Time Magazine announced Wednesday morning on NBC’s Today Show that President-elect, Donald Trump, was their pick for “Person of the Year.”

    Washington Examiner reports, “Nancy Gibbs, editor of Time, said the choice was “straightforward,” given Trump’s unprecedented and disruptive campaign for president.

    “When have we ever seen a single individual who has so defied expectations, broken the rules, violated norms, beaten not one but two political parties on the way to winning an election that he entered with 100 to 1 odds against him?” she said. “I don’t think that we have ever seen one person operating in such an unconventional way have an impact on the events of the year like this.”

    In an online summary at Time.com, the magazine said, “For reminding America that demagoguery feeds on despair and that truth is only as powerful as the trust in those who speak it, for empowering a hidden electorate by mainstreaming its furies and live-streaming its fears, and for framing tomorrow’s political culture by demolishing yesterday’s, Donald Trump is Time’s 2016 Person of the Year.”

    The choice is generally in line with Time choosing a newly elected president as its pick.

    In 2015, Trump publicly railed against the magazine for not naming him its person of the year, instead choosing German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

    “I told you Time Magazine would never pick me as person of the year despite being the big favorite,” Trump wrote on Twitter at the time. “They picked person who is ruining Germany.”

    Get more updates here.

    President-elect Donald Trump will be heading to Baton Rouge, Louisiana, to help boost the momentum for State Treasurer John Kennedy in the state’s Senate runoff election.

    The Hill reports, “State Treasurer John Kennedy (R) will face Foster Campbell (D) in the runoff.  If Kennedy wins, the Republicans will boost their Senate ranks to 52 seats, while Democrats currently hold 48 seats.
    Trump won Louisiana by 20 points in the November presidential election and 60 percent of the state’s electorate voted for one of the Republican Senate candidates in the state’s jungle primary.

    Trump and Vice President-elect Mike Pence have endorsed Kennedy’s bid and the Indiana governor stumped with the GOP Senate candidate over the weekend in New Orleans.

    Members of Louisiana’s congressional delegation, including House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, are also expected at the Trump event.”

    Get more updates here.

      President-elect Donald Trump announced on Twitter that he will be canceling the building of a new 747 Air Force One. He believes the $4 billion cost is outrageous.

      Politico reports, “Later Tuesday morning, Trump spoke briefly with the assembled media in the lobby of Trump Tower, where he elaborated on his Twitter post decrying Boeing’s Air Force One project.

      “The plane is totally out of control. It’s going to be over $4 billion for Air Force One program and I think it’s ridiculous,” he said. “I think Boeing is doing a little bit of a number. We want Boeing to make a lot of money, but not that much money.”

      Boeing did not immediately return a request for comment on Trump’s social media post.

      The Pentagon announced the deal with Boeing last January, awarding an initial contract worth nearly $26 million for initial research for the new planes, according to Reuters. The Defense Department awarded an additional $127.3 million contract in July to develop interior, power and electronic specifications for the next-generation aircraft, according to FlightGlobal, a publication that covers the aviation industry.

      The Air Force said previously that it had earmarked $1.65 billion for two new presidential aircraft, which will be four-engine Boeing 747-8s.

      In addition to the presidential aircraft that Trump will fly on as president, the Manhattan billionaire maintains a personal fleet that includes two planes and three helicopters. The New York Times reported last April that four of Trump’s five aircraft are more than 20 years old, which is rare for someone of the president-elect’s wealth. According to the Times, Trump’s largest, and favorite, aircraft from the fleet is his 1991 Boeing 757, which has brushed 24-karat gold fixtures and leather toilet seats.

      President Barack Obama voiced a similar concern shortly after taking office in 2009, when Reuters reported that he told a group of lawmakers that costs for a Lockheed-Martin program to replace the presidential helicopter fleet had “gone amok.” He told that group, gathered at the White House, that reining in military spending would be “one of our highest priorities” and added that “the helicopter I have now seems perfectly adequate to me.”

      Get more updates here.

