US Congress: Republicans rush for the exits to imperil Trump’s midterm hopes

Trey Gowdy this week became the 38 th Republican to announce their deviation since Trumps inauguration and Democrat are optimistic

Government shutdown: Republicans float minor immigration deal in bid to end deadlock

Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell says that if Democrats agree to stopgap funding he will allow immigration reform vote

Orrin Hatch grateful for ‘honor’ from Utah newspaper criticizing him

After the senator posted an image of Salt Lake Tribune, spokesman said we all sincerely hope the editorial committee discovers joy in something beyond baseless attack

The longest serving Republican senator, Orrin Hatch, tweeted on Christmas day that he was grateful after his local paper hailed him on its front page as the” Utahn of the year”, but he made no mention of a stinging accompanying editorial.

Many were left asking if Hatch was being sarcastic or had tweeted before reading the Salt Lake Tribune’s full reasoning for the award, for the most impactful person in the state, which made out at his part in slashing the size of Utah’s national monuments.

The paper’s editorial assaulted the senator for:” His utter lack of integrity that rises from his unquenchable thirst for power .”

The Salt Lake Tribune editorial board said it also devoted Hatch the title because of his key role in the dismantling of two national monuments in Utah and passing the new federal tax code. And it asked Hatch, who has been a senator for 42 years, to not run for re-election next year.

Hatch’s official Twitter account shared a photograph of the Salt Lake Tribune’s Christmas day front page, which was covered with a portrait of Hatch.” Grateful for this great Christmas honor from the Salt Lake Tribune ,” a tweet send from his account said.

Orrin Hatch (@ OrrinHatch)

Grateful for this great Christmas honor from the Salt Lake Tribune. For the record, I voted for @SpencerJCox and @rudygobert27. #utpol pic.twitter.com/ 7iFOBK6TWf

December 25, 2017

Hatch’s tweet did not include a link to the piece, resulting some to speculate the senator or his communications team were aware of the editorial’s contents.

” Everyone celebrates Christmas differently ,” Matt Whitlock, a spokesman for Hatch, said in an email to the Guardian.

” We all sincerely hope the members of the Salt Lake Tribune editorial committee find elation this holiday season in something beyond baselessly assaulting the service and integrity of someone who given 40 years for the person or persons of Utah, and served as one of the most effective lawmakers of all time ,” Whitlock said.

Earlier this month the US president, Donald Trump, modified designations for Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante in Utah, potentially opening the land to big corporate developers and the oil and gas industry. The move- a renunciation of past chairwomen Barack Obama and Bill Clinton- seems certain to be challenged in court.

In May, Trump told Hatch,” I’m approving the Bears Ears and Grand Staircase recommendation for you, Orrin ,” according to a spokesperson for Hatch, CNN reported at the time, which Hatch was quoted as being” incredibly grateful” for.

It came after a recommendation to shrink national monuments by the interior secretary, Ryan Zinke.

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Republicans celebrate with Trump after House passes tax bill again

Lawmakers celebrated their legislative victory and heaped praise on Donald Trump after passing a $1.5 tn tax cut which permanently slashes corporate rates

Jubilant Republican lawmakers joined Donald Trump at the White House for a victory festivity on Wednesday as Congress approved the party’s biggest priority, the most thorough reshaping of the American tax system since the 1980 s.

They celebrated their legislative victory and heaped praise on the president in the outdoor rite. After Trump inaccurately called the bill” the largest taxation cut in the history of the country ,” and hailed it for allowing for the” formation of new young beautiful strong companies ,” Republican leaders took turns praising him.

Mitch McConnell said this has been” a year of extraordinary accomplishment for the Trump Administration” and Paul Ryan praised Trump’s” exquisite presidential leadership .” Others went even further. Vice-president Mike Pence thanked Trump for his” boundless faith in the American people” while Utah senator Orrin Hatch called Trump” one heck of a leader “. Perhaps the most fervent kudo received from Tennessee congresswoman Diane Black who proclaimed:” Thank you, President Trump, for allowing us to have you as our chairperson .”

The House passed the bill by 224 to 201- recur the previous day’s referendum after making a mistake in its passageway on Tuesday. Twelve Republicans voted against the plan and no Democrat supported it.

The bill represents a $1.5 tn taxation cut which permanently slashes corporate tax rates and also lowers taxes for individuals.

Trump hailed the bill in a statement.” I promised the American people a big, beautiful tax cut for Christmas. With final passage of this legislation, that is exactly what they are getting … By cutting taxes and reforming the broken system, we are now pouring rocket fuel into the engine of our economy. America is back to winning again, and we’re growing like never before .”

In a cabinet meeting shortly before the House vote, Trump praised the legislation and hailed it as” essentially repealing Obamacare” in addition to what he claimed would be the economic benefits of the tax cut.” It’s about chores ,” insisted Trump. He also heralded additional measures which would open up the Alaskan Arctic wilderness for oil and gas drilling by energy companies.

Vice-President Mike Pence also spoke, praising Trump for delivering” historic taxation cuts …[ and] that middle-class miracle “. The housing secretary, Ben Carson, also offered a prayer.

” Workers benefit. Wages go up. More jobs pass ,” the House speaker, Paul Ryan, said Wednesday on NBC’s Today, describing what Republican say will flow from a $1.5 tn measure that affects everyone’s taxes but is dominated by breaks for business and higher earners. Democrat call the legislation a boon to the rich that leaves middle-class and working Americans behind.

” If they think this bill is a good political debate for them, let them is considered that ,” the House minority leader, Nancy Pelosi, told reporters.

The Senate used a post-midnight referendum to approve the measure on a party-line 51 -4 8 tally. Protesters interrupted with chants of,” Kill the bill, don’t kill us” and Pence, chairing the session, repeatedly called for order. Upon passage, Republicans cheered, with the treasury secretary, Steve Mnuchin, among them.

The Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell, insisted Americans would respond positively to the tax bill.

” If we can’t sell this to the American people, we ought to go into another line of work ,” he said.

Trump schemed a rite with GOP lawmakers on Wednesday at the White House after final congressional approval.

The bill will not be signed there, however. Instead, it is likely to be signed by Trump while he spends Christmas at his Mar-a-Lago resort.

The tax bill which was pushed through Congress at a breakneck pace required an extra day before it is unable to reaching Trump’s desk because of a procedural hiccup with Senate rules. This entailed the House had to vote a second time on the bill once two minor offending provisions had been stripped out.

Ryan, who has worked years toward the goal of revamping the tax code, joyfully pounded the gavel on Tuesday’s House vote. GOP House members roared and praised as they passed a package that will touch every American taxpayer and every corner of the US economy, steep taxation cuts for businesses and the wealthy, and more modest help for middle- and low-income families.

Despite Republican talk of spending discipline, the bill is projected to push the enormous government debts ever higher.

