With Breanne Deppisch

THE BIG IDEA: Donald Trump will lunch with Paul Ryan at 12:30 p.m. at the Capitol Hill Club after he drops by the White House to meet with Barack Obama. The speaker of the House declared at his post-election press conference yesterday that the president-elect has won “a mandate.” But a mandate for what?

-- Trump’s victory represents nothing less than a repudiation of Ryan’s brand of Republicanism, both substantively and stylistically. The two have sharply different views of what it means to be a conservative, and they want to take the Republican Party down different paths.

Ryan is strongly pro-trade, pro-immigration, pro-entitlement reform, pro-religious tolerance and pro-NATO. After the 2005 “Access Hollywood” video came out, the 2012 vice-presidential nominee said he would no longer defend or campaign for him. While he would reverse himself soon after, that pronouncement prompted the thin-skinned Trump to unleash a stream of vindictive attacks. Keep in mind that the next president posted this less than a month ago (before his staff took control of his Twitter account):

For months now, Ryan has carried around a pamphlet with the House Republican’s “Better Way” agenda. He has pivoted every unwelcome question about Trump into a paean about policy. But the manifesto is full of positions that run counter to the platform Trump ran on.

Trump has solemnly and repeatedly vowed to never reduce Medicare, Medicaid or Social Security benefits. Ryan’s career has been defined by his quest to reform entitlements and the tax code.

Trump even said during the primaries that he knew Mitt Romney would lose the election once he picked Ryan as his running mate. “I said, 'You got to be kidding,’” Trump recalled. “He represented cutting entitlements, etc., etc. The only one that’s not going to cut is me!” At another event, he said of Ryan: “This guy lost four years ago in like a landslide.” Trump went on to criticize the so-called “Ryan budget” for costing Republicans House seats.

Trump wants to build a wall, create a deportation force and block at least some Muslims from entering this country. Ryan supports legal status for undocumented immigrants and has negotiated with Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.), one of the most liberal members of Congress, in search of bipartisan agreement on comprehensive immigration reform. In the recent past, Trump accused Ryan of backing “open borders and amnesty.”

Trump also says he does not want to defund Planned Parenthood, a top priority for many social conservatives in the House. “You can say whatever you want, but they have millions of women going through Planned Parenthood that are helped greatly,” Trump said earlier in 2016. Ryan supported creating a special House panel to target and harass these providers of women’s services.

There are many other issues on which Ryan and Trump disagree, such as eminent domain, but they are somewhat moot because they will not be on the docket in the next four years. As Jonathan Martin puts it in today’s New York Times, “Trump ran as a Republican, but he was effectively a third-party candidate who happened to campaign under the banner of one of the two major parties.”

Looking at the whole picture, you might sum it up this way: Paul Ryan knew Jack Kemp. Jack Kemp was a mentor of his. And Donald Trump is no Jack Kemp.

-- There will undoubtedly be concerted efforts by both sides to paper over these profound differences, just as there were during the campaign. Especially if Trump installs Reince Priebus as his White House chief of staff, which he is very seriously considering. The RNC chairman went on “Morning Joe” to insist that Trump only plans to deport criminals. “He’s not calling for mass deportation,” Reince claimed. “He said, ‘No, only people who have committed crimes.’” The fact this lunch got scheduled so easily also demonstrates that Trump realizes he needs some friends on the Hill.

-- Ryan, trying to keep the far-right Freedom Caucus at bay, has little incentive to underscore division. Especially going into next week’s leadership elections, in which he is expected to easily get reelected as Speaker. He too wants a productive working relationship with Trump, a message he conveyed during a phone call on Tuesday night. “I don't worry about intraparty issues,” Ryan insisted yesterday. “I feel very good about where we are. … I'm very excited about our ability to work together. … Donald Trump pulled off an amazing political feat. He deserves tremendous credit for that. It helped us keep our majorities.”

-- Indeed, right now the Republican mood on Capitol Hill is jubilant. The Republicans have unified control of government for the first time since the 2006 midterms. And there are many areas of common ground. Repealing Obamacare will be near the top of the list, but there are many other high-profile items they could focus on during the first 100 days, including allowing the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline and rolling back Dodd-Frank.

-- But the Republican civil war did not end on Tuesday night. The battlefield just changed. A Senate Republican argued during a conversation on the eve of the election that Hillary’s expected victory would be a balm for intraparty division because it would unite fractious Republicans in opposition to her. It undoubtedly would have been easier for GOP leadership to marshal opposition to Clinton’s agenda, and her judicial nominees, than build support for some of Trump’s highest priorities.

-- The ingredients are all there for tensions to flare up again in the future:

Many people in Ryan’s orbit think that the speaker can roll Trump. They guess that Donald does not really believe anything he says and just took whatever positions he needed in order to obtain power. They think that he just wants to “win” but does not care deeply about what exactly — as long as he’s “winning.” They are happy to play along, and Ryan can pass legislation that may not be his top priority but which he can claim shows he’s being successful. Rank-and-file Republicans on the Hill also predict that Trump will not be interested in the minutiae and drudgery of governance, which will empower them to ram through their own agenda. And they believe that they can install conventional Republicans who subscribe to their orthodoxies in most of the thousands of postings that will open up across the administration and Cabinet-level agencies, which will allow conservatives to roll back the regulatory state Obama’s people have built up.

Many people close to Trump think congressional Republicans will defer to him, as they did when George W. Bush took office. Do not discount the fact that Trump, with his alpha dog personality, sees all of the capitulation, kowtowing and ring-kissing by Republican congressional leaders during the campaign as signs of their total weakness. He’s publicly mocked such behavior, in the past, as pathetic. He thinks he can continue pushing these guys around because, for all intents and purposes, they have allowed him to push them around. He has constantly humiliated them since he locked down the nomination with his Indiana primary win, and they always fall back in line. And now he’s just won when few thought he could. People who have spoken with Trump say he still does not fully appreciate how constrained he will be in many areas (without running roughshod over the Constitution). The former reality TV star does know, however, that he now has a much bigger bully pulpit than Ryan.

