The Note: Alabama Senate race, a journey into the politically bizarre

The Alabama Senate race has been a journey into political bizarro world.

ByABC News
December 11, 2017, 6:16 AM

— -- The TAKE with Rick Klein

The Alabama Senate race has been a journey into political bizarro world, where some voters feel a man facing multiple allegations of sexual misconduct with women when they were in their teens is still better than a Democrat, the GOP candidate reportedly said slavery might have been around during better times, and the president himself wants to upend the political class.

The tour guide for this trip is President Donald Trump, who has put himself in the center of the action going into Tuesday's election.

"Roy Moore is the guy we need to pass our 'Make America Great Again' agenda," the president said in a robocall for Moore released over the weekend.

This Senate race with a deeply flawed GOP nominee is now a referendum on both Trump and Trumpism. That remains the case even if a win for Republicans might be worse than a loss.

The president's calculation is that winning begets winning, that it's worth the grief for an extra vote, and that he would probably get blamed for a loss anyway.

He might be right about all of that and might cap it all with a victory.

But for a party still grappling with its identity, the GOP may yet be uncomfortable with where the president is taking it.

The RUNDOWN with MaryAlice Parks

In a lot of ways, the Senate race has become a gut check for Alabama voters, a question of just how much they can stomach.

Republicans loyal to Moore have decided they can handle quite a lot.

Rev. Tom Brown, the pastor at Roy Moore's local church, defended the judge to the press Sunday, backing him even if all the allegations against him about sexual misconduct with teenage girls were true.

(But he does not think they are).

The pastor's reason? A Democrat who supports lawful abortion is just too much to swallow.

Republican Senator Richard Shelby found a compromise that could settle his stomach: a Republican write-in.

Talking to Democrats, it is clear they drew a line in the sand too.

Yes, they say, it would be great to flip a seat and get one more vote on Capitol Hill.

Yes, a lot of them can rally off something that they like in the Democratic candidate Doug Jones' background.

But it is more than that. There is a drive, desperation in their voices too. They are fed up.

They cannot stand the embarrassment of their state sending Moore to the Senate. They cannot handle what they fear others around the country will think of them.

One professor in Alabama told ABC News she planned to spend the next two days worrying. With tears in her eyes, she said she needed the country to see that Alabamans were "kind" and "good."

THE TIP with Alexander Mallin

Following President Donald Trump's decision last week to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas announced that he will not meet with Vice President Mike Pence during his upcoming visit to the region.

A spokesperson for Pence responded to the snub with a statement.

"It's unfortunate that the Palestinian Authority is walking away again from an opportunity to discuss the future of the region, but the Administration remains undeterred in its efforts to help achieve peace between Israelis and Palestinians and our peace team remains hard at work putting together a plan."

Pence will be visiting the Middle East later this month. He is expected to travel to Israel and Egypt.


  • President Donald Trump will participate in a signing ceremony for Space Policy Directive 1 at 3 p.m. ET.
  • Former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort and deputy campaign manager Rick Gates, who were both indicted on 12 counts in special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, will appear in court today.
  • The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit will hear oral arguments in the constitutional climate lawsuit filed by youths against President Donald Trump at 1 p.m. ET.
  • The Missile Defense Advocacy Alliance holds a congressional roundtable on defending against North Korea at 9:30 a.m. ET.
  • A group of women who have publicly accused President Donald Trump of sexual misconduct hold a press conference to call for Congress to investigate the allegations at 10:30 a.m. ET.
  • Your Voice, Your Vote: ABC News will have live coverage of the Alabama special election on Tuesday night at 8:30 p.m. ET on, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, and the ABC News app.

    "Women who accuse anyone should be heard. They should be heard and they should be dealt with. And I think we heard from them prior to the election." — Nikki Haley, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, when asked about the women who have accused President Donald Trump of sexual misconduct.


  • Roy Moore campaign releases 'Trump robocall'. Roy Moore's campaign is set to run a robocall featuring the voice of President Donald Trump, in what would be Trump's most direct involvement with Moore's campaign efforts to date. (Tom Llamas and Alexander Mallin)
  • Roy Moore aide 'highly' doubts there will be Senate ethics probe if he wins. With the highly-anticipated Alabama special election just days away, a top aide for embattled GOP candidate Roy Moore is confident he'll win and that he won't face a Senate ethics investigation when he gets to Washington. (Nicki Zink)
  • Judge Roy Moore avoids spotlight ahead of Alabama Senate vote. Two days before Alabama's special election, Republican Senate candidate Judge Roy Moore kept a low profile, not holding campaign events or making any public appearances, other than an interview with "The Voice of Alabama Politics." (Kendall Karson)
  • Manafort and Gates discussed 'press strategy' after he left Trump's campaign, emails reveal. Newly unsealed court documents reveal August 2016 emails between former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort and his former deputy Rick Gates in the days after Manafort left the Trump campaign, discussing a "press strategy" to defend himself after his departure. (Jack Date)
  • Trump has 'no appreciation for diplomacy': Senate Democrat. The top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee said he agreed with President Donald Trump's decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital but that the announcement should have been handled with greater diplomacy and as a way to advance the Middle East peace process. (Ellie Smith)
  • Trump administration has yet to fill many US ambassador posts in Europe. There are 20 ambassadorship postings — both political appointee and career — still open across Europe. Tillerson's tensions with the White House have only exacerbated the slow pace of the White House's nominating and the Senate's confirming ambassadors, according to a State Department official and a White House Official. (Tara Palmeri)
  • Puerto Rico's Hurricane Maria death toll climbs to 64, as FEMA assistance tops $1 billion. Puerto Rico's official death toll from Hurricane Maria -- which slammed into the U.S. territory September 20 as a Category 4 storm -- has risen to 64, the island's Department of Public Safety (DPS) announced Saturday. (Joshua Hoyos and David Caplan)
  • In a USA Today op-ed, a former spokesperson for Reps. Brian Bilbray, R-Calif., Darrell Issa, R-Calif., Sen. Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, and Breitbart is leaving the GOP over the party's support for Roy Moore.
  • In a newly released document, CNN reports that the FBI told an aide of Attorney General Jeff Sessions that Sessions wasn't required to disclose foreign contacts while performing government duties during his tenure as a U.S. senator.
  • The Note is a daily ABC News feature that highlights the key political moments of the day ahead. Please check back tomorrow for the latest.

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