Doug Jones’ victory, Mexico’s obesity, and eight other stories you might have missed

It was a lousy night for Republicans and a resounding defeat for Trump.
It was a lousy night for Republicans and a resounding defeat for Trump.
Image: Reuters/ Marvin Gentry
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1. Doug Jones beats Darth Mall

Doug Jones narrowly beat out Roy Moore in what had to be the most closely watched Alabama senate race ever (the Iron Bowl got low ratings compared to this match-up). As you’d expect, we’re getting a whole lot of punditry and analysis about what this victory means going forward for Trumpism and the politics of hate. Nate Silver says, Republicans shouldn’t assume Roy Moore was an outlier. But before anyone gets too excited, I think it’s worth keeping this particularly unusual race in perspective. Roy Moore; an ill-informed, racist, misogynist, anti-gay, child molesting criminal who was shunned by many in his own party lost an election—and that was still considered an upset.

+ Here are five things we learned from Doug Jones’ victory in Alabama, five takeaways from Alabama’s startling special election, 7 lessons from the Democrats’ triumph in Alabama, and six takeaways from Doug Jones’s stunning win. That’s 23 learnings from a race that mostly taught us that grown men dating children is still frowned upon in some circles.

+ What has Roy Moore learned? Not much. He’s still refusing to concede the race. “What we’ve got to do is wait on God and let this process play out.” (As it turns out, God already chimed in…)

+ In terms of the demographics behind the voting pattern, Buzzfeed found a Twitter user who summed it up pretty well: “63 years since Rosa Parks got arrested in Montgomery and black women are still shutting down racist assholes in Alabama.” (Two-thirds of white women voted for Roy Moore.)

+ WaPo called it a lousy night for Republicans and a resounding defeat for Trump, and Politico says, Trump suffers “big black eye” in Alabama. (We treat politics like sports because that’s how they’re covered…)

+ Finally, I think I might have buried the lede. Omarosa Is Out At The White House. (Now, I don’t even know if I want to watch next season…)

2. Waiting for your ‘ship to come in

“They say, look, there’s always other support going to poorer kids. Well, there isn’t. There actually isn’t. But the ignorance about where the money is actually going and who benefits from it, that ignorance is really an obstacle to reform around what is, in fact, a reverse distribution.” Reveal: In an era of inequity, more college financial aid is going to the rich.

3. Afta Nafta

“For many Mexicans, Nafta promised to make real ‘the fever dreams of joining the modern economy’ … All former rural workers would be in new jobs in the burgeoning manufacturing industries of the post-Nafta world. That just hasn’t happened. The only way that Mexico became a ‘first world’ country was in terms of diet.” Another interesting piece in the NYT’s Planet Fat series: A Nasty, Nafta-Related Surprise: Mexico’s Soaring Obesity.

4. Real impact of fake news

“The nucleus of Stein’s rage was, of course, Barack Obama. ‘We are literally being run by a terrorist organization at the highest level, being the Oval Office,’ Stein told people in the militia he joined during the president’s second term. ‘He is their leader. Their organization is called the Muslim Brotherhood, and of course it filters down through every other department and branch of the federal government.'” NY Mag: The Plot to Bomb Garden City, Kansas.

+ “There is no such thing as Rohingya. It is fake news” … “We are living in a fake-news era” … “Lots of false versions, lots of lies … this is what we call ‘fake news’ today.” The NYT on the real danger behind all the lies and misinformation coming out of the White House: Fake News, Trump’s Obsession, Is Now a Cudgel for Strongmen.

5. Textual healing

“Can algorithms be used to address more urgent social and individual problems, like how to build trust or provide effective care? Can algorithms be used to increase the love and kindness in the world?” I’m psyched to be a supporter of the Crisis Text Line. If you’re starving for a feel-good story related to consumer tech, here it is.

6. Ski boots on the ground

Outside’s David Wolman spends some time with Finnish soldiers on skis along their country’s 833 mile border with Russia. Red Dawn in Lapland: “For this drill, we had to ski down a small ramp and into the water, then get our gear and ourselves out without dying. I know what you’re thinking: polar bear plunges are invigorating! Maybe so. But dunking in nearly freezing water when you’re dehydrated and already cold, clothed in ski gear and thick rubber boots, and without a warm sauna to hop into afterward, is not beneficial. It’s potentially fatal.” (I actually wasn’t thinking, polar bear plunges are invigorating!. I was thinking, never, ever go outside. Ever.)

7. Meanwhile, back on Earth

Back on planet Earth, humanoids continue to look for ways to fend off the greatest threat to their species. The World Bank will stop financing oil and gas exploration and extraction in 2019. “The move, it said, was meant to help countries meet the greenhouse gas-curbing pledges they had made in support of the 2015 Paris Agreement to limit global warming.”

8. Rx post facto

“States are increasingly pressed for ways to carry out the death penalty because of problems obtaining the drugs they long have used, primarily because pharmaceutical companies are refusing to supply their drugs for executions.” So what’s their latest idea for executing prisoners? Some states want to use opioids

9. More apocalypse chow

“America’s Armageddon ration needed to be nutritious, cheap, easy to eat, shelf-stable, and reproducible at mass scale. Taste, visual appeal, quality, packaging, and all the other attributes that normally come with designing a successful, mass-produced consumer good would be discarded in favor of the simplest food the government could design.” Eater on the US government’s Cold War-era nutrition solution for life after a nuclear blast.

10. Bottom of the news

The headline says it all: Human-sized penguins once waddled the Earth.

+ All 218 U2 Songs, Ranked From Worst to Best.

+ Scheduling Note: NextDraft will be off for a couple weeks, from Dec 18th thru the new year.

Quartz now syndicates NextDraft, a daily roundup for the day’s most fascinating news curated by Dave Pell. Read the archive here. Sign up to get the newsletter or download the app here.