-- What makes 2017 so hard to forecast is that no one but Trump really has any clue which version of Trump will assume the presidency on Jan. 20:

-- Trump’s plans are already running headlong into reality. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who had a better night on Tuesday than anyone but Trump, declared at his presser yesterday afternoon that Congress will not take up the president-elect’s call for term limits. Asked about the border wall, McConnell dodged twice. "I want to try to achieve border security in a way that is most effective,” he said. "I think overreaching after an election, generally speaking, is a mistake," McConnell added later. (McConnell invited Trump to visit him in his Capitol office at 1:30 p.m.)

In fairness, this happens to every president. Obama issued an executive order almost as soon as he was in the door to order the closure of the military prison at Guantanamo Bay. It remains open — because he couldn’t get Congress to go along, even when he had supermajorities.

-- Trump’s relationship with Ryan is probably as important to determining the success of his first 100 days as anything else, and it enters this new phase with quite a lot of baggage…

Ryan was rolling out the poverty section of his “Better Way” agenda in June when a reporter asked about Trump’s attacks on Judge Gonzalo Curiel. In a fraud suit against Trump University (which is still pending, by the way), Trump said that the Indiana-born federal judge is incapable of being impartial because his parents were born in Mexico. “Claiming a person can’t do their job because of their race is sort of like the textbook definition of a racist comment,” Ryan replied.

How much will Ryan feel compelled to speak out against the new president? In July, when Trump retweeted an image of a Star-of-David shape created by someone who’d previously tweeted Nazi imagery, Ryan said “anti-Semitic images have no place in this campaign.”

Ryan publicly disagreed with Trump three other times this summer: after he called on the Russians to hack Clinton’s emails, when Trump said the NATO security guarantee would no longer necessarily apply should he win and when he picked a fight with the Gold Star Khan family after the Democratic convention. “It sounds like a joke gone bad,” he told reporters. In September, when Trump praised Vladimir Putin as a stronger leader than Obama, Ryan said: “Putin is an aggressor who does not share our interests.”

-- Keep a very close eye on Trump’s friends at Breitbart. Trump campaign CEO Stephen Bannon has said he plans to go back to the conservative website now that the election is over. There’s no reason to think he will not exercise enormous influence over the new occupant of the White House.

Bannon has long seen Ryan as an enemy. His site was the biggest cheerleader for Paul Nehlen, Ryan’s quixotic primary challenger in Wisconsin this summer. There was a daily deluge of hit pieces on Ryan and stories aimed at boosting fundraising for his challenger. And the site continued to put out long pieces right up until the election that accused Ryan of conspiring to throw the election to Clinton.

In private emails to Breitbart reporters, which were leaked to the Daily Beast after he joined the Trump campaign, Bannon used some of the most vulgar language possible to describe Ryan and Republican leaders in Congress. The Hill published another exchange in which Bannon told an editor who worked for him that he wanted to destroy Ryan and rejected a proposal to open a bridge.

-- The war for the soul of the conservative movement may wind up playing out between Bannon’s Breitbart and the Wall Street Journal’s editorial page, which probably comes to closet to representing Ryan’s ideological views. (National Review and the Weekly Standard will also be important voices amidst the intellectual fights to come over what it means to be a conservative).

-- Sean Hannity, who has acknowledged being an informal adviser to Trump throughout the campaign, is another outspoken Ryan critic and will continue to have his prime-time platform on Fox News. Hannity called in to the cable channel during its live election coverage Tuesday night to say he’d just spoken with Trump three times. "Paul Ryan is not going to be the speaker of the House," Hannity told viewers.


-- “Donald Trump is going to be our president,” Hillary Clinton said in her concession speech at the New Yorker hotel. "We owe him an open mind and the chance to lead.” (Read the full transcript.)

-- “It is no secret that the president-elect and I have some pretty significant differences,” Barack Obama said in the Rose Garden. “But remember, eight years ago President Bush and I had some pretty significant differences. But President Bush's team could not have been more professional or more gracious in making sure we had a smooth transition so that we could hit the ground running. And one thing you realize quickly in this job is that the presidency and the vice presidency is bigger than any of us. So I have instructed my team to follow the example that President Bush's team set eight years ago.… Because we are now all rooting for his success in uniting and leading the country. The peaceful transition of power is one of the hallmarks of our democracy. And over the next few months, we are going to show that to the world.” (Read the full transcript.)

-- In New York, Trump met with Mike Pence and a handful of advisers at the Trump Tower yesterday, contemplating the makeup of his White House and Cabinet. Candidates being considered for top positions include Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama, Steven Mnuchin, who formerly led Trump’s campaign finance team, former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, and former House speaker Newt Gingrich, aides said. (Philip Rucker and Robert Costa)

-- Costa and Rucker hear that the two leading contenders for chief of staff are Priebus and former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski: "As party chairman for nearly six years, Priebus boasts deep ties with the GOP’s elected officials, donors and other luminaries. ... Lewandowski would be a relative newcomer to the Washington power structure but has the trust and confidence of the president-elect.”

-- Such staff appointments will be very telling about how Trump plans to run the West Wing, and former presidential advisers urged him to move slowly with making appointments. “People will watch to see whether the new administration acts as though it has a mandate or looks at the fact that more people voted against him than for him as a brake on those who want revenge or want to jam ideas onto a skeptical people,” said William M. Daley, former Obama White House chief of staff.

