What It Comes Down To Is This: Are Enough Alabamans Disgusted Enough With Moore To Vote For His Opponent Or Not Show Up At All?
We’ll always remember Paul Manafort’s sage axiom: “He [or she] who is in the spotlight on election day will lose.” Moore’s doing his best to stay out of the spotlight. More than his best. He didn’t campaign at all this weekend. In fact, according to Politico, he hasn’t appeared at a public event since last Tuesday. He didn’t even show up for Sunday services at his church. According to Vice News, he may not have even been in Alabama at all, instead going to Philadelphia to catch the Army-Navy game. (Moore is a West Point grad).
Instead, a trick play: Trump appearing in Moore’s place, trying to convince people voting for Moore is like voting for Trump all over again. The President didn’t quite make it all the way to Alabama, stopping a couple of dozen miles shy in Pensacola, Florida (on his way to Mar-a-Lago for the weekend). According to the New York Times, he didn’t mention Moore until 45 minutes into his rally there, but then he hit all the typical talking points hard (calling Moore’s opponent a “Pelosi puppet”, etc.)
A lot of people thought the President’s choice to stay just outside the edge of Moore’s home state was silly. We didn’t. Seemed pretty obvious to us: had Trump set one foot in Alabama, he would’ve had to pull the accused molester of underage and teenage girls up on stage with him for a joint photo op, something Trump clearly does not want. Which also means even though he’s thrown his support behind Moore, he’s not fully convinced he’s going to win. Staying safely in the Florida panhandle, Trump made sure there would be no photo evidence to tie him to Moore in the future.
Later in the weekend, a damning statement from Alabama’s Senior Senator, Richard Shelby, saying Alabama “deserves better” than Roy Moore. Shelby revealed he’s already voted by absentee ballot and “I couldn’t vote for Roy Moore. I didn’t vote for Roy Moore”. Shelby said the accusations about Moore improperly touching a 14-year old girl was the tipping point for him, so he wrote in the name of another Republican. Alabama’s Governor, Kay Ivey, and two Representatives say they are voting Moore.
As we reported last week, 538.com says Moore “is performing around 25 points worse than Republicans ordinarily do in Alabama“, yet if that holds, he’ll still win.
Democrat Doug Jones meanwhile, was all over the place, trying to ensure his backers do get out and vote, barnstorming across the state this weekend, at times with New Jersey Senator Cory Booker.
Several political analysts we saw this weekend (plus Michael Che on SNL) suggest the race isn’t as tight as polls indicate, with Moore actually enjoying a bigger lead. Meaning polls may be skewed against Moore the way they were skewed against Trump, because people may not be willing to publicly admit they’re going to vote for Moore even if they are. We’re not so sure about that. The more difficult public admission here may be that you’re planning to vote for a Democrat. We’ll see…
Finally, we wanted to share this extremely thoughtful piece from former New York Times Executive Editor Howell Raines, himself an Alabama native.
The election is tomorrow.
Meanwhile, Trump Accusers Turn Up The Heat
Both on Megyn Kelly’s NBC morning show, at 9 A.M. EST, which will host three woman who accuse the President of sexual misconduct. And a little later, at an event which has such an odd setup we’re slightly hesitant to tell you about, because we’re not sure what to make of it: at 10:30 a live stream of an event touted as featuring several Trump accusers who appear in a film by the production company hosting the stream.
French President Macron Looks Like He’s Willing To Pick Up Leadership Role As Mideast Peace Broker, Now That Key Players May Not Talk To U.S., Maybe For A While
He met this weekend with Israel’s President Benjamin Netanyahu, who always talks tough, but maybe a little tougher now that Trump announced last week he intends to move the U.S. Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem. Netanyahu saying Palestinians must “come to grips with reality“.
Macron countered with a suggestion Netanyahu consider freezing the construction of Israeli settlements in the West Bank for a while as a sign Israel is committed to the peace process.
As the two spoke, tear gas was used against protesters outside the U.S. Embassy in Lebanon, and a Palestinian man stabbed an Israeli security guard at a Jerusalem bus station.
Macron also recently helped resolve an ugly dispute we told you about between the Saudi royal family and the President of Lebanon. Trump didn’t intervene directly (as far as we know), satisfied just to Tweet the Saudi King and his son “know exactly what they are doing“.
One Random Comey Tweet From This Weekend…
A Brief History Of Trump’s Tweets
An imaginative piece in the New York Times this weekend attempted to construct a typical “day in the life” of Trump. It got a lot of attention; it also got quite a bit of blowback for being too “soft” on the President. Is it? We’re linking to it here: you can judge for yourself.
But that’s not the reason we’re bringing it up. In the story, the Times refers to Twitter as Trump’s “Excalibur”, an analogy which reminded us of something we’ve been wanting to take a look at. Because while a sword is known primarily for cutting down opponents, it can also be used to bestow an accolade.
And while Trump does seem to employ Twitter mostly to bury people, not to praise them, we’ve noticed Trump’s Tweets serve both purposes.
This weekend was a perfect example: while Trump slashed away at the “Fake News Media” (CNN and the Washington Post in particular), he also praised Senators working on the very “special” tax bill, the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum, and the players in the Army-Navy game–twice! (Unusually, “Hillary” was spared a single mention).
So we were curious how Trump brandishes his weapon: and in what proportion. But we couldn’t find any analyses of how many of Trump’s Tweets reflect his appetite for full-on personal attacks. So we decided to take a quick look ourselves.
Reviewing the past 2 months of the President’s Twitter feed, we found 179 Tweets that were out-and-out attacks on people, groups, or industries, compared to 97 Tweets of praise. That’s a ratio of almost 2-to-1.
And remember, during the time we surveyed, Trump spent 2 weeks in Asia, so a lot of the positive Tweets came in the form of “thank yous” to the various world leaders he met. (Meaning there were probably many more than usual).
We ignored the many other Tweets that were purely informational, like: “I will be interviewed tonight on @FoxNews by @SeanHannity at 9pmE. Enjoy!” But we gave the President the benefit of the doubt on backhanded compliments, or Tweets in praise of one thing that were actually a criticism of something else, classifying them else as “praise” not “attack”. For instance:
The subjects of Trump’s “attack Tweets” ranged from British Prime Minister Theresa May (just 1), to Hillary Clinton (dozens). Hillary, and “Fake News” media were far and away the most consistent subjects of his ire.
There were surprisingly few about Kim Jong-un, but those few were so flashy they got a disproportionate amount of attention. In fact, Trump actually spent much more Twitter time slamming Tennessee Senator Bob Corker than the North Korean leader. And Corker’s a member of Trump’s own party!
1 out of every 5 of Trump’s positive Tweets mentioned Fox News.
In about 1 out of every 4 of the positive Tweets, the person Trump is praising is Trump, or he’s praising others for praising him.
But at the end of the day, or really at the beginning, since most of Trump’s serial Tweeting occurs in the early morning and on weekends, you can always count on Trump to revert to something like this:
So it’s not just the case that when Trump wields his “Excalibur”, the nasty, cutting Tweets attacking his “enemies” are the ones that are most memorable, they are also the most numerous by far.