Ryan said on Wednesday the GOP was willing to risk operating up deficits with the aim of get a higher annual economic growth rate.

Trump is aching for a big political victory after 11 months of legislative failures and nonstarters. The chairwoman tweeted his congratulations to GOP leaders and to” all great House Republican who voted in favor of cutting your taxes !”

Congressional Republicans, who faltered badly in an attempt to dismantle Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act, ensure passageway of the tax bill as essential to proving to Americans they can govern- and imperative for holding on to House and Senate majorities in next year’s midterm elections.

” The proof will be in the paychecks ,” Senator Rob Portman said during the Senate’s nighttime debate.” This is real tax relief, and it’s needed .”

Not so, said the top Senate Democrat as the long, late hours led to testy moments Tuesday night.

” We believe you are messing up America ,” the New York senator Chuck Schumer told Republican, chastising them for not listening to his remarks.

The GOP has repeatedly argued the bill will spur economic growth as corporations, flush with cash, increase wages and hire more workers. But many voters in surveys consider the legislation as a boost to the wealthy, such as Trump and his family, and a minor gain at best for the middle class.

Democrats taunted the Republicans’ contention that the bill will stimulate taxes so simple that millions can file their returns” on a postcard”- an idea repeated often by the president.

” What happened to the postcard? We’re going to have to carry around a billboard for taxation simplification ,” declared Representative Richard Neal of Massachusetts, the top Democrat on the ways and means committee.

Tax cuts for firms would be permanent while the cuts for individuals would expire in 2026 to comply with Senate budget regulations. The tax cuts would take effect in January, and workers would start to see changes in the amount of taxes withhold from their paychecks in February.

The bill would slash the corporate income tax rates from 35% to 21%. The top tax rates for well-off individuals would be lowered from 39.6% to 37%.

The legislation repeals an important part of the 2010 healthcare law- specific requirements that all Americans carry health insurance or face a penalty- as the GOP seems to unravel the law it failed to repeal and replace this past summer. It also allows oil drilling in the Arctic national wildlife refuge.

The $1,000 -per-child taxation credit doubles to $2,000, with up to $1,400 available in IRS refunds for households that owe little or no taxes.

Disgruntled Republican lawmakers from high-tax New York, New Jersey and California receded into the background as the tax train rolled. They resist a new $10,000 restriction on the allowance for nation and local taxes.

The bill is projected to add $1.46 tn to the nation’s debt over a decade. GOP lawmakers say they expect a future Congress to continue the tax cuts so they won’t expire. That would drive up deficits even further.

The Associated Press contributed to this report

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Senate approves most drastic changes to US tax code in 30 years

Donald Trump has said his first major legislative victory would be a big, beautiful Christmas present for Americans

Senate Republicans have passed a sweeping overhaul of the US tax code, placing Donald Trump on the brink of scoring his first major legislative victory.

The Senate approved the $ 1.5 trillion taxation bill, which includes permanent tax breaks for corporations and temporary tax cuts for individuals, by a final referendum of 51-48. Once legislated, the legislation will represent the most drastic changes to the US tax code since 1986.

The bill was passed along party line, with every Senate Republican present voting in its favor and all Democrats voting against it. Arizona senator John McCain, who is undergoing treatment for brain cancer, was the lone member to be absent for the vote.

Although the bill’s passageway was expected, tensions boiled to a surface area as the final referendum was held, as Democrats sharply blamed Republicans for a bill independent analysts have projected will disproportionately benefit the wealthy and corporations.

The legislation must go back to the Republican-controlled House of Representatives on Wednesday for final approving, but is expected to pass.

The bill lowers the top individual tax rate from 39.6% to 37% and slashes the corporate tax rates to 21%, a dramatic autumn from its current rate of 35%.

In remarks on the Senate floor, Chuck Schumer, the Senate minority leader, said Republicans would” rue the working day” when they passed the bill, which he blasted as a “disgrace”. A visibly thwarted Schumer then scolded Republicans for talking during his speech.

” This is serious stuff. We believe you’re messing up America ,” Schumer, a Democrat from New York, told Republicans.” You could pay attention for a couple of minutes .”

‘ Kill the bill ‘: activists interrupt taxation reform vote in US senate- video

As the vote occurred, activists in the press gallery hollered” Kill the bill, don’t kill us “. The chaotic proceedings were eventually called to order by vice president Mike Pence, who was presiding over the chamber for what will soon mark a rare but significant achievement for the Trump administration.

After the bill passed, Republican celebrated the moment in a late-night press conference where Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell hit back against criticism that the tax overhaul was unpopular among the public.

” If we can’t sell this to the American people, we ought to go into another line of work ,” McConnell said.

The Senate vote came hours after House Republicans passed the tax bill by a vote of 227 to 203, with 12 Republicans voting against the plan and no Democrats supporting it. The House will nonetheless be forced to vote on the legislation once more on Wednesday, after it was discovered that the bill they passed fell short of the necessary rules for Senate Republicans to pass it with a simple majority.

The Senate subsequently stripped out the minor provisions that were in violation of the rules, clearing the way for House Republican to hold a second vote on Wednesday and then send the bill to Trump’s desk for his signature.

Democrats say the failure to write a bill that would are appropriate Senate rules- an avoidable misstep- underscored the slapdash way and lightening fast velocity at which Republicans assembled their tax overhaul.

The urgency among Republicans to pass a tax bill before the year’s end was similarly underscored when they provided lawmakers with a copy of the 500 -page tax plan hours before an initial referendum was scheduled on the legislation. In an online video, Senator Jon Tester, Democrat of Montana, called it” Washington DC at its worst” as he flipped through the pages, showing off the handwritten changes in the margins.

After the House vote, Trump praised House Republican leadership for delivering the $1.5 tn taxation cut scheme.

Donald J. Trump (@ realDonaldTrump)

Congratulations to Paul Ryan, Kevin McCarthy, Kevin Brady, Steve Scalise, Cathy McMorris Rodgers and all great House Republicans who voted in favor of cutting your taxes!

December 19, 2017

Despite the delay, Congress is still expected tosend the bill to Trump in time to deliver what he has promised would be a” big, beautiful Christmas present” for the nation.

Nancy Pelosi, the House minority leader, went in so far as it call it” the worst bill in history” in a press conference on Tuesday. She described it as” an all-out looting of America, a wholesale robbery of the middle class” and said:” The GOP tax scam will go down, again, as one of the most serious, most scandalous acts of plutocracy in its own history .”

The tax plan legislates a deep and permanent cut for firms, slashing the top rate from 35% to 21%. The bill also includes taxation cuts for individuals and families of all income levels, with the largest breaches going to the wealthiest Americans. The individual taxation cuts are slated to expire in 2025, a move to comply with Senate budget regulations, but Republican said a future Congress would extend them.

” This is one of the most important point pieces of legislation that Congress has passed in decades to help the American worker to help grow the American economy ,” Paul Ryan, the House Speaker, said moments after the bill passed.” This is profound change and this is change “whos going to” put our country on the right path .”

