-- Macomb County, Michigan, is where Democratic pollster Stan Greenberg went in the mid-1980s for his seminal study on blue-collar “Reagan Democrats.” Greenberg became a key adviser to Bill Clinton. As a Southerner with national ambitions in the Reagan years, the then-Arkansas governor understandably obsessed with appealing to these voters, who had overwhelmingly supported John F. Kennedy and the New Deal before becoming foot soldiers in Reagan's Revolution. Clinton successfully brought them back into the Democratic fold in 1992.
Barack Obama carried Macomb, a working-class area outside Detroit, in both 2008 and 2012. Not only did Trump win 54 percent of the vote there, but he did so on record high turnout. Without his strength there, he would not be ahead in Michigan by 13,000 votes.
The area has become Ground Zero of the mainstream media’s exploration into how it got so caught off guard by Trump’s upset win. Many news organizations — from community weeklies to the Detroit metropolitan papers, the Wall Street Journal and the Huffington Post — deployed reporters to query voters about how they could go from backing Obama to getting behind Trump.
-- Clinton’s struggles with working-class whites played out in many places beyond Macomb. The media focused way too much on the inner-ring suburbs during the run-up to the election and not enough on the exurbs and rural areas. Charlie Mahtesian, who used to edit the Almanac of American Politics, flags three other very telling examples in Politico:
In Pennsylvania: Obama took a 492,000-vote margin of victory out of urban Philadelphia in 2012. Clinton got only a 455,000-vote margin. (She lost the state by 68,000 votes.) Clinton ran close to even with Obama’s pace in the Philly suburbs. She even managed to win back well-educated and affluent Chester, the only of the four collar counties that voted for Romney in 2012. “The difference makers were places like Wilkes-Barre’s Luzerne County in northeastern Pennsylvania,” Mahtesian writes. “Obama carried the county twice, winning 52-47 in 2012. Trump crushed Clinton there, 58-39.… In the largest county in western Pennsylvania after Pittsburgh’s Allegheny County, Trump needed a big number and he got it. Where Romney won 61 percent in Westmoreland, Trump won 64 percent amid higher turnout than in 2012.”
In Ohio: Obama won Mahoning County 63-35 against Romney. Clinton won 50-47. “In similarly situated nearby counties, she flat-out lost. Among them was neighboring Stark County, a bellwether in this heavily blue-collar region that went Democratic in the last three presidential elections. There, she ran 11 points behind Obama’s 2012 performance.”
In Wisconsin: Trump underperformed typical Republican candidates in the suburban counties outside Milwaukee, but he more than made up for it in more rural areas like Green Bay. And turnout in the state’s two Democratic strongholds, Milwaukee County and Madison’s Dane County, was smaller than in 2012. Trump won 63 percent in rural Wisconsin, 10 points better than Romney.
-- Our Dave Weigel spent the past two days in Kenosha, Wis., chatting with Obama voters who turned to Trump. He has several excellent vignettes: Bob Oldani, 71, cast his first Republican vote for president. “We need a change in everything, and I hope he can do it,” the retired machinist said. “This guy’s a billionaire, so I’m thinking he can say, ‘Hey, let’s just get the job done. I don’t need your money.’” What about the "Access Hollywood" tape? “As far as these rumors with the girls, and all of that,” he said, “if you do your job, who cares?”
BROOKLYN IGNORED MANY RED FLAGS:
-- Clinton’s loss in Michigan’s Democratic primary this March, despite every poll showing her ahead, should have been a bigger wake-up call than it was for her campaign.
-- Many Democrats are now complaining that they tried to sound the alarm, but their warnings went unheeded. Lots of Clinton allies are faulting the campaign for failing to develop a credible message for downscale white voters. They argue that she should have talked more about the economy all along, as Bill did in 1992.
-- Bill Clinton repeatedly pressed his wife’s strategists to do more, but his ideas were dismissed as outdated. From Politico’s Annie Karni: “Some began pointing fingers at the young campaign manager, Robby Mook, who spearheaded a strategy supported by the senior campaign team that included only limited outreach to those voters — a theory of the case that Bill Clinton had railed against for months, wondering aloud at meetings why the campaign was not making more of an attempt to even ask that population for its votes. … Bill’s [position] was often dismissed with a hand wave by senior members of the team as a personal vendetta to win back the voters who elected him, from a talented but aging politician who simply refused to accept the new Democratic map. At a meeting ahead of the convention at which aides presented to both Clintons the ‘Stronger Together’ framework for the general election, senior strategist Joel Benenson told the former president bluntly that the voters from West Virginia were never coming back to his party."
-- The Clintons themselves are not blameless. The farther removed they got from Arkansas, the more they lost touch as they entered the highest stratosphere of the New York elite. Bill stopped eating at McDonalds and became a vegan, a telling metaphor that David Maraniss highlighted in his brilliant piece yesterday.
-- Michigan Rep. Debbie Dingell writes in an op-ed for today’s Post that she repeatedly suggested Clinton was in trouble with working-class voters in her state, but she was brushed aside. “The ‘Downrivers’ — a collection of communities south of Detroit — mean auto plants and manufacturing with strong union membership. From the beginning, I knew the Downrivers would support Trump both in the Republican primary and in the general,” Dingell writes. “[President Obama] did save my state’s industry. But what many keep missing is that working men and women don’t see this in their lives. They feel the system is rigged against them. And those workers are white, black, Hispanic, Muslim — all races, creeds and colors. Economic and national security fears overcame all other factors when they walked into the voting booth.”
-- Joe Biden was also speaking publicly about the party’s problem. For example, in a discussion on Air Force Two with our Paul Kane last month, returning from a swing to Missouri, the vice president blamed the Democratic drift on what he described as the party’s fixation on “pedigree.”
HRC got crushed hardest in the very places where Biden was most often deployed as a surrogate, from Youngstown, Ohio, to Scranton, Pa. “What are Republicans gonna do for you, white working-class folks? Well, guess what, they ain’t gonna help your kid get to school, they’re gonna cut it,” he’d say. “They’re not gonna help you pay the mortgage. They’re not gonna help.”
