Yesterday morning, Donald Trump formally endorsed accused child molester Roy Moore in the Alabama Senate race. Following his lead, the Republican National Committee reversed its previous decision to cut all ties with Moore and will instead cut him a check.

  • “At Mr. Trump’s direct urging, and to the surprise of some Republican Party officials, the national committee, which severed ties to Mr. Moore weeks ago, opened a financial spigot that could help Mr. Moore with voter turnout in the contest’s closing days.”
  • “But even as senior Republicans again coalesced around Mr. Moore, there were reminders that the party’s internal divide over its nominee remained. Mitt Romney, the party’s presidential nominee in 2012, warned that Mr. Moore’s presence in Congress would be ‘a stain’ on Republicans and the country.”
  • “It is not clear whether the back-and-forth will do anything to change the contours of the race, which is especially close by the standards of a state where Republicans tend to rout their rivals, but many party officials believe that Mr. Moore has steadied his candidacy and that they should back—or at least avoid further antagonizing—someone who could soon be in the Senate. Mr. McConnell, for instance, refrained Sunday from criticizing Mr. Moore or repeating earlier remarks indicating that the Senate might expel Mr. Moore if he were seated after numerous accusations of misconduct and unwanted overtures.”

MEANWHILE: One of those accusers, miffed by Moore’s assertion that “I don’t know any of these women,” produces evidence that he had—a note in handwriting that matches the yearbook inscription Moore was said to have left for another of his teenage pursuits, who accused him of sexually assaulting her at age sixteen.

  • “Mark Songer, a former FBI forensic examiner now with the firm Robson Forensic, examined an image of the graduation card at The Post’s request and said that it ‘appears to be naturally prepared.’ Songer also compared an image of the yearbook inscription to the image of the graduation card and said that ‘the style of writing, as well as certain letter features, appear to be similar.’”

WHAT IT MEANS: Notice the parallel here between the GOP’s reaction to accusations against Moore and the release of Trump’s Access Hollywood tape last year. Immediately, in both cases, party officials acted disgusted, threatening to pull their support and floating ideas about how to get the perv off the ballot. In both cases, a few weeks passed, and the respective races seemed to stabilize; the accused perv still had a chance and wouldn’t necessarily hit a landslide. In both cases, the party then started to soften its resistance until, finally, the party apparatus comes to endorse a man it had previously reviled to the press. In other words, in both cases, the Republicans were morally outraged until they realized that bragging about sexual assault (Trump) and alleged child predation (Moore) might not lead to a sweeping defeat, and then they acquiesced.


Last night, the new city councils in Raleigh and Durham were sworn in, while Wake County selected its chairperson—Jessica Holmes, the body’s only woman and one of just two African Americans. While the new Raleigh council was sworn in last night, their real work begins today, with a string of three different meetings that will start mid-morning and carry on into the night. (Welcome to the part-time job, newbies!) For now, let’s talk about Durham.
  • “In his first remarks as mayor of Durham, Steve Schewel delivered a vision of the Bull City as a ‘progressive beacon’ that is inclusive and welcoming to all. ‘We the people of Durham envision a prosperous, innovative, green, walkable city that thrives on diversity and difference, that puts racial and economic justice at the top of our civic agenda, that defends the vulnerable among us, that cherishes robust, respectful debate with difficult questions, that believes science is real, that embraces nonviolence, that embodies the belief that all residents get an opportunity to share in our prosperity, that serves as a progressive beacon for the south and the nation,” he said. “It’s our job—not just the city council, not even most of the city council but all of us in this room and all of us in this city—to make that vision real.’”
  • “Before the council meeting, a crowd of about three dozen people rallied outside City Hall to celebrate the election of new, progressive council members, encourage voters to stay engaged, and pledge to hold the council accountable. The rally included members of Durham For All, National Domestic Workers Alliance, Fight for $15, and Durham Association of Educators. Not only can the community see themselves in the new council (four members are African-American and two identify as LGBTQ), they can identify with their politics, said Durham For All organizer Laila Nur. ‘This is amazing. We want to celebrate this victory of getting possibly the most progressive city council body across the South,’ Nur said.”
  • Nur is correct. Schewel, the founder of the INDY, has been an activist since before I was born. And now he’s joined by a council that matches his progressive and activist leanings. Of course, those leanings will be constrained by the dictates of the conservative legislature, but it will be fascinating to watch how they approach issues of equity and affordable housing, all the things they campaigned on, under the close watch of a grump General Assembly just thirty miles away.
MEET JESSICA HOLMES: At their meeting last night, the Wake County Board of Commissioners unanimously voted to make Jessica Holmes their chairwoman, making her the fourth and youngest African-American in that role. (When she was elected in 2014, she was the youngest Wake commissioner in history. Hers is a one-year term. Last year, she made waves by abruptly resigning from the board after she lost a vote to become vice chair, then changed her mind the next day. Now she’s chairwoman.
  • “Holmes, who grew up in Pender County in Eastern North Carolina, is an education law attorney who received her undergraduate degree and her law degree from UNC-Chapel Hill. Lindy Brown, one of three African-American women to precede Holmes as the board chairwoman, was in the front row during the meeting Monday. The others were Elizabeth Cofield, the first African-American to serve as a Wake commissioner, and Linda Coleman, who plans to run for Congress next year in North Carolina’s second congressional district. Brown called the moment ‘historic.’ ‘My colleagues know very well that it’s not often I’m speechless,’ Holmes said. ‘But this is one of those times.’”
  • The degree to which it’s historic aside, to my mind there are few local politicians with more upside than Jessica Holmes. She’s crazy smart, young and vivacious, well-liked by her colleagues, and a model for what the new Democratic Party could look like. She’s been the board’s most aggressive advocate for affordable housing and a key proponent of better school funding. If she wants it, and if she plays her cards right, this won’t be the highest position Holmes reaches during her political career.

This post was excerpted from the INDY’s morning newsletter, Primer. To read this morning’s edition in full, click here. To get all the day’s local and national headlines and insights delivered straight to your inbox, sign up here.