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Morning Briefing: As More Congressman Come Under Fire for Sexual Misconduct, Some Democrats Are Trying to Undo Franken's Resignation

By Dustin Rowles | Politics | December 18, 2017 |

By Dustin Rowles | Politics | December 18, 2017 |

+ Disappointingly, new Alabama Senator Doug Jones has said that he’s not going to call upon Donald Trump to resign based on the number of sexual misconduct allegations against him. He wants to move on. Meanwhile, the other centrist Democrat, West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin is actually trying to take back his call upon Al Franken to resign, saying that it was hypocritical of him to ask. Senator Patrick Leahy has also suggested the same.


Odd. The American public doesn’t seem all that interested in reversing Franken’s resignation (which is almost certainly not going to happen, by the way). Meanwhile, Conyers is out, and a Democrat and a Republican in Congress have decided not to run for reelection in 2018 based on allegations of sexual misconduct. I’m not saying there’s necessarily anything fishy about Manchin and Leahy’s desire to withdraw their calls for Franken’s resignation, but I don’t see a lot of female Democratic Senators trying to undo those calls.

Meanwhile, there has been a rumor going around for weeks that some news organization — any day now — is going to unmask sexual misconduct allegations against up to 20 Democrats and Republicans in Congress. I wonder if Manchin and Leahy are worried that by forcing Franken out for sexual misconduct that is short of rape or whipping one’s dick out that they’ve established a baseline for calling upon their own members to resign. I genuinely do think that there’s a reckoning coming, and if that reckoning hits Democrats in Red States (or states with Republican governors), it could be bad politically. For instance, if Joe Manchin were to go down for misconduct (and I’m not in any way suggesting he would), a Republican Governor would replace him and upset the balance of the Senate all over again.

+ Speaking of sexual harassment allegations, Federal Appellate Court Judge Kozinski is set to retire in the wake of a series of allegations against him.

I remember reading quite a few Kozinski opinions in law school. To the best of my recollection, he was kind of like Scalia: An entertaining and brilliant legal mind, but also kind of crazy (and a loony conservative).

+ On the GOP tax plan front: It’s gonna pass. John McCain will not be returning to the Senate to vote on it because he’s too ill to return to Washington D.C. (and I’m seriously worried about the guy), but the Republicans still have 51 votes. If Doug Jones had been sworn in, they’d still have 50 votes, plus the tiebreaker in Pence. The potential holdouts, Susan Collins, Bob Corker, and Marco Rubio have all flipped.

What’s going on with Corker, however, is kind of interesting. He was steadfast in his refusal to vote for the bill based on deficit concerns. Those deficit concerns were not addressed, but Corker nevertheless changed his vote just two hours after a new provision giving deductions to real estate LLCs was added, a provision very beneficial to Corker.

Corker is saying that he didn’t know the provision was in there because he’d never read the bill (which is not a good look), while Senator John Cornyn said that the provision was added last minute in order to gain certain votes (wink wink). The hashtag #Corkerkickback has begun to trend on Twitter. I don’t think it will make a difference, but even if it does, the GOP still has 50 votes without McCain or Corker, unless a wave of personal pleas actually turns Susan Collins against the bill (not likely).

Anyway, the GOP tax plan is going to happen. It’s going to transfer a lot of wealth to the already rich, it’s ironically going to send a lot of jobs overseas, and it’s going to kill the GOP politically. On the bright side, when the Democrats take back Congress and the White House, they’ll have an easy source of income to fund their projects. All they have to do is re-raise the corporate tax rate.

+ Hi! This is inaccurate:

Doug Jones is a member of Congress, and a Democrat won a special election in California. And no: Republicans will not do well in 2018. Democrats hold their biggest lead in congressional preference since 2008 — it’s 50 to 39, and even men and seniors prefer Democrats right now.

In this most recent poll, Democrats hold a whopping 48-point lead in congressional preference among voters ages 18-34 (69 percent to 21 percent), a 20-point lead among female voters (54 percent to 34 percent) and a 12-point lead among independent voters (43 percent to 31 percent).

By contrast, Republicans have a 2-point edge among white voters (46 percent to 44 percent) and a 12-point advantage with whites without a college degree (50 percent to 38 percent).

Notably, Democrats lead among male voters by 2 points, 46 percent to 44 percent, and among seniors by 4 points, 46 percent to 42 percent.

Headlines like these are heartening:

+ A Twitter purge of “alt-right” accounts will begin today, apparently.

It’s about goddamn time. Please, for the love of God, take down Cernovich.

Dustin is the founder and co-owner of Pajiba. You may email him here, follow him on Twitter, or listen to his weekly TV podcast, Podjiba.

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