-- There is a lot of soul searching going on inside the West Wing, and a real sense has emerged among senior staff that President Obama’s 56 percent job approval rating obscured his failure to connect with working-class whites after he got reelected in 2012. “He was insulated by a White House bubble and a staff with fewer ties to those parts of the country that were most alienated,” Greg Jaffe and Juliet Eilperin write in a deep dive. “His executive actions, essential to advancing his agenda in an era of gridlock, inflamed an increasingly partisan electorate. … Throughout his second term, Obama spoke only fleetingly of the economic pain in the country caused by globalization, demographic changes and technological advances. His second-term agenda was dominated by immigration initiatives and a sweeping trade deal with Asia.”
A missed opportunity: “Senior White House officials in January described ambitious plans to have the president speak more directly to Americans who disagreed with him. But those efforts were often sidetracked by higher priorities, such as the police shootings and protests this summer. … By early fall, Obama had shifted his focus to mobilizing young and minority voters. … His mocking of the billionaire as better suited to ‘The Bachelorette’ or ‘Survivor’ than the Oval Office sometimes made it seem as if he were also mocking Trump’s supporters.”
-- The White House focused too much on mobilizing Obama’s core base of supporters than persuading disillusioned white folks. A micro-targeted media strategy took precedence over speaking to the entire country. “In some instances, Obama’s strategy for dealing with the polarization in the country may have made the problem worse,” Greg and Juliet note. “To drum up support for its policies, the Obama administration often sought out new media venues to mobilize small, loyal audiences. After his State of the Union address, for example, Obama sat for interviews with enthusiastic and often fawning YouTube stars to talk about his agenda for 2016, the tax on tampons and why he preferred rapper Kendrick Lamar to Drake.”
As a senior administration official put it, “It would be a mistake if the Democratic Party didn’t use this as a sobering moment of reflection on whether or not we are connecting, or if we’re trying to connect in an outdated manner.”
THE AUTOPSIES ARE POURING IN:
-- Hundreds of think pieces and op-eds about Democrats turning their backs on folks who used to be central of their coalition have been written since Wednesday morning. Many more are on the way. Here are a few good examples:
- The Atlantic’s Ron Brownstein: “How the Rustbelt Paved Trump’s Road to Victory”
- William Frey of the Brookings Institution: “The demographic blowback that elected Trump”
- ProPublica’s Alec MacGillis: “Clinton and the Democrats were playing with fire when they effectively wrote off white workers in the small towns and cities of the Rust Belt.”
- The American Prospect’s Steven Greenhouse: “While the Donald had a powerful message for white workers, Clinton failed to convey a robust pro-worker stance.”
- Former MSNBC host Krystal Ball, a Kentucky native and failed Democratic House candidate: “There was an incredibly revealing moment at the DNC. In an effort to rev up the crowd one of the speakers called out: ‘Who in this room works with their hands?’ Silence. It was a lot more than one candidate who led us to this place.”
- Henry Payne, an auto columnist for the Detroit News, penned an op-ed for National Review about the potency of Trump’s protectionist message. He noted that the leader of the Democratic opposition to NAFTA in 1993 was House minority whip David Bonior, who represented Macomb County. And he argues that Trump’s broadsides against trade deals, while misguided, really resonated.
Democratic strategist Chris Kofinis, a former chief of staff to West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin, reflected on focus groups he conducted of undecided voters: “Many believed that their jobs and their communities were sacrificed in the name of corporate greed, globalization and trade – all to benefit a class of corporate and political elites who, in their opinion, could care less about their lives. … While these voters despised Trump’s offensive statements – a fact that the exit polls confirm – his economic message spoke to them in an incredibly powerful way. Clinton’s simply did not.”
-- Many people are also turning to book-length explorations of white disillusionment for deeper answers. These are five of the tomes generating the most buzz:
- “The Unwinding: An Inner History of the New America,” by George Packer (The New Yorker staff writer had a relevant piece in the Oct. 31 issue about “ Clinton and the Populist Revolt.”)
- “Hillbilly Elegy,” by J.D. Vance ( which I wrote about last month)
- “Coming Apart: The State of White America from 1960 to 2010,” by Charles Murray
- “The Politics of Resentment: Rural Consciousness in Wisconsin and the Rise of Scott Walker,” by Katherine Cramer
- “Strangers in Their Own Land: Anger and Mourning on the American Right,” by Arlie Russell Hochschild
WILL DEMOCRATS OVERREACT?
-- Many inside the party fear that there will be an overcorrection as 2020 approaches.
-- Not only did Clinton win the popular vote, but if marginally more African Americans had shown up in Philadelphia, Detroit and Milwaukee, the narrative now would be all about the emerging Democratic majority. Consider this: Black voters accounted for 19 percent of the electorate in North Carolina on Tuesday, compared to 23 percent in 2012. Clinton lost the Tar Heel state by four points.
-- The Latino vote might have been overhyped in the days before the election, but they still voted in record numbers. And four in five supported Clinton, according to two academics, who also estimate that between 13.1 million and 14.7 million Latinos cast ballots. That’s a significant increase from the 11.2 million Latino votes cast in 2012.
-- The electorate of tomorrow couldn’t win the election of today for Democrats, but that does not mean it will not win the election of tomorrow. Ruy Teixeira co-authored a famous political science text in 2002 called “The Emerging Democratic Majority” about how demographic changes benefit Democrats. In an interview last night, the senior fellow at the Center for American Progress pointed out that, because of demographic changes alone, if Democrats in 2020 garner the exact same share of every racial group that they got in 2016 they will win Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Florida – and come close in Arizona. That’s how relatively close the election was and how fast the complexion of the country is changing.
“The minority vote and the white college-educated vote would have been perfectly adequate to win this election … but the working class white vote did not stay the same,” he said. “If we assume that Trump has promised the sky to the white working class and if we speculate that he might not actually be able to deliver, there may be some opening to reach these voters if you take them seriously.”
-- In “Brown is the new white,” a book that has been widely read by progressive elites in Washington for most of the year, Steve Phillips argues that Democrats lost in the 2010 and 2014 midterms because they chased white swing voters at the expense of minorities. The African American consultant argues at length that turnout dropped off because minorities did not think politicians were speaking to the issues they cared about. “When you ignore them in a futile fascination with white swing voters, they will ignore you,” he writes. “The worst possible thing Democrats could conclude is that the country’s voters have moved to right.” Phillips quotes Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy saying after his narrow 2014 win: “The only middle-aged white men who voted for me were myself and my brothers. We have to speak to minorities. And we’re probably never going to have a majority made up of middle-aged white men.”
