Team Trump is already filled with Washington insiders (CNN link): To shape his administration, President-elect Donald Trump is drawing squarely from the "swamp" he has pledged to drain. Trump's transition team is staffed with long-time Washington experts and lobbyists from K Street, think tanks and political offices.
It's a far cry from Trump's campaign, which ended only Tuesday night, and message that he would "drain the swamp" in Washington. He has advocated congressional term limits and proposed a "five-point plan for ethics reform" that included strengthening restrictions on lobbying, including five-year bans for members and staff of the executive branch and Congress from lobbying, and expanding the definition of lobbyist to prevent more revolving door activity.
But he has so far fully embraced lobbyists within his transition, and all signs point to a heavy influence from longtime Washington Republican circles on his transition. And with Trump mostly skipping detailed policy proposals during his campaign, they can have a powerful impact on his agenda.
Leaders in his transition include former Rep. Mike Rogers, former Reagan Attorney General and Heritage Foundation fellow Edwin Meese, former President of Heritage Edwin Feulner, former Bush administration official and lobbyist Christine Ciccone, former Dick Cheney adviser Ado Machida, former Senate Budget Committee staffer Eric Ueland and Sen. Jeff Sessions' former chief of staff Rick Dearborn. The effort is chaired by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Trump counts former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and Sessions as close advisers.
Mod: If you want real outsiders, you only need to head south from WDC a little to North Carolina. There they are planning on having a celebration of sorts.
The Ku Klux Klan says it will hold a Trump victory parade in North Carolina (Los Angeles Times link): One of the largest Ku Klux Klan groups in the country has announced a parade to celebrate President-elect Donald Trump's win.
The Loyal White Knights of Pelham, N.C., says on its website that its parade will take place on Dec. 3. "TRUMP = TRUMP'S RACE UNITED MY PEOPLE," says the website's front page. No time or location for the event is listed, and a phone call to the number on its website was not returned.
The group has between 150 and 200 members and is "perhaps the most active Klan group in the United States today," according to the Anti-Defamation League. Last year, it was part of a South Carolina protest against the Confederate flag's removal from the state Capitol.
Several Klan groups endorsed Trump. Well-known former Klan leader David Duke, who on Tuesday lost a Senate bid in Louisiana, was also a vocal supporter.
Mod: Of course, if the United States was a real democracy we wouldn't be having this conversation.
Latest Popular Vote Results 2016: Hillary Clinton Has Almost 400,000 More Votes Than Donald Trump (International Business Times link): As Republican and president-elect Donald Trump continues to transition toward his first term in the Oval Office, his now former opponent Hillary Clinton has opened up an almost 400,000-vote lead in the latest reported popular vote totals.
Democratic nominee Clinton, whose failure to capture the so-called “blue wall” of Midwest states like Wisconsin, Iowa, Michigan and Ohio ultimately handed Trump a 290-232 electoral college victory. But she currently leads the popular vote 60,467,245 to Trump’s 60,071,650 for a difference of 395,595, or 47.7 percent to 47.4 percent, respectively, according to CBS News, CNN, and NBC News.
Mod: Instead we have something called the Electoral College. A venerable institution that has its origins in the politics of slavery times. Believe it or not. So just how wild is that? No wonder the Klan is planning on throwing a parade.
Electoral College is ‘vestige’ of slavery, say Constitutional scholars (PBS link): When the founders of the U.S. Constitution in 1787 considered whether America should let the people elect their president through a popular vote, James Madison said that “Negroes” in the South presented a “difficulty … of a serious nature.”
During that same speech on Thursday, July 19, Madison instead proposed a prototype for the same Electoral College system the country uses today. Each state has a number of electoral votes roughly proportioned to population and the candidate who wins the majority of votes wins the election.
Since then, the Electoral College system has cost four candidates the race after they received the popular vote — most recently in 2000, when Al Gore lost to George W. Bush. Such anomalies and other criticisms have pushed 10 Democratic states to enroll in a popular vote system. And while there are many grievances about the Electoral College, one that’s rarely addressed is one dug up by an academic of the Constitution: that it was created to protect slavery, planting the roots of a system that’s still oppressive today.
“It’s embarrassing,” said Paul Finkelman, visiting law professor at University of Saskatchewan in Canada. “I think if most Americans knew what the origins of the Electoral College is, they would be disgusted.”
Madison, now known as the “Father of the Constitution,” was a slave-owner in Virginia, which at the time was the most populous of the 13 states if the count included slaves, who comprised about 40 percent of its population.
During that key speech at the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia, Madison said that with a popular vote, the Southern states, “could have no influence in the election on the score of Negroes.”
Madison knew that the North would outnumber the South, despite there being more than half a million slaves in the South who were their economic vitality, but could not vote. His proposition for the Electoral College included the “three-fifths compromise,” where black people could be counted as three-fifths of a person, instead of a whole. This clause garnered the state 12 out of 91 electoral votes, more than a quarter of what a president needed to win.
“None of this is about slaves voting,” said Finkelman, who wrote a paper on the origins of the Electoral College for a symposium after Gore lost. “The debates are in part about political power and also the fundamental immorality of counting slaves for the purpose of giving political power to the master class.”
He said the Electoral College’s three-fifths clause enabled Thomas Jefferson, who owned more than a hundred slaves, to beat out in 1800 John Adams, who was opposed to slavery, since the South had a stronghold.
Mod: The three-fifths equation is kind of interesting. That is just about the Electoral College/Popular Vote ratio California voters enjoy when compared to the voters of places like Nebraska. Get out your calculators and see if I'm not right. Speaking of slavery, can Donald Trump ever get himself enough of that Vladimir Putin?
White House Reviewing Democratic Coalition Report On Trump’s Russian Ties That FBI Ignored (The Huffington Post link): President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden are reviewing the Democratic Coalition’s investigative report highlighting 10 “clear links” that the FBI failed to investigate about our President-elect’s business ties to Russia, and to the Putin regime. It’s named “The Dworkin Report.”
“The FBI missed at least 10 key connections between President-elect Trump and Russia when they conducted their investigation and concluded that our President-elect had no links to the country,” said Scott Dworkin, Senior Advisor to the Democratic Coalition and author of the report. “It is imperative that the American people be made aware of this information.”
The Dworkin Report shows that Donald Trump has incorporated almost 250 registered businesses in Russia. This hard evidence directly contradicts Trump’s prior statements about having no business ties to Russia over the summer.
Additionally, the evidence shows that Trump has travelled to Russia dating back to 1987, before the end of the Soviet Union.
In particular, a visit in 2010 included a tour of St. Petersburg’s Hermitage Museum led by a Russian government official of sufficient ranking, that he earned a personal photo and award from Vladimir Putin earlier this year.
The Democratic Coalition also revealed a 2013 video recorded interview with Donald Trump to MSNBC’s Thomas A. Roberts - which he has confirmed as authentic - where he claimed twice to have a relationship with Putin.
Also in 2012, Donald Trump Jr. told Latvian interviewers in a video recorded interview, that he had been to Russia many times and that the Trump Organization has a significant business there.
Mod: The United States has never had a president suspected of being the agent of a hostile foreign power before. It should be quite a novel experience.