Watch This Republican Economist Squirm as He’s Forced to Admit the Truth About the GOP Tax Bill

Trump adviser Stephen Moore finally concedes what we’ve known all along.


In the halls of Congress on Wednesday, 84 activists from progressive groups were arrested for seeking meetings with their representatives to protest the GOP tax plan. 

Among those present was Alex Lawson, executive director of Social Security Works, which seeks to protect and expand the earned benefits program. Other participating groups were the Center for Popular Democracy, the Women’s March, the Strong Economy for All Coalition, and Hedge Clipper.  

Lawson noticed Stephen Moore, the conservative economist and tax-cut evangelist, walking past and pinned him down on camera, forcing him to admit that not everyone in the country is in line for a tax cut as the GOP has promised.

Watch the confrontation:

Lawson: Stephen, do you want to give a standup about the tax bill?

Moore: What is this for?

Lawson: This is for… a bunch of people are being arrested for protesting the tax bill.

Moore: Why are they protesting?

Lawson: They’re protesting a handout to billionaires and robbing us. Well, you’re not a billionaire, right?

Moore: Haha. I wish I were. I’m trying to be a billionaire.

Lawson: You just flack for them.

Moore: I think everybody should get a tax cut. It would be good for America.

Lawson: What happens in 2027? Because factually, that’s inaccurate. Not everyone gets a tax cut, right?

Moore: I helped write the bill.

Lawson: I know. That’s why I’m saying you know that you’re lying right now, because not everyone gets a tax cut.

Moore: Well, not everybody.

 

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Too Many Women Think They Suffer Personal Issues Alone Until They Speak Out; It’s Time to Change That

Personal problems won’t get solved unless we’re courageous enough to take positive action.


The following is an excerpt from the new book This Is How We Rise: Reach Your Highest Potential, Empower Women, Lead Change in the World Claudia Chan (Da Capo Lifelong Books, October 2017), available for purchase from Amazon and IndieBound:

Many of us think the personal problems we deal with are just that: personal. In reality the issues you confront in your everyday life are also political issues, and you’re probably not the only one suffering from them. If you’re a working parent, you or your partner may have had to take unpaid leave when the baby arrived because of paltry maternity leave policies. If you are a member of the LGBTQIA community, you didn’t have the right to legally marry your same-sex partner until 2015, and it’s still unclear which public bathroom you should use if you’re transgender. Maybe you or a friend has been sexually assaulted at some point, and that has deeply affected your self-esteem and ability to form healthy relationships. You might suffer from a chronic health condition like lupus but can’t get healthcare coverage, or you developed asthma as a child because of exposure to pollution. Perhaps you are racially profiled by the police on a regular basis simply because of the way you look. Someone in your family might be struggling with mental illness or an addiction of some sort, but they’re afraid to seek help out of shame. Maybe you were raised by a single parent or are a single working parent yourself who is struggling to make ends meet. Do any of these scenarios sound familiar to you? Each one of these challenges represents a social issue (childcare, LGBTQIA rights, healthcare, racism, unconscious bias, mental illness, job creation), or what I like to call movements, that needs fueling. Working to achieve gender equality and address women’s issues has implications for each of these movements.

Because my career is centered in women’s empowerment, let’s focus on women’s issues for a moment. Historically women were meant to be seen but not heard, and the problems and concerns that affected them were often kept hush-hush and considered inappropriate for polite conversation. The taboos around many female difficulties—menstruation, miscarriage, postpartum depression, fertility issues, body image, domestic abuse, sexual assault—are still pervasive in the twenty-first century. We all know women continue to experience gender discrimination and inequality in all spheres of society, but what we may not know is how much of this you or your close friends are unconsciously experiencing and affected by.

For example, if you’re killing yourself to impress your boss and get a promotion, guess what? The men at your company already get paid more to do the same amount of work. If you’re a woman who wants to start a business and raise capital, guess what? From 2010 to 2015 only 10 percent of venture dollars globally went to start-ups with at least one female founder. Women outlive men in every country around the world, yet because of the pay gap, they’re more likely to retire with less money saved. In fact, both young and old women are falling far behind in financial literacy because they are undereducated and underrepresented in the industry; 86 percent of investment advisers are men.