THE DEMOCRATIC CIVIL WAR HAS ALREADY ERUPTED:
-- Tensions erupted at the first post-election staff meeting of the Democratic National Committee yesterday. One guy named Zach reportedly “screamed” at interim chair Donna Brazile, eviscerating her for being “part of the problem.” “Why should we trust you as chair to lead us through this?" he said, faulting her for backing “a flawed candidate,” three sources told the Huffington Post’s Jennifer Bendery.
-- The opening salvos in the battle for the soul of the party are already being fired. “Much of the talk since Tuesday’s election has focused on selecting a new chairman, with the most frequently mentioned successor being Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), a leader of the Congressional Progressive Caucus who backed the primary bid of Sanders," John Wagner reports. He has the support of Sanders and some from the establishment wing.
Former DNC chairman Howard Dean also announced that he wants the job again:
-- Elizabeth Warren channeled Ted Cruz at an AFL-CIO meeting yesterday. During a question and answer session before a formal speech, one union leader said she feared that her members were uninspired to work hard this year because they’re seeing Democrats “rolling over” on issues they support, like single-payer health care. “I have been so frustrated for so long with Democrats,” the Massachusetts senator replied, according to the Boston Globe’s Annie Linskey (who was allowed into the closed-press meeting). “There are times, there are times when I think, the Republicans — when they’re wrong — they fight harder. For Democrats, we’re like the reverse. … I want to see my representative, and my senator, out there fighting even if they end up losing. I’d rather see them fighting!”
-- Sanders himself opened the door to running for president again in 2020 yesterday, when he’d be 79. “Four years is a long time from now,” the Vermonter told the Associated Press. “We'll take one thing at a time, but I'm not ruling out anything.”
-- The 2018 governor’s race in California may wind up being a significant proxy battle in the fight over the future of the Democratic Party. Yesterday former Los Angeles mayor Antonio Villaraigosa formally announced his candidacy by saying that he wants to appeal to those who have been “left behind” in the new economy, along with promising to repair the state’s deteriorating infrastructure. (Sound familiar? Trump made the same points…) He’s starting his campaign with an extended “listening tour” through the drought-ravaged Central Valley (not the population centers). He will face former San Francisco mayor Gavin Newsom, the current lieutenant governor and a longtime political rival, who announced his candidacy to succeed Jerry Brown back in February of 2015. The Asian state treasurer and a woman who used to be the superintendent of the state’s school system are also expected to run. The Los Angeles Times notes that billionaire environmental activist Tom Steyer is also considering getting into the race.
WHILE YOU WERE SLEEPING:
-- Nationwide protests against Trump spilled into a second night, as thousands of demonstrators gathered in New York, Chicago, Boston and other major cities to condemn the president-elect. From Matea Gold, Mark Berman and Renae Merle:
Demonstrations turned violent in Portland, with police describing them as a “riot.” Reports said some drivers were being attacked, and the cops advised protesters to stop the use of “illegal fire devices.” As the night wore on, vandalism increased.
In Oakland, Calif., protesters hurled Molotov cocktails, rocks and fireworks at police. Three officers were injured, and emergency workers extinguished some 40 fires set in the area.
About 5,000 gathered outside Trump Tower in New York, including Lady Gaga. (CNN)
-- Who is in control of Trump's Twitter account?
Last night, he posted a message lashing out at protesters and blaming the media:
Then, early this morning, the account posted this somewhat contradictory and certainly more conciliatory message:
Meanwhile, the sheriff of Milwaukee County -- one of Trump's most vocal supporters and someone getting buzzed about for a possible cabinet post -- weighed in on the protests this way:
-- Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly suggests in her forthcoming memoir that Trump may have been “tipped off” in advance about a question she planned to ask him during the first Republican debate. From our Paul Farhi: “Kelly apparently drew Trump’s wrath a week before the first primary debate. ... A segment on her show, ‘The Kelly File,’ had upset Trump enough that he refused to do a scheduled interview with her unless she phoned him personally. She writes that he told her, ‘I almost unleashed my beautiful Twitter account against you, and I still may.’” The day before the debate, Trump reportedly called Fox executives to complain about her, saying he’d heard her first debate question ‘was a very pointed question directed at him.’” The anecdote raises questions about who within Fox News was aware of Kelly’s debate planning and could have tipped Trump.
In another anecdote, Kelly indirectly suggests she may have been poisoned on her way to the debate, recounting the story of a “overzealous, suspiciously enthusiastic” driver who repeatedly insisted she get coffee. Within 15 minutes of drinking it, she was violently ill, vomiting so uncontrollably that she almost had to sit out. The episode reportedly spooked her enough that she shared it with then-Fox CEO Roger Ailes and “a lawyer friend.”
-- Late last night, as these stories popped, the Fox host tried to walk them back:
-- In her book, Kelly also offers a window into just how far Trump is willing to go in order to win favorable coverage from reporters. From the write-up by the New York Times’s Jennifer Senior: “He sent her notes, including an attagirl scrawled across her picture in The New York Times Magazine. Ms. Kelly and her husband declined an invitation to Mar-a-Lago, Mr. Trump’s fabled estate in Palm Beach, Fla. Then Mr. Trump tried, repeatedly and unsuccessfully, to persuade her to let him pick up the tab for the weekend she spent with two girlfriends at the Trump SoHo hotel.” “This is actually one of the untold stories of the 2016 campaign,” Kelly writes. “I was not the only journalist to whom Trump offered gifts clearly meant to shape coverage. Many reporters have told me that Trump worked hard to offer them something fabulous — from hotel rooms to rides on his 757.”
-- Trump’s lawyers filed a motion to delay his Trump University fraud case until after he is sworn into office, a reminder of the very unusual complications facing the presidential-elect as he shifts from being a businessman to commander in chief. From Roxana Popescu and Rosalind S. Helderman: Attorneys for Trump said he will be too busy with the transition to prepare his defense and asked Judge Gonzalo Curiel to postpone a trial until February or March. Curiel, the Indiana-born judge who Trump said could not be impartial because he is the son of Mexican immigrants, said he will likely issue a ruling by Monday.
