The TAKE with Rick Klein
A whole lot of hard choices are starting to collide for the Republican Party.
Do Republicans stand with their Senate candidate in Alabama, despite mounting questions about sexual impropriety that muddle party messaging and could cost the GOP a seat?
Do they stand behind their tax bill, despite tensions between donor and voter bases as numbers come into clearer view?
Do they stand alongside Democrats to deliver for DREAMers in what might be the only way to avert a government shutdown before Christmas?
And do they stand beside President Donald Trump himself as he winds down a foreign trip that included presidential name-calling for Kim Jong Un and yet more sympathetic words about Vladimir Putin?
Embedded in each of these questions are months’ worth of skirmishes and reckonings avoided. Nothing has gotten easier for the governing party in the meantime.
Party leaders are going to plead for unity in the coming days.
But unity for unity’s sake is unlikely to last the year – much less into the midterm elections.
The RUNDOWN with MaryAlice Parks
The Democratic Senate candidate in Alabama, Doug Jones, may still be the underdog, but last week’s headlines about his opponent reshuffled the deck.
It will be interesting to see how Democrats respond.
Democrats have said they are building back a 50-state party. Investing in ruby-red Alabama could perhaps prove that.
Democratic National Committee chairman Tom Perez did not say outright he thought Jones could win, instead Perez pointed to recent local victories in Virginia and Oklahoma and told ABC News’ Martha Raddatz the party has shown it can win “everywhere.”
After the news broke, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., penned a fundraising email for Jones. Adam Green, co-founder of Progressive Change Campaign Committee which coordinated the email, told ABC News he thought other groups on the left would soon jump in.
“Two things are leading many groups who were watching and waiting to get into this fight. First, the scandal has quickly led to polls showing this a competitive race, and second, Doug Jones is someone very credible back home while also having a record of fighting for justice that progressives can get behind,” he wrote and added that his team raised tens of thousands of dollars over the weekend.
But could an influx of outside money backfire?
Democrats watched with agony as Republicans in the Georgia 6th Congressional District special election last summer successfully tied their candidate to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and made the race about national politics.
Staying out of the limelight in the last few weeks also could be strategic.
The TIP with Arlette Saenz and Meridith McGraw
Former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro predicts candidates representing a “new generation” will emerge in the upcoming midterm and presidential elections.
“I think that 2018 and 2020 you’re going to see an emergence of more young people, relatively young people that are running for office everywhere, and they’re competing for governorships, senatorships and even the presidency that represent a new generation,” Castro, the former mayor of San Antonio, told a group of reporters recently.
The 43-year-old Castro (and his twin brother Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-Texas) very well may fit into that “new generation.” Julian Castro recently said he “might” run for president in 2020, and he’s shown early signals typically associated with presidential ambitions — forming a PAC (“Opportunity First”) and working on a memoir, which he expects to be released in late 2018.
Asked if his book tour might take him to the early states of Iowa and New Hampshire, Castro grinned and said, “Who knows…”
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW TODAY:
QUOTE OF THE DAY
“So let me go a little step farther, if there’s anyone currently in public office who has behaved that way to any girl or any woman, maybe they should step aside, because in a country of 330 million people, we ought to be able to do better than this.” – White House Counselor Kellyanne Conway to Martha Raddatz on allegations against Roy Moore.
NEED TO READ
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.