“The personal is political” was actually a rallying cry for the women’s liberation movement in the sixties and seventies because it highlighted the links between lived personal experiences and the corresponding need for social and political change. “Personal problems are political problems. There are no personal solutions at this time. There is only collective action for a collective solution,” Carol Hanisch wrote in her 1970 essay that established the term. My intention is not to tell you something jaw-dropping and new but simply to put the sentence at the front of your mind. Personal problems won’t get solved unless you and I are courageous enough to take positive action.

Political Issues Are Your Issues

When you read the news it’s easy to think that problems in far-off places—or even problems in the same city but on a different street—don’t affect you. But whether or not you feel the effects now, the man who was shot because of his skin color or the girl who was raped on her way to school does threaten you. Here’s why: the ripple effect of inequality gets back to all of us, and eventually you or someone you know will suffer because of one of these problems. As Martin Luther King Jr. famously wrote in his “Letter from a Birmingham Jail” in 1963, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.” The World Economic Forum puts it this way: “We live in a fast-paced and interconnected world where breakthrough technologies, demographic shifts and political transformations have far-reaching societal and economic consequences.” No country, state, or town is an island in today’s globalized world where everyone is just a Wifi connection or plane ride away. The ripple effect works both ways: positive action works to improve the world for everyone, and negative actions cause problems that hurt everyone in one way or another.

The Multiplication Benefits of Your Leadership

When you decide to lead change in the world, your actions will multiply benefits. First, the people who are impacted by the cause you’re leading change for will obviously benefit. If you champion a corporate culture initiative that brings women and men together to create a more gender-diverse culture, those employees will start feeling more represented and supported in their careers and will probably perform better. If you run an organization that aims to curb food waste by delivering leftovers from events or businesses to people in need, you’re giving someone a hot meal and making sure they don’t go hungry. If you’re an environmental activist fighting for stricter restrictions on pollution, the results of your work will make the world a healthier place and preserve the earth for the generations to come. When we call attention to an issue that affects a marginalized group or topic, what we’re really saying is that these groups and topics are important and their issues are worth fighting for. By naming a problem and giving it airtime, we start to chip away at the social stigma that exists around it.

Second, your act of leading will model what it means to be a leader. Many people can consume inspiration from you, realize it may not be so inaccessible after all, and then in turn want to inspire others like you do. They decide to step up and become leaders too. I have to imagine that every entrepreneur, leader, and change maker out there are products of the role models they looked up to. In fact, as Liz Wiseman’s work on The Multiplier Effect has shown, the best leaders are those who produce more great leaders by amplifying the intelligence and abilities of those around them. Multipliers are leaders who not only know how to attract and cultivate talent but also inspire and challenge others to stretch their potential and deliver results that exceed expectations.

Last, your service as a leader will make you feel more fulfilled and affirmed. Service not only makes you feel good but is also good for you. For example, adults who regularly serve others or a larger cause are more likely to have lower blood pressure and longer lifespans. On top of the health benefits, serving others boosts self-esteem, psychological well-being, overall happiness, and a feeling of connectedness—communities with lots of service-oriented people are better places to live. You know what I mean. Think about that feeling you get after you receive a thank you letter or email of appreciation for helping someone, when people rush up to you after a talk or speech you’ve given and express how much your words inspired them, when you learn about a fruitful collaboration that has formed between two people you introduced, or when you witness a massive achievement by someone you mentored.

Today 7.3 billion people make up this world. Imagine what society would look like if every one of them committed to lead a positive change. Could innovations occur every minute; climate change be solved; wars, terrorism, and acts of violence ended; global poverty obliterated, clean drinking water made available to all, girls and boys be valued equally, and so on? This has to start somewhere. It needs to start with you and me pursuing leadership, acting as role models, initiating its ripple effect, and making the desire to fulfill one’s purpose so contagious that we will unleash the potential of this population.

Excerpted from This Is How We Rise: Reach Your Highest Potential, Empower Women, Lead Change in the World by Claudia Chan. Copyright © 2017. Available from Da Capo Lifelong Books, an imprint of Perseus Books, LLC, a subsidiary of Hachette Book Group, Inc.

 

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Can Democrats Extend the Wave That Swept Doug Jones Into Office in 2018?

What Alabama’s special Senate election tells us about Democrats’ chances in 2018.


