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270 Electoral votes needed to win This date in 2012 2008
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GOP pickups vs. 2012: FL IA MI OH PA WI

Trump's Carrier Deal Is Wildly Popular

Although free market conservatives have attacked Donald Trump's deal to save almost 1,000 jobs at Carrier (in truth, 730) in Indiana as "crony capitalism," it is very popular with voters, 60% of whom approve of it. Experts have said that in an economy the size of United States', 1,000 jobs more or less means nothing, but Donald Trump's sense of public relations has served him well once again. Since 56% of the voters say that it is acceptable for the president to negotiate deals one at a time with companies, expect more deals like this.

It's becoming clear now how Trump can "fulfill" some of his campaign promises. He could have a local gardener install 100 yards of fencing along the Mexican border and then be photographed next to it, saying "We have started building the wall." He would be cheered for that. Six months later, everyone will have forgotten the details and many people will think the wall is complete. Or he deports a dozen undocumented immigrants who have committed crimes, and he is photographed waving goodbye to the truck taking them away. Again he will be cheered for doing this. It is very likely that by arranging for a handful of photo ops, he can avoid actually doing the things he said he would do, but many people would still believe he did them. He understands that small symbolic actions that everyone understands but which mean almost nothing are more important than complex plans that have a real effect but are hard for ordinary people to grasp. (V)

Trump Takes Credit for $50 Billion Investment

Japanese financier Masa (SoftBank) announced plans on Tuesday to invest $50 Billion in the United States in "startup companies," which will create 50,000 new jobs. Donald Trump promptly took credit for the move, tweeting that, "Masa said he would never do this had we (Trump) not won the election!"

Trump is not being truthful, of course. Companies don't scrape together $50 billion in a few weeks, and in fact the deal was in the works for at least a month before the presidential election. Still, Masa might as well play along with the fiction, since it might curry favor with the President-elect. So, in addition to a lot of photo-ops (see above), expect The Donald to take credit for any good thing that happens in the next four years, whether foreign investments, or the Dow Jones breaking 20,000, or the sun coming up, or the next Star Wars movie being a solid three stars. Of course, he's also going to need someone to blame for failures. Since the Democrats control no parts of the federal government, presumably Barack Obama will be the go-to target for that purpose. So, the soon-to-be-former president better hope the sun does not fail to rise, or there will be hell to pay. (Z)

Trump May Have Sold All His Stocks in June

Donald Trump's transition team said yesterday that Trump sold the more than 100 stocks he owned in June, but provided no proof. The sale was most likely unrelated to conflict-of-interest problems. For over a year, Trump has warned that the stock market is in a bubble, so most likely if he sold the stocks, it was simply because he he expects the market to go down shortly. Trump's stock portfolio was under $10 million, so it was less than 1% of his total net worth.

One of the stocks he sold in June was Boeing. Yesterday, he said the government should cancel its contract with Boeing for a new Air Force One, the cost of which he estimated at $4 billion. Trump tweeted that that is far too expensive. Boeing disputes the price. After Trump's tweet, the plane maker's stock went down, but it later recovered. Some suspect that Trump's attack on Boeing just might have been related to an article the company's CEO penned on Tuesday, which criticized the President-elect's handling of China (aka, Boeing's number one customer). (V)

CEOs Delighted With Trump

During the campaign, there was a narrative that Wall Street strongly preferred Hillary Clinton to Donald Trump, since they like stability over uncertainty. Turns out, there's something they like even more: deregulation. Trump and his GOP colleagues in Washington promise to bring lots of that in the next few years, guided by Wall Street tycoon and Treasury Secretary-to-be Steve Mnuchin. So, the bankers and businesses are dancing in the streets.

Surely, it cannot be a good sign that one of the loudest advocates for deregulation is Wells Fargo, the same firm that just got caught creating millions of fake bank accounts to cash in at the expense of their customers. CEO David Sloan acknowledged the controversy, noting that "things that we need to fix within our culture," but that the American people should trust that company will get a handle on it. Presumably, they have top men working on it. Top. Men. In any event, if we're already forgetting about something that happened just six months ago, it's not much of a surprise that we seem to have completely overlooked the deregulation-fueled housing crisis that took place eight years ago. Of course, it's not just mortgages or bank accounts that businesses will be able to take risks with; their customers' health, the environment, automobiles and other products—could be open season on any or all of the above. (Z)

McConnell Says Repealing ACA Will Be First Item on Senate's Agenda in 2017

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said yesterday that repealing the Affordable Care Act will be the first thing on the agenda when the new Senate meets in January. However, Republicans do not agree on what it should be replaced with, so one idea that some Republicans have is to pass a bill to repeal it, but have the repeal take effect after the 2018 Senate elections, say in March 2019, when the Republicans hope to have close to 60 seats in the Senate.