Congressman Steve Scalise, a Republican from Louisiana, added:” Today the impossible became the inevitable again .”

Democrats were excluded from the closed-door sessions where the plan was crafted. They have condemned the measure as a handout to the wealthy and firms, and promised to use it as a cudgel against Republican in the 2018 midterms.

Republicans have long pushed tax reform as a way to simplify the US tax code, but the proposal would maintain all seven existing taxation brackets for individuals. The bill has faced significant criticism because it would limit tax deductions for home mortgages and state and local taxes, as well as adding over a trillion dollars to the budget deficit.

The bill would not only reshape tax policy in the United States. It also contains provisions to allow oil drilling in Alaska’s Arctic national wildlife refuge, and would eliminate the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate, which requires Americans to either buy health insurance or pay a penalty.

Despite being heralded by Republican and the White House as a major accomplishment, the bill is deeply unpopular. A CNN poll released earlier on Tuesday found that 55% of voters had a unfavorable position of the scheme and only 33% position it favorably.

Ryan dismissed criticism of the bill, saying ” results are what’s going to make this popular “.

Republicans, who control both chambers of Congress but has all along been failed to achieve a major legislative victory, relished the moment hours before the vote was scheduled on Tuesday.

Nancy
Nancy Pelosi was scathing about the bill. Photograph: Aaron Bernstein/ Reuters

After final passageway, Ryan loudly gaveled the vote to a close while receiving a standing ovation from House Republican. Ryan have all along pushed for cutting taxes and reforming the tax code and the vote on Tuesday was seen as a defining achievement for him.

Congress, meanwhile, is operating up against a Friday deadline to fund the federal government. A sticking point over fund Obamacare payments- a promise made to secure Maine senator Susan Collins’ vote on tax reform- risks a potential uprising by House conservatives and a possible government shutdown.

The White House hailed the House passage of the tax bill and indicated Trump would sign it in the coming days.

” The chairperson will have delivered the most significant taxation cut in the history of the nation ,” Sarah Sanders, the White House press secretary, said.

Sanders struggled, however, to defend Trump’s assertion in a speech last month that the tax bill would cost him” a fortune “.

” We expect that it likely will, surely on the personal side, could expense the president a lot of fund ,” she said, while adding:” The president’s focus hasn’t necessarily been at all on himself .”

” This is a taxation scheme that we hope benefits all Americans mainly ,” Sanders said.

Independent analyses have shown Trump and his cabinet stand to gain millions through a provision within the bill that doubles the exemption of the so-called estate tax. The chairperson is also poised to save up to $30 m from the repeal of what is known as the alternative minimum taxation, a supplemental income taxation intended to prevent wealthy Americans utilizing loopholes to avoid paying taxes.

The nonpartisan Joint Committee on Taxation and the Congressional Budget Office, both independent research groups in Congress, have said the tax bill will disproportionately benefit the wealthy and corporations. As a result, Trump is likely to receive a larger median tax cut than the middle class.

When reporters pointed out the White House could directly address how the bill affects Trump by releasing his tax returns, Sanders insisted they are under audit and therefore cannot be disclosed. Trump utilized a similar line to justify his failure to release his tax returns as a candidate, breaking with a 40 -year precedent for US presidential nominees.

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Alabama election: Democrats triumph over Roy Moore in major blow to Trump

Doug Jones becomes first Democrat to win any statewide office in Alabama in a decade after Moores campaign for Senate marred by sexual assault claims

The Democrat Doug Jones has beaten his Donald Trump-backed Republican rival Roy Moore in the diehard Republican state of Alabama, setting off a political earthquake likely to shake Washington.

His victory in a special election for a US Senate seat- by a margin of 49. 9 to 48.4 with 100% of precincts reporting- is a major personal jolt to the president and his efforts to pass taxation reform on Capitol Hill.

Jones was able to become the first Democrat in a decade to win any statewide office in Alabama by beating Moore, who had faced multiple allegations of sexual assault during a campaign which uncovered Republican party faultlines.

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Who is Doug Jones?

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Early life

The 63 -year-old grew up in the working-class city of Fairfield, simply west of Birmingham, an region once dominated by the steel industry. His father was a steelworker and he spent hour working in a mill when not in school

Democratic roots and the KKK

Jones got his start in government as an aide to the last Democrat to serve a full term in the Senate from Alabama, the late Howell Heflin.

Years before running for the Senate himself, Jones became known for prosecuting two KKK members for the bombing of Birmingham’s 16 th Street Baptist church in 1963 which killed four black girls.

After his appointment as US attorney in Birmingham in 1997, Jones resulted a team of federal and state attorneys during trials that resulted in the convictions of Thomas Blanton Jr in 2001 and Bobby Frank Cherry in 2002.

Photograph: Marvin Gentry/ X02859

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Moore, who late on Tuesday was refusing to concede the race, had been favored in the deep red state until two women came forward to assert that Moore assaulted them when they were adolescents; a number of another woman said the Alabama Republican had romantically pursued them when they were underage. Moore has denied all the allegations.

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0:50

‘It’s not over’: Roy Moore refuses to concede in Alabama Senate race- video

Alabama has long faced a profound racial divide, which was reflected in the results. According to an exit poll, Jones won 95% of the African-American vote but only 27% of the white vote in the Yellowhammer State. However, widespread African-American turnout on Jones’s behalf overcame Moore’s margins in rural, predominantly white parts of Alabama.

Jones also made significant inroads among college-educated whites. He won well-educated Madison county by a margin of 57-40. A center of the aerospace industry, the district voted for Trump by a margin of 55-38 in 2016.

Alabama voting demographics

‘More in common than what would divide us’

Jones emerged to a euphoric reception just before 10 pm local time.” Folks, I gotta tell you, I think that I have been waiting all my life and now I simply don’t know what the hell to say ,” he said, beginning a 10 -minute speech.” I have always believed that the person or persons of Alabama had more in common than what would divide us .”

The election had never been either about him or Moore, he insisted.” This entire race has been about dignity and respect. This campaign has been about the rule of law. This campaign has been about common courtesy and decency and inducing sure everyone in this state, regardless of what zip code you live in, is going to get a fair shake .”

His speech was met with cheers and applause and chants of” USA! USA !”

Doug
Doug Jones waves to supporters after the results were announced. Photograph: John Bazemore/ AP

The Democratic victory will reduce the Republican majority in the Senate to 51 -4 9 once Jones takes his seat on Capitol Hill. This significantly reduces the margin for error as Republicans attempt to push through a major corporate taxation cut.

They already have one defector in senator Bob Corker, and Jones’s election entails a single additional Republican breaking ranks would sink the legislation .