Alabama’s election of Doug Jones to the Senate was not just an electrifying and reassuring victory for Democrats. It was, as Jones said Tuesday night, a victory for all Alabamians and Americans who want their political system to embrace “dignity,” “respect,” “the rule of law,” “decency,” “common courtesy” and “a fair shake in life.”

“It has been about everyone of you, and your sons and daughters,” Jones said. “It’s all of those volunteers who knocked on 300,000 doors. It’s the volunteers who made 1.2 million phone calls around this state… It was every community. You know I keep hearing about the different communities in this state. The African-American community—thank you! My friends in the Latino community, thank you! To all my Jewish friends, happy Hanukkah!” 

Jones’ victory was many things. It was a triumph for grassroots organizing in a state that hadn’t seen a Democratic upset in years. It was an affirmation that a good candidate can inspire people to turnout in droves to defeat a bad candidate who turns off his party’s base and the public. It was perhaps a sign that voters have had enough of the tribalism that infects modern politics—epitomized by the GOP under Donald Trump.

But how much of what Jones accomplished in Alabama can be applied or repeated elsewhere? In some ways, his election was a special case. Sex scandal-plagued Roy Moore was such a bad candidate. Most establishment Republicans avoided him or kept away until the end—like President Trump and the national party committees. It was also a surprise that might not have happened if Sen. Richard Shelby did not tell fellow Republicans to vote but write in another name—not Moore. (There were nearly 23,000 write-in votes; 2,100 more than Jones’ margin of victory.)

While these dynamics are unlikely to recur in 2018, there are takeaways from Alabama that apply to the most critical congressional and gubernatorial races next year. That’s when two-thirds of the Senate contests are incumbent Democrats facing re-election and Democrats need 24 seats to retake the House. While there are unknowns, such as how much the GOP tax plan and Trump will weigh down Republican candidates, there is a starting-line landscape found in red-run states like Alabama. That’s where the GOP has spent this decade creating supermajorities and voting rules that benefit them but but undermine Democrats.

That red-state gaming of the electoral field begins with extreme redistricting, or segregating each party’s reliable voters to give GOP candidates a 6-to-8 percent lead in their districts. It continues by suppressing Democratic turnout via stricter voter ID requirements, which knocks off another 2-to-3 percent in the fall, followed by other voter suppression measures. (These figures are cited in court rulings, congressional studies and academic papers.)

Jones’ victory underscores key lessons about the hurdles facing Democrats next year in states like Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Wisconsin and Michigan. The big takeaway, as evidenced by every major election in 2017, including Alabama, is winning takes a giant turnout wave supporting Democrats—and a corresponding average turnout from Republican voters.

Wave Elections and Turnout

That pattern is what voter turnout experts saw in Alabama. The blue wave was most visibly led by its African-American community, whose voting rights heritage gave the nation Dr. Martin Luther King and a moral imperative to vote no matter what. But there was also high pro-Jones turnout in college towns and among suburbanites, many of whom voted for Trump in 2016. These trends were noted on Twitter posts by election experts Tuesday and in analyses of media exit poll dats on Wednesday.   

The first sign that Jones could win was seen in the extraordinary high turnout in African-American communities.

“Amazing: turnout is at 72%-77% of ‘16 presidential race in heavily black counties, but just 55%-60% in rural white counties. Black voters punching above their weight tonight & giving Jones a chance,” tweeted The Cook Political Report’s David Wasserman on Tuesday as the precinct-by-precinct returns were rolling in.

“To win, Jones needs: 1) Ridiculous Dem margins in Birmingham/Montgomery 2) Strong crossover from college whites in Huntsville/Shelby 3) Not much drop-off from ’16 turnout in Black Belt 4) Weak/typical off year turnout among non-college whites,” Wasserman predicted on Tuesday. On Wednesday, he tweeted. “What happened last night? All four of these things.”

Michael McDonald, a University of Florida professor and turnout expert, debunked the claim that Alabama Republicans stayed home. What happened, he said, was that the state’s GOP base behaved just as predicted in any off-year special election.

“Hot takes that #ALSEN Republicans stayed home I think are incorrect,” McDonald tweeted. “Turnout is typically low in a special special election. Republican counties turned out at a rate we might typically expect, perhaps even more so given the competitive race. Democrat turnout was through the roof.”