-- The pro-Trump super PAC Great America will refashion itself to serve as the presidential-elect’s main outside ally, planning to pressure both Democrats and Republicans who try to stymie the new president's agenda. Matea Gold scoops: “The super PAC's new role resembles that of Organizing for Action, the nonprofit advocacy group that grew out of President Obama's reelection campaign. But unlike OFA, Great America intends to target the new president's opponents in both parties — potentially fueling tensions within the GOP.… ‘Suppose there's a battle between him and [Speaker Paul] Ryan or someone else,’ the group’s senior strategist Ed Rollins said. ‘We can go out there and do what’s in the best interest of Trump.’ The super PAC spent roughly $30 million on Trump’s behalf since it formed in February, and has amassed a list of 250,000 donors — which it now plans to tap to finance its efforts.”
GET SMART FAST:
- A federal grand jury indicted former congressman Aaron Schock (R-Ill.) on 24 counts, alleging that the disgraced 35-year-old — who lavishly redecorated his office in the style of “Downton Abbey” — defrauded the government of more than $100,000 with falsified tax returns and phony travel reimbursements. (Matt Zapotosky)
- The president ordered the Pentagon to target leaders of an al-Qaeda affiliate in Syria, deploying additional drones and intelligence to find and kill a largely ignored group that has emerged as one of the most formidable forces fighting Bashar al-Assad. The move underlines the extent to which Obama has come to prioritize the Syrian counterterrorism mission over pressure for the Syrian president to step aside. (Adam Entous)
- A DoD investigation found that an American drone strike believed to have struck Islamist militants in Somalia actually killed 10 troops allied with the United States. The incident underscores the complication of wading into a country still largely run by clan militias, Kevin Sieff writes.
- The last stockpile of food rations was distributed in Aleppo, making urgent the need for a temporary cease-fire to allow for the delivery of humanitarian aid. U.N. officials said “widespread starvation” is expected as winter sets in unless supplies can be delivered. (Karen DeYoung)
- Officials identified two more bodies on the sprawling property of a South Carolina serial killer who left a woman “chained up like a dog,” revealing that the victims were a couple who disappeared last year. So far, he’s been linked to at least five other murders. (CNN looks at his troubling past.)
- Yahoo discovered the hack leading to the biggest data breach in history NEARLY TWO YEARS before disclosing it this September, according to a new regulatory filing. The hack may have affected its sale to Verizon, Yahoo also acknowledged in an SEC filing. (Andrea Peterson)
- Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), incoming Senate minority leader, told labor leaders that the Trans-Pacific Partnership will never be ratified by Congress, declaring Obama’s priority “dead.” We already knew this, but now it's official. (Mike DeBonis, Ed O'Keefe and Ana Swanson)
- A federal judge ruled that Michigan state officials must offer bottled-water delivery in Flint to residents who can’t easily pick up their own from distribution sites across the city. Advocacy groups praised the ruling as a victory for residents who faced the exhausting, ongoing task of picking up enough bottles with which to bathe and cook. (Brady Dennis)
- Federal regulators rejected a request to postpone mandatory drug testing for more than 36,000 rail maintenance employees, after reports of substance abuse issues in the industry have “skyrocketed.” (Ashley Halsey III)
- Scientists have developed a new brain implant that allows paralyzed monkeys to walk again. The device uses a wireless connection to translate brain signals to the spinal cord, and researchers said they hope the system can be transferred to humans “in the next 10 years.” (Sarah Kaplan)
- In other fun science news, rats are ticklish. A new study on mammalian brains found that rats elicit their own version of laughter and perform joyful leaps after being tickled — even seeking out researcher’s hands for more. (New York Times)
MR. TRUMP COMES TO WASHINGTON:
-- Trump and Obama met for the first time at the White House, sitting down for a 90-minute meeting that both described positively. White House staffers told David Nakamura and Juliet Eilperin that the meeting was "less awkward" than they expected. Trump said he expects to “work closely” with Obama in the future and seek his advice while in the White House. “As far as I'm concerned, it could have lasted a lot longer,” Trump said of the meeting. “We discussed a lot of different situations, some wonderful and some difficulties. I very much look forward to dealing with the president in the future, including counsel.” Obama, for his part, described himself as "encouraged" by Trump's interest in working with him. “We want to make sure they feel welcome as they prepare to make this transition,” Obama said. “Most of all, I want to emphasize to you, Mr. President-elect, that we now are going to want to do everything we can to help you succeed — because if you succeed, then the country succeeds.”
-- Joe Biden and Mike Pence also sat down. The vice president stressed to his successor the importance of NATO, the White House said in a statement. He also invited the outgoing Indiana governor over to the Naval Observatory for a dinner with both of their families.
-- Michelle Obama and Melania Trump also carried on the song-and-dance of White House traditions past, meeting in the Yellow Oval Office Room of the White House for tea. From Krissah Thompson: “They talked about raising children and took a tour of the White House’s private residence before heading to the Oval Office to meet with the president and president-elect. The tour also included a visit to the Truman Balcony, which overlooks the South Lawn, and a tour of the State Floor of the executive mansion with the White House curator.” Melania will likely make another visit to the White House prior to inauguration to discuss everything from décor to which kind of soaps and deodorants they prefer.
-- White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough gave a tour to Jared Kushner, Trump's son-in-law.
-- Bill Clinton phoned Trump yesterday afternoon. “During the brief call, President Clinton congratulated Mr. Trump and wished him well,” his spokesman emailed.
WHO WILL RUN TRUMP'S WASHINGTON?
-- Trump is strongly considering tapping Breitbart executive Steve Bannon as his White House chief of staff, putting him in the running alongside RNC chairman Reince Priebus. From the New York Times: Priebus is said to be viewed favorably by two people especially close Trump: Ivanka and her husband Jared. Priebus is personally close to both Paul Ryan and Mike Pence, providing a critical bridge to establishment Republicans. Other names up for consideration: Kellyanne Conway, veteran campaign operator David Bossie and Corey Lewandowski.
-- Trump campaign manager Kellyanne Conway announced that she has been offered a White House job after a New York Magazine reporter suggested that she might not take one:
-- Sheriff Joe for DHS secretary? Well-placed sources tell Jerry Markon that Trump is seriously considering two Republican members of Congress for Department of Homeland Security secretary: Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Tex.), chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, and Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.). Sessions, who helped shape Trump’s hard-line views on immigration, is also under consideration for other top administration jobs such as defense secretary. Other names being floated for the Homeland Security post include Rudy Giuliani and Chris Christie. But both are former U.S. attorneys also reportedly interested in being attorney general, so they could view DHS as a consolation prize. Several government officials said they had been told that a more incendiary choice — ousted Maricopa County sheriff Joe Arpaio — is also under consideration.
