December, 2016

California Defies Trump on Climate Change

New York Times: “President-elect Donald J. Trump has packed his cabinet with nominees who dispute the science of global warming. He has signaled he will withdraw the United States from the Paris climate agreement. He has belittled the notion of global warming and attacked policies intended to combat it.”

“But California — a state that has for 50 years been a leader in environmental advocacy — is about to step unto the breach. In a show of defiance, Gov. Jerry Brown, a Democrat, and legislative leaders said they would work directly with other nations and states to defend and strengthen what were already far and away the most aggressive policies to fight climate change in the nation. That includes a legislatively mandated target of reducing carbon emissions in California to 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030.”

Los Angeles Times: California’s “secession fever” is nothing new.

Quote of the Day

“You know, this is not Woodstock. It’s not Summer Jam. It’s not a concert. It’s not about celebrities. As Donald Trump tweeted himself, it’s about the people. That’s what we’re concentrated on.”

— Trump adviser Boris Epshteyn, quoted by Politico, on the lack of star power at the planned inaugural festivities.

Abandoned Christie Still Sees a Path to Trump

New York Times: “Once considered the Republican Party’s best hope to win the White House, Mr. Christie has endured months of humiliation after he dropped out of the presidential race and endorsed Mr. Trump — who mocked him as they campaigned together for eating too many Oreos, and passed him over as the vice-presidential nominee. Now, Mr. Christie has returned to New Jersey a lame duck in his last year to discover voters angry over his absences and a Legislature suddenly unwilling to go along with his agenda.”

“Mr. Christie still believes he has a political future nationally. He wants to write a book and his friends have been telling people in New Jersey that the governor expects Mr. Trump to eventually come around to him. According to their scenario, the White House management team of Jared Kushner, Stephen K. Bannon and Reince Priebus will be a disaster and Mr. Christie will be tapped as the skilled manager, like David Gergen, the former aide to Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan who swooped in to steady Bill Clinton’s administration after a raucous first year.”

Trump Rewards His Donors

Politico: “Donors also represent 39 percent of the 119 people Trump reportedly considered for high-level government posts, and 38 percent of those he eventually picked, according to the analysis, which counted candidates named by the transition and in news reports.”

“While campaign donors often are tapped to fill comfy diplomatic posts across the globe, the extent to which donors are stocking Trump’s administration is unparalleled in modern presidential history, due in part to the Supreme Court decisions that loosened restrictions on campaign contributions, according to three longtime campaign experts.”

Spicer Says Trump’s Tweets Will Be ‘Exciting’

Incoming White House press secretary Sean Spicer told WPRI that Donald Trump’s engagement with supporters via social media will be “a really exciting part of the job.”

Said Spicer: “I think that his use of social media in particular … is gonna be something that’s never been seen before. He has this direct pipeline in the American people, where he can talk back and forth.”

Some Democrats See Their Future In North Carolina

Politico: “The road to political morass began six years ago in North Carolina, when national Republican donors and strategists launched a concerted effort to create a bulwark against the emerging multiracial, center-left coalition that swept Barack Obama into the White House. They sank millions of dollars into cheaply bought local and state races, seizing control of the statehouse for the first time since a now-unrecognizable Republican Party that supported racial integration and voting rights for African-Americans held it during Reconstruction.”

“Because 2010 happened to be a once-a-decade redistricting year, the new Republican majority gerrymandered districts in which Democrats couldn’t win—which resulted in ever-more-hardline conservatives winning primaries in each election. A Southern economic powerhouse once known for a careful, if awkward, political balance (from 1999 to 2003, the state’s voters sent both John Edwards and Jesse Helms to the U.S. Senate) became a conservative lab experiment.”

How Analytics Failed Clinton

Charlie Cook: “The re­li­ance, or per­haps over-re­li­ance on ana­lyt­ics, may be one of the factors con­trib­ut­ing to Clin­ton’s sur­prise de­feat. The Clin­ton team was so con­fid­ent in its ana­lyt­ic­al mod­els that it op­ted not to con­duct track­ing polls in a num­ber of states dur­ing the last month of cam­paign. As a con­sequence, de­teri­or­at­ing sup­port in states like Michigan and Wis­con­sin fell be­low the radar screen, slip­page that that tra­di­tion­al track­ing polls would have cer­tainly caught.”