The pro-GOP Weekly Standard also noted that many whites voted for Jones as well.

“Jones won a substantial number of white voters,” David Byler noted. “According to exit polls, Jones won 31 percent of white voters and 96 percent of black voters. Typically, Democrats win large majorities of black voters in southern states while losing many white voters. In 2012, the exit polls showed President Obama earning 15 percent of the white vote. And while exit polls do have their disadvantages, it’s worth noting that the New York Times’ Upshot also estimated that Obama won 16 percent of the white vote in 2012. Jones did significantly better with white voters while still holding onto lopsided margins with black voters.”

The New York Times noted Jones won big among women in upscale suburbs—generally a Republican haven. That figure is not surprising, given the growing number of Alabama women who said that Moore sexually preyed on them in their teen years, while Jones was a prosecutor who convicted KKK members whose bombs killed several black teenage girls.

Momentum Going Into 2018

Looking to 2018, it’s clear the electorate’s energy and enthusiasm have shifted from Republicans and independents electing Trump to growing factions backing Democratic candidates. In every major election this year, Democrats have done far better than expected. But that doesn’t mean they won on Election Day.

Jon Ossoff, in Georgia’s sixth U.S. House district, who lost amid dubious vote counts—and post-Election Day disclosures that the state had destroyed his race’s vote count records—still did better than any Democrat in his district in years.

Last month in Virginia, Democrat Ralph Northam won the governor’s race and a surge of voters backing Democrats brought the party to the brink of retaking the House of Delegates—despite a 2011 gerrymander that gave the GOP a supermajority this decade. The GOP is up by two seats, while four races are being recounted, starting this week.

Jones’ victory is also remarkable because Alabamians experienced voter suppression tactics, according to accounts posted on Twitter by political reporters and election protection attorneys. These obstructions that can make the difference in close elections.

On Tuesday, many polling places were unprepared and experienced long lines. There were voting machine breakdowns and shortages. There was police intimidation of voters, checking IDs for people with outstanding fines. There were voters that had been incorrectly purged. There were others complaints of voters not receiving absentee ballots. There was confusion over poorly designed ballots. All of these are unnecessary hurdles to what should be a straightforward process. 

Election observers squarely blamed Alabama’s hyper-partisan GOP Secretary of State, John Merrill, for much of that dysfunction. Merrill’s low voter turnout estimates left polls unprepared for Tuesday’s turnout, which one turnout expert said was “bordering on malpractice.” As late as Tuesday on national TV, Merrill predicted only 25 percent of the state’s 3.3 million registered voters would turn out, when 40 percent did—a figure every academic turnout expert predicted based on recent special elections.

Fair-minded Americans should be cheered by Alabama’s results. For once, a deserving candidate, supported by a diverse and energized grassroots coalition, inspired a flood of citizens to turn out and not be deterred from voting. But it took a giant wave to just barely beat an unusually bad candidate, including an unexpected last-minute assist from the state’s senior Republican senator.

Democrats will have to repeat this giant wave in 2018 to breach the red-state barriers that stand between them and winning back control of Congress and key governorships. In red-run swing states that should be politically purple, the GOP has a 10 percent starting line advantage. Even with a large turnout wave, there’s no telling what surprises await—for better or worse.

For now, there’s the expectation that Trump will be a drag on GOP candidates, that legislation like the GOP tax bill will deflate GOP voters, and the party’s civil war will only deepen. All this suggests the dynamics are ripe for a Democratic comeback, but Republicans will not cede power easily. Alabama showed that while Jones did everything right, if Alabamians hadn’t written in someone other than Moore, then the state’s next senator would be a Republican.  

 

 

 

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Trumped-Up Charges: Feds Try to Criminalize Inauguration Day Protest

Federal prosecutors go after protesters and journalists—while admitting they committed no violent acts.


While most of America has been preoccupied with year-end holiday festivities and the Alabama U.S. Senate race, federal prosecutors in Washington have been hard at work trying to convict six people who were present during a demonstration against the inauguration of President Donald Trump.