-- House Financial Committee Chairman Rep. Jeb Hensarling, known for his outspoken criticism of the 2010 Dodd-Frank law, is being considered for Treasury secretary, per Elise Viebeck. The Texas congressman demurred when asked about a potential job in the Trump administration: “It’s nice to be mentioned, and I certainly want to help our new president make America stronger and more prosperous, but serving in his Cabinet is not something I’ve indicated an interest in and it’s not something I am pursuing,” he said. He added that he “looks forward” to working as Trump’s ally in the House.
-- Trump’s energy and environment transition teams are stocked with more experienced hands. From Steven Mufson: “The president-elect’s organization has turned to Mike McKenna for advice on the Energy Department and David Bernhardt, former Interior Department solicitor general under President Bush, on the Interior Department. David S. Jonas, a partner at Fluet, Huber and Hoang who has written about nuclear non-proliferation issues, is helping the transition for the Energy Department. Jonas and other transition people have been reaching out to Republicans, even those who had signed a letter along with scores of other conservatives [opposing Trump].” Ideological differences do not appear to be an issue for recruitment.
-- Tech billionaire Peter Thiel is being eyed for a potential senior role, too. Former steel executive Dan DiMicco, another Trump supporter, could find himself with a high-profile job. (Wall Street Journal)
-- HOW WILL HE GOVERN? The Post’s Marc Fisher spoke to people who have worked most closely with Trump over the years to determine how the businessman’s character traits might inform his leadership style in the White House:
ON WHOM HE HIRES: “Trump … likes to hire people who have opposed or blocked him. Such hires weren’t just put on ice; several became important figures in Trump projects. Trump sometimes brings aboard people who he thinks just look the part. In 1981, he saw a security guard at the U.S. Open tennis championships who did a nice job of ejecting some hecklers. Trump asked [an employee] to hire the man. ‘But you’ve never even met him!’ she protested. Trump said he liked how the man handled the situation.”
ON HIS LEARNING STYLE: “He’ll have someone read the reports for him and give them to him orally, real short,” Res said. “He brags that he’s never read a book all the way through. He doesn’t have the patience to sit in meetings. We always had a hard time keeping his attention during the prep for a deposition or something like that. The flip side is that he can scan something and get it quickly.”
ON HOW HE’LL GOVERN: "The new president will have to decide whether to maintain his fiery, divisive campaign rhetoric or work more quietly to cut deals, said [former Clinton chief of staff] Leon Panetta. Trump could ‘create a real crisis’ if he tries to build a wall and deport all illegal immigrants, Panetta said, or the 45th president could turn to the more conciliatory approach he described in his victory speech Wednesday morning. Trump ‘is not a Republican, and he is not a Democrat,’ Panetta said. ‘He really does have the opportunity to create an interesting coalition if he wants to take the time to do it.’”
-- #NeverTrump Republicans in the foreign policy sphere have begun softening their opposition – largely out of necessity to help the new commander in chief govern. From Mark Mazzetti, Helene Cooper and Eric Schmitt in the Times: “Like no other part of the Republican establishment, the party’s foreign policy luminaries joined in opposition to the idea of a [Trump] presidency. Loyal Republicans who served in the two Bush administrations … appeared on television and wrote op-eds blasting him. They aligned under a ‘Never Trump’ banner and signed a letter saying they were ‘convinced that he would be a dangerous president and would put at risk our country’s national security and well-being.’ The coming weeks will determine whether both sides decide they need each other. ... ‘Never Trump’ has become ‘Maybe Trump.’ But whether he would have them is another matter."
WHAT ARE TRUMP'S PRIORITIES?
-- Trump said his top three priorities as president will be border security, jobs and health care. "A lot of really great priorities. People will be very, very happy. Well, we have a lot," Trump said in Washington, shortly following his meeting with Mitch McConnell. "We're looking very strongly at immigration, we're going to look at the borders, very importantly, we're looking very strongly at health care and we're looking at jobs. Big league jobs." When asked if he would work with Congress to ban Muslim immigrants, Trump walked away. “Thank you, everybody,” he said.
-- The president-elect’s website was not letting visitors go to the page on which he outlined his proposed Muslim ban. But the campaign said his position has not changed, and it was live again by yesterday evening after reporters flagged it. “The website was temporarily redirecting all specific press release pages to the homepage. It is currently being addressed and will be fixed shortly,” a spokesperson said. (Jose DelReal)
-- Pat Toomey, who just won the most expensive Senate race ever, said Obamacare will repealed during Trump’s first year: "I think it has to get done in the first half of the first year, but I just want to be clear, it's not going to happen on the very first day,” the Pennsylvania Republican said in a radio interview. “We wouldn't have the votes to do it because we wouldn't have Democratic support. But we'll get it done. And with a President Trump in the White House, he'll sign a bill repealing it." (CNN)
-- Context: 47 percent said Obamacare “went too far” in the exit polls. Trump beat Clinton 83 percent to 13 percent among that group. (Chris Cillizza)
-- Conservative columnist Charles Krauthammer offers advice on how the new Republican majority can succeed: “During the campaign, Trump’s populism often clashed with traditional Reaganism. Two agendas: one ideological, one socioeconomic. They both need to be addressed. Onto the Reaganite core of smaller government and strict constitutionalism must be added a serious concern for the grievances of the constituency that animated the Trump insurgency, the long-suffering, long-neglected working class. The key to success for a Trump presidency is for the Reaganite and populist elements in the party to be willing to advance each other’s goals even at the cost of ideological purity. This will require far-reaching negotiations between a Trump White House and a GOP Congress. The Republicans have gained control of all the political branches. They have the means to deliver. They now have to show that they can.”
-- Greg Craig, Obama’s first White House counsel, summed up the feelings of many Democrats with this quote fo the Times: “Nothing with Obama’s name on it is safe. It will be: ‘Let’s pull out the list of Obama’s sacred cows and slaughter them, one by one.’"