Moore’s defeat also marks a major personal blow to Trump, who endorsed the Alabama Republican and held a rally on his behalf merely over the state line in Pensacola, Florida. Although most national Republicans rushed to distance themselves from Moore in the aftermath of the allegations, Trump reaffirmed his support through tweets and public statements.

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The Roy Moore file

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Born

Roy Stewart Moore, 11 February 1947, in Gadsden, Alabama, the oldest of five children of a construction worker and housewife.

Best of times

He had a large slab of Vermont granite inscribed with quotes from the Declaration of Independence, “the member states national” anthem and the founding fathers installed in the Alabama supreme court. It was topped off with tablets inscribed with the Ten Commandments.

Worst of Times

In Vietnam, Moore insisted his troops salute him on the battlefield. He was named” Captain America” and later remembered sleeping on sandbags to avoid a grenade flung under his cot in retribution.

What he says

” I think it[ America] was great at the time when families were unified. Even though we had slavery, they cared for one another .”

What others say

After refusing to acknowledge same-sex marriage legislation, Human Rights Campaign said:” It is clear that Roy Moore not only believes he is above the law, he believes he is above judicial ethics …”

Photograph: Brynn Anderson/ AP

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Shortly after the findings are called, Trump tweeted his congratulations to Jones 😛 TAGEND

Donald J. Trump (@ realDonaldTrump)

Congratulations to Doug Jones on a hard oppose victory. The write-in votes played a very big factor, but a win is a win. The people of Alabama are great, and the Republican will have another shot at this seat in a very short period of time. It never objective!

December 13, 2017

Early on Wednesday morning, the president tried to claim he had always known Moore would lose, recalling his backing for foe Luther Strange in the Republican primary that had preceded the special election.” The reason I originally endorsed Luther Strange( and his numbers ran up mightily ),” Trump wrote,” is that I said Roy Moore will not be able to win the General Election. I was right! Roy worked hard but the deck was stacked against him !”

Moore’s defeat is a significant blow to the efforts by Steve Bannon and the populist Trump wing of the Republican party to undermine Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell.

Bannon and his allies are planning a series of primary challenges against establishment Republican in 2018. Moore’s defeat significantly reduces their leverage as the joint efforts of Bannon and his rightwing news website, Breitbart, could not elect their preferred nominee in a state that Trump won in a landslide in 2016.

Steven Law, the head of the McConnell-allied Senate Leadership Fund, set the blame squarely on Bannon moments after the race was called.” This is a brutal reminder that candidate quality matters regardless of where you are running ,” Law said.” Not merely did Steve Bannon expense us a critical Senate seat in one of the most Republican states in the country, but he also dragged the president of the United States into his fiasco .”

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Cory Gardner, the head of the National Republican Senate Committee, which categorically refused to back Moore, said:” Tonight’s results are clear: the person or persons of Alabama deemed Roy Moore unfit to serve in the US Senate .”

While national Republican accepted defeat, at Moore’s election night event, presidential candidates and his supporters still held out hope.

‘The evening is not over yet’

Moore’s campaign chairman, Bill Armistead, took the stage to insist that” the evening is not over yet” and cited Alabama’s provision for an automatic recount if result was within half of a percentage point. He also noted optimistically that there were still outstanding military ballots.

Moore then took the stage to say:” When the vote is this close, it’s not over .” He then bemoaned that he had been” painted in an unfavorable and unfaithful light” before recommending attendees to go home and go to sleep.

Roy
Roy Moore supporters react to the loss on election night. Photo: Joe Raedle/ Getty Images

Cal Zastrow, a friend of Moore who had come down from Michigan to volunteer for the campaign, tried to frame research results within a bigger painting.” I was cheering for him and supporting him but Jesus is wonderful whether Roy Moore wins or loses ,” he said.” I’m not distressed. I’m not discouraged. Jesus is wonderful .”

At Jones’ election night party hundreds of supporters, many waving signs, erupted in cheers at a hotel ballroom in Birmingham when, on giant Tv screens, CNN declared the race for the Democrat. There were hugs, smiles, tears and chants of” We want Doug !” The raw feeling was evident.

John Parker, 26, a bartender, said:” I think it’s astounding and unprecedented in Alabama politics, and a response to what we’re considering nationally. This is a direct response to President Trump. Roy Moore is unfit for any chore, let alone[ that of] international civil servants. Alabama tonight voted for America .”

He added:” There is hope and pleasure. Tomorrow’s another day in Alabama .”

Voter breakdown

Caitlin Barringer, 29, who works in healthcare, said:” We eventually have a person who will represent all of Alabama. I can’t believe it’s taken this long for people be recognised that Roy Moore is not what he says he is .”

Looking at the media crews in the ballroom, she added:” I’m thankful everyone from all over the world is here and Alabama has shown we are so much more than closed-minded people .”

Community activist Keith Williams, 43, who is African American, said:” Miracles do happen. I have a message for America: don’t count Alabama out. The progressive motion is going forward .”

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Roy Moores stunning defeat reveals the red line for Trump-style politics | Richard Wolffe

The shock election results assured a Democrat make rare inroads in deep-red Alabama and will hasten the existential question facing the Republican party

There’s no sugar-coating the stunning defeat for Donald Trump and his cronies in Tuesday’s Senate contest.

There’s no accusation of fake news that they are able encompas the tracks of the disastrous outcomes for the president- and for his supposedly populist politics- little more than one year after his own election.

There’s no comeback for his former chief strategist, Steve Bannon, who declared war on the Republican establishment by stumping for a toxic candidate like Roy Moore.

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The Roy Moore file

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Born

Roy Stewart Moore, 11 February 1947, in Gadsden, Alabama, the oldest of five children of a construction worker and housewife.

Best of hours

He had a large slab of Vermont granite inscribed with quotes from the Declaration of Independence, “the member states national” anthem and the founding fathers installed in the Alabama supreme court. It was topped off with tablets inscribed with the Ten Commandments.

Worst of Times

In Vietnam, Moore insisted his troops salute him on the battlefield. He was named” Captain America” and later recalled sleeping on sandbags to avoid a grenade flung under his cot in retribution.

What he says

” I think it[ America] was great at the time when families were unified. Even though we had bondage, they cared for each other .”

What others say

After refusing to acknowledge same-sex marriage legislation, Human Rights Campaign said:” It is clear that Roy Moore not only believes he is above the law, he believes he is above judicial ethics …”

Photograph: Brynn Anderson/ AP

This wasn’t a marginal competition in some familiar sway country, a typical bellwether of political trends. We’re talking about Alabama. One of the most Republican states in the union where there’s a long and violent history of repudiating outside influences, and anything that smacks of progressive politics.

If Trumpism has any future, any constituency moving forward, it was necessary to thrive in Alabama. For months we have all endured the endless reporting from Trump Country where the president’s loyalists say their love of the blowhard-in-chief is undiminished.