-- Meanwhile, in Washington, a White House transition team chaired by the politically tainted Christie continued to lay the groundwork. The group is led day to day by Rich Bagger, a longtime Christie adviser; William Hagerty, a key player on Romney’s 2012 transition team; and other establishment hands. Former Utah governor and Bush-era health secretary Michael O. Leavitt has also been formally advising the team.

-- Many of Trump's most outspoken critics on Capitol Hill pledged to try working with him in a bipartisan way. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi told fellow Democrats they have a “responsibility to find common ground” with Trump and that she was prepared to work with him on an infrastructure bill, indicating that Democratic leaders do not plan to pursue a strategy of “reflexive opposition” to Trump’s agenda. Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders also put out conciliatory statements. (Mike DeBonis)

-- Meanwhile, a senior Trump campaign official said the campaign has been keeping an ENEMIES LIST: “Let me just tell you, Mr. Trump has a long memory and we're keeping a list," Omarosa Manigault, the campaign's director of African American outreach, told Independent Journal Review, a conservative news site. Asked about Lindsey Graham voting for Evan McMullin, she said: "It's so great our enemies are making themselves clear so that when we get in to the White House, we know where we stand.”

Others on the campaign responded that Omarosa made it up. “I have never heard of that and I have never seen such a list, and I don't think that any sort of a list like that is ever helpful in anything,” COO Jeff DeWit said in a radio interview, reported on by CNN. “So if I ever hear of a list like that, I will, I'll burn it. I'll throw it in the fire personally is the way I feel about it."

-- House Oversight Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) said he will continue investigating Clinton’s use of a private email server at the State Department. “I still have a duty and obligation to get to the truth about one of the largest breaches of security at the State Department,” he said. Top oversight committee Democrat Elijah Cummings (Md.) called his remarks “extremely disappointing,” saying they run counter to post-election efforts at unity. Other Republicans said it is time to move on. "I think the sentence and the conviction came last night in the vote," said Rep. Sean Duffy (R-Wis.). (Lisa Rein)

-- “Trump and [James] Comey have never met. But former senior officials say that once they do, Trump will quickly see how much he needs Comey,” Ellen Nakashima and Sari Horwitz report. "One potential wrinkle in the relationship, though, could be the FBI’s interest in Paul Manafort, the former Trump campaign chairman, and allegations of illegal financial dealings in Ukraine, according to officials with knowledge of the case. The bureau refrained from taking investigative steps that might become public as the election drew near to avoid potentially influencing the election outcome. But now that voting is over, the bureau could proceed with the probe.”

Welcome to the Daily 202, PowerPost's morning newsletter.
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-- Vigils and protests continued into the early hours of Thursday as thousands of anti-Trump protesters expressed dismay with the election results, decrying his crude rhetoric and underscoring the difficult task he faces in uniting the fractured country. From Matea Gold, Kari Lydersen and Fenit Nirappil: “Protests were reported in cities across the nation, from major metropolitan centers like New York, Chicago and Los Angeles, to smaller cities, such as Richmond and Portland, Ore. Dozens of demonstrators were reportedly arrested. Even cities in red states, such as Atlanta, Dallas and Kansas City, Mo., saw demonstrations.”

Thousands of protesters gathered in front of Trump Tower in New York, with crowds spanning several blocks. Earlier, the protesters had marched from Union Square, chanting “Donald Trump, go away! Sexist, racist, anti-gay!” At one point, demonstrators lit an American flag on fire. Later, a glowing “Love Trumps Hate” banner was held aloft under the Trump Tower sign. “He’s going to lead us to a very dark place for women,” said one Chicago college student, with a sign reading “Amerikkka elected a rapist.” Here's some pictures of the scene in the streets:

-- People in California shut down California's 101 for a time, calling for a “Cal-exit” succession from the United States in the wake of Trump’s win. Plans are being made for a march on the capitol today in Sacramento. Well-known venture capitalist Shervin Pishevar has offered to bankroll the movement, confirming his plans in a CNBC interview. "It's the most patriotic thing I can do," he said. "The country is at serious crossroads.” He also resigned from the Fullbright Scholarship board, telling Obama he "cannot serve with a good conscious a President Trump in any capacity."

-- New Hampshire Republican Sen. Kelly Ayotte conceded to Maggie Hassan after losing by only a couple of hundred votes. Hassan’s win gives the Democrats and the Independents who caucus with them 48 seats in the Senate, while the Republicans have 51. A final Senate seat in Louisiana will be decided by a runoff election next month, but Republicans will hold it. (Karoun Demirjian)

-- Colorado GOP Sen. Cory Gardner has locked up enough votes to chair the National Republican Senatorial Committee for the 2018 cycle. From Politico's Burgess Everett: “The freshman senator, whose political team has been laying the groundwork to help the Senate GOP’s campaign arm for nearly a year, made a final round of phone calls to win enough support to take the job. His competition, Sen. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), is expected to support Gardner’s bid next week in leadership elections.

-- Tim Kaine is gearing up for his return to the chamber next week. There will be no special Virginia election in 2017 after all. He will probably skate to reelection in 2018 since the midterms will be a bad year for the incumbent president. And it's hard to imagine Kaine, a former DNC chair, not running for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2020. “There was a time when it looked as though Kaine’s star would shoot from Virginia’s capitol city straight to Number One Observatory Circle on a wave of dad jokes and harmonica riffs,” Jenna Portnoy writes. “But less than four months after his journey around the country began, he is poised to return to a Republican-controlled Senate with national profile but scars from a devastating defeat.” The upside? Many say Kaine’s expertise on the constitutional powers of the presidency will be particularly valuable as Trump assumes office.