However, this approach may not work because the House Freedom Caucus wants the repeal to be effective immediately, and it is not clear that Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) can find 218 votes for a repeal in 2019, which is what McConnell wants. Democrats have said they will oppose any and all repeal bills, so the Republicans will have to do the repeal with only Republican votes. (V)

Americans Divided over ACA Repeal

For years, railing against the Affordable Care Act was a winner for the GOP. But now, the Party has control of all branches of the government, and can largely do whatever they want, so the time has come to stop talking and start doing. And therein lies the rub: Getting rid of Obamacare is something that only a minority of Americans favor, and if the repeal takes away people's insurance, or other benefits the insured have come to enjoy, the numbers will get even uglier for the GOP.

CNN's poll reveals that 19% of Americans like the law as it stands, while another 30% want to see it expanded. That's 49% who want either Obamacare or Obamacare-plus. Another 17% want only to scale back the law, which means the total size of the "keep it in some form" contingent is 66%, also known as two-thirds. Only 26%, also known as one-quarter, want to see the ACA scrapped entirely. Mitch McConnell & Co. may be Republicans, but they are politicians first and foremost. And you don't get to keep your job in politics by going against the desires of a supermajority of Americans. Ergo, the delaying tactics that are already happening (see above) are hardly a surprise, and it would similarly not be a surprise if "repeal" evolves into "apply a few band-aids" and maybe change the name so Obama's not getting credit any more. Perhaps they can honor McConnell—"TurtleCare," anyone? (Z)

Pence Promises Donors that the Administration Will Grant Their Wishes

Yesterday vice president-elect Mike Pence gave a speech at Donald Trump's new luxury hotel in D.C. to Republican donors in which he promised that Trump would deliver on his campaign promises in his first 100 days in office. Pence said that Trump has a mandate, as evidenced by his victory in 30 states and more counties than any president since Ronald Reagan. He failed to note that Hillary Clinton beat Trump by more than 2.5 million votes, and Trump's mandate would have turned into defeat if 1% more Democrats had decided to vote in just three states (Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania). If this is a mandate, it has to be the thinnest mandate ever.

Pence said that top priorities are repealing all of President Obama's unconstitutional executive orders and then repealing "ObamaCare" "lock, stock, and barrel." Pence, an experienced politician who is normally careful about saying things, may live to regret his words. Republicans all agree that ObamaCare has to go, but they are divided about the timing. If they repeal it immediately and completely, without any replacement, 20 million patients (sometimes also known as voters), will lose their insurance. If they repeal it with an effective date in 2019, insurance markets will be in chaos for 2 years. In reality, Pence doesn't know how the repeal is going to play out. No one does at this point. (V)

Conway May Run Outside Group to Help Trump Get His Way

Donald Trump's campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway, is considering running a group that is being formed to help Trump get his agenda through Congress. The idea is that when Congress balks at doing Trump's bidding, this group could generate pressure on Congress through social media, email campaigns, and more. Conway said that the organization needs to be run by someone close to the president. She said it would focus on putting pressure on the 10 Democratic senators from states that Trump won. It is also possible that she will be offered and accept a position within the White House. In any event, she is not going away. She and her family are currently looking for a house in the D.C. area. (V)

Trump Is Trying to Mold the Republican Party in His Image

During the campaign, some Republican Party leaders opposed Trump, even right until the very end. Now that Trump won, it is the time for retribution. Trump staffers and Republican politicians who supported him are actively working to take over the party machinery and purge it of people deemed not sufficiently supportive of Trump. A typical example is happening in Michigan, where Trump's state campaign director there, Scott Hagerstrom, is running to unseat the sitting head of the Michigan Republican Party, Ronna Romney McDaniel, who just happens to be Mitt Romney's niece. Battles are shaping up in other states as well, even where the party is not being led by one of Romney's relatives. The goal is clearly to make the entire Republican Party take its marching orders from Trump. (V)

Flynn Leaves Trump Team Red-faced

No, not that one. His son. By now, nearly everyone in America has heard about the man who showed up to a Washington, D.C. pizza parlor with a gun because he read a fake news story claiming the place is a front for a child sex trafficking ring run by Democrats. It turns out that one of the major perpetrators of the hoax story was Michael G. Flynn (aka Flynn, Jr.), son to Michael T. Flynn (aka Flynn, Sr.) Reportedly, senior also repeated the child trafficking story to several different groups, but not nearly with the gusto of junior.

This news has created a black eye for Team Trump, since Flynn, Jr. was involved with the presidential transition, up to and including being put on a list for people who need security clearances. Now, they are acting like they don't even know who Flynn, Jr. is. Vice-President-elect Mike Pence, for example, declared that, "Gen. Flynn's son has no involvement in the transition whatsoever. " Note his careful use of verb tense; the statement says nothing about the past, only the current state of affairs. Pressed on the matter later, Pence explained, "Mike Flynn Jr. is no longer associated with Gen. Flynn's efforts or the transition team."

Surely, there's going to be a lot of this sort of thing in the next four years, given the team that is being put together. After all, as Slate's Ben Mathis-Lilley points out, another prominent member of the team has embraced Sandy Hook and 9/11 truther Alex Jones. This same member took a leading role in promoting Obama birthplace theories, even threatening to use the billions he's made from his New York real estate empire to hire a private investigator to look into the matter. (Z)

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---The Votemaster and Zenger
Dec06 Trump Picks Dr. Ben Carson to Be Secretary of Housing and Urban Development
Dec06 53 Organizations Urge Trump to Dump Flynn
Dec06 Trump's 35% Tariff on Products Made by American Companies Abroad is Dead on Arrival
Dec06 Electors Are Pushing for John Kasich
Dec06 Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner Are Moving to D.C.
Dec06 Trump Meets with Gore
Dec06 Michigan Recount Commences
Dec06 Democrats Try to Cajole Heitkamp and Manchin to Stay in the Senate
Dec06 Susan Collins Has Reservations about Repealing the ACA and Medicare
Dec06 Biden Hints at 2020 Run
Dec06 McCrory Concedes in North Carolina Gubernatorial Race
Dec05 Why Did Trump Win, Part VI
Dec05 Mook: Deplorables Was a Mistake
Dec05 Trump Trashes SNL, Again
Dec05 Trump Trashes China, Again
Dec05 Dakota Pipeline to be Rerouted...Probably
Dec05 Trump's Tax Headache
Dec05 How about None of the Above for Secretary of State?
Dec05 Renzi Rebuked, Will Resign
Dec04 China Lodges Formal Complaint
Dec04 David Petraeus to Audition for Secretary of State Today
Dec04 Sarah Palin Attacks Trump
Dec04 Job Destruction is Part of America's Secret Sauce
Dec04 Trump Inherits a B or B+ Economy
Dec04 No Recount in Pennsylvania...Maybe
Dec04 NeverTrumpers Throw in the Towel
Dec04 Could Italy Be Next?
Dec03 Ambassador Trump Steps in It Again
Dec03 Trump Allies Try to Stop Recounts
Dec03 Dean out of Race for DNC Chair
Dec03 Why Did Trump Win, Part I? It Was the Millennials
Dec03 Why Did Trump Win, Part II? He Didn't Get Much Attention in the Final Week
Dec03 Why Did Trump Win, Part III? Democrats Stayed Home
Dec03 Why Did Trump Win, Part IV? Democrats Have Lost Rural America
Dec03 Why Did Trump Win, Part V? Voter Suppression
Dec03 Other Indiana Companies Are Also Planning to Ship Jobs to Mexico
Dec03 Today in Schadenfreude: Russian Central Bank Hacked
Dec02 Trump Has Reckless and Bizarre Conversation with Pakistan's Sharif
Dec02 Mattis Tapped for Department of Defense
Dec02 Sanders Slams Carrier Deal
Dec02 Bad Blood Between Trump and Clinton Campaigns
Dec02 Heitkamp Meeting With Trump
Dec02 Trump Launches Thank You Tour
Dec01 The Swamp is Draining Right into the White House
Dec01 Details About Carrier Deal Begin to Materialize
Dec01 Pelosi Survives Challenge
Dec01 GOP Senators: Not so Fast on Medicare
Dec01 Petraeus Would Need Probation Officer's Permission to Become Secretary of State
Dec01 Graham to Trump: Prove Voter Fraud or Shut Up
Dec01 What's Next for Conway?