“Ac­cord­ing to Kantar Me­dia/CMAG data, the Clin­ton cam­paign did not go on the air with tele­vi­sion ads in Wis­con­sin un­til the weeks of Oc­to­ber 25 and Novem­ber 1, spend­ing in the end just $2.6 mil­lion. Su­per-PACs back­ing Clin­ton’s didn’t air ads in Wis­con­sin un­til the last week of the cam­paign. In Michigan, aside for a tiny $16,000 buy by the cam­paign and a party com­mit­tee the week of Oc­to­ber 25, the Clin­ton cam­paign and its al­lied groups didn’t con­duct a con­cer­ted ad­vert­ising ef­fort un­til a week be­fore the elec­tion.”

“In fact the Clin­ton cam­paign spent more money on tele­vi­sion ad­vert­ising in Ari­zona, Geor­gia and the Omaha mar­kets than in Michigan and Wis­con­sin com­bined.”

Wealth of Trump Cabinet Could Slow Confirmation Process

“The concentration of wealth among president-elect Donald Trump’s nominees is setting up an arduous and expensive Senate confirmation process that could slow implementation of the White House agenda,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

“The Republican has so far appointed five billionaires and half a dozen multimillionaires to serve in his administration. To win confirmation, they will be required to disclose their financial holdings and divest themselves of any assets that could present a potential conflict of interest with their new posts.”

Governors With Hostile Legislatures Still Have Options

New York Times: “With swift and brutal efficiency, North Carolina Republicans welcomed an incoming Democratic governor this month to an elite but hardly desirable club: the handful of governors around the nation who face veto-proof majorities of the opposing party…”

“Governors outgunned by veto-proof majorities in their legislatures have successfully used the bully pulpit of their office, going over the heads of part-time lawmakers to directly appeal to citizens.”

“Other times, governors have profited from a basic law of politics: They are usually more popular than legislative bodies, whose job favorability is little higher than that of perpetrators of Ponzi schemes. And governors in control of the bureaucracy of the executive branch have found that, like President Obama in the face of congressional obstruction, they can pull the levers of executive action to advance an agenda.”

Israel Claims Evidence of Obama-UN Collusion

Israel’s ambassador the United States told CNN that his country will share evidence with President-elect Donald Trump that the Obama administration was behind a United Nations Security Council resolution that condemned Israel’s settlements in Palestinian territory.

Said ambassador Ron Dermer: “We will present this evidence to the new administration through the appropriate channels, and if they want to share it with the American people they are welcome to do it.”

Tweets Add Intrigue to Trump Aide’s Resignation

“Twitter messages apparently posted by one of President-elect Donald Trump’s aides have added some intrigue to the sudden resignation of Jason Miller, Trump’s choice for communications director,” the Washington Post reports.

“A tweet from the account of A.J. Delgado, an adviser to Trump’s campaign and a member of the transition team, appeared Thursday with the message: ‘Congratulations to the baby-daddy on being named WH ­Comms Director!’ Delgado also appeared to call Miller ‘The 2016 version of John Edwards,’ a reference to the former U.S. senator and Democratic presidential candidate who carried on an extramarital affair with his campaign videographer. Two other tweets called on Miller to resign — which he did.”

“Delgado deactivated her Twitter account Saturday and could not be reached for comment ­Sunday.”

Trump Will Inherit 100+ Court Vacancies

“Donald Trump is set to inherit an uncommon number of vacancies in the federal courts in addition to the open Supreme Court seat, giving the president-elect a monumental opportunity to reshape the judiciary after taking office,” the Washington Post reports.

“The estimated 103 judicial vacancies that President Obama is expected to hand over to Trump in the Jan. 20 transition of power is nearly double the 54 openings Obama found eight years ago following George W. Bush’s presidency.”