Instead, Alabama- the nation whose love of segregation gave us some of the greatest flashpoints in the civil right movement- has drawn the reddest of red lines. There are still limits to what voters deem acceptable behaviour, and Roy Moore is on the wrong side of them.

Standing by him are his biggest boosters. Donald Trump has been decided to trash what little remains of his political capital on a man accused of being a sex predator of teenage daughters. The Republican National Committee tarnished its name by supporting Moore’s campaign in its late stages after earlier abandoning him. And then there’s Steve Bannon, who lambasted every Republican for treating Roy Moore like a cancer on the GOP.

For now, Democrat can enjoy the sight of their first senator from Alabama in a quarter of a century. They can enjoy the moral victory of considering Doug Jones, who successfully prosecuted two of the racist murderers behind the 1963 Birmingham church bombing, triumph over a Republican who seemed to hanker after the working day when bondage stained the South every day. Democrats can start recalculating the vote-counts on every legislation now they have narrowed the GOP’s Senate majority to just one.

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1:56 Democrat Doug Jones wins Alabama Senate seat: ‘this race has been about dignity’ – video

” I have always believed that the people of Alabama have more in common than what divides us ,” Jones said in his victory speech.” We have shown the country the style that we can be unified .”

For Democrats, the winning style is pretty clear: running against the demagoguery and divisive politics of Donald Trump.

For Republicans, the lessons are just as clear, but far harder to follow. In the coming weeks and months, Republicans now need to wrestle with something they have merrily dismissed for the last year. Alabama’s results will hasten the existential question facing every GOP member of Congress who faces re-election next year: is it better or worse to break with Donald Trump?

Until Alabama, this seemed like an easy calculation. Trump’s obvious failings, his freakish nature and his abusive conduct are always brushed aside because he seemed to have a lock on his party. Who could stand against Trump except senators who already said they were retiring from politics?

Now the balance has shifted dramatically. Who can afford to stand with Trump when the Democratic voters are so energized they turn out in numbers huge enough to overturn the monumental Republican majority in Alabama?

Quick guide

Gay bans and praise for Putin: the world according to Roy Moore

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Homosexuality should be illegal

In 2005, Moore said:” Homosexual conduct should be illegal .” In an interview broadcasted on C-Span, Moore added:” It is immoral. It is defined by the law as detestable .” During a debate in September 2017, he went out of his style to bemoan the fact that” sodomy[ and] sexual perversion sweep the land “.

September 11 attacks as divine penalty

In a speech in February, Moore appeared to suggest that the terrorist attacks of September 11 were the result of divine retribution against the United States and prophesized in the Book of Isaiah. In comments first reported by CNN, Moore quoted Isaiah 30:12 -1 3, saying:” Because you have hated His word and trust in perverseness and oppression, and say thereon … hence this iniquity will be to you as a violate ready to fall, swell out in a high wall, whose violating cometh abruptly at an instance .” Moore then noted:” Sounds a little bit like the Pentagon, whose transgres came suddenly at an instance, doesn’t it ?” He added:” If you think that’s coincidence, if you go to verse 25:’ There should be up on every high mountain and upon every mound, rivers and rivers of water in the working day of the great carnage when the towers will fall.'”

Praise for Putin

In an interview with the Guardian in August, Moore praised Putin for his views on gay rights.” Perhaps Putin is right. Maybe he’s more akin to me than I know .” The commentaries came as Moore indicated the United States could be described as” the main points of evil in the world” because” we promote a lot of bad things “. Moore specifically named gay matrimony as one of those “bad things”.

‘Reds and ambers’

At a rally earlier in September, Moore talked about” reds and yellows opposing” while discussing racial division in the United States. Moore justified this on Twitter by citing lyrics from the anthem Jesus Loves the Little Children. He wrote” Red, yellow, black and white they are precious in His sight. Jesus loves the little children of the world. This is the Gospel .”

Tracking livestock is communism

In 2006, Moore condemned a proposal for a national ID system for animals as” more identifiable with communism than free enterprise “. The proposal received attention after a cow in Alabama had been diagnosed with mad cow disease. Moore, who was then running for governor, was skeptical that the outbreak was real. Instead, Moore indicated it was a ruse intended to promote the tracking system.

The more delusional Republican will reject Tuesday’s outcomes as the flaw of a disastrously poisonous candidate like Roy Moore.

Who could vote for a senate nominee who was reportedly banned from shopping malls because of his alleged interest in teenage daughters?

What kind of nominee agrees with Vladimir Putin that America is a focus of evil in the world, and who speaks fluent Russian along the way?

But there’s someone on “the member states national” stage who bears an uncanny similarity to the profile of Roy Moore. Person who stands accused of sex predation on young women, who demonizes the media as much as he lauds Vladimir Putin, and who pretends that his critics are subjugating working class voters. That human works out of the Oval Office.

Play Video

2:02 ‘Maybe Putin is right’: Roy Moore speaks to the Guardian- video

For the next year, Republican nominees will be hounded at every campaign stop by a simple question: do you approve of Trump’s treatment of women? The party of Moore and Trump is no place for suburban women voters, who have decided the last several election cycles. And girls voted by huge margins for Doug Jones in Alabama.

The scale of the surprise is worth measuring. Donald Trump won Alabama by a monumental 28 points just one year ago. The fact that the race was in any way competitive speaks volumes about the disastrous effects of his presidency and Moore’s candidacy.

Voter breakdown by race and sexuality

Two years earlier, Jeff Sessions- the man whose hapless tenure as attorney general prompted Tuesday’s election- won re-election in Alabama with 97 per cent of the vote. These are the kind of numbers that Saddam Hussein used to enjoy in his periodic elections. The remaining three percent of the free elections went to write-in candidates because no other nominee bothered to file in time to get on the ballot.

Even Mitt Romney won Alabama by 22 points in 2012, despite his reputation as a moderate Republican. As much as black voters rallied to Barack Obama with record turnout, they are continuing merely represent 25% of Alabama’s population.

In Alabama, the past is never dead in large measure because people like Roy Moore have no notion how the past was experienced by his fellow Alabamians. You don’t need a degree in history from the University of Alabama to understand Moore’s worldview.

At a rally in September, he was asked by an African-American voter in the audience where reference is believed America was last great.” I think it was great at the time when families were united- even though we had slavery- they cared for each other ,” he said.” Our households were strong, our country had a direction .”

Quick guide

Gay forbids and praise for Putin: the world according to Roy Moore

Show Hide

Homosexuality should be illegal

In 2005, Moore said:” Homosexual conduct should be illegal .” In an interview televised on C-Span, Moore added:” It is immoral. It is defined by the law as detestable .” During a debate in September 2017, he went out of his route to bemoan the fact that” sodomy[ and] sexual perversion sweep the land “.