-- Tom Cotton defended Trump’s support for waterboarding, claiming that this enhanced interrogation tactic does not constitute torture. "Waterboarding isn't torture. We do waterboarding on our own soldiers in the military," Cotton told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer. "We have to play the game the way they're playing the game. You're not going to win if we're soft and they're, they have no rules."


-- “America woke up Wednesday as two nations. One jubilant, hopeful, validated. The other filled with fear, pessimism, abject horror. And both staring at an uncertain future in light of the vast chasm now revealed by this election." From William Wan, Steve Friess and Abigail Hauslohner: “For many, the unexpected elevation of an insurgent has shaken their very concept of these united states and forced them to consider whether they are living in an America that is not what they thought it was. That question loomed large in interviews with voters from across the country: What exactly does the victory of Trump say about us as a nation? ... 'I’m terrified … My country wants to throw us out,' said Hamtramck (Mich.) resident Zeinab Al-Hasani 'And how do I,' she asked, fighting back tears, 'explain to her,' nodding toward her daughter, 'that a man who says such vile things about everybody is now supposed to be a role model?' A few miles north, James McDaniels, 27, was feeding his 4-month-old son at a Starbucks. 'So excited!' he said, slipping a jacket over a T-shirt that read 'Hillary for Prison.' 'We don’t hate Muslims, but they can’t be allowed to have Sharia law,' he said as he sipped on a latte in Mount Clemens, Mich. 'If they love this country, they’re going to have to help us get rid of the Islamic terrorists at their mosques.'"

-- “Waking up in Trump’s America,” by Robert Samuels: “Shadi Sadi woke up Wednesday with his stomach in knots. He walked to his son’s room to get him ready for school. ‘Who won?’ 8-year-old Bilal asked … Sadi, 34, could hardly say the words. ‘Donald Trump won,’ he said. Bilal’s jaw dropped, and his dad tried to remain calm as he walked downstairs to prepare breakfast. About an hour away, in the small, heavily working-class town of Dunn, truck driver Gary Godwin strode into Sherry’s Bakery with a smile on his face. ‘That’s my man!’ Godwin said. ‘Trump is a businessman. He’ll get people to stop sitting on their porch and not working. No one knows how to do anything.’ It was morning in Trump’s America, hours after the Republican’s improbable victory. The election had been grueling, and the polarization it brought to the country did not die at the ballot box. The diverging views in two North Carolina communities — so close geographically, and yet so far apart culturally — showed how the divisions exposed during the campaign will be difficult, if not impossible, to heal.”

-- Emotions ran high at many schools, as teachers sought to explain what the polarizing election results mean for the country’s future. Educators scrapped lesson plans, comforted crying students, and held schoolwide assemblies to assuage fears. Some districts said they are offering counseling services to students and staff fearful about the results. (Moriah Balingit and Donna St. George)

-- “‘I don’t feel safe’: Undocumented immigrants fear what Trump will do as president,” by Michael E. Miller: "For undocumented immigrants, however, their futures have taken a startling turn, from the promise of immigration reform under Clinton to the threat of deportation under Trump. ‘We are now facing an entirely different system of reality to what we are used to,’ said Jose Antonio Vargas, a [reporter-turned-activist] who is perhaps the country’s most prominent undocumented immigrant. On Election Day, a man who recognized Vargas outside of Fox News patted him on the back. ‘Get ready to be deported,’ the man told him."

-- If Trump sticks to his immigration pledges, he will begin an unprecedented, exorbitantly expensive, and logistically difficult illegal immigration operation to remove millions from the country while fortifying the border. Yet even with the potential difficulties, Trump will have the administrative tools to massively scale back the Obama administration’s efforts to shield millions of immigrants from deportation, former federal officials say," according to Chico Harlan and Jerry Markon. “With the stroke of a pen, for example, Trump could reverse a program that has protected hundreds of thousands of people brought to the United States illegally as children — something he has vowed to do. The new president could also change the priorities of the Department of Homeland Security, exposing even more of the nation’s estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants to sudden deportation.”

-- Tuesday’s vote left unresolved whether the ugly narrative of unprincipled demagogue vs. dishonest harridan really reflects a country that has fallen into coarse, raw hatred — or if the 2016 campaign was instead a symptom of the newly pervasive power of Facebook, Twitter and other social media,” Marc Fisher writes. "Through traditional news media and new social media, an unusually captivated audience saw this campaign as a disorienting kaleidoscope of bloodcurdling anger at raucous rallies, waves of investigation and suspicion, and torrents of insults traded by candidates and their supporters. ... The line between public and private blurred so thoroughly that nasty, hurtful comments that people once made only to their closest family members and friends were now broadcast to the world at large. Congress, the news media and politicians overall — the usual basement dwellers in any accounting of the nation’s least-trusted institutions — fell to new lows. But the biggest shift seemed to take place on the smallest stages.”


-- The results have been a body blow for many who were excited about the prospect of the first female president. There is palpable fear that reproductive rights will be rolled back bigly, especially if Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg cannot make it four more years. And there is panic about what kind of message it sends to other powerful men that a guy who has talked in such vulgar terms about women, and who more than a dozen publicly accused of sexual assault, will be the leader of our country. Will other guys think they can get away with sexual harassment now? Days ago, the conversation was all about how the Trump imbroglio had changed the contours of the debate about sexual assault in a good way. Now, for many, it seems like the country has taken a gigantic step backward in this area. Some believe that Trump's victory is an even bigger humiliation for women than when Clarence Thomas got confirmed to SCOTUS despite the testimony of Anita Hill. 

-- We keep hearing demoralizing stories like this about what might be dubbed the Trump Effect: A group of younger guys from his victory party followed a group of Democratic female Hill staffers leaving Clinton's event in the wee hours of yesterday morning. The women said they got cat-called and told repeatedly to "smile." Talk about sore winners. There is widespread concern that this will be an even more common experience in Trump's America than it already has been.

