• Democrats Brace for 2018
• Kaine Will Not Run for President in 2020
• Trump Stops Ford from Relocating Plant...Or Maybe Not
• Proposal: DNC Chair Candidates Should Debate
• Did Paul Horner Hand the Election to Donald Trump?
• Fake News Outperformed Real News From August to November
• Who's to Blame for Steve Bannon? How about Jerry Seinfeld?
• Newt Gingrich Said He Will Not Serve in the Trump Administration
No, not that Ryan. The other one. "Pelosi" means "hairy" in Italian and things are about to get that way for the Democratic House minority leader. Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH) is launching a campaign to replace House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA). The Ohio representative, who is 43, said that the election shows that it is time for the 76-year-old Pelosi to step aside in favor of younger leaders. Some Democrats say that the party has to be more competitive in the Rust Belt, and having the leader in the Senate be from liberal New York City and the leader in the House be from liberal San Francisco isn't the ticket. They say that a leader from the Midwest would be enormously helpful in projecting an image that Democrats care about working-class people.
Ryan has a tough road before the Nov. 30 vote. Pelosi is a prodigious fundraiser and has helped many, many House members with their campaigns. In addition, if Ryan wins and the two House leaders and two Senate leaders meet with the president, no women will be present, which is not a message the Democrats want to send to their voters. (V)
The Democrats face a daunting map in 2018, with half a dozen vulnerable Democratic senators up in red or purple states: Florida, Indiana, Missouri, Montana, North Dakota, and West Virginia. For this season, the newly-chosen Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) has assembled a 10-person leadership team that spans the political spectrum from Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) to Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV). The idea is that Schumer wants input from all members of his caucus. Democrats (including the two independents) will be defending 25 seats and the Republicans will be defending 8 seats, only two of which are potentially problematic (Nevada and Arizona).
In a strange twist of fate, the endangered Democratic senators from the red states have a luxury they wouldn't otherwise have had if the Democrats had won the Senate: They can vote with the Republicans on many bills, since it won't make any difference, but will prevent their 2018 opponents from citing their votes as examples of how liberal they are. The Democrats' only hope for winning back control of the Senate in 2018 is if Trump messes up very badly in some way and millions of Trump voters are furious with him. A depression or a major military setback would certainly anger Trump supporters, but often there are things that turn up that no one was expecting (e.g., Trump is found guilty of fraud by a court). There is also the possibility of the Republicans overreaching, for example, abolishing Medicare and replacing it with Ryancare (a voucher system). (V)
Something amazing happened yesterday: A politician with a realistic shot at being elected president said he wasn't interested. Period. Full stop. The politician in question is Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA), who as Hillary Clinton's running mate is probably the favorite to get the Democratic nomination in 2020, but he doesn't want it. Kaine said that he will run for reelection to the Senate in 2018 and use his position there to guard against "normalization" of Trump's values, which he said are un-American.
Speculation about the Democratic field for 2020 has already begun. The Boston Globe has compiled this list of names:
- John Bel Edwards. If the Democrats want a working-class hero from a red state, Edwards is an option
- Bill de Blasio. If the Democrats prefer a big-city progressive to turn out their voters, de Blasio is their man
- Cory Booker. Booker is as good at social media as Trump and now we know that a black candidate can win
- Sherrod Brown. How about a progressive from the key Midwestern state of Ohio?
- Julian Castro. Maybe Democrats need a Latino to turnout the Latino vote?
- Andrew Cuomo. All New York governors can envision themselves in the Oval Office
- Russ Feingold. Although he lost his last two elections, Feingold is a liberal firebrand with nothing to lose
- Tulsi Gabbard. She was a big supporter of Bernie Sanders and a combat veteran as well
- Kamala Harris. She might be the next Obama
- Tim Kaine. Oops. He's not running
- Amy Klobuchar. Hillary had a lot of baggage, but what about a woman without any baggage?
- Joe Manchin. He is anathema to the left, but he has proven he can win a state with almost only white voters
- Thomas Perez. The secretary of labor would also help with the Latino vote
- Bernie Sanders. If at first you don't succeed, try, try again
- Tom Steyer. How about a wealthy businessman who is a complete outsider, but left wing?
- Jon Tester. A farmer from Montana is a horse of a different color than a multimillionaire from Chappaqua
- Elizabeth Warren. Probably her chance was 2016 and she didn't want it, so probably not 2020, but who knows?