      President-elect Donald Trump’s first big deal, the agreement he and VP-elect Mike Pence made with Carrier Corporation, has receive positive support from Americans.

      The Politico/Morning Consult poll shows, “Voters surveyed overwhelmingly view Trump’s negotiations with Carrier — which resulted in about 1,000 manufacturing jobs at the heating, ventilation and air conditioning company remaining in Indiana rather than moving to Mexico — as an appropriate use of presidential prerogative. And a majority of voters say the Carrier deal gives them a more favorable view of Trump, though his overall favorability ratings were virtually unchanged from mid-November.

      While some conservatives and conservative groups — including The Wall Street Journal’s editorial board and former vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin — have decried the Carrier deal as “crony capitalism,” the Politico/Morning Consult poll shows it’s a political winner for Trump. Sixty percent of voters say Carrier’s decision to keep some manufacturing jobs in Indiana, where Pence is still serving as governor, gives them a more favorable view of Trump. That includes not only 87 percent of self-identified Republicans, but also 54 percent of independents and 40 percent of Democrats.

      Only 9 percent say it makes them view Trump less favorably, while 22 percent say it doesn’t have an impact either way.”

      See more on the poll here.

        President-Elect Donald Trump spoke with Taiawanese President Tsai Ing-wen Friday night, a move which Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich openly praised.

        Politico reports, “The former speaker, a close adviser to the president-elect throughout his campaign, said Trump was right to take the Taiwanese president’s call, as he would be to communicate with the democratically-elected leader of any nation. The Manhattan billionaire pledged during his campaign to take a stronger stance with China, stopping the flow of American jobs there and addressing its practice of currency manipulation. Trump’s Friday phone call was a first step in resetting the U.S.-China relationship on better terms.

        “I think that for a long time we were intimidated by Beijing, and I think we were in part patient because we had this theory that they would gradually mellow and they would become more democratic and freer and more open. Well, that’s not happening right now,” Gingrich said. “We’re not the enemies of China. Let’s be very careful. We don’t want to start some kind of cold war with Beijing. But I think we’re going to have very tough negotiations and I think we have to try to understand each other but that means the Chinese have to try to understand us as much as we have to try to understand them.”

        Pushing back against suggestions that Trump’s phone call represented a haphazard approach to foreign policy, Gingrich said the president-elect is “winging [it] within some very core principles.” The former speaker urged Trump to continue to break with diplomatic norms where he sees fit and called on him to reform the State Department to more closely align with American values.

        “Somehow it’s okay with the state department to talk to any dictator on the planet, but an elected leader of a democracy, boy, that’s really dangerous,” Gingrich said. “Which is why, frankly, I think the next secretary of state has to spend half their time cleaning out the state department and the other half their time negotiating with the world.”

        Get more updates here.

        President Barrack Obama put a halt on the Dakota Access Pipeline- A decision which Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders was 100% in favor of.

        The Hill reports, “Sanders, who has been an outspoken opponent of the pipeline, shared his message on Facebook.

        “I appreciate very much President Obama listening to the Native American people and millions of others who believe this pipeline should not be built,” the post read.

        “In the year 2016, we should not continue to trample on Native American sovereignty. We should not endanger the water supply of millions of people. We should not become more dependent on fossil fuel and accelerate the planetary crisis of climate change. Our job now is to transform our energy system away from fossil fuels, not to produce more greenhouse gas emissions.”

        Feds denied the final permits required for the Dakota Access Pipeline project in North Dakota on Sunday.

        The Army Corps of Engineers announced it would instead conduct an environmental impact review of the 1,170-mile pipeline project and determine if there are other ways to route it to avoid a crossing on the Missouri River.

        “Although we have had continuing discussion and exchanges of new information with the Standing Rock Sioux and Dakota Access, it’s clear that there’s more work to do,” Army Assistant Secretary for Civil Works Jo-Ellen Darcy said in a statement.

        “The best way to complete that work responsibly and expeditiously is to explore alternate routes for the pipeline crossing.”

