Today: Trump's America is starkly divided. Are states too different for us to reunite?

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


Today: Former senator and astronaut John Glenn has died.

More: With all the votes in California counted, Clinton won more ballots there than all the votes cast in Michigan, Wisconsin and West Virginia combined.

Even more: Those jobs Trump "saved" at the Indiana Carrier plant? They may leave anyway.

Where's Trump? Continuing his "Thank You" tour in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Hillary Clinton's lead over Trump in the popular vote: 2.68 million votes, 2 percentage points greater than Trump. (Cook Political Report)

Are we united anymore?

According to new numbers released Thursday, of the nearly 14 million votes cast in the presidential race in California, Clinton won 8.75 million — more than all the votes cast in Michigan, Wisconsin and West Virginia combined.

On Thursday, left-leaning survey firm Public Policy Polling released quite the insight. "Only 53% of Trump voters thought California's votes should be included in national popular vote," PPP tweeted. That assertion comes from one poll, and it should be noted PPP said Hillary Clinton would win Michigan by 5 percentage points.

But let's explore the heart of this sentiment: Nearly half of Trump voters surveyed think California is not capital-A America.

With nearly 40 million residents, a growth of 5% in the past half-decade, California is the world's sixth-largest economy — to put that into context, if it were its own nation, it would have a larger national economy than France. It is No. 46 on the list of states least dependent on federal dollars, ahead of three much smaller east coast states and Kansas. California's median household income is nearly 15% higher than the national. The Silicon Valley housing bubble has spiked the average price of a one bedroom apartment in San Francisco to a whopping $3,590.

Consider how different this is from West Virginia, the state Trump won by 42.2 points, his widest margin nationally. Nearly one-fifth of the state's residents live in poverty, and the median West Virginian household makes $20,000 less than the average Californian one. More than a quarter of California residents are foreign-born, while just 1.5% of West Virginia residents were born outside the U.S. In California, 31.4% of people have completed a college degree; in West Virginia, that number is 19.2%.

With these different economic and social backgrounds, can voters in California and West Virginia be expected to think similarly? 2016 showed America is no longer "indivisible," but Trump's victory is only the latest datapoint in a string of statistics that suggest a West Virginian may find it hard to believe California is still America — and vice versa. 

Godspeed, John Glenn

In a beautiful obituary published Thursday by the Columbus Dispatch in Ohio, former Sen. John Glenn, the first American astronaut to orbit the earth, is remembered as a man of integrity and grit. "His legend is otherworldly and now, at age 95, so is John Glenn," the Dispatch writes, describing Glenn as "an authentic hero and genuine American icon." A New York Times op-ed by his former press secretary wonders if Glenn is the last American hero: "John actually personified an era ... It was a period whose values were forged during the Great Depression, tested in the bloodiest war and expressed most clearly at the personal level by the interlocking virtues of modesty, courage and conviction."

Few Americans today would describe America's politicians and leaders with words like "courage," "hero" or "icon." Before the 2016 elections, fewer than a fifth of Americans approved of Congress. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell recently had the highest disapproval rating in that body. As Trump nears inauguration day, he manages an approval rating of only 41% — and this in what's typically thought of as the honeymoon period of power.

News and insight you cannot miss:

 CNN with the headline of the week: "Carrier to ultimately cut some of jobs Trump saved." Carrier is looking to add automation to the Indiana plant where Trump recently touted his role in keeping up to 1,400 jobs from going to Mexico. That number was quickly contested by the workers union president, who said it was closer to 800 — a figure Carrier confirmed. Now, automation is poised to cut even more of the jobs Trump "saved." (CNN)

Trump's latest "Thank You" rally was relatively uneventful. The president-elect officially announced Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad as his choice to be U.S. ambassador to China. In Des Moines, Iowa, Trump reiterated his promises to build a wall along America's southern border and renegotiate trade deals. (KCCI)

Linda McMahon gave Trump's campaign $7 million. The billionaire and World Wrestling Entertainment co-founder will now run the government's Small Business Administration. (CNN)

— While Trump's pick for Labor secretary may be a millionaire, his wealth pales in comparison to the rest of the incoming cabinet. Andrew Puzder, Trump's pick to run Labor, also reportedly abused his wife in the 1980s. (Mic)

What Trump can and can't do on his first day in office: He cannot immediately withdraw the U.S. from the Paris climate change agreement, but he can cut funding to "sanctuary cities" for undocumented immigrants. (Mic)