- Tom Wolf. Democrats absolutely need to win Pennsylvania, so why not run the governor?
Some of these are quite unrealistic, but politics is so unpredictable now that even the most unlikely candidates can't be ruled out. (V)
While he was running for president, Donald Trump and the truth were casual friends, at best. For those hoping he might tone down the Pinocchio act, Thursday was definitely a step in the wrong direction. Trump took to Twitter to crow that, "I worked hard with Bill Ford to keep the Lincoln plant in Kentucky," and that, "I owed it to the great State of Kentucky for their confidence in me!" The Donald also claimed that he had already begun saving American jobs.
Needless to say, this is not a correct accounting of events. Later in the day, Ford issued a statement clarifying what had actually happened. The Lincoln plant was not scheduled for relocation to Mexico; the only planned change was to move the production of one model of Ford (the MKC) south of the border. This would not have slashed any jobs, because the company planned to convert the production line over to Ford Escorts. That change has now been canceled; which just means that Kentucky workers will keep making MKCs instead of making Escorts. So, Trump did not "save" anything. And it looks like the good people at FactCheck.org had best not plan any vacations for the next four years. (Z)
There's no evidence that anyone in a position of power is considering this idea yet, but The Nation's Joan Walsh has an interesting idea: The candidates for Chair of the Democratic National Committee should hold a televised debate.
From the Democratic Party's perspective, the idea makes a lot of sense. The Party, as you may have heard, has had some issues with transparency, and something like this would help a lot in that regard. It would force the candidates to articulate a vision for the Party, and to communicate it widely. It would also expose voters and the media to what the Democrats stand for. Finally, it would give Democrats something to feel hopeful about, when such things are currently in short supply.
Yes, there are also some weaknesses to the plan. We already have more than enough debates, and an event like this would likely only attract the wonkiest of viewers. Still, the upside is great enough that it would not be a surprise to see the Party embrace the idea. (Z)
Paul Horner writes fake news stories. Lots of them. And he posts them to Facebook, where they get reposted over and over, without anyone ever fact checking them. He has written about the Amish lobby, gay wedding vans, and the national anthem being banned. His story about President Obama declaring the election results invalid got 250,000 shares on Facebook. Trump supporters constantly picked up his articles and sent them off to their friends. Horner's URL is abcnews.com.co, and his site is a direct ripoff of ABC News' Website. The Onion couldn't have done it better. The only giveaway that it is a satire site is the contact page, which is not something ABC News would ever do.
Horner said that he was not trying to elect Trump. In fact, he hates Trump. He was just trying to see how far he could get with posting absurd news stories. It turns out Trump supporters would accept anything as legitimate news, as long as it reflected badly on Hillary Clinton. He also claimed to be making $10,000 a month from Google AdSense as Trump supporters would click on obviously fake ads, like a cure for cancer. (V)
Speaking of fake news stories, BuzzFeed has conducted an analysis of the political news stories that were shared on Facebook during the campaign. The results were...sobering. Of the 15 million shares from August 1 to Election Day that they examined, 8,711,000 were of fake news stories, compared to 7,367,000 of actual news stories. The fake news thus handily outperformed the top 20 legitimate news sources (NYT, CNN, etc.) Interestingly, the trend only took hold around the time that Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump were officially nominated; until then the real news had the upper hand by a large margin.
This is a situation that seems unlikely to continue into 2020. Facebook is facing some uncomfortable scrutiny these days. This could ultimately cut into their bottom line, or—more likely—could cause a few members of Congress to start asking some unpleasant questions. The social network reportedly already has the technology to cut down on the false news, and they will likely quietly implement it sometime before we go through all of this again. (Z)
Donald Trump's strategic adviser Steve Bannon has had a checkered career, resulting in a very interesting resume. One of his many stints was as owner of the small investment bank, Bannon & Co., which was hired in 1989 to facilitate the sale of Hollywood production company Castle Rock to Ted Turner. Instead of a cash fee, Bannon acquired a small stake in Castle Rock's portfolio of eight television programs that were in development.
Most of the eight programs never panned out, but one of them hit big: "Seinfeld," which was the top show on television for the better part of a decade, and then was sold into syndication for big bucks. Bannon's cut ended up being five times more than even his most optimistic projections at the time he made the deal—in the tens of millions of dollars. This gave him the leisure time and the capital to become a political dilettante, producing books and documentaries like Clinton Cash. Soon, he was master of his alt-right domain. And then, yada, yada, yada, he became Donald Trump's most trusted adviser. Thus we have the irony that a man who is notably anti-semitic built his fortune courtesy of a Jewish comedian. (Z)
Yesterday, former House speaker Newt Gingrich announced that he will not be in Donald Trump's cabinet or have any other official role in the new administration. He didn't specify whether this was his idea or Trump's. Since leaving Congress, Gingrich has earned almost $100 million from speaking, consulting, and lobbying. His speeches to big pharmaceutical companies sometimes earned him $200,000, the same as what Hillary Clinton got from Goldman Sachs. This is what top politicians, even has-been politicians, command.
Meanwhile, speaking of has-been politicians, not long after the news of Gingrich's exit broke, a new and rather surprising name surfaced: Apparently, Mitt Romney is under consideration for the State Department. This is surprising, of course, because Romney spent nearly the entire election cycle lambasting Trump and/or trying to get someone to run against him. While other presidents-elect have appointed rivals as Secretary of State (Barack Obama, Abraham Lincoln, etc.), the animosity in those cases was not quite so public. On top of that, Romney—like Wednesday's candidate-du-jour Gov. Nikki Haley (R-SC)—has no actual foreign policy or diplomatic experience (unless you count running the Salt Lake Olympics). If resume is no concern, then one would think that an up-and-coming woman of color who did not spend the election bashing Trump would be preferable to an over-the-hill white man who did. Well, maybe not, if you're Steve Bannon. (V & Z)Email a link to a friend or share:
---The Votemaster and Zenger
Nov17 Flynn Is National Security Advisor, Haley and Perry Reportedly Under Consideration
Nov17 Some Members of Team Trump Are Pushing Hard for Muslim Registry
Nov17 Draining the Swamp Isn't Easy
Nov17 Trump and De Blasio Are Fighting Already
Nov17 Sanders Named to Senate Leadership Team
Nov17 Once Again, O'Malley Drops Out Quickly
Nov17 Could Trump End the Culture Wars?
Nov17 Net Neutrality Is Probably Dead
Nov16 New Transition Team Discards Everything Christie Did
Nov16 More Information Leaks about Trump's Cabinet
Nov16 Clinton's Lead in the Popular Vote Has Passed 1 Million
Nov16 Republicans Who Opposed Trump May Be Primaried in 2018
Nov16 Ryan Appears Safe, Pelosi Not So Much
Nov16 Bannon May Have His First Scandal
Nov16 Glenn Beck Slams Bannon, Alt-right
Nov16 Senators Speak Out
Nov16 Hearing on Trump University Case Set for Friday
Nov16 Chelsea Clinton Might Run for Congress
Nov15 Trump Criticized for Having Bannon in the White House
Nov15 Differences between Trump and the Republican Establishment Are Already Clear
Nov15 Takeaways from the First Five Days
Nov15 Trump Expected He Would Drop Out and Endorse Christie
Nov15 Democrats Warming to Comey, Fast
Nov15 Facebook Faces More Scrutiny
Nov15 Ryan Wants to Kill Medicare
Nov15 Head of the SEC Steps Down
Nov15 Fight Brewing for DNC Chairman
Nov15 Do Celebrity Endorsements Help?
Nov14 Trump Names Priebus as Chief of Staff
Nov14 Trump Is Disgusted with Christie
Nov14 Trump the President-Elect Versus Trump the Candidate
Nov14 What Does History Tell us About Trump? (Part II)
Nov14 2016 Was Not the Year of the Split Ticket
Nov14 Class Trumps Gender
Nov14 Is Trump Sui Generis?
Nov14 It's Not Over 'til It's Over
Nov14 Trump's Lawyers Ask for Trial Delay
Nov14 What About the Freedom Caucus?
Nov13 What Clinton Did Wrong
Nov13 Clinton Blames Defeat on Comey
Nov13 Infighting within Trump's Inner Circle is Back
Nov13 Roger Stone Warns Trump Not to Pick Reince Priebus as Chief of Staff
Nov13 Trump Will Lay Off Twitter
Nov13 Trump to Work with Granddaughter of Jean-Marie Le Pen
Nov13 What Does History Tell us About Trump? (Part I)
Nov13 Five Reasons Hillary Clinton Will Not Be Prosecuted
Nov13 Trump Might Be Impeached
Nov12 Another Take on Why Trump Won
Nov12 Trump Won White Women