        Sanders is one of many on the left who have praised the federal government since the announcement.”

        Get more updates here.

        Just yesterday, the Army sided with the radical left’s out-of-touch stance on DAPL by agreeing to reroute the much-needed pipeline.

        This decision was irrational, politically-motivated, and harmful to thousands of families whose lives could be improved by the project’s supply of jobs and the generation of tax revenue for struggling communities.

        Over 7 years and millions of dollars were spent consulting with tribes and other stakeholders, getting approval from environmental bureaucracies, and coordinating with the governments of the four states involved in the current route. It took negotiating with local and federal officials on every level, working painstakingly with the Army Corp of Engineers, and the Department of Interior to identify the safest, most environmentally friendly route available. It involved developing and reviewing more than 1,200 pages of environmental and cultural analysis, consulting with 55 Native American tribes nearly 400 times, and successfully defending its route not once, but twice.

        By the Army Corp of Engineers’ review and admission, Dakota Access did everything right–every permit was approved and every hoop had been jumped through. And now they are going against their own words to reject the final easement of this project? It makes no sense.

        This is the work of political activists hellbent on preventing American energy independence. And this decision only serves to benefit elite environmental lawyers and bureaucrats while American families struggle.

        Rejecting and delaying DAPL is not only an insult to the thousands of struggling families who could be employed by the pipeline, or to the hundreds of people who have worked to comply with the burdensome regulations, or the four state governments who approved the route, it is an insult to the rule of law.    

        Though it seems DAPL may have lost this round, the Pipeline still has a chance with President-elect Trump.

        Once in office, President Trump will have the authority to push through the Dakota route as it stands by approving the final easement.

        With a bold new plan for infrastructure and a desire to get America back to work, it would be a great move for the President to get the ball rolling by approving a project that does just that.

        In addition to creating tens of thousands of much-needed jobs, the project would also generate an estimated $50 million in revenue from income and sales taxes during construction and the pipeline will continue to generate an estimated $124 million annually in property and sales taxes.

        This is game-changing revenue for the struggling economy, with an offset bigger than any tax-credit or stimulus Congress would come up with.

        And on top of that, it would prove to the American people that the days of pandering to liberal elitists and environmental radicals who fail to comply with the law are OVER.  

        This decision to reroute could be overturned in only a little more than a month when Trump takes office. As long as the President-elect makes it priority number one.

        Speaker Ryan tells CBS’ “60 Minutes” that undoing Obamacare will be Congressional Republicans’ #1 priority come Donald Trump’s inauguration in January.

        “Well, the first bill we’re going to be working on is our Obamacare legislation,” he said in an interview airing Sunday night, though he declined to offer a timetable. 

        “We want to make sure that we have a good transition period, so that people can get better coverage at a better price.”

        When pressed by anchor Scott Pelley, who asked about a three-year transition, Ryan said, “I don’t know the answer to that right now. What we know is we have to make good on this promise. We have to bring relief as fast as possible to people who are struggling under Obamacare.”

        In its place, he told “60 Minutes,” Republicans will pass a “patient-centered healthcare” that gives people access to “affordable healthcare coverage.”

        But the Wisconsin Republican, echoing the president-elect, said some of the healthcare law’s most popular provisions will remain intact…

        Read more here.

        The Briefing, Vol. IV, Issue 49-

        This week:

        • Trump’s Carrier deal is an indisputable and unqualified win
        • House Dems stick with the same old same old
        • For Obamacare, they sacrificed the officeholders who once connected their party to Trump voters


        No one can deny it, and there’s really no other way to put it. Donald Trump’s Carrier coup was a massive and unqualified victory.

        Liberals and conservatives alike might shake their heads. But for Trump’s long-hidden supporters hidden working-class supporters who came out on election day, it’s a sign that he can do what no one thinks he can, and also that he keeps his promises.

