Navigating Trump's America: Recounts and Trump tweets question American elections

Navigating Trump's America: Recounts and Trump tweets question American elections

This is Day Three of Mic's guide to Donald Trump's America — and how it affects you. Want to receive this as a daily email in your inbox? Subscribe here.

The Dashboard: 

— 52 days until Trump's inauguration. 

— 152 days until the end of Trump's first 100 days. 

— 707 days until the 2018 midterm elections.

— 1,435 days until the 2020 presidential election. 

Highlights: 

Cabinet appointments made: 2/15

Next up: Ben Carson may officially accept Donald Trump's reported offer to become Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. Expect more cabinet appointments this week, including key posts like Secretaries of State and Defense.

More: Jill Stein has launched an election recount in Wisconsin with Hillary Clinton's support. Recounts in Michigan and Pennsylvania may also begin this week.

Where's Trump? After spending Thanksgiving in Florida, the president-elect is in Manhattan's Trump Tower.

Hillary Clinton's lead over Trump in the popular vote: 2.2 million votes, 1.7 percentage-points greater than Trump. (Cook Political Report)

Election conspiracies grow, through recounts and Twitter, without evidence

Did you think the election was over? Not yet. Nearly three weeks after the Electoral College gave Donald Trump a lock on the White House, the election's legitimacy is being questioned from all sides. Wisconsin will recount votes in the presidential race after a push by Green Party candidate Jill Stein. Hillary Clinton's campaign will support those recount efforts. There is no evidence to suggest recounts would change the election result.

But yesterday, only a couple months after Trump first suggested the election would be "rigged," the president-elect made a bold false statement on Twitter: That millions of people voted illegally in the 2016 election. There is no evidence to support Trump's claim — and the president-elect apparently sourced this assertion from a fake news story citing a fake tweet that blamed false votes on undocumented immigrants. More on Trump's tweet from Mic.

Post-election November has been dominated by electoral conspiracy theories that grew to a crescendo on Sunday. Trump's supporters say liberals need to accept the results of the election and are calling for an end to protests against Trump's election. The president-elect's opponents say his tweets aim to distract from legitimate questions about how he will avoid conflicts of interest between his business and the White House. The consequences of questioning the electoral process could hit swiftly — with major consequences. 

What to know about recount efforts

The recount in Wisconsin is expected to begin by the end of the week. But in Pennsylvania, where Trump won by more than 70,000 votes, complex election laws and looming deadlines mean Stein may not be able to coordinate a recount effort in time. (CBS News) Stein has raised more than $6.2 million for the Wisconsin and Pennsylvania recounts toward a goal of $7 million to also cover a Michigan recount. Trump currently leads in Michigan by fewer than 11,000 votes.

Between 2000 and 2015, only 27 recounts happened among 4,687 statewide elections. Those recounts changed the results in just three races, with a median vote swing of 219. (FiveThirtyEight)

How Trump's latest cabinet picks may affect you

Given their announcement immediately before Thanksgiving, you may have missed Trump's two latest cabinet picks. Both are sure to please many Republicans, but critics have found plenty to question in each choice.

Betsy DeVos, secretary of education

A billionaire with a passion for education reform, DeVos is a pick from the Republican establishment who promotes "school choice" — alternatives to public education long supported by some conservatives. DeVos is likely to push policies that create competition with public education by creating more funding for charter schools and giving children vouchers to attend other schools. (Mic) And if her history in Michigan is a sign, she will likely support private companies running schools with little oversight. (Atlantic)

What DeVos' proponents say: Her vision of school choice to push best practices to the fore brings change the American education system needs. What her opponents say: Teachers unions have called her pick "catastrophic" for public education, given her record pushing for solutions outside public education.

Ben Carson, secretary of housing and urban development

While DeVos draws more typical praise from conservatives and criticism from liberals, Carson's cabinet post raised many eyebrows. As an esteemed neurosurgeon and founder of several philanthropic organizations, Carson has credentials to do many things. But his lack of experience in government or community-building raises questions about how he will run a federal agency tasked with helping lower-income Americans find homes. (Mic

What Carson's proponents say: His story — a poor Detroit native who attended Yale and became a top doctor — demonstrates Carson's ability to overcome seemingly intractable problems. What his opponents say: Carson does not have the experience or gravitas to justify this cabinet position. Plus, he once called fair housing "communism." (Daily Beast) And he recently said he is unqualified to run a federal agency. (The Week)

Must-reads from Thanksgiving break

— Amid the cacophony of recount and Trump tweet news, do not forget a legitimate question: How will Trump avoid breaking federal laws that forbid government officials from doing personal business with foreign governments? Mic has a list that explains the significance of all the Trump conflicts of interest that we know of.

— Potential conflicts around the globe for Trump, the businessman president. (New York Times)

— How Russia pulled off the biggest election hack in U.S. history. (Esquire)

— Is it ethical to punch a neo-nazi? We asked the experts. (Mic)

— What unions got wrong About Trump — and how his victory may lead to their ultimate demise. (New York Times)

— "If House Speaker Paul Ryan has his way, the 115th Congress won't just repeal Obamacare, it will dramatically reform Medicare, turning the program into a form of private insurance." (Politico)

 From Monday Morning: Here are 282 of Donald Trump's campaign promises. (Washington Post); What does Betsy DeVos have in mind for higher ed? (Chronicle of Higher Education)

A new CNN poll shows a sharp divide among Americans in their opinion of Donald Trump. Two-thirds of Americans believe Trump will change the country, but a slight majority views him unfavorably. A sign of hope for the president-elect: 53% of Americans said they believe Trump will do a very good or fairly good job. And nearly half of Americans say his statements since Election Day have made them more confident in him. (Mic)

As we saw on the campaign trail, these numbers ebb and flow — especially after Trump tweets incorrect assertions. But they must be welcome news for a president-elect who lost the popular vote with a historically high unfavorability rating among voters.

Disclaimer: Polling led many to believe Clinton would beat Trump on Election Day. 

Same subject, two views: The evolution of Steve Bannon

One of Steve Bannon's Harvard Business School classmates, describing him in college: "He was quite gutsy and pretty much blew the class away with an incredible performance. I remember thinking after watching him, 'I am definitely flunking this class if this is where the bar is set!'" (Boston Globe)

A former state Republican party chair who has known Bannon's family for years: "No one has called him nice. He is the least politically correct person I know. His overriding concern is getting the mission accomplished." (New York Times)

The loyal opposition: A showdown is coming in North Dakota

Protests over whether to build the Dakota Access Pipeline may come to a head next Monday. Protesters have been given a week to stop obstruction of the project, a nearly 1,200 mile-long pipeline that would transport crude oil from northwest North Dakota to southern Illinois. Demonstrators are being told to vacate a large campsite where they have protested the pipeline's construction for weeks. On Saturday, protesters vowed to remain on federal land despite the order from the Army Corps of Engineers to leave.

A major confrontation between protesters and federal law enforcement in North Dakota would likely draw national media attention, possibly drawing Trump into the fray. The president-elect once owned several hundred thousand dollars of stock in the company that is building the pipeline, though he sold off those interests over the summer. 

Trump opponents fired salvos at the media for not stating his assertion "millions" of people voted illegally was false. Criticism here of the Wall Street Journal and CBS News.

Snippets

— Not only did the Russians hack American institutions during the election, the Kremlin was behind some of the fake news aimed at influencing voting. (Washington Post)

— Despite talk on the campaign trail about the decline of American fossil fuel production, the U.S. is now a net exporter of natural gas. (Wall Street Journal) And if OPEC cuts crude production, it could raise the price of oil again — a possible boon for Trump, as higher prices would give companies more incentive to pursue the push for more domestic fossil fuel production he's long touted. (Wall Street Journal)

All eyes are on who Trump picks to represent America to the world, with the president-elect's advisers publicly weighing in on who he should pick. It may be Rudy Giuliani for secretary of state, but it may also be Mitt Romney. (New York Times)

— More on that: "Instead of driving Donald Trump's message, she's pushing her own agenda," a Trump confidante told MSNBC on Kellyanne Conway publicly criticizing Romney as a potential cabinet secretary. MSNBC reported Monday that Trump is "furious" with Conway's criticism. (MSNBC) In response, Conway said that report was "sexist." (The Hill)

— The team Trump is reportedly assembling to run the country could be worth as much as $35 billion combined, potentially the highest-ever concentration of wealth among a president's cabinet. (Politico)

— An international crisis for Trump that is not going away: Syria. More than half a million children live under siege in the war-torn country. (Unicef)

— The image of a man holding a sign that says "You belong" outside a mosque in Texas has gone viral. (Mic)

Stay up-to-date on America's changes under President-elect Donald Trump with this newsletter. Every weekday we'll cover the biggest Trump news and how Americans have supported him, opposed him and more.

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This newsletter is produced by Will Drabold at Mic.