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Vox Sentences: Moore-Strange developments in Alabama

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Roy Moore and Luther Strange face off in a hotly contested Republican primary in Alabama; the latest Republican effort to repeal Obamacare dies (again); women in Saudi Arabia can now drive legally.


Big Luther vs. the Ten Commandments guy

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  • Polls just closed in the Alabama Republican primary for US Senate. Two candidates are facing off: incumbent Sen. Luther Strange and former state Supreme Court Justice Roy Moore, both vying for the seat vacated by Attorney General Jeff Sessions. [Vox / Jeff Stein]
  • The race has become a bit of a referendum on President Trump, after he backed Strange a few months ago. Strange – nicknamed "Big Luther" (he's 6-foot-9) – is both Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s preferred candidate. [NPR / Jessica Taylor]
  • But Moore, who has long been on the fringe of the Republican Party, seems to be more popular among Trump’s base. He’s ahead by double digits in most state polls, and has been endorsed by Trump’s former White House chief strategist and Breitbart executive chairman Steve Bannon. [Politico / Alex Isenstadt]
  • On the issues, there’s not a lot of daylight between Moore and Trump; the president has vowed to campaign for Moore if he wins, and during a recent rally, Bannon framed the campaign less as a war on Trump than as a war on the Republican establishment. [Politico / Alex Isenstadt]
  • Moore is well known in and out of Alabama for his belief that Christianity forms the basis of government. He’s best known for opposing the removal of a Ten Commandments monument from the Alabama State Capitol and refusing to grant same-sex couples marriage licenses after the US Supreme Court marriage equality decision in 2010. [Vox / Jeff Stein]
  • Meanwhile, polls leading up to Tuesday night’s election indicate that Trump’s support for Strange isn’t really helping the incumbent, who is still trailing. [AL.com / Paul Gattis]
  • Whoever wins Tuesday will face off against Democrat Doug Jones in the December election. Jones is a former US attorney, but he will face a tough race, as Alabama is a deeply red state. [NYT / Matthew Bloch and Jasmine Lee]

Graham-Cassidy, we barely knew ye

Drew Angerer/Getty Images
  • Senate Republicans have failed in their third attempt to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, after enough senators said they could not support the latest repeal bill, known as Graham-Cassidy. [Vox / Andrew Prokop]
  • Graham-Cassidy did not even make it to a vote on the Senate floor. The effort faltered after three Republican senators — Kentucky’s Rand Paul, Arizona’s John McCain and Maine’s Susan Collins — said they could not support the bill. [Washington Post / Juliet Eilperin and Sean Sullivan]
  • Each had different reasons. Paul, a fiscal conservative, thought Graham-Cassidy didn’t cut enough government spending. Collins believed it cut too much. And McCain was mad that his colleagues were trying to ram the bill through without the proper number of public hearings. [New Yorker / John Cassidy]
  • A big reason behind this final push from Senate Republicans was a September 30 deadline for budget reconciliation, a mechanism that would have let them pass a repeal bill with 51 votes rather than the 60 they normally need. [Vox / Andrew Prokop]
  • But even though some people are calling the Graham-Cassidy failure the final death knell for repeal and replace, Republicans could technically bring it back by passing a new budget resolution with brand new instructions for reconciliation. [Vox / Andrew Prokop]
  • Right now it’s unlikely they’ll do that with health care. Many Republicans have accepted this as a defeat and say they want to move on to tax reform. What remains to be seen is whether they will work with Democrats to try to shore up the health insurance exchanges, or try to make the current system fail. (Signs point to the latter). [Politico / Seung Min Kim, Jennifer Haberkorn, and Burgess Everett]

Ladies, start your engines

Marwan Naamani/AFP/Getty Images
  • Saudi Arabian women can legally drive for the first time ever, after that country’s monarchy issued a royal decree today. [Vox / Sarah Wildman]
  • The change, which women and human rights groups have been pushing for for years, will officially go into effect next summer. [Guardian / Martin Chulov]
  • It will also benefit the government, for whom the ban has been a PR nightmare for years. And it will be good for Saudi Arabia’s economy; women can already work in the country, but this will allow many to get jobs. [NPR / Deborah Amos]
  • For many women, not being able to drive was an incredible inconvenience that complicated daily life. Manal al-Sharif, the woman who became the face of driving protests, told reporters that as a single mother, she could not get to work or go to the grocery store on her own. It was difficult to find drivers, who basically had to live in her house to drop her kids off at school and pick her up from work. [NPR / Terry Gross]
  • Saudi women who protested the rule or tried to drive in defiance faced arrest and punishment from the strict, ultraconservative government. [Independent / Adam Withnall]
  • It’s a huge accomplishment for women, but women’s rights still have a long way to go in the country. Saudi Arabia still has a strict guardianship system that essentially means women have many of their life decisions controlled by a male figure, such as a father, husband, or brother. [Human Rights Watch]

Miscellaneous

  • Cardi B has unseated Taylor Swift as No. 1 on the Billboard chart, and it’s making people care about the Billboard chart again. [The Ringer / Lindsay Zoladz]
  • Dyson, maker of swanky vacuums, fans, and hair dryers, wants to get in on the electric car market, and wants to release its first model in three years. [BBC / Ian Pollock]
  • Florida’s citrus industry is in serious trouble — hurricanes, coupled with bacteria that prevent oranges from ripening, are threatening one of the state’s biggest exports. [WSJ / Julie Wernau]
  • Another tragic offshoot of the nation’s opioid crisis is a small (but growing) number of children who have accidentally overdosed after coming into contact with deadly drugs. [NYT / Julie Turkewitz]
  • Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke told members of the oil industry that the Endangered Species Act has been “abused” by government bureaucrats and environmental groups. [Associated Press / Matthew Daly]

Verbatim

  • “The step-up in your pulse when a nifty number looks your way isn’t love. That’s sex, mister.” [WWII-era Planned Parenthood pamphlet dishing out some frank advice to Atlas Obscura / Sarah Laskow]
  • “As Koren explains it, when sound waves hit a panel, the uneven surface either absorbs or scatters them. No two panels absorb or scatter sound waves alike, but together they create a balanced reverberation across the entire auditorium.” [Wired / Elizabeth Stinson]
  • “Human bodies are absurd flesh dumpsters (except Donald Trump’s body, which is perfect, a shrine to health and clean living), whereas metal bodies are immaculate and perfect and clean. Wherever a statue is, it is supposed to be, and it is rude to act suspicious of it or try to make it leave.” [Washington Post / Alexandra Petri]
  • “You meet the buyers (usually a couple), learn where they live and what their budget is, and watch as they describe marriage-busting differences of opinion in a way that makes them look like they’re choosing what to watch on Netflix.” [Vulture / Caitlin Flanagan]
  • “The first time we visited her, she kept asking when she could leave the jail. The second, she complained that she still hadn't been paid for the last prank. The third time, she accused us of being part of the prank. The fourth time, we showed her a newspaper proving Kim Jong-nam had died. When she saw it, she started to cry.” [Indonesia’s ambassador in Malaysia Andreano Erwin to GQ / Doug Bock Clark]

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Correction: A earlier version of this article listed Steve Bannon as the founder of Breitbart. He is the website’s executive chairman.