Nate Silver: “Because you’ve read so much detail about the polls, I don’t want to leave you without some characterization of the race. I still think Moore is favored, although not by much; Jones’s chances are probably somewhere in the same ballpark as Trump’s were of winning the Electoral College last November (about 30 percent).”
“The reason I say that is because in a state as red as Alabama, Jones needs two things to go right for him: He needs a lopsided turnout in his favor, and he needs pretty much all of the swing voters in Alabama (and there aren’t all that many of them) to vote for him. Neither of these are all that implausible. But if either one goes wrong for Jones, Moore will probably win narrowly (and if both go wrong, Moore could still win in a landslide). The stakes couldn’t be much higher for the candidates — or for the pollsters who surveyed the race.”
Former president Barack Obama “is adding his voice to the Alabama Senate race, imploring voters to go to the polls Tuesday to reject the candidacy of Roy Moore as part of an aggressive effort by Democrats to try and counter President Trump’s full-throated endorsement of the controversial Republican candidate,” CNN reports.
Said Obama: “This one’s serious. You can’t sit it out.” Obama’s message is intended to specifically reach black voters whose turnout is critical for Democratic candidate Doug Jones. Politico says former vice president Joe Biden also recorded a robocall.
Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice urged Alabamians to vote in tomorrow’s special Senate election, the Birmingham News reports. Said Rice: “This week’s special election will be one of the most significant in Alabama’s history. As a native daughter, I remain – at heart – an Alabaman who loves our state and its devotion to faith, family, and country.” She added: “I encourage you to take a stand for our core principles and for what is right. These critical times require us to come together to reject bigotry, sexism, and intolerance.”
Since the late 19th century, when a special prosecutor was used for the first time, public pressure alone has been enough to keep an investigation going.
(Even when the president tried to intervene.)https://t.co/NFbPTmNrKd
— FiveThirtyEight (@FiveThirtyEight) December 11, 2017
Politico: “White House aides advised the president against getting involved in the contest, and his endorsement is a testament to the futility of trying to guide a boss guided by instinct who relishes taunting the political establishment he now runs. That includes not just McConnell but members of his own staff and even his daughter Ivanka, whose harsh words for Moore worked only to push the president in the opposite direction.”
“Trump had experienced a similar desertion in the summer of 2016 when the infamous ‘Access Hollywood’ tape surfaced. He was angered to see the same establishment figures now ditching Moore.”
Michael Warren: Why did Trump go all-in for Roy Moore?
“The Trump administration and Republicans in Congress are hoping to make the most sweeping changes to federal safety net programs in a generation, using legislation and executive actions to target recipients of food stamps, Medicaid and housing benefits,” Politico reports.
“The White House is quietly preparing a sweeping executive order that would mandate a top-to-bottom review of the federal programs on which millions of poor Americans rely. And GOP lawmakers are in the early stages of crafting legislation that could make it more difficult to qualify for those programs.”
— Julia Ioffe (@juliaioffe) December 11, 2017
The U.S. Treasury Department released a one-page analysis of the GOP’s proposed tax reform plan.
Dan Primack: “The report claims the tax plan would be revenue neutral, acknowledges that the tax plan will not pay for itself via increased economic growth, despite Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin having regularly made such a claim… A single page feels pretty skimpy for an analysis that is supposed to help justify the most significant tax code changes since 1986.”
Matthew Yglesias: “The administration’s analysis claims, basically, that the tax cuts would pay for themselves if and only if they are paired with a bunch of other ideas congress already rejected.”
Jonathan Chait: “It has never been clear what crimes, if any, Donald Trump might have personally committed in the course of the Russia scandal. But in the 24th paragraph of a new NBC News report on the investigation is a sentence that indicates Robert Mueller’s cleanest shot — so far — at proving illegality by the president. Mueller, NBC reports, ‘appears to be interested in whether Trump directed Flynn to lie to senior officials, including Pence, or the FBI, and if so why, the sources said.’”
“That scenario would explain a lot. It would explain why Flynn took not one but two gigantic legal risks. It would explain why the White House took so long so fire him, why Trump asked James Comey to let Flynn off the hook and then fired him when he failed to promise to do so, and why Trump continued to signal his affection for Flynn even afterward.”
In their new book, @lindsey_brink and Steven Teles argue that government regulations have been giving an unfair advantage to those already on top, writes @AnnieLowrey https://t.co/w0NaQvUYMk pic.twitter.com/VBQJW3eMQG
— The Atlantic (@TheAtlantic) December 11, 2017
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) told CNN that President Trump “should resign” over the many sexual assault allegations made about him. Said Gillibrand: “These allegations are credible; they are numerous. I’ve heard these women’s testimony, and many of them are heartbreaking.” She added that if he does not “immediately resign,” Congress “should have appropriate investigations of his behavior and hold him accountable.”