-- Charles Koch praised the new Republican majority in a letter to donors and staff Thursday, signaling his network plans to play a larger role in policy as the nation prepares for a GOP-controlled capital. Network officials say they will aggressively fight efforts in Washington to increase government spending, even if the push comes from Trump himself. (USA Today)
-- The markets increasingly believe/hope that Trump will pursue a pretty conventional, pro-business Republican agenda. That's why the Dow Jones jumped to a record high yesterday. The index rose 218 points, or 1.2 percent, to close at 18,808. The broader S&P’s 500 stock-index also gained. (Ylan Q. Mui)
THE WORLD REACTS:
-- A senior Russian diplomat said Thursday that Russian government officials were in contact with members of Trump’s team during the campaign. From David Filipov and Andrew Roth: “The statement came from Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov, who said in an interview with the state-run Interfax news agency that 'there were contacts' with the Trump team. ‘Obviously, we know most of the people from his entourage,’ Ryabkov said. ‘We have just begun to consider ways of building dialogue with the future Donald Trump administration and channels we will be using for those purposes,’ Ryabkov was quoted as saying.” Spokeswoman Hope Hicks repeated the campaign's past denials.
From a former speechwriter for George W. Bush:
-- A senior Trump adviser said the Republican president-elect will NOT actually rip up the Iran deal — and suggested he may not move the embassy to Jerusalem — despite promising to: “Ripping up is maybe a too strong of word, he’s gonna take that agreement, it’s been done before in international context, and then review it,” said Walid Phares, one of Trump’s core foreign policy advisers, in a BBC interview. He also signaled that the real estate mogul may hold off from moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem immediately, and indicated he would make negotiating an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal “a priority right off the bat.'"
-- Trump’s victory is causing our European allies to rethink their security: “The surprise triumph of [Trump] is raising fears of a historic recalibration between the United States and its allies in Europe, threatening to upend the allegiances that became the cornerstone of post-World War II peace,” Anthony Faiola writes. “A big question now is whether Trump’s America could awaken the sleeping giant of German might. This nation, weighed down by the horrific violence of Adolf Hitler, has shied away from military strength since the end of World War II. But leading voices here are now calling for a fresh debate on beefing up capabilities and equipment. They join a chorus from Belgium to Finland, where the clamor is growing for a more independent security strategy with the dawn of Trump.… As with many Americans, the unknowns of Trump frighten Europe. 'If Russia reaches a great power understanding with Trump, Germany would need to reconsider its defense,' said Christian Mölling, [transatlantic fellow at the German Marshall Fund]. 'But defending against whom? Also the U.S.? You open a Pandora’s box.'"
-- Americans in Europe are struggling to explain Trump’s triumph to bewildered foreigners. From Karla Adam in London: “There is an intense curiosity and eagerness on the ground to understand how the nation that elected Obama could, just a few years later, choose Trump, or as the comedy writer Rob Fee tweeted: ‘How do we go from our first black president to a president endorsed by the KKK?’ Foreigners are curious, too, and ears perk up when they hear an American accent with its distinctive ‘r’s.’ ‘As expats, we are expected to be able to explain the actions of the president,’ said Lucia Lucas.… Sometimes strangers overhear her on the train, recognize her accent and launch into questions about U.S. politics. She hasn’t resorted to sewing a maple leaf on her backpack or — as some of her American friends have done — telling people that her accent is a Canadian one. But she has vowed to work on her German accent in hopes of blending in.”
-- Trump will immediately begin receiving the President’s Daily Brief (PDB) and he's going to get read-in on the so-called “crown jewels” (our most sensitive intelligence projects). “Trump will be briefed on matters such as signals intelligence collection methods of the National Security Agency, operations conducted by the Pentagon's Joint Special Operations Command and CIA overseas intelligence collections operations," CNN’s Barbara Starr notes. "The President-elect will also learn the specific sources and methods by which intelligence is collected -- some of the country's most sensitive information. This will also give him access to information on US spying operations by agents and operatives overseas.” Said one retired official: "The new guys may come in feeling good, but after they walk out of one of those briefings, their faces fall.”
TRUMP'S VICTORY HAS UNLEASHED A WAVE OF ALARMING NASTINESS IN THE HEARTLAND:
-- White students at a Pennsylvania high school called their black peers “cotton pickers” and began chants of “Heil Hitler," prompting the principal to send a letter to parents asking them to get their kids under control. (Lehigh Valley Live)
-- In DeWitt, Mich., white students linked arms to create a “wall" blocking a Latino student from her locker and telling her to “go back to Mexico.” (Lansing State Journal)
-- Students at a Minneapolis high school spray painted the walls of bathroom doors with the words “Trump train,” “white only,” and “white America.” The word “blacks” was x’d out, and minority students say they are terrified to go to class. (WCCO)
-- New York University said the word “TRUMP!” was spray painted across a Muslim prayer room in its engineering school.
-- A North Carolina Ku Klux Klan chapter is holding a victory parade to celebrate Trump’s election. A website for the group refers to it as a “Victory Klavalkade Klan Parade” and announces in all-caps that “Trump’s race united my people.” (The News & Observer)
-- A neo-Nazi website called the Daily Stormer is calling on its readers to “troll” liberals and Trump opponents in hopes of driving them to commit suicide. A post on the site contains a list of tweets from people who said they are frightened by the outcome of the election. In a separate post titled “Dear Liberals: This is Now the Era of Revenge,” the publisher himself encourages people who did not vote for Trump to commit suicide. “We beat you. We beat you badly,” he wrote. “And now that you are on the ground, we are going to keep kicking you in the head.” (Derek Hawkins)
-- New York Daily News writer Shaun King began chronicling these sorts of incidents on his Twitter feed. In the last 24 hours, he said he has heard of at least 50 stories of women having their hijab pulled off in public. (Police in Louisiana said one such incident was "fabricated," however.)
-- Muslim leaders asked Trump to repudiate these incidents and call for calm. (Reuters)
-- In synagogues across the country, Jewish communities gathered for prayer and healing events, less fearful of Trump himself than the anti-Semitic supporters his campaign has empowered. From The Atlantic’s Emma Green: “‘As a Jewish person, I’m not as afraid of Trump because his own daughter is Orthodox,’ one woman said, referring to Ivanka Trump. ‘This has exposed something we’ve been ignoring for too long,’ said another, speaking about the racist and sexist comments exchanged during the campaign. There was a discussion of the stages of grief and talk of making aliyah, or emigrating to Israel—not as a plausible possibility, but as a back-of-mind option in case things get really bad. And yes, people brought up Nazi Germany.’”
