Today: What to know about "Mad Dog" Mattis and Donald Trump's "thank you" tour
This is Mic's guide to an America divided — and how it affects you.
Trump's week that was:
— Trump helped keep 1,000 jobs at a Carrier plant in Indiana, at a cost of $7 million to taxpayers, with some praising his efforts and others questioning how heavily the president-elect should interfere in the free market.
— Notable Trump tweets: Saying he will sever ties to his businesses. (Though it's still unclear how he plans to do this.) Saying the Somali-born attacker at Ohio State University should not have been in the United States. (The attacker immigrated to the U.S. legally.) Calling for people who burn the American flag to perhaps lose their citizenship. (Flag burning is protected by the First Amendment.)
Today: Trump has announced retired Gen. James Mattis as his pick for secretary of defense.
More: Democratic National Committee frontrunner Keith Ellison is facing stiff opposition from some key liberal constituencies.
Where's Trump? Back in Trump Tower in New York City. His tour will continue next week.
Hillary Clinton's lead over Trump in the popular vote: 2.56 million votes, 1.9 percentage points greater than Trump. (Cook Political Report)
After weeks of being hammered by New York and Washington pundits, Trump needed to find a more welcoming crowd. It was time to return to the state that secured his path to the White House — Indiana — on his way to rally with thousands of loyal supporters to kick off his "Thank You" tour in Cincinnati, Ohio. Journalists called the tour an "unprecedented post-election victory lap." Analysts wondered why he would campaign, instead of continue to make key government hires.
But this is classic Trump: Highlighting his Art of the Deal skill set while rallying supporters and ignoring details to build a broader narrative around "winning again." The media continued to give him a platform, broadcasting his speeches and the associated circus in prime time. "He understandably has a need to go out and get back to what brought him there — what won him [the] presidency," the head of the White House Transition Project told USA Today.
The beginning of the tour in Cincinnati shut down highways, signaling the coming of Trump. And the fact that it is a tour, not a one-day excursion, again speaks to the hold Trump knows he holds on the national conversation. Expect more, not less, "unprecedented" as we move toward the inauguration.
Speaking to his Cincinnati crowd, Trump announced he was selecting retired Gen. James Mattis as secretary of Defense, a move reported earlier in the day by the Washington Post. "Mad Dog" Mattis oversaw American operations in the Middle East and Afghanistan from from 2010 to 2013. He commanded troops in the first and second Gulf wars, spending more than four decades in the Marines before his retirement three years ago. (Mic) If confirmed, Mattis will be sixth in line to the presidency.
Mattis was considered hawkish toward Iran, pressuring other military branches to aggressively position U.S. forces around the Middle East. (Military Times) And as Mattis was somewhat awkwardly let go by President Barack Obama, his pick for Defense will also signal a substantial shift in strategy from Obama's administration. (Foreign Policy) Mattis faces a challenging global military situation: The civil war in Syria continues, and Russia is attacking the U.S. through cyberspace as our European allies are showing weakness.
What his proponents are saying: Mattis is a widely respected military leader, known also as the "warrior monk" for his study of military tactics and history. He would also be the first general in nearly 70 years to run the Defense Department, a welcome change in the eyes of some. Why his pick may be controversial: For Mattis to be confirmed, Congress would have to waive the rule that a former member of the military not serve as defense secretary within seven years of active duty service. That requirement is intended to keep control of the military in civilian hands. But Trump has long said he wants a general running Defense, and Republicans are likely to support Mattis.
Mattis is the sixth member of Trump's cabinet the president-elect has announced since the election. The president-elect is moving at breakneck speed compared to his recent predecessors; Trump has more quickly nominated cabinet members than any president since Richard Nixon, according to Fox News.
A brief return to the "Thank You" tour
Like it or not, Trump's pick of Mattis is another attempt to find an outsider within the establishment. Trump's treasury and commerce secretaries similarly have no government experience, while his education pick has spent years pushing for alternatives to public education. Yet all three are extremely wealthy and connected within America's financial and political establishments. With his vast military experience, Mattis may not be a complete outsider, but generals do not typically run the Department of Defense.
Those picks stand in contrast to this: "Trump came towards the assembly line and said hello to a different employee, an African-American woman, greeting her and touching her arm. Pence said hello to her too. She brandished a navy 'Make America Great Again' hat and they posed for photos, as she flashed a huge smile and gave a thumbs up. Trump then walked over to the assembly line, touching some of the machinery and saying 'wow.'" This populist-who-walks-the-factory-floor image in the Indianapolis Star comes from Trump's Thursday announcement Carrier would keep 1,000 jobs in Indiana.
As Josh Barro writes in Business Insider, this image and the president-elect's visit demonstrate "what Trump understands about the politics of jobs." "Trump was right to realize that what people really want is a job that pays well — not an opportunity to start their own business and not a government benefit to offset their stagnating wages." Debates over tax cuts and regulatory policy are Washington establishment speak that voters cannot connect with. And while the unemployment rate continues to drop, the broad economic picture feels inaccurate to many Americans. Trump saw people wanted a simpler message: jobs, jobs, jobs. And on Thursday, though the scale was negligible and merits debatable, it delivered Trump a nationally televised PR victory.
But a cautionary point for those impressed with Trump's Thursday victory lap: Some of Trump's policies would explicitly hurt the middle class. Cuts to Medicaid, tax breaks primarily for the wealthy, scrapping rules that guarantee overtime pay, loosening regulations on banks and more could all hurt the very voters cheering Trump's Carrier deal. (Mic)
News and insight you cannot miss:
— From a new survey: 19% of women who voted for Hillary Clinton said "their husband or partner did not vote in the 2016 election." And half of Americans feel negative about the election outcome. Much more from PRRI/The Atlantic here.