-- In conceding, Clinton did not dwell on what friends said was an "agonizing reckoning" in her Midtown hotel room, but the mood was "akin to the funeral for a sudden death — shocking, mystifying and starkly real,” Anne Gearan and Abby Phillip write. The key quote from her speech: “To all the women, and especially the young women, who put their faith in this campaign and in me, I want you to know that nothing has made me prouder than to be your champion. Now, I know we have still not shattered that highest and hardest glass ceiling, but some day someone will and hopefully sooner than we might think right now. And to all the little girls who are watching this, never doubt that you are valuable and powerful and deserving of every chance and opportunity in the world to pursue and achieve your own dreams.”

-- “Waiting for history in Mississippi, a state with a dismal record of electing women,” by Mary Jordan: “[Vicki Slater] knew it would be tough for Clinton to win her state. Never once has a woman been elected as governor or to Congress, making it the only state in the union with that distinction. So last year Slater, a 60-year-old trial lawyer, decided to run for governor herself after years of trying to recruit other women to do it. She was widely seen as the favorite to win the Democratic Party’s nomination. But she lost in the primary to a man, a long-haul truck driver who campaigned so little that his own mother didn’t know he was running. Stunned party officials said several factors were at play, including Slater’s gender. ‘I am the woman from Mississippi who lost to the truck driver!” Slater told Clinton when she met her at a fundraiser in the spring.Don’t give up. Do not ever give up,’ Clinton told her."

-- “At what was supposed to be the Pennsylvania Democratic Party’s celebration in Philadelphia, several devastated women were lying on the carpeted ballroom floor, tears welling,” Jodi Kantor reports in the Times. “A few said they could barely speak. The success of the Republican real estate mogul left many American women in a state of shock over a victory they had counted on belonging to them, their sisters, aunts and girlfriends. Late into the night, mothers said they were not sure how they were going to break the news to their sleeping daughters in the morning. … Many female Clinton supporters said they were experiencing a depth of loss and frustration that some of the women, especially the young ones, had never felt before.

-- The nation's newspapers are full of similar accounts, many in the first-person. "I thought about [Bill] rising steadily through his political career, on the track we have built for charismatic, competent white men,” writes Lindy West, the author of a book called “Shrill." “He must have known, every second, how good his wife was. Not just good, but ‘the best.’ Better than everyone he’d ever met; better than him, even. And he watched her stand next to him and wait, and wait, and wait, underestimated and degraded and excoriated for wanting more out of life than cookies. And she didn’t quit! She swallowed slander and humiliation and irrational hatred for three decades and she didn’t quit, and here she was, just a hair’s breadth from the presidency of the United States—the first woman ever to be trusted with the rudder of the world. He must be so proud of her, I thought. It made me cry. ... I cried because I want my daughters to feel that blazing pride, that affirmation of their boundless capability … I cried because it’s not fair, and I’m so tired, and every woman I know is so tired. I cried because it does things to you to always come second. Today doesn’t feel real. It is indistinguishable from fresh, close grief.”

-- “For her entire life, (Hillary) has symbolized women’s power, and the forces that would limit it. That was true when her public life began almost 50 years ago, and it was true Wednesday, when it almost certainly ended,” Yvonne Abraham writes in the Boston Globe. “What we do know is that at every setback, where others might have given up, perhaps leaving the future to a new generation, Hillary Clinton stayed to fight. ‘For too long our leaders have used politics as the art of the possible,’ Hillary Rodham told fellow graduating seniors [in 1969]. ‘And the challenge now is to practice politics as the art of making what appears to be impossible, possible.’ She looked like the future. Only she was born a couple of decades too soon.”

-- Seth Meyers got choked up on his NBC show last night as he talked about how hard Clinton’s loss was for his mom: “She was really excited yesterday, and umm… I was really sad for her.” (Daily Beast)


-- One explanation for the stunning political demise of the Clintons might be the extent to which they moved away from a middle-American sensibility into the realm of the coastal elite – “from McDonald’s to veganism,” undone by the white, working-class voters they once knew so well. A great read from The Post’s David Maraniss: “Few Americans knew the voters who rejected Hillary Clinton better than her husband. He lived among them growing up, and then studied them with a fanatical intensity during his political rise. He used that ability again later in the White House to keep his connection with the white working class, among other ways by opposing same-sex marriage and supporting reform of a welfare system that many wrongly believed was aimed primarily at helping poor minorities. [But] two decades later, when Hillary tried to reclaim the Clinton legend, everything had changed. The country and the candidate. She was no Bubba, but maybe he wasn’t anymore, either. By the time she won the Democratic nomination, she had more experience than any candidate in modern times, but also as much baggage. Despite all that she has done and been, or perhaps because of it, her identity remains not singular but kaleidoscopic, with ever-changing shards of opaqueness and clarity.

-- “Ada is a complex computer algorithm that the campaign was prepared to publicly unveil after the election as its invisible guiding hand,” John Wagner writes. “Named for a female 19th-century mathematician — Ada, Countess of Lovelace — the algorithm was said to play a role in virtually every strategic decision Clinton aides made …” Based on a raft of previously-fed data, Ada ran 400,000 simulations a day of what the race against Trump might look like. A report that was spit out gave senior aides an idea of which battleground states were most likely to tip – and therefore, govern decisions about time and resource allocation. So what didn’t Ada see? Aides say she correctly pegged Pennsylvania as an extremely important state early on. “But it appears that the importance of other states Clinton would lose — including Michigan and Wisconsin — never became fully apparent … Like much of the political establishment Ada appeared to underestimate the power of rural voters in Rust Belt states.”