-- WaPo’s Michelle Ye Hee Lee recounts some of the abuse she received as a female, Asian fact checker in this year’s election: “An email calling me the c-word was the first thing I read when I woke up one morning. One night after dinner, my phone buzzed with a Twitter mention from someone wishing I were sent to an internment camp (I’m not Japanese). Many emails began with, ‘Ni hao’ (I’m not Chinese). Who knew that ‘happy endings’ at the local DC Chinese owned massage parlor could earn you a press pass and journalistic credential? …’ ‘Michelle, the sex workers in Times Square have more integrity about their prostitution than you have about yours.’ I didn’t travel on the campaign trail this election. I wasn’t blacklisted. No one booed or yelled at me. But I was berated almost daily for doing my job, and so were many other reporters on and off the trail.… I hope such comments were a product of heightened emotions as Election Day approached — not the new normal.”
HOW TRUMP WON:
-- Trump’s data team rightly forecast a different America than other analysts were predicting. From Bloomberg Businessweek’s Joshua Green and Sasha Issenberg: “Trump’s numbers were different, because … like Trump himself, [analysts] were forecasting a fundamentally different electorate than other pollsters and almost all of the media: older, whiter, more rural, more populist. And much angrier at what they perceive to be an overclass of entitled elites.” Eventually, Trump’s analysts became convinced that even their own models didn’t sufficiently account for the strength of these voters. They majorly reweighted their polling in the last week, because they thought pollsters had the wrong idea of how would turn out. “If he was going to win this election, it was going to be because of a Brexit-style mentality and a different demographic trend than other people were seeing,” Matt Oczkowski said. That mentality is what led to Trump to embark on a last-ditch campaign stretch into states such as Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Michigan that no one else believed he could win. (Check out The Post’s breakdown of all the states Trump was underestimated in.)
-- Clinton proved to be an unwitting ally: “Clinton was the perfect foil for Trump’s message,” said Bannon. “From her e-mail server, to her lavishly paid speeches to Wall Street bankers, to her FBI problems, she represented everything that middle-class Americans had had enough of.”
-- Trump wound up winning a 53 percent majority of white women. NYT’s Sheryl Gay Stolberg interviewed some of these woman who handed Trump the presidency: “Were they offended by Mr. Trump’s vile comments about women, captured on tape? Absolutely. Did they believe the women who came forward and said Mr. Trump had groped them? Not necessarily. Did any of it stop them from voting for him? No.Where those who voted against Mr. Trump saw someone who bankrupted businesses and ducked paying taxes, these women said they saw a man who built a real estate empire and simply followed the law. They saw a man who had raised and promoted a beautiful and successful daughter, Ivanka, and who let a smart and accomplished Washington strategist, Kellyanne Conway, manage his presidential campaign. In short, they embraced Mr. Trump’s sales pitch for himself.” “The fact that he said something crude,” Naples resident Sue Gauta said, “is not going to change my mind about the good he can do for our country.”
-- Military families were a critical part of Trump’s victory, according to an online Morning Consult/Politico poll: 57 percent of voters from military households cast their ballot for the real estate mogul, compared with just 40 percent who backed Clinton.
-- Trump’s campaign has often been compared to the Brexit referendum, but turnout was way lower here than there. Nearly 10 percent more people voted in the E.U.’s summer referendum than did this year’s presidential race, and a Pew Research Center report found the U.S. turnout rates ranked 31st out of 35 of its peers. (Adam Taylor)
-- European election observers who visited more than 900 U.S. voting sites on Tuesday cite a “number” of faults in America’s election process, noting malfunctions with electronic voting machines in 13 percent of observations -- one in eight votes -- as well as excessively long lines and structural hurdles that restrict ballot access. (Max Bearak)
MORE TAKES ON WHY HILLARY LOST:
-- “The causes of [Clinton’s] defeat will be debated for years, but in the first cold light of the day after, one big cause seems clearer than others: Her COMPLACENCY," argues Politico’s Todd S. Purdum: There was Clinton’s political complacency: She never so much as visited such usually reliable blue states as Michigan and Wisconsin after the primaries, scoffing at [Trump’s] claims that he could remake the electoral map.... There was policy complacency: Clinton never developed the kind of central animating idea or program that wins elections and can be communicated in a heartbeat. ‘Stronger Together’ is a slogan, but not a call to arms. Nor did she heed the signs. Last spring, the Bernie Sanders insurgency delivered a powerful piece of intelligence to Clinton world, that the status quo was not cutting it with the Democratic base.… She made some concessions to the Sanders-nistas in the Democratic platform over the summer, then largely reverted to form.”
-- Clinton’s highly-vaunted GOTV operation may have inadvertently turned out Trump supporters. From HuffPost’s Zack Exley and Becky Bond: “Volunteers for the Clinton campaign in Pennsylvania, Ohio and North Carolina have reported that when reminding people to vote, they encountered a significant number of Trump voters. Anecdotal evidence points to anywhere from five to 25 percent of contacts were inadvertently targeted to Trump supporters. The campaign’s text messaging GOTV effort may have been the worst offender. Volunteers reported as many as 30% of the replies they received from voters they were urging to get out were Trump supporters.” The efforts may have been a boon for Trump in battleground states, especially because the his campaign struggled to compete with Clinton’s ground-game operation.
-- The Clinton dynasty may not be over. The New York Post’s Emily Smith claims that Chelsea Clinton is being groomed for the New York House seat held by Rep. Nita Lowey: “Chelsea could run for the seat in NYC’s 17th Congressional District once Lowey, a 79-year-old respected career politician with nearly 30 years in office, decides to retire.… Lowey’s district includes parts of Rockland and Westchester counties and, conveniently, Chappaqua, the Clinton family home base.” The Clintons purchased a home next door to their primary residence this summer, intended for Chelsea, her husband and their two children.