The trial, which is taking place in the District of Columbia’s Superior Court, has received comparatively little attention from the national press. It deserves to, since prosecutors are trying to redefine the rules governing public demonstrations. Federal authorities have admitted they have no actual evidence that the defendants on trial committed acts of vandalism, but want to convict them of serious crimes anyway.

“I’ll be very clear. We don’t believe any of the defendants personally engaged in property destruction,” U.S. Attorney Jennifer Kerkhoff admitted in her opening statement in mid-November.

Instead of trying to identify and indict the small number of anti-Trump protesters who damaged trash cans or broke windows last Jan. 20, Washington police decided to make mass arrests, rounding up anyone who happened to be near a demonstration that began in the Logan Circle neighborhood, regardless of what they were actually doing.

More than 200 people were arrested that day. Federal prosecutors, who ultimately work under the authority of Attorney General Jeff Sessions, have decided to throw the book at the arrestees, vowing to put them all on trial in a succession of small proceedings that will likely last until the end of next year. Among the accused are several nurses whom prosecutors have accused of aiding rioters because they were carrying first-aid materials.

While most of America has been preoccupied with year-end holiday festivities and the Alabama U.S. Senate race, federal prosecutors in Washington have been hard at work trying to convict six people who were present during a demonstration against the inauguration of President Donald Trump.

The trial, which is taking place in the District of Columbia’s Superior Court, has received comparatively little attention from the national press. It deserves to, since prosecutors are trying to redefine the rules governing public demonstrations. Federal authorities have admitted they have no actual evidence that the defendants on trial committed acts of vandalism, but want to convict them of serious crimes anyway.

“I’ll be very clear. We don’t believe any of the defendants personally engaged in property destruction,” U.S. Attorney Jennifer Kerkhoff admitted in her opening statement in mid-November.

Instead of trying to identify and indict the small number of anti-Trump protesters who damaged trash cans or broke windows last Jan. 20, Washington police decided to make mass arrests, rounding up anyone who happened to be near a demonstration that began in the Logan Circle neighborhood, regardless of what they were actually doing.

More than 200 people were arrested that day. Federal prosecutors, who ultimately work under the authority of Attorney General Jeff Sessions, have decided to throw the book at the arrestees, vowing to put them all on trial in a succession of small proceedings that will likely last until the end of next year. Among the accused are several nurses whom prosecutors have accused of aiding rioters because they were carrying first-aid materials.

 

 

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Why Can’t Alabama Republicans Admit Doug Jones Won Fair and Square?

A top election official insists Roy Moore is entitled to a recount. The law says otherwise.


Roy Moore cannot get a recount under state law, a growing chorus of legal scholars said Wednesday, despite what the state’s top election official and the Senate candidate himself might have you believe. (Moore told rallygoers Tuesday night that the race is “not over,” and that it will “take some time.”)

“It looks like Roy Moore cannot request a recount in the Alabama Senate race if the margin is greater than 0.5 percent (there’s an automatic recount for the 0.5 percent range),” wrote Rick Hasen, a University of California Irvine law professor and curator of the nation’s most influential election law blog. “Last night on CNN, Alabama SOS [Secretary of State] John Merrill got it wrong, saying that Moore could pay for a recount in the larger range. The statute does not allow this for federal offices.”

As of midnight Wednesday, Democrat Doug Jones had 671,151 votes to Moore’s 650,436 votes, good for a margin of victory of 1.5 percent. The election also included 22,819 write-in votes, which is what Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL) suggested Sunday that his fellow Alabama Republicans submit.

Hasen’s comments—which were affirmed by other election lawyers on his listserv—highlight the latest dubious behavior by high-ranking Alabama officials surrounding the controversial U.S. Senate election.

On Monday, a Montgomery County court issued an order telling Merrill to instruct all county election officials to preserve the digital images of every ballot that is scanned and counted. That involves checking one box on a software window after turning on the scanners. Merrill appealed the ruling to the Supreme Court of Alabama, which reversed the lower court order and undermined any chance of creating a public record for a possible recount. Of course, Alabama officials thought they were helping Roy Moore.

The Supreme Court of Alabama quickly issued its order without hearing from attorneys representing the four Alabama citizens seeking to preserve the ballot images.

