Roy Moore is going to win. Shame on Alabama

While polls coming out of Alabama are less than reliable, the general trend is certainly not in the direction of basic human decency. The most recent numbers have child molester Roy Moore leading Democrat Doug Jones by a 48 to 43 percent margin.

According to JMC Analytics, there are three main takeaways: (1) Roy Moore has regained his lead in the polls; (2) Republicans have similarly regained the lead in the generic ballot test, and (3) allegations of sexual misconduct against Roy Moore have not materially impacted the race.

Thrown into the mix is the obvious point that a plurality of Alabama voters either don’t believe that Moore has acted on his obvious interest in under-aged girls, or they don’t care. And if they do care, they care more about ensuring a Democrat doesn’t win the seat.

My guess is that on balance a majority know damned well the man they are about to elect as their U.S. Senator has done the things that have been alleged, it just doesn’t appear to creep them out because, you know, he always asked their mama’s if it was okay.

I hate to have to point out the obvious, but this seems less to be about partisan ideology and more about seeing things just a little bit differently in a particular region of the country. These people weren’t disturbed by Trump’s inappropriate sexual behaviour, in fact they thought it was grand, just as a fine upstanding speciman like Roy Moore ought to be able to do whatever he likes because he’s a powerful man. Women and girls of any age ought to be pleased that such powerful men have an interest in them at all. Fancy don’t let me down.

Conservatism has many ugly sides. This is just one of them.

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Reject the creep in Alabama

Subtlety won’t cut through the noise, or so seems to well understand with this editorial headline: Our view: Alabama voters must reject Roy Moore; we endorse Doug Jones for U.S. Senate.

The accusations against Roy Moore have been horrifying, but not shocking.

Every day new allegations arise that illustrate a pattern of a man in his 30s strutting through town like the cock of the walk, courting and preying on young women and girls. And though Roy Moore has denied the accusations of these women, his own platform and record is hostile to so many Alabamians.


As a news organization, we have independently investigated stories of several Alabama woman who have spoken to us and the Washington Post about the abuse they say they suffered at the hands of Roy Moore decades ago.

The seriousness of these incidents, including one involving a 14-year-old child, cannot be overstated. Nor can the growing number of accusations — from the women who were at the receiving end of unwanted adult male overtures as teens, to those who say they were physically assaulted —  be parsed with talk of statutes of limitations or whether proof has been recorded on a stone tablet. In the American system, proof beyond a reasonable doubt is a consideration for the courtroom, not the ballot box. It is our job as voters to look closely at the candidates and make up our own minds.

Do not let this conversation be muddled. This election has become a referendum on whether we will accept this kind of behavior from our leaders.

What else needs to be said?

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Campaign News

CNN: First charges filed in Mueller investigation

The Hill: Top Trump donor asked data firm to help organize hacked WikiLeaks emails

New York Magazine: Bad news for Bannon: Mitt Romney may be headed to the Senate

New Hampshire Union Leader: Democrats win another NH House special election

The Judy Ford Wason Center for Public Policy: Northam hits 50%, gaining over Gillespie, 50%-43% (Virginia Governor)

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The Democrat in the Alabama Senate Race runs as a non-white supremacist

As Mother Jones reported in a recent article, the cases for which Doug Jones, the Democrat up against Republican Roy Moore in the Alabama special Senate election, “is most famous were his successful 2001 and 2002 prosecutions of two Ku Klux Klan members who had bombed the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama, in 1963.” That horrific crime killed four young African American girls and “helped spur the passage of the Civil Rights Act the following year.”

Jones has a new ad out and the amazing thing about it and his candidacy is that they seem to imply that a reason to vote for him is that he’s the candidate not sympathetic to white supremacy, because in 2017 that’s a distinction we really need to make. More amazing still is that Moore is going to win.

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Campaign News

Politico: Flake announces retirement as he denounces Trump

Cook Political Report: Arizona Senate: Flake retires, race remains in toss up for now

Washington Post: Pennsylvania sets March 13 special election to replace disgraced GOP congressman

The Hill: Bannon: ‘Our movement will defeat you in primaries or force you to retire’

Roll Call: Republicans look to make up loss of House women

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Republican Illinois Governor Rauner to seek reelection

What is it with Republican governors seeking reelection and Harley’s?  First it’s Walker in Wisconsin and now Rauner in Illinois riding their hogs in campaign announcement ads. Manly men doing manly things.

As expected Gov. Bruce Rauner announced Monday that he will seek a second term.