SOCIAL MEDIA SPEED READ:
This young mom ran into Hillary and Bill Clinton on a trail in Chappaqua -- she posted this photo and some thoughts to her Facebook account:
Many on both sides saw a metaphor:
The Cavaliers visited the White House:
The Speaker showed off his balcony:
-- There are early signs of trouble for the press. Trump’s transition team did not allow a protective press pool to travel with him from Manhattan to Washington and attempted to restrict media access to his meeting with President Obama, breaking with tradition and stoking fears about press access in a future Trump administration. Former White House correspondent Wolf Blitzer rebuked the breach in press protocol on “The Situation Room” Thursday night, calling the lack of access “truly unacceptable.” And the White House Correspondents’ Association said the lack of a protective pool was “deeply concerning.” Trump spokeswoman Hope Hicks said there will eventually be a pool: "We fully expect to operate a traditional pool and look forward to implementing our plans in the near future," she said. "We appreciate your patience as we navigate the transition process." (Peter W. Stevenson)
Many reporters are being harassed online:
This comment from Ken Blackwell, the head of domestic policy for the transition, went viral:
MORE REACTION TO TRUMP'S TAKEOVER:
-- Aaron Sorkin, the creator of the "West Wing," wrote a message to his daughters on Trump's victory that went viral: "Grandpa fought in World War II and when he came home this country handed him an opportunity to make a great life for his family. I will not hand his granddaughter a country shaped by hateful and stupid men. Your tears last night woke me up, and I’ll never go to sleep on you again.”
-- Kareem Abdul-Jabbar writes about what it means to be a black man in Trump’s America: “After numerous police shootings of unarmed blacks every year, national Black Lives Matter protests, and unprecedented expressions of support from pro athletes, black Americans saw a glimmer of hope that white Americans were finally acknowledging the overwhelming evidence of institutional racism that had been glaringly obvious to blacks for many years. But that hope was misplaced. Instead, a majority of white America chose to swallow the blue pill, preferring to, as Morpheus explains in “The Matrix,” “wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe.” For African Americans, America just got a little more threatening, a little more claustrophobic, a lot less hopeful. We feel like disposable extras, the nameless bodies who are never part of the main cast. … Trump represents the last wisp of the rich white plantation owner holding on to the glories of the past.”
-- “Leslie Knope” (a Parks and Recreation writer) addressed Trump’s victory in a letter to America: “And let me say something to the young girls who are reading this. Hi, girls. On behalf of the grown-ups of America who care about you and your futures, I am awfully sorry about how miserably we screwed this up. We elected a giant farting T. rex who does not like you, or care about you, or think about you, unless he is scanning your bodies with his creepy T. rex eyes, or trying to physically grab you like a toy his daddy got him (or would have, if his daddy had loved him). (Sorry, that was a low blow.) (Actually, not sorry, I’m pissed, and I’m on a roll, so zip it, super-ego!)” (Read the full piece)
-- “To pin this election on the coastal elite is a cop-out. It’s intellectually dishonest, and it’s beneath us,” argues Roll Call’s Patrick Thornton. “We, as a culture, have to stop infantilizing and deifying rural and white working-class Americans. Their experience is not more of a real American experience than anyone else’s, but when we say that it is, we give people a pass from seeing and understanding more of their country. … When you grow up in rural America, denying rights to people is an abstract concept. Denying marriage rights to gay people isn’t that much different than denying boarding rights to Klingons. More Americans need to see more of the United States. They need to shake hands with a Muslim, or talk soccer with a middle aged lesbian, or attend a lecture by a female business executive. I’m from the Midwest, and I love the Midwest, but … we cannot fetishize it as ‘real’ America. What we are seeing is a reaction to a rapidly changing world.”
-- Republican lobbyist Bruce Mehlman produced a slide deck for clients to explain the election results. (Check the whole thing out here.)
At the White House: Obama hosts a breakfast to honor veterans and their families, then participates in a wreath-laying ceremony and delivers remarks at Arlington National Cemetery.
On Capitol Hill: The Senate and House are out.
QUOTE OF THE DAY:
“Look, the president’s views haven’t changed. He stands by what he said on the campaign trail.” – White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest on whether Obama thinks Trump remains temperamentally unqualified to be president
NEWS YOU CAN USE IF YOU LIVE IN D.C.:
-- Today’s Veteran’s Day forecast is gusty and sunny, per the Capital Weather Gang forecast: “Other than some gusty northwesterly winds … we have a decent and fairly sunny day. Hope you have off and can take in highs in the low-to-mid 60s while reflecting. If working, consider grabbing lunch outside, at least!”
-- “Trump win shakes up 2017 race for Virginia governor,” by Laura Vozzella: “As most of America was still absorbing the news that [Trump] had won the presidency, Republican Corey Stewart had already declared it rocket fuel for his 2017 bid for Virginia governor. Stewart, the one-time chairman of Trump’s Virginia campaign, said that despite the fact that Clinton beat Trump by nearly five percentage points in Virginia, Republican primary voters will reward him for being Trump’s biggest cheerleader in the state. And he figures the Trump administration will be in accord with his stance that illegal immigrants who have committed crimes be deported. “If you’re an illegal alien in Prince William County, I’d get out,” said Stewart. “It’s the very first thing I’m going to do with a friendly Trump administration. Now we’re going to find out where each and every one of these guys is, and we’re going hunt them down and we’re going to deport them.”
-- Anti-Trump protesters reportedly vandalized the Republican Party headquarters in Virginia on Wednesday night, throwing a pumpkin at the RPV building and damaging the windows and door. The doorbell was also broken, and graffiti was written on the walls. The Democratic Party of Virginia condemned the vandalism, but state Republican Chairman John Whitbeck pointed to their “hateful rhetoric” as “the cause of this violence.” (Rachel Weiner)
-- Which Washington school will Barron Trump attend? It’s been 35 years since a First Kid has attended a school other than Sidwell Friends, the private school whose student body has included Chelsea Clinton and both Obama girls,” Emily Heil writes. But some educational experts say it’s unlikely the younger Trump will be enrolled in a school associated with Washington liberal intelligentsia, citing private school options in Virginia instead. Others doubt the whole family will decamp from their New York penthouse, where he has an entire floor.
VIDEOS OF THE DAY:
Samantha Bee reacts to Trump's win. “Once you dust for fingerprints, it’s pretty clear who ruined America: white people,” she concludes:
Watch Obama's pool spray with Trump:
The White House answered questions about the meeting:
Ryan showed Trump the view from the Capitol balcony:
Mitch McConnell said he had "a first-class meeting" with Trump:
Here's how celebrities are reacting to Clinton's loss: