The GOP now controls the White House, Senate, House, a Supreme Court pick, and most governorships and state houses
Donald Trump wasn't the only big winner in the early hours of Wednesday morning. For only the second time since 1929, the Republican Party will control the House, Senate, the White House, most governorships and state houses, and will decide a Supreme Court pick.
The 109th United States Congress, from 2005 to 2007, also saw a Republican majority in the House and the Senate, with President George W. Bush in the White House. During those years, Bush also appointed conservative Justice John Roberts, who replaced Justice William Rehnquist after his death in 2005.
By comparison, though, Trump and his Republican Congress will be in power likely for a minimum of four years:
The 2018 midterm elections are much more difficult for Democrats than Republicans. In the Senate, Democrats are expected to defend anywhere from 23 to 25 seats, while Republicans will likely have to defend just eight.
Further down the ballot, 2010 redistricting by Republican-dominated state legislatures has made it very difficult for Democrats to gain a foothold in the House and in state chambers. They'll have to win back those chambers by 2020 in order to redraw lines in their favor. [The Washington Post]
In that sense, at least, the last time the Republican Party was as powerful as it will be come January was a stretch of years between 1921 and 1929. During that time, three Supreme Court justices were appointed. Additionally, The Washington Post notes, "It's almost a footnote that Republicans tied a 94-year-old record of control of governor's mansions Tuesday night; they now hold 34 of them. (Though Democrats will have a chance to chip away at that in 2018 when at least 14 Republican governors' mansions open up thanks to term limits.)"
Trump won't bring back many coal jobs. But he could quash America's fast-growing clean-energy industry.
When President Trump signed a series of executive orders at the Environmental Protection Agency on Tuesday aimed at dismantling his predecessor's attempt to counter climate change, he touted them as fulfilling a campaign promise to bring back lost coal jobs. Few people think that will happen, including Robert Murray, the CEO of America's largest privately held coal-mining company, Murray Energy, and a big supporter of Trump and his energy policy. "I would not say it's a good time in the coal industry — it's a better time," he told The Guardian.
There were 98,505 U.S. coal-mining jobs in 2015, versus 127,745 in 2008, according to the Mine Safety and Health Administration, but most of those job losses are due to technology and cheaper and cleaner energy sources like natural gas and renewables, not regulation. When he spoke with Trump about coal and jobs, "I suggested that he temper his expectations — those are my exact words," Murray said. "He can't bring them back." BBC News has some charts:
On the other hand, clean-energy jobs outnumber coal and oil jobs in the U.S. by a 5-1 margin, according to a new Sierra Club analysis of Energy Department jobs data, and there are more jobs in solar, wind, energy efficiency, battery storage, and smart energy grid technology than oil, gas, and coal jobs in 41 states. And Trump's attempt to reverse the "war on coal" will not just contribute to climate change but could harm those growth industries and the jobs they create. "These facts make it clear that Donald Trump is attacking clean energy jobs purely in order to boost the profits of fossil fuel billionaires," said Sierra Club executive director Michael Brune.
Thomas Friedman is more searing, arguing in Wednesday's New York Times that Trump's energy policy suggests he's "a Chinese agent" who's "clearly out to make China great again." China's "new five-year plan is a rush to electric cars, batteries, nuclear, wind, solar, and energy efficiency — and a cap-and-trade system for carbon," he wrote. "Trump’s plan? More coal and oil. Hello? How can America be great if we don’t dominate the next great global industry — clean power?" California alone, he notes, "has far more advanced energy jobs than there are coal miners in America, and the pay is better and the work is healthier," but by "doubling down on coal," Trump is "squandering our lead in technology." Read the rest at The New York Times. Peter Weber
Though no evidence has been offered to back President Trump's baseless claim that former President Barack Obama wiretapped his phones at Trump Tower during the presidential election, an overwhelming majority of Republicans think it's likely. A CBS News poll released Wednesday found that 74 percent of Republicans believe it's "very likely" or "somewhat likely" that Trump's offices were wiretapped. Just 21 percent of Democrats think it's a possibility, while 49 percent of independents deemed it likely.
When Trump leveled the allegation on Twitter weeks ago, he offered no supporting evidence, and he has yet to come forward with any as he's continued to defend the claim. House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), the Senate and House Intelligence Committees, the Justice Department, and FBI Director James Comey have all said they have not uncovered any evidence whatsoever that backs Trump's allegation. Comey even noted during a hearing before the House Intelligence Committee earlier this month that it's impossible for a president to "unilaterally" order a wiretap, as Trump has claimed Obama did.
President Trump spoke six words to New York Sen. Chuck Schumer (D) on Tuesday night, marking the first verbalization between the pair in over two months, Politico reports. "Chuck? I see Chuck. Hello, Chuck," Trump called out at a White House reception for the Senate.