-- The Democratic New Deal coalition that Franklin Roosevelt forged in 1932 really has finally shattered. Look at West Virginia, which was a swing state as recently as 2004. Hillary only won 26.5 percent of the vote, breaking the previous all-time low set by George McClellan during the Civil War in 1864. Obama even got 35.5 percent in 2012, according to the University of Minnesota’s Smart Politics blog. She got crushed across coal country.

-- She under performed among working-class voters: CNN exit polls found just 51 percent of UNION households broke in her favor, while 49 percent went for Trump. While a spate of other polls appeared to suggest slightly better margins for the Democratic nominee (Fox News showed her up by eight points among union households, while ABC News gave her a 16-point lead) they still come as a weak performance in comparison to Obama, who in 2012 took union households by 18 points. (HuffPost)

-- Might Jill Stein have cost Hillary the election? From MSNBC’s Steve Benen: “In Florida, Clinton lost by about 1.4% of the vote – but if Stein’s supporters and half of Gary Johnson’s backers had voted Democratic, Trump would have lost the state. Similarly, in Pennsylvania, Clinton lost by about 1.1% of the vote – but if Stein’s supporters and half of Johnson’s backers had voted Democratic, Trump would have lost the state. In Wisconsin, Clinton lost by about 1% of the vote – but if Stein’s supporters had voted Democratic, Trump would have lost the state. In Michigan, Clinton appears to be on track to lose by about 0.3% of the vote – but if half of Stein’s supporters had voted Democratic, Trump would have lost the state.”

-- “The idea of Clinton the candidate never matched the reality of Clinton on the campaign trail," Chris Cillizza writes. “She underwhelmed repeatedly, running a too-cautious primary campaign that allowed a little-known Sen. Bernie Sanders to emerge as exactly what Clinton's campaign had hoped to avoid: a viable liberal challenger. Support for Clinton — even after she won the primary campaign — seemed obligatory rather than excited. The campaign she ran was ruthlessly efficient and organized. But what it never seemed to be was joyful or exuberant. It felt, to put a fine point on it, dutiful. Clinton was never — in this campaign or in the 2008 race — able to show that she was something more than the hyper-prepared, supersmart, best student in the class.”


-- Donald delivered on his promise to flip the Democrats’ electoral hold on the industrial Midwest. (The Post's graphics team made a neat, interactive exit poll breakdown here.)

-- The relative lack of enthusiasm for Clinton killed her in the Rust Belt. “She received far fewer votes than Obama,” Philip Bump tabulates. “The Democratic candidate for the presidency received fewer votes in 2016 than 2012 in 46 states. Trump got more votes than Romney in 28 states. In Michigan, Clinton got 13 percent fewer votes than Obama. Trump got 7 percent more than Romney. In Pennsylvania, Clinton got 5 percent fewer votes than Obama. Trump got 9 percent more than Romney. In Wisconsin, Clinton got 15 percent fewer votes than Obama. Trump did slightly worse than Romney -- in a state that was home to Romney's running mate. … About 118 million votes have been counted so far, according to the Associated Press. That's fewer votes than 2012, 2008 and 2004 -- even as the population has grown by 47 million people since 2000.

Another way of visualizing it:

-- “Starting Wednesday, you could walk from the Vermont border through Appalachian coal country to the outskirts of St. Louis without crossing a county Mr. Trump did not win decisively,” the New York Times’ Nicholas Confessore and Nate Cohn write. “One of the biggest upsets in American political history was built on a coalition of white voters unlike that of any other previous Republican candidate, according to election results and interviews with voters and demographic experts...Trump’s coalition comprised not just staunchly conservative Republicans in the South and West. They were joined by millions of voters in the onetime heartlands of 20th-century liberal populism — the Upper and Lower Midwest — where white Americans without a college degree voted decisively to reject the more diverse, educated and cosmopolitan Democratic Party of the 21st century, making Republicans the country’s dominant political party at every level of government ... 'A lot of stuff he’s talking about is just God-given common sense, which I think both parties have lost,' said Tom Kirkpatrick, 51, a Trump supporter who used to work in an industrial laundry plant and is now on disability. He stood near the Florida State Capitol on Tuesday, holding an American flag. 'Let’s put him in. And if he doesn’t do what he says, I’ll help you vote him out'"

  • Twelve percent of Mr. Trump’s supporters approved of Mr. Obama, according to the exit polls.
  • Trump won low-income white voters to the Republican ticket, reversing a partisan divide along class lines that is as old as the Democratic and Republican Parties.
  • His breakthrough among white working-class voters in the North not only erased the Democratic advantage but reversed it, giving him a victory in the Electoral College while he lost the national popular vote.
  • Trump won his biggest margins among middle-income white voters, according to exit polls, a revolt not only of the white working class but of the country’s vast white middle class.
  • Even where Democratic-leaning Hispanics are growing as a force, Mr. Trump’s supporters were waiting on Tuesday.

-- HE RAN HIS CAMPAIGN LIKE A REALITY SHOW: “The touch-maps, the projection calls; the reaches for explanation and chest-beating on MSNBC, while over on CNN Wolf Blitzer constantly interrupted John King’s insistence on waiting for more Broward County numbers. The wayward attempts at live comedy and fun by Stephen Colbert, Trevor Noah and the ladies of ‘The View’ – it all suddenly turned into a dour and futile acceptance for so many people in the strange hybrid business of entertainment and reality, including the president-elect,” Post TV critic Hank Stuever writes. “Yes, Donald Trump’s victory happened exactly as you saw it on your television — not just early Wednesday morning but in so much infotainment that came before it. A night many TV addicts jokingly called America’s “series finale” had by 9 p.m. turned into a genuine, nail-biting cliffhanger. But after 10 p.m. there was no longer any clinging to the cliff. The only surprise, while plummeting, is that anyone could be surprised."


-- “The reliability of presidential polls has fluctuated wildly over the past five elections, and there’s no clear pattern or evidence of systemic flaws,” Paul Farhi writes. “It’s not necessarily that 'the polls are phony,' as Trump put it in an interview with Fox News on Tuesday. The National Council on Public Polls rated presidential polls in 2004 and 2008 as the most accurate in the history of scientific sampling. However, as the number of polls has expanded over the years, there may be some degree of poll pollution in averages of all these surveys, said Lee Miringoff, director of Marist College’s polling operation ... By combining polls — some good, some bad — into running averages, news organizations may be distorting where the race stands. ‘You’re tossing different modes of data collection into the stew,’ he said. ‘And some of those methods are unproven.’”


-- “The biggest stain on Barack Obama’s political legacy may turn out to be the decimation of the Democratic Party on his watch,” Karen Tumulty, John Wagner and Tom Hamburger write. “Unlike Franklin Roosevelt’s durable New Deal coalition, the impressive political operation that Obama built does not appear transferable to other Democrats — and therefore, may not live on past his presidency. Meanwhile, the party has also been hollowed out in state capitals across the country. Where Democrats held 29 governorships when Obama was inaugurated, they can count only 15 in the wake of Tuesday’s election. In 2017, Republicans could tie the record for controlling governorships, which is 34, set in 1922 when Warren Harding was president.”

-- Another problem: Trump is unorthodox, and Republicans likely benefited from not having to run a hard-right candidate as their nominee. That, however, means it is far more difficult for the opposition party to figure out precisely WHAT it needs to oppose. It’s almost certain to embolden the party’s liberal wing, however, who believe Democrats’ salvation is to reclaim their New Deal roots and move the party onto a more populist footing. “Democrats need to speak more directly to voter anger,” said progressive group leader Adam Green. “They’ll hopefully remold the party in [Warren’s] image and have a more authentic message that channels that anger in a more productive direction than Trump’s authoritarian message.’”

-- “It is inconceivable that Bernie would have lost Wisconsin, Michigan and New Hampshire,” Jeff Weaver, Sanders’ campaign manager during the Democratic nomination process, told the Boston Globe’s Annie Linskey. “It just would not have happened. Bernie Sanders was the perfect match-up against Trump because he always was a change agent. It would have taken a lot of air out of the balloon.”

-- Politico’s Gabriel Debenedetti says Donna Brazile won't stick around as DNC chair as Democrats go into crisis mode:“Swept dramatically from power as Republicans assumed control of the White House, Senate, and House of Representatives and stood poised to make Supreme Court appointments that will dictate the direction of the Judiciary for a generation, the Democratic Party is only beginning to grapple with enormous questions – everything from who will lead to what the party will stand for. The potentially devastating uncertainties are starting to pile up, spurring big-picture panic and minutiae-laden nitpicking for a party that was convinced until the final moment that the U.S. would never elect [Trump].  There are decisions to be made, and soon: on Capitol Hill, Democrats are actively wondering whether a minority leader Chuck Schumer would welcome Elizabeth Warren or Bernie Sanders to the leadership ranks.”  Those questions are just the beginning. Is Obama's coalition of millennials, minorities, and women not enough? Is it Clinton's party? Obama's? Warren's?” “It could get worse before it gets better," said one senior aide.


-- Ohio Gov. John Kasich has canceled a big speech he was planning to deliver on Thursday outlining a moderate, Trump-free vision for the future of the GOP. From The Plain Dealer’s Henry J. Gomez: In refusing to support Trump, Kasich had hoped to redefine conservatives and assert himself as a post-election party healer. Instead, after Trump triumphed, plans for the Thursday speech were quickly scrubbed. “Few of Kasich's political advisers would speak on the record about his political future. All agreed that, barring extraordinary developments in a Trump administration, he would not challenge a sitting president for the Republican nomination in four years … With the White House out of reach, those close to Kasich expect him to make the most of his final two years and use his national profile at times to speak out on issues important to him."

-- Neither George H.W. nor W. Bush voted for Trump but both former presidents called to congratulate him and offer their support yesterday.


-- “After a campaign of bombastic sound bites and often contradictory policy prescriptions, Trump’s plans remain opaque for dealing with issues including terrorism, Russian aggression and multiple shooting wars in the Middle East,” Karen DeYoung writes. “He has called for increased military strength and more forceful American leadership, while also speaking of stepping back from U.S. responsibilities as the free world’s primary protector. He has invited China to invade North Korea and ‘solve that problem,’ but also said he would host North Korean leader Kim Jong Un at the White House. He said he would renegotiate the Iran nuclear deal, and then called for strict enforcement of the existing agreement. His plan to combat the Islamic State, Trump said during the campaign, is a secret.”

With little clarity on plans, the best initial indicator of Trump’s approach may be those he chooses for his national security team. Many of the names floated so far strike fear in the hearts of mainstream leaders, while others instill a sense of reassurance. Karen has the short list: Among the rumored candidates for secretary of state are Newt Gingrich and former U.N. ambassador John Bolton — both outspoken Trump supporters viewed as loose cannons even by even fellow Republicans. Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) is seen as the more mainstream candidate. Trump’s lack of foreign policy experience could also shift more focus back to Congress, where Republicans who have sharply criticized the level of unilateral control President Obama’s White House has exercised over national security — and some of whom have denigrated Trump as uninformed on the issues — are chafing for a bigger voice.”

