• Kris Kobach Is Favored to Head Dept. of Homeland Security
• Trump Has Attended Only Two Intelligence Briefings
• Stein Raises Enough Money for a Recount in Wisconsin
• Trump's Cabinet Likely to Be the Wealthiest Ever
• Trump Supporters Furious About Romney
• Get an Early Start on Your Christmas Shopping
• Can the Democrats Win the White Working Class Without Destroying Themselves?
• North Carolina Gubernatorial Race Gets Increasingly Bizarre
A week ago, we noted that people were beginning to connect the dots, and that there was strong circumstantial evidence that the Russian propaganda machine was behind much of the fake news that circulated during the recent campaign. Now, two different groups of researchers—working independently—have confirmed those suspicions.
The sophisticated effort relied on an army of bots, dozens of fake websites, countless social media accounts, numerous teams of paid human "trolls," and a huge number of "useful idiots"—a Cold War-era term for those who unwittingly assisted Soviet propaganda efforts. Experts suggest that, given what they are up against, Facebook and Google may have a harder time than they think when it comes to eliminating fake news.
There is no way to quantify the impact of Russia's efforts to disrupt the election, and so no way to know if they swung it for Donald Trump. However, between the false news stories, and the Wikileaks dumps, and the hacking of state voter databases, there is a nonzero chance that the President of the United States was effectively chosen by Vladimir Putin. (Z)
Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach is thought to be the leading contender for Secretary of Homeland Security. If he gets the job, he may later regret it. It is going to be the most contentious job in D.C., as he will be responsible for banning Muslims from entering the country and for setting up and running the Muslim registry. He is no stranger to controversy, though. He wrote the Arizona immigration law the Supreme Court struck down in 2012, and advised Mitt Romney on his concept of "self deportation." His critics say he is a mean-spirited person with ties to white nationalist organizations. (V)
Donald Trump has been president-elect for about two weeks, and in that time, he's only been to two intelligence briefings. That's fewer than any other president-elect in the modern era, and even trails Vice-President-elect Mike Pence, who has been attending the briefings on an almost daily basis.
Needless to say, it's a bit early to draw any conclusions, especially since Trump (by all appearances) got a very late start on his transition, and so is quite busy right now. Nonetheless, this news is not going to do anything to dispel three widely-held perceptions about the incoming Trump administration: (1) That Trump knows little about foreign policy, (2) That he doesn't care about foreign policy, and (3) That Pence is going to be running the show, anyhow. (Z)
Green Party candidate Jill Stein has raised the necessary $1.1 million to request a recount in Wisconsin, so a recount there is almost certain to happen now. Sort of. The disputed votes are mostly from electronic voting machines that have no way of doing recounts. After the recount, Stein could go to court to challenge the results and the case could end up in the U.S. Supreme Court, which might split 4-4. In that case, Congress gets to make the call when the electoral votes are counted. Her total amount of funds raised is now more than $4.6 million, so recounts in Michigan and Pennsylvania are probable as well. (V)
Donald Trump campaigned as the champion of the "forgotten man" but his cabinet is unlikely to be full of ordinary people. In fact, people worth less than $25 million need not apply. Some of his likely picks and their net worths are:
- Harold Hamm ($15 billion)
- Betsy DeVos ($5 billion)
- Wilbur Ross ($3 billion)
- Mitt Romney ($250 million)
- Steve Mnuchin (> $46 million)
- Rudy Giuliani (tens of millions)
- Ben Carson ($26 million)
The deputy secretary of commerce is likely to be Todd Ricketts, a billionaire whose family owns the Chicago Cubs. And Trump, who claims to be worth $10 billion, is no pauper either. Is this cabinet going to operate for the benefit of the average household in the U.S., where the median income is $55,000? We'll soon see. (V)
Reportedly, the battle for the State Department is down to two people: Rudy Giuliani and Mitt Romney. Giuliani was a Trump loyalist throughout the campaign, but doesn't seem to have much of a diplomat's temperament these days, and his selection would create a lot of restlessness among members of the GOP establishment. Romney was Trump's loudest critic during the campaign, but he does have a calmer demeanor, and would cause establishment Republicans to breathe a sigh of relief if chosen. Neither man has any diplomatic or foreign policy experience, so that trivial little tiebreaker won't come into play here.
Now a new consideration has come into play: According to former campaign manager Kellyanne Conway, Trump's supporters are outraged that Romney is even under consideration. This makes sense; after all, the "establishment" that he so thoroughly embodies is exactly what many of them were voting against. In any event, Trump has been trying to thread a very delicate needle while putting his administration together: Adding enough firebrands (Steve Bannon, Michael Flynn) to please his base, and adding enough mainstream Republicans (Nikki Haley, Reince Priebus) to keep the establishment happy. It may be, however, that this particular needle is unthreadable, and that all he's going to end up doing is angering both sides. Politics is a rough business, indeed. (Z)
Friend of the working class Donald Trump knows that Christmas is just around the corner, and that many people will be needing a gift for that special someone on their list. He aims to please, and never misses an opportunity to make a quick buck, so he's got just the thing: a "Make America Great Again" Christmas ornament, composed of a brass hat with gold finishes. The price is a mere $149, which is right in the wheelhouse of Trump's Cabinet members. As to Trump's blue-collar supporters, well, nobody said that making America great again was going to be cheap. (Z)
A lot has been written about why the Democrats need to win back the white working class. According to an opinion piece in the Washington Post, this won't be so easy. To start with, the Midwest gets most of its electricity from coal. Furthermore, Ohio and Pennsylvania also mine it. If the Democrats start expounding on their new-found love of the black stuff, the coastal elites are going to have a fit. Even worse, many small towns in the Midwest are culturally similar, with God and guns playing a big role. Suddenly discovering this culture isn't going to be plausible.
Of course, there are things the Democrats can do in the Midwest. For example, Hillary Clinton could have set foot in Wisconsin to campaign. It wouldn't have killed her. Taking the state for granted wasn't a great idea. She could have talked about her infrastructure plan to create millions of jobs, for example, but she didn't and paid the price.
With the Democrats wailing about the Midwest, there is another potential strategy: Forget about it, or at least just emphasize the jobs issue. If Clinton had won North Carolina and Florida, she would have won the presidency, even without the Midwest. These are much more diverse states and a better fit to the Democrats' new coalition of upscale whites, minorities, and young people. If the Democrats can find a dynamic younger candidate in 2020 and focus on these states rather than the Midwest, it gives them an alternative route to the White House.
A completely different approach is to look at the big picture—including people who didn't vote. Consider these preliminary numbers from this year's election:
|Category||People in category||Pct|
|All eligible voters||231,556,622||100%|
|All registered voters||146,311,000||63%|
|Did not vote||96,376,626||42%|
|Votes for Hillary Clinton||63,759,985||28%|
|Votes for Donald Trump||62,005,118||27%|
|Votes for other candidates||7,087,495||3%|
Who are the nonvoters? Studies have shown them to be largely young, poor, and minorities, in other words, Democrats. What is also clear is that a very high percentage (88%) of registered voters actually vote. So getting the nonvoters registered should be a no-brainer. (V)
North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory (R) is still locked in a tight battle with state Attorney General Roy Cooper (D) for the governor's mansion. Donald Trump and Sen. Richard Burr (R) won in the state, but Cooper is currently leading McCrory by 7,700 votes. McCrory has asked for a recount, but the state's constitution has a few quirks in it that make this race quite bizarre. It says that in a contested election, the state legislature (which the Republicans control) picks the winner. The constitution does not define what "contested" means. If McCrory loses the recount, and then asks the state legislature to declare him the governor anyway, he is going to have a rough term. Donald Trump is probably going to end up with 2-3 million votes fewer than Hillary Clinton, but at least the rules were clear in advance. In North Carolina, they are extremely vague, despite something similar happening in a race for superintendent of public instruction in 2004. (V)Email a link to a friend or share:
---The Votemaster and Zenger
Nov24 Ross, Carson May Soon Join Cabinet
Nov24 Obama May Prefer Perez as DNC Chairman
Nov24 Clinton's Lead in the Popular Vote Passes the Two-Million Vote Mark
Nov24 Jill Stein Wants a Recount in Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania
Nov24 Trump Delivers Thanksgiving Message
Nov24 Trump to Accept Corporate Donations for Inauguration
Nov23 Trump Says the President Can't Have a Conflict of Interest
Nov23 Court Strikes Back Against Gerrymandering
Nov23 Democratic Electors Might Sabotage the Electoral College
Nov23 Clinton Pushed to Challenge Election Results
Nov23 Democrats Are Not the Minority
Nov23 Trump Drops Idea of Prosecuting Clinton
Nov23 Trump Foundation Admitted to Illegal Self Dealing
Nov23 Haley to Be U.N. Ambassador
Nov23 Carson Says Trump Has Offered Him Jobs
Nov23 Trump Rally Drives Stock Market to New High
Nov22 Can the Democrats Become a National Party Again?
Nov22 Why Clinton Lost Wisconsin
Nov22 Trump Lays Out Day One Plan
Nov22 Trump Apparently Warming to Ryan's Medicare Plan
Nov22 Trump's Grandfather Was Deported--to the United States
Nov22 Tulsi Gabbard Vows to Work with Trump
Nov22 Dean Calls Bannon a Nazi
Nov21 Why Are We Surprised about the Presidential Race?
Nov21 Ellison's Opponents for DNC Chairman Start Fighting Back
Nov21 Warning to Democrats: Focus on Issues
Nov21 Trump's Infrastructure Plan Meets Congress
Nov21 How Trump's Tax Plan Worked in Kansas
Nov21 Trump Apparently No Fan of the First Amendment
Nov21 Pence Has His Own E-mail Problem
Nov21 Not Everyone Disapproves of Bannon
Nov21 Marine Le Pen Takes Huge Lead in France
Nov21 Programming Note
Nov20 Tom Price is the Favorite for Secretary of HHS
Nov20 Reid Claims FBI Has Explosive Information About Trump-Russia Ties
Nov20 Trump and Romney Meet
Nov20 Vilsack: Democrats Can't Ignore Rural Voters and Win
Nov20 Clinton's Lead is Now 1.68 Million Votes
Nov20 Trump Opponents Trying Hard to Flip Electoral College
Nov20 Zuckerberg Changes His Tune
Nov20 Pence Attends Hamilton, Controversy Ensues
Nov19 Trump's First Picks Thrill Hard-line Conservatives
Nov19 Report: Mike Huckabee Will Be Ambassador to Israel
Nov19 Bannon: We're Really Going to Spend a Trillion Dollars on Infrastructure
Nov19 Trump Agrees to Pay $25 Million to Settle Trump University Lawsuits
Nov19 WSJ to Trump: Liquidate
Nov19 Muslim Database Coming into Focus
Nov19 Whither Ted Cruz?
Nov19 Was Russia to Blame for Fake News?