Kayla Moore used the final campaign rally for her husband to fire back against accusations that they hate Jews, black people and women, with an interesting choice of evidence. “Fake news would tell you that we don’t care for Jews. But I’ll tell you all this because I see you all, I just want to set the record straight while they’re here: One of our attorneys is a Jew,” Kayla Moore said, waving towards the back of the room where reporters were gathered.
Yeah, just like some of your best friends are black
Vox notes that as of October 31, 2017 there are now 391 Democrats and 31 Republicans who have raised more than $5,000 in their bids.
“It’s still too early to tell if a Democratic wave will sweep the House of Representatives in 2018. But the sheer number of Democratic challengers entering House races shows the makings of a wave.”
Edward-Isaac Dovere at Politico on “Why Democrats win even if they lose in Alabama”: “If Roy Moore wins, they’ll spend the next year yoking every Republican they can to the accused child predator and a president who welcomed him into the GOP fold. They’ll be quick to remind everyone of all the other comments Moore has made against Muslims and gays and in favor of Vladimir Putin’s view of America as evil, as well as his rosy view of slave-era America…Supporting Moore “already effects the [Republican National Committee] now trying to go out and raise money. A lot of people are saying, ‘Why in the world would I contribute to an organization that’s pushing an alleged pedophile and child molester?’ It’s a big problem,” Republican Sen. Jeff] Flake said. “He’ll be the gift that keeps on giving for Democrats. If you’re running in 2018, Roy Moore’s going to be your new best friend. As a Republican, to think that you can win without the baggage of Roy Moore is pretty naïve,” said Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.).”
In his New York Times column, “The Republican War on Children,” Paul Krugman writes about the GOP tax bill and the Republican’s failure to refund the Children’s Health Insurance Program, or CHIP, which provided health care for 8.9 million kids: “Let me ask you a question; take your time in answering it. Would you be willing to take health care away from a thousand children with the bad luck to have been born into low-income families so that you could give millions of extra dollars to just one wealthy heir?…You might think that this question is silly, hypothetical and has an obvious answer. But it’s not at all hypothetical, and the answer apparently isn’t obvious. For it’s a literal description of the choice Republicans in Congress seem to be making as you read this.
— Christopher Ingraham (@_cingraham) December 11, 2017
Joshua Green writes that, to the extent Roy Moore has regained the lead, it’s thanks to Steve Bannon. “Through his staff at Breitbart News, his talk radio show, and his allies in politics and media — Hannity among them — Bannon has worked harder than perhaps anyone else to sow doubt about the accusations against Moore and to push the claim that his accusers are lying. In doing so, he’s illustrated the growing power of conservative media to shape the perceptions of Republican voters, something that may keep Alabama’s Senate seat in Republican hands when polls open on Tuesday.
No one appreciates Bannon’s efforts more than the candidate only recently left for dead. “He’s the counter to the ‘fake news’ — he’s been a stalwart,” says Roy Moore. “It’s helped us a lot. He’s the master strategist.”
Bloomberg: “Hundreds of the pending regulations had been effectively shelved before Trump took office. Others listed as withdrawn are actually still being developed by federal agencies. Still more were moot because the actions sought in a pending rule were already in effect.”
“The review’s findings undercut one of the signature assertions of an administration that has struggled to show progress on its major campaign promises.”
— Brian Beutler (@brianbeutler) December 12, 2017
“Republicans are moving their tax plan toward final passage at stunning speed, blowing past Democrats before they’ve had time to fully mobilize against it but leaving the measure vulnerable to the types of expensive problems popping up in their massive and complex plan,” the Washington Post reports.
“Questionable special-interest provisions have been stuffed in along the way, out of public view and in some cases literally in the dead of night. Drafting errors by exhausted staff are cropping up and need fixes, which must be tackled by congressional negotiators working to reconcile competing versions of the legislation passed separately by the House and the Senate.”
Wall Street Journal: “Some high-income business owners could face marginal tax rates exceeding 100% under the Senate’s tax bill, far beyond the listed rates in the Republican plan. That means a business owner’s next $100 in earnings, under certain circumstances, would require paying more than $100 in additional federal and state taxes. As lawmakers rush to write the final tax bill over the next week, they already are looking at changes to prevent this from happening.”