting teenagers.
The local angle
Jersey’s own Sen. Cory Booker has arguably been on the campaign trail more than Roy Moore has this week. He’s been stumping with Moore’s Democratic opponent, Doug Jones, in an effort to boost voter turnout in a state with deeply restrictive voting laws that disproportionately affect minorities. Former Sixer great Charles Barkley made a stop, too. (And my colleague Will Bunch was in Alabama this weekend writing about the reckoning the state — and, really, all of us — are facing.)
Moore has been avoiding the trail of late, with the exception of a rally last night at which his wife told supporters Moore couldn’t be anti-Semitic because “one of our attorneys is a Jew,” and an old Army buddy relayed a charming story about the time he and Moore accidentally ended up at a child brothel in Vietnam. All very normal stuff.
And because all roads eventually lead to Philly, Moore may have been in town last weekend at the Army-Navy game. (If you were there and ran into him, please tell me everything immediately.)
The Hill editor Will Sommer, whose newsletter on right-wing media is an essential read, points to this Daily Caller column as a distillation of Moore’s base: voters so angry at liberals that they will do literally anything to spite them, including electing a guy who thinks America was last great when “families were united, even though we had slavery.” (Never mind that slavery was literally built on ripping families apart.)
So who knows what’s next. Probably more Roy Moores, to be honest. He’s not the first candidate for national office accused of serious misconduct and beloved by his party’s base and he probably won’t be the last, not as long there is a bastion of the GOP again willing to overlook increasingly troubling allegations in the name of winning.
What they’re saying
“Roy Moore will always vote with us. VOTE ROY MOORE!” — President Trump on Twitter this morning, distilling what seems to be the general GOP vibe on the Alabama senatorial candidate.
“It’s going to make it more expensive to live here.” — Tom Bracken, the president of the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce, telling reporters last week that the tax bill would slash property values in New Jersey.
“You cannot silence me or the millions of women who have gotten off the sidelines to speak out about the unfitness and shame you have brought to the Oval Office.” — Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, responding to an early-morning Trump tweet accusing her of “doing anything” for campaign donations.
In other news…
- A federal judge released a bunch of documents in the Pennsylvania gerrymandering trial that Republicans had fought to keep sealed. “Among them are maps that contain detailed data on partisanship across the state, which experts said appear to confirm widespread suspicion that Republicans had intentionally drawn the map to favor their party,” my colleague Jon Lai reports. (Worth noting: some Democrats, including Philly’s U.S. Rep. Bob Brady, helped get those crazy districts drawn back in 2012.)
- The #MeToo movement is increasingly focusing on President Trump.
- Mayor Kenney wrote an op-ed for the Inquirer about what Philly can expect from the tax plan.
- Yours truly wrote a story about the effect the tax bill will have on graduate students.
What I’m reading
- We learn from the New York Times that the president drinks 12 Diet Cokes a day. This, to my mind, is not that surprising, probably because nothing surprises me anymore! But maybe you’ll feel differently.
- This essay from The Outline on how the age of fake news is affecting, of all places, the music industry, is really interesting.
- My colleagues Julia Terruso and Justine McDaniel gauged the reaction in the Philly area to Trump’s decision to declare Jerusalem the capital of Israel.
A non-political palate cleanser
Carson Wentz is injured and I, a nominal football fan at best, am ready to burn the world down over it, so let’s all comfort ourselves with a bunch of local doctors saying he will eventually, probably, be just fine.