September 11 assaults as divine penalty

In a speech in February, Moore appeared to suggest that the terrorist attacks of September 11 were the outcomes of divine retribution against the United States and prophesized in the Book of Isaiah. In commentaries first reported by CNN, Moore quoted Isaiah 30:12 -1 3, saying:” Because you have hated His word and trust in perverseness and oppression, and say thereon … hence this iniquity will be to you as a breach ready to fall, swell out in a high wall, whose breaking cometh suddenly at an instance .” Moore then noted:” Sounds a little bit like the Pentagon, whose breach came suddenly at an instance, doesn’t it ?” He added:” If you think that’s coincidence, if you go to verse 25:’ There should be up on every high mountain and upon every mound, rivers and rivers of water in the working day of the great massacre when the towers will fall.'”

Praise for Putin

In an interview with the Guardian in August, Moore praised Putin for his views on homosexual rights.” Maybe Putin is right. Perhaps he’s more akin to me than I know .” The comments came after Moore indicated the United States could be described as” the main points of evil in the world” because” we promote a lot of bad things “. Moore specifically named gay marriage as one of those “bad things”.

‘Reds and ambers’

At a rally earlier in September, Moore “was talkin about a”” reds and yellows fighting” while discussing racial division in the United States. Moore justified this on Twitter by quoting lyrics from the anthem Jesus Loves the Little Children. He wrote” Red, yellow, black and white they are precious in His sight. Jesus loves the little children of the world. This is the Gospel .”

Tracking livestock is communism

In 2006, Moore condemned a proposal for a national ID system for animals as” more identifiable with communism than free enterprise “. The proposal received attention after a cow in Alabama had been diagnosed with mad cow disease. Moore, who was then operating for governor, was skeptical that the outbreak was real. Instead, Moore indicated it was a ruse intended to promote the tracking system.

In case you were still confounded, Moore is the kind of man who appeared on conspiracy wingnut radio in 2011 to lament the constitution’s amendments that abolished slavery, and gave the vote of both women and African-Americans.

His reward for this kind of racism was to energize the very voters he disdained. The African-American voters of Alabama have delivered a crushing jolt to Trump-style politics.

It’s only reasonable to expect Latino voters to deliver the same blow to GOP candidates who support their president’s demonization of immigrants. It’s only normal to expect females to disdain Republican candidates who refuse to condemn Trump’s sexual harassment.

And it’s only realistic to expect Donald Trump will learn nothing from his dishonour in Alabama. He will continue to rage against Hillary Clinton, the media, and athletes who protest for equal justice. He will continue to obsess about Twitter and cable television instead of discovering a new political path.

The real exam of the next year lies not with the president, but with his party. Merely one of them has the capacity to change.

This article was amended on 13 December 2017 to note that the Republicans’ majority in the Senate is one , not two, as we previously said. When Jones is sworn in, Republicans will control 51 of the Senate’s 100 seats.

‘Enough is enough’: leading Democrats call on Al Franken to quit

Minnesota senator, 66, recommended by several female my fellow members to resign as allegations of sexually inappropriate behavior mount

Half a dozen female Democratic senators have called on Al Franken to resign, as other women stepped forward to accuse the Minnesota Democrat of sexually inappropriate behavior. They were joined by the minority leader in the Senate, Chuck Schumer, and the national party chair, Tom Perez, who also called on Franken to step down.

Franken’s office said he would make a public statement- expected to include a response to the calls- on Thursday. One Democratic senator, Ron Wyden, said he expected Franken to” announce his resignation tomorrow “.

In Facebook posts, tweets and public statement, several Democrats advised their colleague to step aside amid widening accusations of sexual assault and misconduct against powerful humen that have roiled Hollywood, Silicon Valley and Washington.

” I have spent a lot of day reflecting on Senator Franken’s behaviour ,” Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, a longtime advocate for victims of sexual assault, said in a Facebook post that started the cascade of calls.” Enough is enough .”

Gillibrand was joined by Patty Murray of Washington, Mazie Hirono of Hawaii, Claire McCaskill of Missouri, Kamala Harris of California and Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire.

Those calls were swiftly echoed by other colleagues, including Dick Durbin, the No 2 Democrat in the Senate, as well as Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin, Sherrod Brown of Ohio, Bob Casey of Pennsylvania, and Joe Donnelly of Indiana.

Tom Perez, the chair of the Democratic National Committee, also called on Franken to resign.

” Everybody has to share the responsibility of building a culture of trust and respect for women in every industry and workplace, and that includes our party ,” Perez said.

Perez’s remarks came less than 36 hours after the Republican National Committee renewed its support for Roy Moore, the Republican Senate candidate who is facing multiple allegations of inappropriate behavior with teenage girls and women, including sexual assault.

While many national Republican have distanced themselves from the Alabama Republican, he has approved by Donald Trump. The Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell, who has called on Moore to drop out, has said the Alabama Republican would face an ethics investigation if elected.

McConnell issued a statement calling for Franken to step down:” The near daily barrage of allegations of sexual misconduct against Senator Franken are extremely concerning to all of us in the Senate. While the Senate ethics committee is reviewing these serious allegations, it now appears that Senator Franken has lost the support of his colleagues, and most importantly, his constituents. I do not believe he can effectively serve the person or persons of Minnesota in the US Senate any longer .”

Hours afterward, the Senate minority leader, Chuck Schumer, weighed in to say he too believed Franken should resign. In a brief statement, Schumer said:” I consider Senator Franken a dear friend and greatly respect his accomplishments, but he has a higher obligation to his constituents and the Senate, and he should step down immediately .”

Franken, 66, who has been accused by multiple other women of groping or trying to forcibly kiss them, has apologized for his behaviour and asked the Senate ethics committee to analyse himbut the senators said elected official must be held to a higher standard, putting his political future in question. Franken did not appear in the Senate on Monday.

” This institution has evolved over centuries, it’s evolved over my virtually three decades of service, and it’s evolving once more before our very eyes ,” said Murray, a member of Democratic leadership.

” This current evolution is long overdue. It’s time for us as elected representatives to hold ourselves to a higher criterion, to define two examples, and to live a situated of values that is truly representative and worthy of the Congress, our republic, and our great country .”

Hirono tweeted:” Today, I am calling on my colleague Al Franken to step aside. I’ve fought with this decision because he’s been a good senator and I consider him a friend. But that cannot excuse his behaviour and his mistreatment of women .”

Harris posted:” Sexual harassment and misconduct should not be allowed by anyone and should not occur anywhere. I believe the best thing for Senator Franken to do is step down .”

Earlier on Tuesday, Politico reported on a new accusation against Franken. A former Democratic congressional aide said the former comedian tried to forcibly kiss her after a taping of his radio show in 2006, as he was ramping up his campaign for the US Senate, according to Politico. The aide dodged his advance and alleged that Franken said as she left:” It’s my right as an entertainer .” Franken denied the accusation to Politico.