While Trump once raved about his "good relationship" with Schumer — and on a private phone call, said he liked his home-state senator better than Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) or House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) — the president has now turned to slamming Schumer for being the "head clown."
"By the time we got to inauguration, any hope that Schumer wanted to actually work together to find any common ground was clearly gone," an administration official explained to Politico. Schumer's speech at the inauguration and his ongoing defiance over confirming Trump's Cabinet and Supreme Court nominee are also cited as reasons for the split.
"[Trump] moved. He, not me," said Schumer. "He moved so far over to the right that it's virtually impossible to work with him." The pair last spoke on Jan. 24, according to Schumer.
President Trump has suggested working with Democrats on health care going forward, but Politico writes "lawmakers and strategists wonder whether Trump missed his best shot at a productive relationship."
And when it comes to speaking with Trump, Schumer only has nine words: "Right now there's not much to talk about, okay?" Jeva Lange
Italian state police have arrested 34 members of a Sardinian crime organization for attempting to steal the corpse of famous automaker Enzo Ferrari in order to blackmail his family, CNN reports. The gangsters' plot was extraordinarily complicated and their capture involved helicopters and parachute regiment officers.
Ferrari died in 1988 at the age of 90. His body is entombed above-ground in the San Cataldo cemetery in Modena, in central Italy, where it rests behind an iron gate. His legacy lives on, as his company continues to build some of the world's fastest and most expensive cars.
Hillary Clinton vows 'I will never stop speaking out' in first major political speech since the election
Hillary Clinton promised she will "never stop speaking out" during her first major political speech since losing the election to President Trump, delivered Tuesday night. "The last few months haven't been exactly what I envisioned, although I do know what I'm fighting for," Clinton told the crowd at the Professional Business Women of California's annual conference in San Francisco. "I'm fighting for a fairer, big-hearted, inclusive America. And the unfinished business of the 21st century can't wait any longer."
Forgoing her usual pantsuit in exchange for a leather jacket, Clinton lashed out at White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer for scolding reporter April Ryan and similarly criticized Fox News host Bill O'Reilly for making a "racist joke about [California Rep. Maxine Waters'] hair."
"Too many women, especially women of color, have had a lifetime of practice taking precisely these kinds of indignities in stride," Clinton said.
Clinton did not mention Trump by name but she warned that anti-refugee rhetoric and voter suppression are "bad policies that will hurt people and take our country in the wrong direction."
"Resist, insist, persist, enlist," Clinton urged. Jeva Lange
VIDEO: Hillary Clinton Gives First Post-Election Speech pic.twitter.com/9ln8mAdFIv
— azcentral (@azcentral) March 29, 2017
"Morning" Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski used to be friends with President Trump, they told Seth Meyers on Tuesday's Late Night, but that all changed after he became president. They shrugged off Trump's decision earlier this month to unfollow them on Twitter, with Scarborough calling that the "highlight of the month" and Brzezinski saying "it shows we got in his head."
What finally killed Trump's love for the MSNBC morning show and drove him into the loving arms of Fox & Friends, Scarborough said, wasn't "all the horrible things" he and Mika said about Trump during the campaign — calling him a racist, a bigot, a potential instigator of World War III — and since. "It all rolled off his back," he said. But "the second we said Chris Christie and Bernie Sanders out-rated him, that was the end." Scarborough explained that when he first made his throwaway comment about Christie and Sanders drawing higher ratings than Trump, Trump "went crazy. He sent me a letter, had a spreadsheet, talked about how his ratings were higher than ours."
Meyers asked for their general impression of Trump's first 60 days in office — if it was what they expected, better, or worse? — and they laughed. "It's far worse," Brzezinski said. "It's almost at the point of no return." Scarborough quoted Ghostbusters: "It's dogs and cats living together, it's as bad as it gets." Watch below. Peter Weber
Voters have less confidence in President Trump's ability to do his job following the Republican Party's failure to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act last week. In a Politico/Morning Consult survey taken entirely after the GOP withdrew their bill, just 26 percent of voters felt "very confident" in Trump's ability to serve as commander-in-chief, compared with 36 percent who are not confident "at all."
Trump's declining approval rating was steeper with Republicans and independents than Democrats. In particular, the support of self-identified Trump voters shrank from 90 percent last week to 84 percent this week. Overall, 38 percent of voters strongly disapprove of Trump, compared with 23 percent who strongly approve.
"President Trump's approval ratings are at their lowest point since he took office, according to the weekly Politico/Morning Consult surveys," said Morning Consult co-founder Kyle Dropp. "However, as this week's results represent a relatively sharp departure from the recent trendline, we will keep a close watch in subsequent weeks before drawing major conclusions."