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Vox Sentences: JPMorgan’s CEO might run Trump’s Treasury, because populism

Vox Sentences is your daily digest for what's happening in the world, curated by Dara Lind and Dylan Matthews. Sign up for the Vox Sentences newsletter, delivered straight to your inbox Monday through Friday, or view the Vox Sentences archive for past editions.

Personnel is policy

Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images
  • The public no longer needs to parse Donald Trump's words exhaustively to figure out what he'd do as president. He's staffing up his administration, and, as Elizabeth Warren famously said in January, "Personnel is policy." [NYT / Elizabeth Warren]
  • Trump's transition is being run by Trump loyalists. If Chris Christie has to step down from the head of his transition team — say, because he's being appointed to a Cabinet slot — Peter Thiel might replace him. [Huffington Post / Michael Calderone]
  • But the names being floated for Cabinet positions and other top administration jobs are a mix of Trump loyalists (Ben Carson for secretary of education?) and mainstream, if not always Establishment with a capital E Republicans (Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker for secretary of defense). [BuzzFeed News / John Stanton]
  • On bank policy, despite Trump's populist rhetoric, the administration-in-waiting has fallen in line with Republican orthodoxy. Former JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon is being floated for Treasury secretary. (#DrainTheSwamp!) [CNBC / Kate Kelly]
  • On immigration, though, Trump is holding his ground. Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, the most serious legal thinker in America when it comes to crackdowns on unauthorized immigrants, is running Trump's transition planning on immigration. [KWCH / Devon Fasbinder]
  • And on national security, the sheer terror that Trump will go his own way is reportedly scaring qualified experts out of applying for top spots. [The Daily Beast / Kimberly Dozier and Shane Harris]
  • Which way the administration ultimately goes might come down to whom Trump names as chief of staff. The rumor so far has been current RNC head Reince Priebus. But it could go to another, far less orthodox-Republican Trump loyalist: Breitbart head turned Trump campaign CEO Steve Bannon. [NY Mag / Jesse Singal]

Bank run!

Indian currency Arvind Yadav/ Hindustan Times
  • On Tuesday night, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi suddenly announced that in a few hours, all 500 rupee (about $7.50) and 1,000 rupee notes — around 86 percent of all cash in circulation in the country — would suddenly cease to be legal tender. [Bloomberg / Mihir Sharma]
  • The move is an attempt to crack down on corruption and the black market (including what Modi characterizes as attempts to funnel money toward terrorism in Pakistan). [Reuters / Neha Dasgupta and Nidhi Verma]
  • That explains the suddenness. Modi didn't want to give people too much time to figure out how to convert their ill-gotten cash into other forms — and if they tried to exchange too much money at once at the bank, they'd raise questions. [BBC]
  • But it's not just criminals living on the cash and informal economies in India. Most of the country's poor live on cash as well — especially in rural areas, where there are few banks within close enough distance to serve them. [FT]
  • Of course, even where there are banks in India, those banks quickly ran out of cash Wednesday attempting to swap now-illegal bills for legal ones. [BBC]
  • It's also likely to have unintended consequences for India's housewives, for whom secret cash reserves (often collected from money lying around and guarded for years) are an important source of financial autonomy. [Quartz / Diksha Madhok]
  • Modi's move is politically popular — people like the idea of cracking down on the black market. But ironically, in the short term at least, the black market (which doesn't particularly care whether money is still legal or not) is the only sector undisturbed by the quick transition. [Acting Man / Jayant Bhandari]

Culture Schock

Aaron Schock Nancy Stone/Chicago Tribune/TNS via Getty Images
  • Former Illinois Rep. Aaron Schock (R-IL) was indicted in federal court Thursday on 24 counts related to the improper use of taxpayer and campaign funds when he was a congressman (which lasted from 2008 to 2015). [NYT / Christine Hauser]
  • You might remember Schock as the "'Downton Abbey' congressman": He redecorated his office in the style of the aristocratic British country estate on the PBS show, including a $5,000 chandelier, raising questions about where he got that money that ultimately led to his resignation. [Chicago Tribune / Katherine Skiba and Todd Lighty]
  • It was a pretty apt ending for Schock's career: As the first millennial in Congress, he attracted fame for his attractive physique and Instagram account first, and his political leadership only afterward. [NYT / Sheryl Gay Stolberg]
  • But the investigation into Schock revealed that this wasn't just a problem of caring too much about surfaces. He actively bilked his constituents: On one occasion, he invited constituents to a free Washington "fly in," then charged them — and put the funds in a secret shell account in Florida. [Politico / Jake Sherman, Anna Palmer, and John Bresnahan]
  • On the one hand, this is ridiculous, and it is not surprising he got caught. On the other hand, our president-elect once used several thousand dollars from his eponymous charity to buy a painting of himself. [Washington Post / David A. Fahrenthold]


  • Many historians have described the civil rights movement as a second Reconstruction. We may be on the verge of the second redemption. [The Atlantic / Adam Serwer]
  • A slightly tongue-in-cheek explanation for Trump's win: California zoning laws. [Matthew Kahn]
  • 2016's greatest, most important competition reached a conclusion this week. I speak, of course, of the Slovakian Grave Digging Championships. [AP]
  • Facebook makes it hard to see what people with different views from you are reading. This Wall Street Journal feature lets you browse liberal and conservative Facebook in the wake of Trump. [WSJ / John Keegan]
  • AI can beat humans at chess and also now at the most important game of all: Mortal Kombat. [Vice / Jordan Pearson]


  • "If today’s populists come to power — even the right-wing nationalists among them — the continued existence of democracy will permit their societies to opt for a do-over by later voting them out. Indeed, this may be democracy’s greatest strength: it allows countries to recover from their mistakes." [Foreign Affairs / Sheri Berman]
  • "Still, why tickle rats, other than that it seems that a good time was had by all?" [NYT / James Gorman]
  • "You and your friends will die of old age and I’m going to die from climate change. You and your friends let this happen, which is going to cut 40 years off my life expectancy." [Anonymous DNC staffer to Donna Brazile, via Huffington Post / Jennifer Bendery]
  • "When you grow up in rural America, denying rights to people is an abstract concept. Denying marriage rights to gay people isn’t that much different than denying boarding rights to Klingons." [Roll Call / Patrick Thornton]
  • "I tell you all of this, Hillary, because more than anything it’s important to me—and to all of us—that you know how profoundly you have changed our lives." [Glamour / Amber Tamblyn]

Watch this: Someday — the long fight for a female president

Why all 45 American presidents have been men. [YouTube / Joss Fong, Phil Edwards, and Gina Barton]

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