“It appears that the court issued its order within minutes after the stay request, without giving the other side a chance for briefing,” Hasen blogged. “How could they have had a chance to fairly consider the issue?…It is very disturbing because the AL Supreme Court’s order effectively decides the case. The ballot images will be destroyed, even if plaintiffs ultimately win on the merits weeks later. Goes against principles of preserving the status quo.”

If that wasn’t bad enough, later on Tuesday Merrill told CNN that Moore could pay for a recount, when as Hasen and other election lawyers have noted, the state’s election law does not allow a recount unless the victory margin is under 0.5 percent.

“I understand that Merrill may have made an error in the heat of the election (but truly, this is something he should have known going into such a high profile and closely watched election),” Hasen wrote. “But what explains his failure to correct things now? We are moving from a mistake to possibly something else.”

Merrill didn’t respond to Hasen, but blocked him on his Twitter account Wednesday.

The Washington Post’s Philip Bump took a closer look at the preliminary vote results, which have not been officially certified. Before Moore spoke on Tuesday night when he refused to concede, his campaign chairman said there were still uncounted ballots from overseas military personnel.

“To [CNN’s Jake] Tapper, Merrill said it would be ‘highly unusual and highly unlikely for that number of ballots’— the 20,715 margin between Jones and Moore—‘to be outstanding’ from service members. It might, however, be enough to draw Moore within 0.5 points, he said,” Bump wrote, before debunking that assertion.

“We can be confident, though, that it wouldn’t,” Bump continued. “As of May 2016, there were only about 8,700 people from Alabama serving in the armed forces. Assuming that’s held fairly steady, even 100 percent turnout from that group would account for only about 42 percent of the gap that Moore needs. Even if allof those servicemembers voted and all of them voted for Moore, Jones would still have a lead of 0.9 percentage points. Not enough.”

Alabama counties also have to verify and count so-called provisional ballots, which are given to people who are not on polling place voter lists. However, as the University of Florida’s Michael McDonald, a nationally known turnout expert, tweeted Wednesday, those ballots are likely to break for Jones, not Moore.

While the election is not officially over until Merrill certifies the results and Jones is sworn in—which under the electoral calendar, must happen by January 3—it’s very unlikely that the most partisan Alabama Republicans can stop Jones from taking office. While some Senate Democrats have already demanded he be sworn in immediately, the most likely timetable is after the GOP-led Congress rams through its only major legislative action this year, a regressive and widely reviled tax bill.

On the other hand, Bump said no one should hold their breath for Moore to concede. 

“In situations like this, when a candidate is favored to win after months of campaigning but comes up short, it’s hard to tell if a refusal to concede is motivated by sincere concern over the result or simply a dogged refusal to accept reality,” he wrote. “In 2014, Chris McDaniel narrowly lost a Senate election to Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) and, according to the Clarion-Ledger’s Sam Hall, simply never conceded. Perhaps that’s Moore’s eventual fate: Always being the guy who almost won but never admitted it.”

“The evidence at hand makes one thing seem pretty clear, though: He’s not likely to suddenly become the guy who actually did win.”

 

 

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Alabama Stunner: Democrat Doug Jones Defeats Right-Wing Extremist Roy Moore in Photo Finish U.S. Senate Race


Jones’ win reveals that many Republicans want nothing to do with Trump and Bannon’s politics.


The most-watched federal election of 2017 came to a stunning finish Tuesday with deep-red Alabama electing Democrat Doug Jones to the U.S. Senate—the first Democrat elected from Alabama in a quarter century and a major defeat for President Trump and Steve Bannon’s white nationalist wing of the party. 

Jones, a former U.S. Attorney, defeated Republican Roy Moore, a former Alabama Supreme Court Justice who was removed from the state’s highest court for putting god above the U.S. Constitution and was repeatedly accused during the race of being a sexual predator who had targeted teenage girls.

Nonetheless, Trump embraced and endorsed Moore in the race’s final days, ignoring the advice of Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. On Sunday, the state’s other senator, Richard Shelby, who was elected as a Democrat in 1992 but became a Republican two years later, urged voters to reject Moore and write in another name. On Tuesday night, with 96 percent of precincts reporting, the write-in votes exceeded Jones’ victory margin.

With 2,138 of 2,220 precincts reporting, Jones had 49.5 percent or 638,000 votes, while Moore had 48.8 percent or 629,000 votes. The 20,000-vote balance, 1.7 percent of the total, were write-in votes for neither candidate.