— Chris Christie is reportedly looking to run the Republican National Committee, and he may be getting support from Trump's team. (Politico)
— Mattis is a board member of a blood-testing startup currently under criminal investigation for misleading investors and regulators. While leading U.S. Central Command, Mattis urged the purchase and battlefield deployment of the company's untested lab equipment. (Wall Street Journal)
— With all this talk about Trump's cabinet, what about that still-vacant Supreme Court seat? The president-elect will nominate a justice to serve on the court in the new year. Mic breaks down Trump's potential picks.
— A Politico profile says Ivanka Trump may assume the role typically reserved for the first lady — and use it to champion liberal causes. "Ivanka, 35, Trump's avatar among the moneyed left-wing elite, is now poised to be the first 'first daughter' in modern history to play a larger public role than the first lady." (Politico)
— The attorney general of Michigan is suing to stop Jill Stein's recount efforts there, arguing counting the votes again is a waste of taxpayer funds. (The Hill)
— And before you hit the weekend, consider this piece on why the attack at Ohio State University is a test for Islamophobia under Trump. "The mark of a truly exceptional nation ... lies in its ability to endure horrifying acts of violence like Artan's attack, stand by its stated civil rights principles and rebuke casting everyone who shares his religion as criminal. There's little to indicate Americans will do this." (Mic)
A view from Trump country: How many manufacturing jobs have we lost?
When Trump toured the Indianapolis Carrier air conditioning plant and rallied in Ohio, he repeated a core campaign theme: I will bring back manufacturing jobs. We won't try to answer whether Trump can accomplish this — that is for others to endlessly debate. But as Trump tells his supporters he will usher in a "new industrial revolution," it is important to understand what has been lost, what Trump hopes to replace.
In Indiana, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Wisconsin — three of which went for a Republican for the first time since the 1980s — Trump won 75 electoral votes and nearly 11 million popular votes. These states, offered referred to as the Rust Belt, were once teeming with workers who had higher wages than the rest of Americans through dominance of the country's manufacturing sector.
But since NAFTA was enacted in 1994, nearly 1 million manufacturing jobs were lost in those five states — hundreds of thousands of them due to jobs moving out of the country. Pennsylvania lost more than a third of its manufacturing sector over the past 20 years, an industry that was already in decline when NAFTA passed. While this clearly shows the vast majority of Trump voters in these states were not former factory workers, the scale of that decline guaranteed ill will between voters and politicians, especially those figures who continued to espouse free trade, like Clinton.
The scale of this loss also demonstrates why the decline was a winning issue for Trump among some working-class, typically Democratic voters. Clinton won union households, 18% of the electorate, nationwide by 9 percentage points, according to exit polls. But that was the smallest margin for a Democrat since Ronald Reagan beat Walter Mondale. Obama won union households by 18 points in 2012.
Same subject, two views: Privative Medicare?
How Trump, GOP Will Maul Medicare, John Wasik in Forbes: "Medicare privatization will bamboozle American retirees because there's absolutely no evidence that the scheme will lower costs or improve care. It's all based on an untried and unproven theory that 'free market' economics will magically lower costs for everyone and change the health care system overnight." (Forbes)
Paul Ryan's Medicare Reform Plan, House Republicans in A Better Way. "Beginning in 2024, Medicare beneficiaries would be given a choice of private plans competing alongside the traditional [Medicare program]. Our plan would ensure no disruptions in the Medicare FFS program for those in or near retirement, while also allowing these grandfathered individuals the choice to enroll in the new premium support program. Medicare would provide a premium support payment either to pay for or offset the premium of the plan chosen by the beneficiary, depending on the plan's cost." (A Better Way)
The loyal opposition: Keith Ellison cannot shake his critics
The Minnesota Congressman itching to become head of the Democratic National Committee has faced heated criticism from conservatives. But Ellison's increasingly larger problem is the blowback he has seen from key Democratic constituencies.
The day after Ellison released his plan highlighting a 3,143-county strategy Democrats could pursue to reclaim nationwide support, the New York Times and Atlantic both published pieces outlining concerns liberal constituencies have with Ellison.
Ellison, a Muslim African-American, helped organize a delegation to the Nation of Islam's 1995 Million Man March in Washington, D.C. He has also defended Louis Farrakhan, the group's oft-embattled leader. He also has been denounced by the Anti-Defamation League, which called recently surfaced comments from 2010 about Israel "disqualifying."
In an attempt to reset the narrative about him, Ellison has an op-ed in Friday's Washington Post. He writes, "I should have listened more and talked less." And while Ellison issues some apology and explanation for his past stances, he reaffirms his belief that he has the necessary vision for the Democratic party: "If we are going to move the country forward, we need an agenda that brings working Americans together? — ?not one that scapegoats our neighbors because they pray to a different God or their skin is a different color."
Snippets for your weekend
— Hillary Clinton only saw more news coverage than Donald Trump when "emails were in the news and she fainted." (MonkeyCage)
— Trump's administration is one of the richest in history. Why does that matter? "A wide body of academic research suggests that as wealth rises, people become less empathetic toward poorer and middle-class folk." (Mic)
— The leaders of California's three higher education systems called on Trump to not deport their undocumented students.(EdSource)
— "What matters now, far more than the victories by Brexit and Trump, is how the elites react." Stephen Hawking describes the need for elites to understand why they have been so soundly rejected — and how they must respond. (Guardian)
— Trump's pick to run the Department of Treasury "has a long history of coming out ahead, even in questionable deals." (ProPublica)
— Trump's America may see the rollback of recent pro-abortion laws and decisions. Reproductive rights groups are not sure they will preserve their progress, but they do vow to fight. (Mic)
— "I would rather lose than win the way you guys did." Top Trump and Clinton strategists spar at Harvard. It got ugly. (Mic)
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