        Trump’s appearance at Carrier in Indianapolis last week was just a win, even if it violates liberals’ sensibilities and conservatives’ principles at the same time. It came after the company had made the announcement that it would be keeping at least 1,100 jobs in Indiana that had been slated to go to Mexico. And it was all because of a deal with Trump — or perhaps more properly, with the Indiana governor who will soon be his vice president.

        The optics were terrific for Trump. Here he was, keeping a highly implausible promise that had been met by universal eye-rolls from a political press that was just as certain this couldn’t happen as it had been that he’d lose the election.

        And yes, the same liberals who cut all those ads in past election cycles about jobs going overseas were now complaining that this was just one company. Some of them even rediscovered what they had missed throughout the Obama era — that government interference in “saving or creating jobs” has big trade-offs and doesn’t ultimately work. (Hey, welcome to the club.)

        Conservatives were disturbed because this was a total violation of sound economic principles. Trump was following Obama’s lead in bullying businesses into suboptimal decisions. Also, the deal involved a one-time corporate inducement, not the serious systemic tax and regulatory reform that will be required to make American companies want to stay. If any company can get a $7 million tax break just for not going to Mexico, which company won’t do that?

        But step back for a moment and instead look at this from the perspective of workers in Ohio, Iowa, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Michigan who just unexpectedly pushed Trump over the top. From their perspective, he’s keeping the very promise that led them to vote for him. He was the first politician in a long time even to acknowledge the difficulties they faced — now he’s actually made good on something, and he isn’t even in office yet. This looks like one more proof of his consistent ability to confound the common wisdom and get results.

        Of course, the liberals are right that it’s just one company. And the conservatives are right that offering inducements to companies is not a sustainable way to keep jobs in America. But to put the most optimistic face on it, what if this PR win is just for tiding people over until there’s a chance for more substantive reform?screenshot-2016-12-04-at-11-51-32-pm

        Might he succeed? Think about it this way: The Obama era has seen sluggish job growth and sluggish GDP growth. Even today, in late 2016, employment among prime-age workers (age 25-54) is still below where it was before the financial crisis, both in terms of its rate and in absolute numbers. GDP for 2016 is on pace to grow at less than 2 percent, and in fact Obama’s presidency has seen only three quarters with annualized growth of 3 percent or higher. For context, there were eleven such quarters in a row during George W. Bush’s presidency, and 18 in a row during Bill Clinton’s presidency that were above 4 percent growth.

        Trump will, upon taking office, have opportunities to do things that are more systemic than just making deals with individual companies. He can sign pipeline permits, open federal lands for oil leases, and, with help from Congress, instantly repeal a bevy of late Obama-era regulations.

        Trump has been on Twitter talking about a 35 percent tariff, and that is very unlikely to happen. But there is a non-zero chance that he could get a corporate tax reform bill to his desk that stops punishing companies that bring back overseas profits to invest them at home. He has also promised a one-time amnesty for companies that want to repatriate overseas profits right away. Who knows? That could be a game-changer in year one. Americans aren’t used to really strong job growth, but that doesn’t mean it can’t happen.

        In the end, you have to measure Trump’s potential not so much by your opinion of his ideas, but by your opinion of Obama’s performance. If Obama’s vision for America’s economy is the best it can do in this modern era, then Trump will ultimately be frustrated in office. He will disappoint his supporters as jobs continue to leave the U.S. and he run out of carrots and sticks to make them stay. Republicans will be severely punished in the 2018 Midterms.

        But on the other hand, what if Obama’s vision for the economy is simply defective, unimaginative, unambitious? What if, with his aggressive, left-wing labor and environmental policies, he has been driving the car for the last six years with the emergency brake on? In that case, Trump’s success could be almost effortless. Disengage that brake, and the car starts rolling downhill, as nature dictates.

        Were that scenario to prove true, it would be yet another confounding surprise for the conventional wisdom. Just the sort of thing 2016 has taught us all to expect.

        House Democrats

        House Democrats chose to keep Nancy Pelosi as their leader, just as we expected. But it doesn’t mean they’re terribly happy about it. And there are no visible signs that the party is engaged in the sort of introspection that would normally accompany a loss as bitter and unexpected as it just suffered. As Pelosi put in on Sunday, she doesn’t think her members are looking for “a new direction.” And perhaps that’s part of their larger problem.