“We have shown the country the way that we can be unified,” Jones said, framing his victory in terms of reconciliation and consensus. “This entire race has been about dignity and respect. This campaign has been about the rule of law.”

Moore did not concede defeat, however. In brief remarks to his supporters, Moore’s campaign manager said that ballots from overseas military personnel had not yet been counted. (The state will not conduct a recount unless the victory margin is under 0.5 percent; however, that does not stop a candidate from paying for a recount.)

“When the vote is this close, it’s not over,” Moore said. “It’s not over and it will take some time.”

The race was Moore’s to lose and his defeat is a prism that reveals much about the fissures in American politics, as well as the moral core in Trump’s win-at-any-cost politics. Just as Jones’ intense get-out-the-vote strategy clearly motivated the state’s African-American voters to turn out in record numbers for a special election, Moore’s controversies and Trump’s abrasiveness clearly prompted many Republicans not to vote.

Moore was such a caustic candidate that the Senate was poised to decide whether to swear him in or begin investigating his alleged sexual misdeeds as a stepping stone to his impeachment. Jones’ victory means the Republicans now control the Senate by a one-vote margin, 51-49, and that puts the body in play in 2018—an outcome many Democrats could barely imagine before Jones’ stunning victory.

The election was prompted by President Trump selecting Jeff Sessions to be U.S. Attorney General. The governor appointed Luther Strange, who lost a heated primary to Moore despite Strange’s support from establishment Republicans, namely McConnell. Steve Bannon, Trump’s former White House strategist, made it his mission to unseat Strange and embrace Moore, saying political outsiders like Moore are needed to defend and implement Trump’s white nationalist vision.

After Strange’s primary defeat, the Washington Post broke what a series of stories in which several women detailed Moore’s predatory sexual behavior, recalling incidents that took place when the women were teenagers. Moore vigorously denied the allegations and his campaign staffers attacked the women as opportunists and liars. The accusations took the campaign into a new orbit. Moore has long been a religious fundamentalist who relished his political martyrdom, but the allegations brought him into the center of a debate over toxic masculinity.

Moore and Bannon sought to portray the accusations as more meddling by elitist outsiders trying to tell upstanding Alabamians what to do—the old trope of locals resenting and rejecting outsiders. But the editorial boards of the state’s largest newspapers uniformly said that Moore was unfit to serve in the Senate—a statement that was not only echoed by the Jones campaign and Democrats, but by some of the state’s best known Republicans: Alabama Sen. Richard Shelby and former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

As promising as these dynamics seemed to be for Democrats, the backdrop to this race was that Jones faced exceptionally long odds to become Alabama’s first elected Democratic senator in decades. Even though Moore had “underperformed as a statewide candidate” in prior elections, as the Washington Post put it, “to win, Jones would have to turn out voters in droves from predominantly black areas, because Alabama’s geography—and politics—are sharply divided by race. And Trump supporters would have to stay home—or even flip for Jones.”

The pre-election polls have been all over the boards, noted Zac McCrary, a Democratic pollster based in Alabama. As he wrote early Tuesday, “The unusual turnout dynamics in a special election held 13 days before Christmas make it very difficult to know what the electorate will look like. Polls have been all over the place — just in the last 24 hours there have been public polls showing the race from +10 Jones to +9 Moore.”

The big question, he said, was about the likely racial composition of Tuesday’s voters.

“A lower African American turnout (say, comprising 24% of the electorate) makes things very tough for Jones — whereas a higher African American turnout (28% of the electorate) would make the math for a Jones victory much more manageable,” McCrary wrote. “Beyond African American turnout, can Jones reshape the white electorate and make it at least a touch younger, a touch more female, and a touch more highly educated than a usual mid-term electorate? That might be the key to hitting his ‘win number’ with whites. Under either scenario, Jones has to dramatically over-perform the basic Democratic DNA of the state.”

But that’s exactly what Jones did—he overcame the state’s political DNA because the Republicans, led by Bannon and Trump, put their weight behind one of the most controversial and ill-prepared candidates the national GOP has fielded in recent years. The reality of Moore’s sexual predations resonated to such a degree that Alabama Republicans stayed home in droves rather than vote for him.



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