His campaign released a two-minute-plus video in which a Harley-Davidson riding Rauner criticizes his chief political nemesis, Democratic House Speaker Michael Madigan. Rauner positions his re-election bid to voters as a choice: Either “throw in the towel, walk away and leave our future to the same corrupt career politicians, or we can fight.”

Rauner looks hard at the camera and says “I choose to fight,” as he sports his super cool dad-inspired motorcycle riding stuff.

Reelection won’t be easy, though, as the Chicago Trib notes:

Rauner makes his formal re-election declaration amid contentious times for the GOP in Illinois. The former private equity investor used his personal wealth to rebuild the party into a formidable campaign extension. But a series of controversial bill signings, capped by last month’s approval of a bill to expand taxpayer-subsidized abortions to women covered by Medicaid and state employee health insurance, have left Rauner searching for a base of support as social conservatives look for someone to challenge him.

Cook Political Report, Governing, Larry Sabato, and Decision Desk call it a toss-up. Rothenberg says lean Democratic.

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Sen. Sanders to run for reelection to the Senate as an Independent

I go on about this a lot because it annoys me. The Hill reported today that “Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) has confirmed that he will run for reelection in the Senate as an independent in 2018, despite recent pressure from some Democrats to join the party.”

“I am an independent and I have always run in Vermont as an independent, while I caucus with the Democrats in the United States Senate. That’s what I’ve been doing for a long time and that’s what I’ll continue to do,” Sanders told Fox News.


“I’ve been an independent since the early 90s. I was a governor as an independent,” King told CNN. “That’s who I am.”

That’s great, Bernie. You gotta be you and all that, but how come you morph into a Democrat when it suits your needs? I guess you gotta be you unless you gotta be something other than you.

Political parties are important for a reason. You could look it up.

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Campaign News

New York Times: A Presidential bellwether is still waiting to start winning under Trump

Los Angeles Times: This is what Steve Bannon told the California Republican Party convention

Washington Post: Will Virginia be a national referendum?

The Hill: GOP Senate hopefuls reluctant to back McConnell

Roll Call: Paul Perry drops out of primary in Pennsylvania race

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Key House Republicans are being out-fundraised

Speaker Pelosi?

Josh Kraushaar at the National Journal writes today that House Republicans are worried their most vulnerable members aren’t doing enough to raise the money they will need to fend off Democratic challengers in the 2018 midterms – particular in those media markets like New York City, LA, and Houston that require a lot of cash.

Of the 53 House Republicans facing competitive races, according to Cook Political Report ratings, a whopping 21 have been outraised by at least one Democratic opponent in the just-completed fundraising quarter. That’s a stunningly high number this early in the cycle, one that illustrates just how favorable the political environment is for House Democrats.

One of the more interesting observations in the Kraushaar piece is that “weak fundraising totals in the year before an election often suggest that members are thinking about heading for the exits.”  As one senior GOP House strategist said, “if Congress can’t pass tax reform into law, a wave of retirements will soon follow.”

We can tiptoe around it, but many a sitting politician who thinks they are about to lose their bid for reelection frequently decide it’s time to announce they want to spend more time with their family and will be taking a lucrative lobbying job in D.C. in the near future.

Is it possible donors will get excited if some of Trump’s agenda begins to make its way through? Maybe. Is that likely to happen? Who knows? And with Trump’s approval rating still somewhere in the 30s, and with governing parties typically doing less well in the midterms, the calculation on the part of many GOP incumbents may be to avoid the grinding fundraising circuit if they are not certain they are up for another campaign with a more than dicey outcome.

I’m not yet sure we can smell a wave election for Democrats in 2018 just yet, but Republicans in the House seem to be smelling something.

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American Music: “Night Rider’s Lament” – Nanci Griffith

Not many songs have their own website, but this one does. Lyrics and music of this classic are by Michael Burton. This cover by Nanci Griffith is one of my favourites. And there’s yodelling too.

It’s been done by Garth Brooks, Jerry Jeff Walker, and many others. I believe it was written in the mid-70s.

You can find words and music in the key of D here.

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Campaign News

Washington Times: Club for Growth releases first ads in the tax reform debate

Los Angeles Times: Steve Bannon’s speech to the California GOP tonight has some Republicans nervous

Washington Post: Ex-CIA officers running for Congress as Democrats

NBC News: Trump offers support to three GOP Senators expected to be challenged

Politico: ‘Our democracy is at stake,’ Obama says on Virginia campaign trail

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Democrat Phil Murphy sailing to victory in New Jersey gubernatorial

Thanks in great part to the ever-unpopular current Republican Governor of New Jersey Chris Christie, Democratics are widely expected to win the upcoming gubernatorial election with candidate Phil Murphy.