        Tim Ryan’s candidacy had been doomed from the beginning, as we pointed out last week. His promises to give more voice to Democrats in the Heartland rang empty in a caucus that no longer has much of a presence there. And his counsel for Democrats, to drop the aggressive Culture War politics and instead champion low-income rural workers, couldn’t resonate in a party that no longer represents many such workers.

        Ryan’s 63 votes was the best showing of anyone running for leadership against Pelosi since she first became the House Democratic leader in 2002.

        Pelosi has promised modest reforms that will make her caucus slightly more democratic. Member will now be able to elect the chairman of the House party’s campaign arm (the DCCC) instead of merely ratifying the leader’s appointment. A handful of minor leadership posts have been created for junior members of the caucus. But many House Democrats are still restive and worried that they’re on the path to nowhere, and they’re not afraid to say so in public, even after her victory.

        House Democrats have completely lost their party’s centrist wing over the course of four elections. By 2009, after Obama’s election, they had really built up that wing of the party. It formed the spine of their majority through the American heartland. At that time, you could walk from Charleston, S.C. to Detroit; from North Dakota to Louisville, Ky.; from Southern Ohio to Bangor, Maine; from the Texas Gulf Coast to the Pacific Ocean; without passing through a single district represented by a Republican.

        But all it took was two years of full Democratic control to make it all fall apart. In 2010, they sacrificed dozens of their moderates for something that might prove quite fleeting — the passage of Obamacare.

        That election paved the way for Republicans to consolidate their gains through the redistricting process. In 2012, they held onto their House majority and picked up a few more rural seats in North Carolina and Kentucky, even as Mitt Romney went down to a stinging defeat.

        In 2014, Republicans took over the House seats of Democratic moderates in West Virginia, Georgia, Utah, North Carolina, Northern New York State, and downstate Illinois. Some of those seats connected the party to its older, labor-dominated and more moderate past.

        Democrats had counted on Donald Trump being their trump card in 2016. They believed that a candidate so out of touch with their “coalition of the ascendant” would harm Republicans all over the map.

        In the end, they were completely wrong. Trump might have been a net negative in three suburban seats they lost (in New Jersey, Illinois and Nevada). But on the other side of that coin, his appeal in places like Northern Maine and northeast Iowa made it completely impossible for Democrats to take back any of the rural territory they lost during the previous three cycles.

        It would be a mistake to blame Pelosi for her party’s 2016 failure. But in re-electing her without much introspection, House Democrats have perhaps become content with the same old leaders and the same old losing culture that’s already cost them so badly. Maybe they’re waiting for Trump to implode and hand them back the House. But they’ll have to win back a lot of Trump voters to do it.

        The Briefing, Vol. IV, Issue 48: Republican Party
        • GOP triumph at state level
        •  Republicans can now make laws alone in 27 states
        •  Trump coattails seen in some races

        Among the new prizes Republicans are set to exploit: Still more in an impressive multi-election string of victories in state legislatures. Just as the 2010 and 2014 elections resulted in a mass of new policy initiatives and reforms at the state level, so will the election of 2016, and in new states where Republicans have not recently had full control.

        The Obama years came in kindly for Democrats at the state level. They are going out as a complete disaster. Look to the map of state legislative control from 2009, courtesy of the National Conference of State Legislatures:


        Although NCSL hasn’t come out with its post-2016 election map, we’ve used their graphics to create this one:

        capture-1This is a rather stark shift from blue to red. Democrats have gone from majorities in 62 of the nation’s 99 legislative chambers right after Obama’s first win, to just 32 after his exit. They have been wiped out in the South, a stronghold for local Democratic elected officials right up until about 10 years ago.

        A few technical notes on the maps: First, each state in the above maps is colored by the party majorities in each legislative chamber, not necessarily based on functional party control. Alaska’s and Washington’s each now have one chamber in which coalitions have given the minority party control. Also note that the unicameral Nebraska legislature, although nominally nonpartisan, is under Republican control and was in 2009.

