Today: Joe Biden 2020? VP hints at presidential run against Donald Trump

This is Mic's daily read on Donald Trump's America — and how it affects you.

Key Stat: 

3, the number of primetime rallies Trump will hold between Tuesday and Friday. 


— Today: Trump's "Thank You" tour will continue in North Carolina. Meanwhile, Joe Biden said he may run for president in four years.

— More: James "Mad Dog" Mattis will officially be announced as secretary of defense.

Even More: Republicans may not find unanimous support among their ranks in a push to repeal Obamacare.

— Where's Trump? Trump Tower in New York City, then Fayetteville, North Carolina, for his next "thank you" tour rally.

— Hillary Clinton's lead over Trump in the popular vote: 2.65 million votes, 2 percentage points greater than Trump. (Cook Political Report)

Why Biden's words matter

Moments before speaking to reporters, Joe Biden was presiding over the U.S. Senate for one of the last times. Senators voted to rename a bill focused on cancer research in honor of Beau Biden, the vice president's son who died of brain cancer at 46 last year. Biden teared up and folded his hands in front of his face as the change was made to the bill.  

Many have expected Biden's time with President Barack Obama to be the close of his political career, so the vice president surprised many when he said Monday, "I am going to run in 2020. ... for president." (Mic) While Biden later dialed back that statement  — "I'm not committing not to run. I'm not committing to anything. I learned a long time ago fate has a strange way of intervening." — the off-the-cuff comment shows a consummate politician and Democratic party leader devastated by Trump's victory.

Presidential ambitions were likely on Biden's mind as he thought about Beau, who urged him to run against Hillary Clinton last year, according to an account Biden leaked to the media. Biden wanted to run for president, believing he was the natural successor to Obama. And right up to the election, Biden was pushing Democrats to remember their working class base — a view that now seems clairvoyant, given where Democratic losses hurt the most on Nov. 8.

We further break down Biden 2020 in "The loyal opposition: Biden 2020" below. But before considering the merits or challenges of a Biden candidacy, recognize the vice president is a political leader who likely believes he would have beaten Trump. "I would take him behind the gym," Biden said of Trump on the campaign trail. Do not be surprised if Biden seeks another opportunity to do just that.

A Trump policy update

Trump's weekend tweet proposing a 35% tax on American companies that move jobs overseas could backfire, hurting the American economy. The Japanese once tried a similar brand of government guidance and found it stalled innovation. And using tax subsidies to keep jobs in the U.S., like Trump did with the Carrier deal in Indiana, can lead to smaller tax receipts and companies looking for ways to draw incentives from the president. (Mic)

On Monday, Trump met with former vice president and climate activist Al Gore at Trump Tower. His meeting with Trump, who has called climate change a "hoax," was "productive" and "sincere," Gore told reporters. (Mic) Gore has been a leader among efforts to push governments to fight climate change, making his meeting with a denier of climate change unexpected and giving environmentalists hope. (New York Times)

While House Speaker Paul Ryan said an "extended transition" away from the Affordable Care Act would leave "no one worse off," a repeal effort may have become more difficult. Republican Maine Sen. Susan Collins said Monday she would be uneasy supporting a repeal of the ACA or any privatization of Medicare. (Talking Points Memo) Because Republicans will only hold a majority of four seats in the Senate (assuming they win in Louisiana), any Trump-driven agenda will require nearly full support of Republicans.

A little extra on Obamacare: Trump won four of the five states — Florida, Texas, North Carolina and Georgia — that receive half of all federal health care subsidies under the ACA. (CNBC)

News and insight you cannot miss: 

More on James "Mad Dog" Mattis: Trump is expected to officially announce Mattis as his nominee for defense secretary on Tuesday. The Intercept recently uncovered audio of the "warrior monk" saying last year that the invasion of Iraq was a "mistake." (The Intercept) Mattis commanded a division of Marines during the 2003 invasion. Need a primer on Mattis? Mic has that.

