Navin Nayak, the head of Clinton’s opinion research division, sent an email to senior campaign staff Thursday night sharing initial takeaways from the bruising loss that caught the Democratic nominee’s team completely off guard.
“We believe that we lost this election in the last week. Comey’s letter in the last 11 days of the election both helped depress our turnout and also drove away some of our critical support among college-educated white voters — particularly in the suburbs,” Nayak wrote. “We also think Comey’s 2nd letter, which was intended to absolve Sec. Clinton, actually helped to bolster Trump’s turnout.”
Additionally, Nayak pointed to anger at institutions, a desire for change of power at the White House after two terms under President Barack Obama, the difficulty of recreating the Obama coalition and the hesitancy of some Americans to vote for a woman president as underlying challenges the Clinton camp faced throughout the campaign.
There are a hundred things that might have changed the outcome — and let’s not forget, now or ever, that Hillary Clinton got more votes — but Comey’s unconscionable decision to inject the FBI into the campaign in a way that could not have been more perfectly designed to help one candidate will live in infamy for all of American history.
* Robert Costa, Philip Rucker and Elise Viebeck report that Chris Christie has apparently become too toxic for a president-elect who scams people out of their life savings and brags about sexually assaulting women:
Vice President-elect Mike Pence will replace New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie as chairman of President-elect Donald Trump’s presidential transition effort, a change that will cement Pence’s influence over the incoming administration’s policy and personnel.
The transition shake-up, announced Friday, will substantially dilute the influence of Christie and his closest aides. Rick Dearborn, the chief of staff to Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), a Trump loyalist, will now serve as the transition’s executive director, replacing ex-Christie chief of staff Richard Bagger.
Christie was named a vice chair of the transition Friday along with Sessions, former New York mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani, former House speaker Newt Gingrich, retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn and Republican presidential primary contender Ben Carson — all considered likely members of a Trump administration.
I hesitate to imagine the private ritual of humiliation Christie will have to endure if he wants to avoid another demotion.
* Gabriel Debenedetti reports on the grappling over who’s going to lead the Democratic Party:
Swept from power, Democratic leaders in Washington and the states are increasingly nervous that the best-case scenario fight for the chairmanship of the Democratic National Committee will be a long, ugly redux of the Hillary Clinton vs. Bernie Sanders primary.
But an even broader, more vicious factional scramble may be looming.
A group of high-profile liberals and establishment figures is moving swiftly to nip such a tussle in the bud by coalescing around Minnesota Rep. Keith Ellison — who has not formally announced his bid, but who appears prepared to on Monday after receiving backing from Sanders, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, progressive groups like MoveOn.org, and kind words from Sen. Elizabeth Warren. But a former chairman, former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean — a Clinton backer and serious Sanders critic during the primary who is a favorite of state party chairs due to his pioneering a 50-state strategy that would empower them — also jumped into the race on Thursday, making the picture far less straightforward.
And now Martin O’Malley says he might be interested, too.
* Monica Langley and Gerard Baker report that Trump says he’ll keep the ban on denials for pre-existing conditions and the ability of young people to stay on their parents’ insurance. In other words, repeal the whole thing! Except for the parts people like.
* Now that everyone is talking about Obamacare again, Charles Gaba gives us a refresher on how the law really works, which shows (again) that it won’t be easy for Republicans just to keep the bits that are popular.
* James Downie argues that we shouldn’t “give Trump a chance” by assuming he’s something entirely different from what he’s always been. Instead, we should fight him, and if he surprises everyone, then fine.
* Michelle Ye Hee Lee describes the torrent of sexist and racist abuse she got for her crime of being a fact-checker.