        As for total control of government, including both houses and the governor, Republicans will now have that in 25 states (including Nebraska), and can enact new laws over a Democratic governor’s veto in two others (North Carolina and West Virginia). Democrats will fully control the legislative process in only eight states, including Maryland and Massachusetts, where they can override a Republican governor’s veto.

        2016 Balance Sheet: Let’s look at the changes from the last election, with Republican losses first. Amid a very strong early-vote performance by Harry Reid’s political machine, they lost control of both houses of Nevada’s legislature. Republican Gov. Brian Sandoval, however, remains in power through the next election.

        They lost control of the New Mexico House, meaning Democrats will control both chambers of that legislature. But Republican Gov. Susana Martinez remains in office through the next election.

        Republicans lost their party majority in the Washington State Senate, but will nonetheless maintain functional control of the chamber in a coalition with one Democrat.

        Finally, Republicans did maintain their party majority in the Alaska House, but Democrats will control the chamber’s business in a coalition with a few Republican members.

        As losses go, these were not too bad. Republicans lost total functional control of the elected branches only in one state, Nevada. In North Carolina, although they appear to have lost the governorship (pending recount), they now enjoy a veto-proof majority in the legislature and can still pass new laws without Democrats’ input. Moreover, they retain the ability to do this in West Virginia, despite the election of another Democratic governor. Democrats gained total functional control nowhere.

        On the other side, Republicans managed to make important gains at the state level. This includes, on Trump’s coattails in rural regions, a surprise takeover the Minnesota state Senate. They now control both houses there, but Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton remains in power through the next election. They also gained the governorship of Vermont.

        Republicans gained full functional control of four key states, two of which will be critical to future presidential runs: Missouri, New Hampshire, Iowa and Kentucky. There could be momentous policy consequences in all four, depending on how ambitious Republicans choose to be.

        The Kentucky House had failed to flip to the GOP in 2014, in time to change the law to help Rand Paul run for Senate re-election and president simultaneously. But it flipped very hard this time, with Trump coattails and a number of party-switches from D to R. Republicans will occupy 64 out of its 100 seats.

        With GOP control of the state House for the first time since 1920, the Bluegrass State, traditionally Democratic, has now completed the process of party realignment in its elections. The only step left is for voter registration to catch up. Republicans already outvoted Democrats in their respective gubernatorial primaries for the first time in 2015. They are on pace to overtake Democrats in registration within the next decade. Even if it is merely a formality, it will be a milestone for the state party.

        In both Kentucky and Missouri, where Republicans took over the governorship, right-to-work laws are highly likely to be considered. This might also become a priority in New Hampshire, where Republicans tried unsuccessfully to pass such a law with a veto-proof majority over a Democrat’s veto.

        In Iowa, of all the states that saw big changes, Trump Republicanism seems like a clear winner from the 2016 election, just as unambiguously as it was in Ohio. Although the state’s Republicans had rejected Trump in their caucuses, he outperformed every Republican in recent memory with his resounding 10-point general election victory (yet another reminder of how different primary and general elections really are). No Republican had carried the state by such a wide margin since 1980.

        The flipping of Iowa has received less notice than that of Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, because it seemed superfluous to Trump’s 306-vote Electoral College victory. But if Iowa follows the path of neighboring Missouri in a more Republican direction it really will change the electoral map.

        As a result, Republicans finally control the state Senate with at least 29 of 50 seats, and all three elected branches for the first time since 1998. The local press suggests that the legislature is likely to tighten abortion laws and liberalize gun laws. There is also talk of reforms to public employee pensions and collective bargaining, defunding of Planned Parenthood, and a clear shot at their own solution to longstanding state water issues.

        The bigger picture, though, shows Republicans at heights in state governments that they hadn’t reached since the 1920s. It means the party will have a healthy bench of election-tested candidates who can run for higher offices in the future.