If you’d like to see some polling to that effect, Fairleigh Dickenson University released a survey earlier in the week that should calm the nerves of the more empirically minded.

If the gubernatorial election were held today, Democrat Phil Murphy would beat Republican Kim Guadagno by 15 points, at least among those who have made up their minds in the race to replace Governor Chris Christie. The most recent statewide survey of likely voters from Fairleigh Dickinson University’s PublicMind finds Murphy with the support of 47 percent of the voters. The two-term lieutenant governor has some distance to cover if she is to become New Jersey’s second female governor, as significantly fewer voters (32%) intend to vote for her. Five percent say they like someone else, and 13 percent remain undecided.

Virginia’s governor’s race may be somewhat less predictable, but this one isn’t. Election Day is November 7th.

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Impeach Trump: We would if we could

Gazillionaire Democratic donor Tom Steyer has a new ad out, and petition, imploring someone, anyone, to impeach Trump. Does anyone doubt there is the will on the part of Democratic legislators, if only there was a way? On to the midterms, Mr. Steyer, where your money might do some good.

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This Day in America: October 19, 1781 – Cornwallis surrenders to Washington at Yorktown

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Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker likely running again

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker is probably running for a third term, and he rides a Harley. He also likes to ride his Harley in political ads. Such a cool dad.

State Democratic Party spokeswoman Melanie Conklin said Walker, a famous tax-cutter, could have made his video motorcycle ride more realistic. “An accurate video would show him being jostled around on Wisconsin’s crumbling roads that are the fourth worst in the nation,” she said.

As for Walker’s chances for re-election, and why Walker should be considered the favourite, Jennifer E. Duffy at the Cook Political Report wrote this last June:

Walker is running for a third term, which is a difficult proposition for an incumbent of either party. That said, Walker has demonstrated tremendous staying power through two general elections and a recall, and is known for running very solid campaigns. Wisconsin is a swing state, but Democrats will need a very strong challenger to make this a Toss Up race.

That said, guessing election outcomes has made fools of a lot of us.

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This Day in America: October 18, 1867 – The U.S. takes possession of Alaska

The signing of the Alaska Treaty of Cessation on March 30, 1867. L-R: Robert S. Chew, William S. Seward, William Hunter, Mr. Bodisco, Eduard de Stoeki, Charles Sumner, and Frederick W. Seward

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Conservative populism and small-donor fundraising

For Democrats seeking encouraging news as we head towards the 2018 midterms, this is not it. According to McClatchy:

The Republican National Committee raised more than $100 million in the first nine months of 2017, marking the first time it has raised that much, that fast, in a non-presidential election year.

The record-breaking fundraising can be largely attributed to a flurry of small-dollar donors responding to fundraising appeals by the first Republican president in eight years, Donald Trump, according to a new report to be released later this week and obtained by McClatchy.

The numbers give Republicans a large cash advantage over Democrats as they look to retain control of both chambers of Congress in the midterm elections next year.

It’s hard to argue with the powerful democratic symbolism of individual Americans busting open their piggy banks to support the party and president of their choice. I dare you. Go ahead and try.

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National Character Counts Week

This is “National Character Counts Week” in the United States and that means a presidential proclamation. I give you, President Donald Trump:

“We celebrate National Character Counts Week because few things are more important than cultivating strong character in all our citizens, especially our young people. The grit and integrity of our people, visible throughout our history, defines the soul of our Nation. This week, we reflect on the character of determination, resolve, and honor that makes us proud to be American. […]

“Character is built slowly. Our actions — often done first out of duty — become habits ingrained in the way we treat others and ourselves. As parents, educators, and civic and church leaders, we must always work to cultivate strength of character in our Nation’s youth.”

So, young citizens of America, don’t grab anyone by the p%#&y, at least not this week. Your president has spoken.

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Campaign News

Kevin de Leon

Roll Call: De Leon to challenge Feinstein in California Senate

The Virginia Pilot: New poll finds Virginia governor’s race tightening

CNNTrump approval steady, but more say he’s leading in the wrong direction

Politico: Gore stumps for Murphy in New Jersey as Guadagno speaks to gun group

Huffington Post: New Orleans to have its first woman mayor

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This Day in Politics: August 2, 1923 – Vice President Calvin Coolidge become U.S. President upon the death of President Warren G. Harding

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