-- A spate of Islamic extremist groups praised Trump’s victory on Wednesday, with Islamic State and al-Qaeda-linked sites praising his nomination as the beginning of “dark times” that could alienate Muslims and boost their recruitment efforts. "Rejoice with support from Allah, and find glad tidings in the imminent demise of America at the hands of Trump,” said the Islamic State-affiliated al-Minbar Jihadi Media network. A pro-a-Qaeda al-Maqalaat Twitter account predicted that Trump would “make the U.S. Enemy No. 1 again” in the Muslim Middle East. “Trump will serve as the perfect straw man for the next four years, like Bush did before him,” it said. (Ishaan Tharoor)

-- Dejected Americans looking to migrate to Canada may be due for an unwelcome surprise: it’s actually quite hard to move there. From Alan Freeman: “[Vancouver-based Immigration lawyer] Jonathan Leebosh said that Canada is an open country that is looking for well-educated migrants, but he warns that Americans fleeing Trump will find that there are many others in line. ‘They’re competing against others who already have job offers,’ Leebosh said. The Canadian government has announced its intention to accept 300,000 new permanent residents in 2017 but that number includes immigrants with family ties and refugees, as well as economic newcomers. And would-be migrants to the province of British Columbia, where house prices have soared to stratospheric levels in part because of an influx of Chinese buyers, will have to remember something. ‘B.C. means Bring Cash,’ Leebosh said.”

-- Asian nations were a regular target of Trump’s speeches, and now they’re unsure of what to expect. From the AP’s Tim Sullivan: “His anger could be palpable. ’We can't continue to allow China to rape our country.’ Trump said in a campaign rally, talking about Washington's trade deficit with Beijing. But he could also shift quickly, noting: ‘I'm not angry with China ... China's great!’ So across Asia, politicians and analysts are wondering what role the Trump White House will play across the continent. Hard-line trade negotiator? Counter-balance to Beijing? Leader? Isolationist? Few agree on the answers.”


Germany's ambassador to the United States posted this warning:

This tweet from 2012 got a lot of attention after it became clear that Clinton won the popular vote:

McConnell gets to keep his office:

Republicans -- even Trump aides -- praised Clinton's concession speech:

Senate Republicans -- even those who did not support Trump -- appear ready to bring him into the fold:

Meanwhile, among the libertarian Republicans:

The Nixons predicted Trump's electoral success back in 1987:

Our colleague, David Fahrenthold, has this message to our readers:

Finally, the Associated Press has this countdown:


At the White House: Obama meets with Trump at the White House. Later, Obama welcomes the Cleveland Cavaliers. Biden speaks at the MD Anderson 75th Anniversary Gala in Houston.

On Capitol Hill: Trump has lunch with Pence and Paul Ryan at the Capitol Hill Club.


“They kilt us but they ain't whupped us yet.” -- Tim Kaine quoted William Faulkner in his concession speech


-- The sun returns in full force today, per your Capital Weather Gang forecast: “The tail end of the cloud cover should be pulling out by sunrise and the rest of the day should be sun-filled. Temperatures are relatively comfortable in the upper 50s to lower 60s. A northwest breeze is light enough to keep from being a nuisance."

-- President-elect Trump received just FOUR PERCENT of the vote in the District of Columbia, his lowest share anywhere by far. (Perry Stein)

-- “Other than that, Gov. McAuliffe, how was Election Day? Not bad, in fact,” by Laura Vozzella: “Terry McAuliffe had a surprisingly good night Tuesday if you set aside one crushing personal loss: His longtime friend and political ally, Hillary Clinton, is not going to the White House. For one thing, McAuliffe delivered Virginia for Clinton. The former secretary of state won the swing state by 4.8 points — a margin smaller than Barack Obama’s in 2008 (6.3 points) but bigger than his in 2012 (four points).  A ballot measure that McAuliffe opposed, which would have enshrined the state’s right-to-work laws in the state constitution, was defeated. And McAuliffe protege Levar Stoney came out on top in the race for Richmond mayor. In all, those wins are perhaps small comfort to a man with deep personal and professional ties to a Democratic dynasty upended by Republican President-elect Donald Trump …”

-- Meanwhile, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan took several political hits. From Ovetta Wiggins: “Hogan (R) endorsed a handful of Republican congressional candidates, none of whom came close to winning their races in the heavily Democratic state. Maryland Democrats, still reeling from Hogan’s 2014 win and soaring approval ratings, were thrilled that the governor’s slate lost by large margins … Joe Cluster, executive director of the Maryland Republican Party, said GOP candidates may have been hurt by appearing on the same ballot as Trump, who was broadly unpopular in the state. ‘If you don’t have a good top to your ticket, the down-ballot races are really affected,’ Cluster said. ‘We won’t have that problem in 2018, with Larry Hogan at the top of the ticket.’”

-- “José Andrés on Trump’s victory: Life will go on, and so will business,” by Maura Judkis: “When José Andrés backed out of his restaurant concept for the Trump Hotel in July 2015 after the candidate’s disparaging comments about Mexican immigrants, pundits and journalists weren’t even taking the candidate seriously yet. Andrés canceled his plans to open the Spanish-Japanese restaurant he had planned for the hotel, triggering a lawsuit and a countersuit — and today, he finds himself in the position of being embroiled in litigation against the company founded by the president-elect of the United States. “It’s kind of a unique situation,” Andrés said. But he insists it will be business as usual at his ThinkFoodGroup. “At the end, this is business for the Trump Organization and business for me, because we are a nation of laws …That’s why America is a great country: The laws work for everyone.”

-- The Wizards beat the Celtics 118-93


Seth Meyers and Conan O'Brien offered their thoughts (serious and unserious) on Trump's election:

More late-night jokes about the election:

Post columnist Dana Milbank wrote a letter to his daughter to help her cope with Clinton's loss:

Here's how people around the world reacted:

Four ways Trump changes the Supreme Court:

Bloomberg Politics captured compelling reflections on Trump's win: