Clinton 232
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Trump 306
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Click for Senate
Dem 48
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GOP 52
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  • Strongly Dem (182)
  • Likely Dem (18)
  • Barely Dem (33)
  • Exactly tied (0)
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270 Electoral votes needed to win This date in 2012 2008
New polls: (None)
Dem pickups vs. 2012: (None)
GOP pickups vs. 2012: FL IA MI OH PA WI

Retaliation Against Russians Coming Soon

In the near future, perhaps as early as today, the Obama administration will announce measures intended to punish Russia for interference in the 2016 presidential election. It is expected that diplomatic and various other sanctions will be involved; there's also every reason to believe that some unannounced, covert measures will also be taken.

Needless to say, the Russians weren't pleased at the news. Maria Zakharova, of the Russian ministry for foreign affairs, warned that, "If Washington really does take new hostile steps, they will be answered ... any action against Russian diplomatic missions in the US will immediately bounce back on US diplomats in Russia." President-elect Donald Trump was none too happy, either. He told reporters that it is time to "move on," and—rather than criticize Russia—blamed everything on computers, saying, "I think that computers have complicated lives very greatly. The whole age of computer has made it where nobody knows exactly what is going on." Some might liken that to blaming cars for drunk drivers, but there it is. (Z)

Trump Looking Hard for a Secretary of Agriculture

One of the few unfilled cabinet slots is secretary of agriculture, so president-elect Donald Trump is working hard interviewing potential candidates for the job. He has multiple criteria he needs to consider, including (1) placating conservative farmers, (2) placating corporations in the agriculture business, (3) keeping his rural base happy, and (4) diversifying his near-monochromatic cabinet a little bit. Potential candidates include former Texas A & M President Elsa Murano, former California lieutenant governor Abel Maldonado, and Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller. Miller would be the obvious choice, since the closest thing to the U.S. secretary of agriculture is the secretary of agriculture in Texas or California. However, a few days before the election, he called Hillary Clinton a c*** on Twitter. Before that he used taxpayer money to fly to Oklahoma for a so-called Jesus Shot, which is claimed to cure pain for life. Oh, and he compared Syrian refugees to rattlesnakes. Hence the continued search. (V)

Trump Says He Will Write His Own Inaugural Address

Earlier this week, it was reported that Donald Trump's lead speechwriter, Jason Miller, would be penning The Donald's inaugural address. On Wednesday, Trump said that is not true, and that he would be writing the speech himself. He also said he would be looking to Ronald Reagan and John F. Kennedy for inspiration. It was left unclear whether it would be the same kind of "inspiration" that Melania Trump took from Michelle Obama.

While Trump will undoubtedly have a hand in crafting the address, it is virtually inconceivable that he will write the whole thing himself, regardless of what he says. To start, formal writing of this sort is not really in his skill set. More importantly, crafting an address like this requires a lot of time, attention, and effort. It's a lengthy and often boring process, and demands the sort of attention span that Trump simply does not have. What he probably doesn't know is that there is an entire field of study, forensic linguistics, dedicated to unlocking these sorts of puzzles. So, if someone else writes Trump's speech for him, it will be easy enough to figure that out. (Z)

Trump Claims Credit for 8,000 More Jobs Saved

Donald Trump ran for the White House with the promise that he would be a "job creator." On Wednesday, he announced his two latest triumphs on that front, taking credit for 3,000 new jobs being created by the newly-formed company OneWeb, and for 5,000 jobs that will either be created or repatriated by telecom giant Sprint.

Of course, the truth is a little more complicated than Trump presents it. At the very least, he's shuffling things around to make his declarations more impactful, since the OneWeb jobs were actually announced by the company 10 days ago. Beyond that, however, it's not at all clear what role—if any—Trump actually had in either development. When quizzed by reporters about Sprint, for example, he said that the 5,000 jobs were "because of me," but could offer no further details as to what that meant. Needless to say, sometimes major corporations hire large numbers of people with no involvement of the government whatsoever, so if Trump wants credit for those jobs, he's going to need to come up with something more specific. Especially given that Sprint began the process of creating the jobs back in October. (Z)

Democrats Are Calling for Nationwide Rallies on Health Care Jan. 15

Democratic leaders are calling for rallies all over the country 5 days before Donald Trump is inaugurated to demonstrate disapproval of Speaker Paul Ryan's (R-WI) plans to end Medicare as we know it. Ryan says Medicare must be "modernized" to save it. However, during his campaign, Trump said that he wouldn't touch it. By having millions of people come out demonstrating that they don't want Medicare changed, the Democrats are hoping to strengthen Trump's resolve to take on Ryan and not change Medicare very much, or at all. (V)

Virginia May Afford Early Assessment of Trump Presidency

Virginia is one of the two states that will elect new governors in 2017 (New Jersey is the other), and it is particularly well situated to be a bellwether state for the Trump presidency. It is, first of all, purple. It's also Southern, but the only former Confederate state to go for Hillary Clinton. It's also home to a large number of immigrants (who could be affected by Trump's immigration policies), elderly people (who could be affected by changes to health care), defense contractors (who could be affected by expanded defense spending), and government employees (who could be affected in all sorts of ways).

If the Democrat (likely the current lieutenant governor, Ralph Northam) wins, it would be a Trump repudiation of sorts. However, the Virginia governor's mansion usually goes for whichever party is not in the White House, so we can't read too much into that. Of greater interest is what happens on the other side of the contest, where the three major candidates appear to be a Trump-loathing establishment Republican in former RNC chair Ed Gillespie, a Trump-tolerant Republican in State Senator Frank Wagner, and a Trump-clone outsider Republican in New York businessman Corey Stewart. Whoever emerges from among the three should give some sense of which way the Trump winds are blowing early in his term. (Z)

Trump-Obama Relationship Deteriorates

The once collegial relationship between the outgoing and incoming presidents is going south. Both are on vacation, but both are tweeting their hearts out. The actual mechanics of transferring power are said to be working well, however. Trump was miffed by Obama's remark that he would have beaten Trump had the Constitution allowed him to run again. Trump vigorously denied that he would have lost to the President. Trump also said that derogatory comments from Obama were hindering the transition. Obama warned about tribalism and isolationism—words that he has used against Trump in the past. Yesterday, Trump tweeted: "Doing my best to disregard the many inflammatory President O statements and roadblocks." Now it is Obama's turn. (V)

The Worst Predictions of 2016

In such a topsy-turvy year, it was inevitable that a large number of predictions from impeachable (in the other sense) sources would be on record getting it completely wrong. Politico has collected a few of them:

  • "Hillary Clinton will be the next President of the United States." (Frank Luntz, Nov. 8, 2016)
  • "I'm so certain Trump won't win the nomination that I'll eat my words if he does." (Dana Milbank, Oct. 2, 2015)
  • "There will be an independent candidate—an impressive one, with a strong team and real chance." (Bill Kristol, May 29 2016)
  • "Nobody's going to have the delegates they need going into the convention." (John Kasich, March 20, 2016)
  • "College-educated white women are Hillary Clinton's firewall." (Washington Post, Nov. 3, 2016)
  • "Carson and Trump ... [could make] 2016 a Democratic wave year." (Kyle Kondik, Nov. 3, 2015)
  • "Hillary Clinton has a greater than 99% chance of winning the Michigan primary." (FiveThirtyEight, March 7, 2016)
  • "I'm confident that he [Merrick Garland] is going to get approved." (Harry Reid, March 17, 2016)

Better luck next year. (V)

Whither the White Supremacists?

In 2016, white supremacists had their best year since the 1960s. They were energized by what Donald Trump had to say, rallied behind him (literally and figuratively), and perhaps even got one of their own into the White House, in the form of alt-right publisher Steve Bannon. Their problem, however, is that they are still far out of the American mainstream, shunned by virtually all Democrats and a large number of Republicans. Trump is already trying to distance himself from some of the rhetoric that got them so excited, particularly his promise to deport all undocumented immigrants. So, how will the white supremacists respond?

The British newspaper The Guardian was interested in the answer to this question, and so interviewed a number of white supremacist leaders to get their opinions. Some, such as Peter Brimelow, publisher of the anti-Mexican magazine Vdare, predicted that violence was in the offing. "I think the right of the right is absolutely prepared to revolt. It's what they do," he said. Others, such as Jared Taylor, publisher of the "white realist" magazine American Renaissance, said that the white nationalist community has to be realistic about how much they can achieve, and how quickly they can achieve it. "Donald Trump was never a racial dissident of the sort that I am," declared Taylor. "Racial nationalism has not triumphed in America. It will some day. But to think it has done so (already) is delusive." Frankly, both sides seem delusive. (Z)

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---The Votemaster and Zenger
Dec28 Trump Rewards Donors Big Time
Dec28 Trump's Inexperience Is Going to Cause Him Trouble Settling Disputes
Dec28 There Will Also Be Battles in Several States
Dec28 Graham: 99% of Senators Believe Russians Interfered
Dec28 More States Consider Circumventing Electoral College
Dec28 Trump Fires Back on Foundation
Dec28 The Four Most Undersold Stories of the Year
Dec28 Kim Jong-un Sensing Opportunity
Dec27 Trump To Inherit over 100 Judicial Vacancies
Dec27 Stephen Miller to Pen Trump Inaugural
Dec27 Obama: I Could Have Won a Third Term
Dec27 Four Cabinet Nominations that Could Fail
Dec27 Falwell: Tillerson's Social Views Are Not Relevant
Dec27 Israel Remains Front and Center
Dec27 Tom Arnold Also Remains Front and Center
Dec26 Five Races to Watch in 2017
Dec26 Big Questions for 2017
Dec26 Priebus Compares Trump to Jesus
Dec26 Netanyahu Not Happy; Letting Everyone Know
Dec26 Trump, Obama Tweet Christmas Messages
Dec26 Clinton May Have Attacked Trump the Wrong Way
Dec26 Republicans May Hit the Undo Button on Tech Policy
Dec26 Reid Slams DNC
Dec26 Foreign Visitors Will Be Asked for their Social Media Accounts
Dec25 Trump Needs to Name Five Key Ambassadors
Dec25 Four Middle Eastern Headaches Trump Will Inherit
Dec25 Trump to Shut Down Family Foundation
Dec25 Trump Will Enter Office with Dismal Favorability Ratings
Dec25 Miller Opts Out of Administration Post
Dec25 Why Trump Prefers Merry Christmas
Dec24 Trump Is Writing His Own Rules
Dec24 Putin to Democrats: You Lost, Get over It
Dec24 Putin Pens Christmas Note to Trump
Dec24 UN Votes to Condemns Israel; U.S. Abstains
Dec24 Trump Wants the Biggest Inauguration Crowd Ever
Dec24 Why Do Working-Class Whites Vote against Their Own Economic Interest?
Dec24 Icahn Joins Team Trump, Makes Half a Billion Dollars
Dec24 Trump Ally Wants Obama Dead of Mad Cow Disease in 2017
Dec24 Trump Supporters May Get Coal in Their Stockings
Dec23 Trump Names Communications Team
Dec23 Trump Says He Is Still Draining the Swamp
Dec23 Trump Weighs In on U.N. Vote
Dec23 Trump Wants More Nukes
Dec23 Obama Orders Registry System Dismantled
Dec23 Heitkamp Likely to Remain in Senate
Dec23 Governors' Races Are Key to the Democrats' Future
Dec23 Mustache Cost Bolton the Secretary of State Job
Dec23 Carter Only Former President to RSVP for Trump Inauguration
Dec23 Ivanka Trump Flies Cattle Class on Low-Cost Airline
Dec22 More Evidence that Trump Won in the Final Week