— Remember when Trump said he could cut spending by eliminating waste, fraud and abuse? That may add up to more than initially believed. A Washington Post investigation reports the Pentagon found $125 billion in wasteful bureaucratic spending, then hid the evidence. (Washington Post)

— A Trump administration could simply reverse the decision to stop the Dakota Access Pipeline. (Mic)

— While Jill Stein is finding it difficult to force a statewide recount in Pennsylvania, a recount in Philadelphia found no voting fraud, and Clinton's margin only increased by five votes. (BillyPenn)

— Kellyanne Conway may run "a surround-sound super structure" outside the White House to amplify Trump's policy and political agendas. (Washington Post)

— New York City wants $35 million from the federal government to cover the cost of protecting Trump from Election Day through the inauguration. (New York Times)

A view from Trump country: Why Trump chose Fayetteville

In North Carolina, Trump knew he had to perform better than Mitt Romney had in the state's south-central counties to make up for potential losses in suburban areas Romney won. The blue-collar counties that ring Cumberland County, home to Fayetteville, and stretch toward Charlotte would be key to a Trump victory. The Republican campaigned in Fayetteville at least twice, with the March rallying featuring a Trump supporter sucker-punching a heckler.

Trump's message resonated in Cumberland and surrounding areas. The president-elect flipped three counties in the area that Obama won in 2012. Trump ran 4 percentage points closer to Clinton in Cumberland County than Romney did to Obama. Overall, Trump won the state by nearly double the margin Romney did four years earlier. Given how the Fayetteville region shifted in Trump's favor, it only seems fit for a "Thank You" tour stop.

Trump is also expected to highlight his pick of Mattis, the retired general, and promise to rebuild the military on Tuesday, another reason he may have picked Fayetteville, home to Fort Bragg, the nation's largest military base.

Same subject, two views: Differing opinions on 'Mad Dog' Mattis

Looking at the real James "Mad Dog" Mattis, Niall Ferguson in the Boston Globe. "Under Obama, the United States has lectured loudly and carried a limp twig. All that is about to change. Unlike Donald Trump, Jim Mattis speaks softly. And that big stick he carries is sharp, too. Take him literally. Take him very, very seriously." (Boston Globe)

The good and bad of Gen. James Mattis, Fred Kaplan in Slate. "But more important than Mattis' possible inadequacies as a manager are the questions about his suitability as a policymaker, and that's crucial for this administration because Trump knows nothing about defense policy. He will, therefore, rely heavily on the secretary of defense for guidance — which means, in this case, he'll be relying heavily on an all-too-recently-retired four-star general." (Slate)

The loyal opposition: Biden 2020?

A Joe Biden presidential candidacy would be met with mixed feelings, especially among Democrats hoping to retake the White House in four years. As speculation around a possible Biden run builds Tuesday, keep these facts in mind.

The good: While Biden has a long, establishment political career in Washington, his frank demeanor and connection to the working class has kept him from being framed as a Democratic coastal elite. Originally from Scranton, Pennsylvania, Biden was a longtime senator from Delaware. He pursued a short-lived bid for the 1988 Democratic presidential nomination, followed by a more serious effort in 2008.

Biden consistently speaks about issues important to Americans in blue states Trump flipped in his favor. During Obama's administration, Biden often found himself trying to translate White House policies to Americans disillusioned by the president's policies on health care or trade. Biden is supported by many in the Democratic party, including some who may have found Trump's policies toward the working class more appealing than Clinton's.

The bad: Biden would be the oldest president ever, at 78. He is also a close member of the Democratic establishment, which was brutally beaten in the 2012 elections, though Biden could argue he would have pursued a different message than Clinton. What may feel like an attractive candidacy now could feel different after Biden is out of the spotlight for a few years. And even then, Biden has not always enjoyed a high level of support among voters: His favorability rating was underwater many times in the past eight years.

Joe Biden presides over the U.S. Senate on Monday, Dec. 5.Uncredited/AP


Recount updates: Michigan GOP efforts to stall the recount have not been successful. (USA Today) Three voters in Florida filed a longshot lawsuit for a recount. (USA Today) The Wisconsin recount has grown Trump's margin of victory. (Wisconsin Elections Commission)

More recount: Broken polling machines have put votes in Detroit and surrounding areas in question, possibly preventing tens of thousands of votes from being recounted. Clinton won Wayne County, Michigan's largest, by about 37 points. (Guardian)

— The New York Times may have added 170,000 digital subscribers in the wake of the election behind a "hold politicians accountable" sales pitch. (Politico)

Public housing experts worry about Ben Carson's ability to lead Housing and Urban Development, a sprawling federal bureaucracy that he has no experience managing. (New York Times) And no, Mike Huckabee, Carson never lived in government-subsidized housing. (Mic)

— How millennial voters in Italy weighed in on a recent vote that led to the prime minister's resignation shows why the global anti-establishment movement is growing. (Mic)

"Why I will not cast my electoral vote for Donald Trump." A presidential elector from Texas defects, the second Republican elector from the state to say he will not support Trump. (New York Times)

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