The calls for Franken to resign come one day after John Conyers, the longest-serving Democrat in Congress, resigned after allegations of sexual harassment. Conyers, who was the top Democrat on the House judiciary committee and spend over a half-century on Capitol Hill, had settled one claim of sexual harassment against him with taxpayer money and had been accused of misconduct by several other former staffers.

Two other members of Congress currently face allegations of sexual harassment: Republican Blake Farenthold of Texas and Democrat Ruben Kihuen of Nevada.

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Chuck Grassley attempts to clarify ‘booze or women’ estate tax comments

Senator who spoke of people expending fund on booze or women or movies says taxation code should not penalise prudence, saving and investment

A Republican senator who said attempts to scale back or eliminate the estate tax distinguished” people that are investing as opposed to those that are just spending every darn penny the government had, whether it’s on booze or women or movies” has attempted to clarify his meaning.

Chuck Grassley of Iowa, a seven-term senator and senior is part of the Senate finance committee, attained the statement late last week in an interview with the Des Moines Register.

His words have attracted attention since the passage of the Senate tax bill early on Saturday morning.

Democrats charge that the Republican tax reform is heavily weighted in favor of rich countries and corporate America and will add as much as$ 2tn to the national debt. Republicans respond that the wide-ranging cuts will stimulate economic growth.

Under current law, when someone succumbs their estate owes taxes on the value of assets transferred to heirs above $5.5 m for individuals and $11 m for couples.

Only the estates of about two out of every 1,000 Americans who die qualify for such tax.

The Senate bill doubles those limits but does not repeal the tax. The House tax bill initially doubles the limits and then repeals the entire tax after 2023.

House and Senate negotiators are working out the differences between the two bills, with the goal of completing legislation to send to Donald Trump before Christmas.

On Monday, Grassley said his comments had been misinterpreted.

” My point regarding the estate tax, which has been taken out of context, is that the government shouldn’t seize the fruits of someone’s lifetime of labor after they succumb ,” he said in a statement.

” The topic is one of basic fairness, and working to create a taxation code that doesn’t penalize frugality, saving and investment .”

Farm-state lawmakers and other Republicans have long was contended that the estate tax is harsh on small businesses and family farms.

Grassley said he wanted to ensure the tax code was as fair for” family farmers who have to break up their operations to pay the[ Internal Revenue Service] in accordance with the death of a loved one as it is for mothers saving for their children’s college education or running families investing and saving for their retirement “.

The Tax Policy Center has estimated that merely 80 small business and small farm estates nationwide will face any estate tax in 2017.

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Opinions clash in Roy Moore’s home town: ‘There’s a lot of rumors in small-town Alabama’

David Smith visits Gadsden to hear locals opinions on the misconduct accusations, and finds advocates, waverers and critics who loathed Moore from the start

” I won’t bite ,” Tiffany Jones, an African American woman, joked to Richard Helms, a white man and Donald Trump advocate, as he hesitantly sat down beside her at a bus stop.” Even though we have different opinions, we can still sit and talk to each other .”

It was Thursday afternoon in Gadsden, the Alabama hometown of US Senate candidate Roy Moore. Jones, 38, a social work student, is vehemently opposed to the maverick Republican and observes the multiple allegations of sexual misconduct against him compelling. Helms, a 62 -year-old pipe fitter, takes the opposite view.

” I believe the women ,” Jones said.” Do I believe anything is going to be done about it? No, because he’s white and prejudiced and they want to keep it the same. That’s how it is in Alabama .”

Helms, however, intends to vote for Moore.” They’re trying to drum up some garbage to discredit him ,” he contended over a cigarette.” There might have been some sort of incident- altogether innocent, human, man and woman- and people get out there and exaggerated and blew it out of all proportion .”

The disagreement is typical of Gadsden, an understated, churchgoing city of 36,000 people on the Coosa river where the grapevine has been buzzing of late. Interviews by the Guardian with 20 residents on Thursday uncovered a wide spectrum of views, from diehards who stand by Moore to Republicans who are wavering because of the scandal to critics who loathed his firebrand populism from the start.

Behind Jones and Helms’s seat was the modest law office of Leroy Cobb, who was wearing a long and thick white beard, a tie-in patterned with the Confederate battle flag and a baseball cap with a picture of Confederate general “Stonewall” Jackson and the words” southern heritage “. Breaking off from a client session, Cobb, 69, insisted that he could not contemplate voting for Doug Jones- bid to become the first Democrat elected to the Senate from Alabama in a quarter-century- over Moore on 12 December.

Tiffany
Tiffany Jones and Richard Helms at a bus stop in Gadsden. Photo: David Smith for the Guardian

” On the one side you’ve got a human who believes in using taxpayer money to murder “childrens and” dedicate sodomites equal rights ,” he said.” On the other you’ve got a man who doesn’t believe in those things. I’m a Christian and my Bible doesn’t teach those .”

Dismissing the allegations against Moore, he added:” Forty years ago? They never told anybody or nobody believed them? What does that tell you about what kind of women they are? If it was my daughter, I would have killed whoever did it. I don’t believe them .”

The candidate is being held up to unfair scrutiny, Cobb insisted, quoting rightwing conspiracy theories.” No reporter ever went and looked at the background of Barack Obama .”

Cobb was not alone in rallying to the defence of 70 -year-old Moore, whose campaign on Thursday hit back at his accusers, declaring” let the battle begin “. Waiting outside the Gadsden Career Center, Christopher Brand, 38, said:” I believe it’s just stuff in the paper and I think it will go away. I don’t know if they’re lying but some people try to seek publicity these days, get their name in the paper. Some do it for money .”

Brand, who voted for Trump in the presidential election, admitted that he heard the rumours about Moore before they became public. But he said:” There’s a lot of gossips in little town in Alabama. I only believe what I know to be fact .”

Others were more willing to theorize. A 67 -year-old man, who gave his name merely as Al for dread of reprisals from his employer, said he believed there would be more accusations to come against Moore.

” I’d be very surprised if there weren’t ,” Al said.” He has a history that goes back a long ways. I know the girl Leigh Corfman[ who told the Washington Post that Moore sexually abused her when she was 14] and about 12 years ago she told me the tale. She is absolutely not lying. I know he molested her when she was very young .”

Quick Guide

Gay prohibits and kudo for Putin: the world according to Roy Moore

Show Hide

Homosexuality should be illegal

In 2005, Moore said:” Homosexual conduct should be illegal .” In an interview televised on C-Span, Moore added:” It is immoral. It is defined by the law as detestable .” During a debate in September 2017, he went out of his route to bemoan the fact that” sodomy[ and] sexual perversion sweep the land “.

September 11 attacks as divine punishment

In a speech in February, Moore appeared to suggest that the terrorist attacks of September 11 were the result of divine retribution against the United States and prophesized in the Book of Isaiah. In commentaries first reported by CNN, Moore quoted Isaiah 30:12 -1 3, saying:” Because you have despised His word and trust in perverseness and oppression, and say thereon … hence this iniquity will be to you as a breach ready to fall, swell out in a high wall, whose transgressing cometh suddenly at an instance .” Moore then noted:” Sounds a little bit like the Pentagon, whose transgres came abruptly at an instance, doesn’t it ?” He added:” If you think that’s coincidence, if you go to verse 25:’ There should be up on every high mountain and upon every mound, rivers and streams of water in the working day of the great carnage when the towers will fall.'”

Praise for Putin

In an interview with the Guardian in August, Moore praised Putin for his views on lesbian rights.” Perhaps Putin is right. Maybe he’s more akin to me than I know .” The commentaries came as Moore suggested the United States could be described as” the focus of evil in the world” because” we promote a lot of bad things “. Moore specifically named lesbian wedding as one of those “bad things”.

‘Reds and yellows ‘

At a rally earlier in September, Moore “was talkin about a”” reds and yellows opposing” while discussing racial division in the United States. Moore justified this on Twitter by quoting lyrics from the anthem Jesus Loves the Little Children. He wrote” Red, yellow, black and white they are precious in His sight. Jesus loves the little children of the world. This is the Gospel .”

Tracking livestock is communism

In 2006, Moore denounced a proposal for a national ID system for animals as” more identifiable with communism than free enterprise “. The proposal received attention after a cow in Alabama had been diagnosed with mad cow illnes. Moore, who was then operating for governor, was skeptical that the outbreak was real. Instead, Moore suggested it was a ruse intended to promote the tracking system.

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Al also backed reports that Moore sought daughters at the Gadsden shopping mall.” He always wore the same tan camel-hair coat. There was a store called Pizitz and he would always hang around the lingerie section; they were the first ones to hurl him out. Then he would hang around outside the Record Bar and hit on young girls there. He was always alone; never with another adult. The mall hurled him out.

” Then he decided he would thump the Bible and these people believed him and he became some sort of cult figure. But he’s a shady character, a really strange guy. There’s no way I would vote for him; I never have. I don’t see him winning, actually. If you look at middle-class, better educated areas, he never gets those elections .”

Chad Gowens, a medical assistant who served in the navy, said:” Growing up in this town, most people know Roy Moore and the type of person he was. At school you heard the narratives. It was a hush-hush because he was assistant DA[ district attorney ].”

Gadsden, Alabama

Gowens, 33, always suspected that a scandal would burst into the open sooner or later.” I figured it would be that they discovered him on Grindr or something. Anyone who’s preaching that hard is normally got skeletons in their cupboard .”

Henry Joseph, 80, a retired building contractor, was sitting at the bar at the Blackstone Pub and Eatery on Broad Street, said he was a Republican but was willing to vote Democrat next month.” I’ve turned ,” he said.” Doug Jones did very well in Birmingham when he was a prosecutor .”

As for Moore, Joseph was adamant.” I think the man’s in love with himself. His ego’s all the more important than Trump’s and he probably misses himself when he goes to sleep at night .” But he added:” I suppose part of the allegations are presumptively right and a lot are fabricated. I can’t go back 30 years and tell you where I was on a devoted day .”

Lonnie Dorcey, 42, a business proprietor in the hospice industry, also dismissed the accusations.” He’s known to all the members of the country and nothing like this has come out until four weeks before the election. There were lots of opportunities over the last 30 years. It’s a small enough town, a small enough community. Everyone knows everything about everyone. You just can’t maintain a secret like for 30 years: there have been bitter election opposes and it would have come out .”

Steve Beene, 68, relaxing on a bench, said:” I believe Roy Moore could shoot somebody here and still get the votes. People are not as informed as they used to be .”

Gadsden is the county seat of Etowah County, which in the past has voted for Democrats John F Kennedy, Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton( twice ), but had now been been staunchly Republican, strongly backing Trump in last year’s presidential election.

It fits the profile of some of Trump’s strongholds. Gadsden’s main employers were textile mills, a steel mill that shut down in about 2000 and a tyre-manufacturing plant that virtually ran the same style. The main boulevard, Broad Street, is lined with bars and restaurants, insurance and investment companies and shops selling antiques, comics and dolls, as well as an art museum and dance conservatory, but little traffic and few household name chains. Within walking distance are several advance cash and payday loan outlets.

Greg Bailey, co-managing editor of the Gadsden Hour, a 150 -year-old daily newspaper with a circulation of 10, 000, said:” It’s gone from a smokestack city to a city looking for an identity. There are people saying,’ When are those smokestack days coming back ?’ They’re not coming back. We’re still in flux .”

Beverly
Beverly Young Nelson at a press conference in Manhattan where she has accused Roy Moore of sexually abusing her when she was 16. Photograph: Spencer Platt/ Getty Images

The paper has been inundated with calls from around the country since the Moore scandal erupted. Bailey believes he still has a chance of winning the Senate race.” It would not surprise me ,” he said.” His core base, the conservative evangelical Christians, is very loyal. This is a group that feels put upon by the socioeconomic changes they see around them and they’re desperate for a champ and they’re not easily going to give their champion up .”

The journalist added:” I have some people in my social media who are absolutely doubling down and some who are vacillating. If he sticks it out, I can’t tell what’s going to happen on December 12.”

But the waverers are much in evidence, even among unrepentant Trump voters. After all, the president himself- who won Alabama by 28 percentage points- has hardly been enthusiastic about Moore’s candidacy, first endorsing his challenger Luther Strange in the Republican primary, then suggesting that Moore should step aside if the allegations prove true, though he stopped short of demanding his immediate withdrawal.

Preparing to order lunch at Cafe 5, Rick Green, 69, said he backed Trump strongly but was undecided on how to vote in the Senate race.” I need more information about some things ,” he said.” These allegations seem to be getting stronger and stronger every day but I want to see proof. You’re supposed to be innocent until proven guilty. I think the election’s going to be awful close .”

A military special operations veteran of 30 years who served in Vietnam and Iraq, Green criticised congressional Republicans for trenching Moore.” You can’t seem these days to get the Republicans to stand together on anything. I’m just entirely disgusted. They can’t get their act together. They’re constantly squabbling when I want a wall construct, I want taxation reform .”

A poll released on Wednesday by the Senate Republicans’ campaign arm demonstrated Jones constructing a once unthinkable 12 -point lead since the accusations became public. Another Trump voter, 29 -year-old Jessica Jones, owned of the Sew Much Grace boutique store, said:” I lean more towards Republican in my voting. We share the same values and notions, but I cannot in good conscience vote for Roy Moore .”

Not everyone is gripped by the tournament, however. Back at the bus stop, Betty Way, 60, who works in an adjacent office for a trucks and trailer company, said:” I don’t even know what the allegations are. I don’t watch TV. I live in the country and there’s better things to do than look at politics.

” If you ask me how the deer’s running or how’s the rabbit’s hopping, I could tell you, but when you get into politics, I don’t have a position .”

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