— The record of the incoming education secretary is not rosy, with poor test scores and failing schools stemming from Betsy DeVos' push for charter schools and "school choice" in Michigan. (Politico)

— Stock markets continue to hit record highs following Trump's election, showing the business community is eager to enjoy Trump's promises of deregulation and lower taxes. (Reuters)

Democratic senators may shut down the government over coal miner benefits. Sens. Sherrod Brown of Ohio and Joe Manchin of West Virginia, both Democrats from states where Trump campaigned on a return to coal, have demanded an extension of expiring benefits for miners. Brown and Manchin face re-election in 2018 in states Trump won handily. (Politico)

How the Democratic party lost the white working class. The quotes are a must-read. (New York Post)

— Untruth of the day: The Grio posted a story Friday morning that claimed Hillary Clinton had secured "more votes than any candidate ever." Fact check: This is demonstrably false. According to the Cook Political Report, Clinton has received 65.5 million votes nationally. Obama received 66.9 million in his 2008 election victory. (New York Times)

A view from Trump country: Fake news and social media

The anti-fake news cacophony continues to grow. On Thursday, Clinton chose to weigh in on the spread of fake information on social media. "This isn't about politics or partisanship," Clinton said. "Lives are at risk, lives of ordinary people just trying to go about their days to do their jobs, contribute to their communities."

And fake news had some role in Clinton losing the election. A recent BuzzFeed/Ipsos poll found three-quarters of Americans who were familiar with the headline of a fake news story believed the "news" was true. Public Policy Polling found that 73% of Trump voters believe billionaire George Soros paid anti-Trump protesters and 63% believe unemployment increased under Obama — narratives propagated by fake news on social media. A Vice News report, based on data from MIT, found that Trump supporters on Twitter "exist in their own information bubble," with little follower overlap among non-Trump supporters. (To help you sort fact from fiction, Mic has a breakdown of known fake news sites and how to spot them.)

The yawning disconnect between Clinton and Trump supporters is already well-documented. And research is beginning to show that the latter, more conservative group interacts with more fake, incendiary information — driving clearly false perceptions about reality.

Comet Ping Pong, a Washington D.C. pizzeria, was the site of a shooting earlier this week. A man who believed Hillary Clinton was involved in a sex trafficking conspiracy at the restaurant drove from North Carolina to D.C. with a semi-automatic rifle. He surrendered when he realized the conspiracy was fake.Alex Wong/Getty Images

The loyal opposition: Bye-bye filibuster?

Well, not for now. But come 2018, Democrats are positioned for major losses in the Senate. The left will defend 25 Senate seats in two years (including the two independents who caucus with Democrats) while the Republicans will defend only eight. (Sabato's Crystal Ball) The larger problem for liberals? Democratic senators are facing election fights in 10 states won by Trump. Except for Nevada, Trump won all the states where Republican senators will be on the ballot.

This inbalance could give the GOP a filbuster-proof majority in the Senate come 2018 — an unprecedented level of powerful not held by either party since Barack Obama's first two years. Given the fact midterm elections tend to swing against the party in power — remember 2010? — Democrats may be able to maintain control of at least 41 seats in the Senate. But midterm elections also typically attract lower voter turnout, a boon for Republicans in 2014.


— From victory for Native Americans at the Dakota Access Pipeline to federal inmates no longer going to private prisons, 2016 saw major civil rights victories. Relive and remember them. (Mic)

Seven reasons President Trump is unlikely to fight legal marijuana. One reason: "Trump himself has said he supports medical marijuana and that states should handle the question of whether to legalize." (Time)

The silence of post-election Silicon Valley is deafening: "Mic reached out to Apple, Facebook, Twitter, Google, Slack, Reddit and Snapchat ... and asked if they plan to have a representative attend Trump's" proposed summit with Silicon Valley leaders. Facebook and Twitter declined to comment. Google, Slack, Reddit, Apple and Snapchat have yet to respond. (Mic)

— "Divest" is the word to watch for in Trump's Dec. 15 press conference. (Mic)

— Trump will continue as a producer on the Celebrity Apprentice. (Mic)

What you need to know about Jill Stein's cratering recount efforts. (Mic)

— "The president-elect is infatuated with martial swagger and Hollywood's Patton — which is why he's filling his Cabinet with top military brass." (Politico)

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