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Vox Sentences: Can Keith Ellison lead the Democrats out of the wilderness?

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Democrats wander in the wilderness; Trump's kids play peekaboo with the blind trust; terror and panic in the age of Trump.


Chair fight!

Keith Ellison Samuel Corum/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images
  • For the past few days, the Democratic Party has been wandering around shell-shocked. It's not even in the wilderness — it's wandering around the periphery of the wilderness looking for the way in. [Vox / Matt Yglesias]
  • To be clear, we're talking about a party whose candidate for president appears to have won more votes than any other candidate for president. [David Wasserman]
  • But it's arguably a good thing that the party is taking a hard look at itself. Unified Republican government in Washington could dismantle Barack Obama's legacy. And Democrats were a hollow shell of a party at the state level even before Tuesday. [Vox / Matt Yglesias]
  • Given that Democrats will lead no branch of the federal government come January, the fight for the next head of the Democratic National Committee assumes outsize importance. [Politico / Gabriel Debenedetti]
  • The progressive wing of the party — in addition to, inexplicably, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, who is very much not part of the progressive wing — is beginning to rally behind Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN). Ellison appeals to both of the party's grassroots wings: the economic progressives who supported Bernie Sanders (whom Ellison endorsed) and social minority groups (Ellison was the first Muslim in Congress). [Washington Post / John Wagner and Mike DeBonis]
  • Past DNC Chair Howard Dean is also attempting another run — arguing that Democrats' surprising weakness in the Midwest and Rust Belt on Tuesday shows it's time for another crack at the "50-state strategy." [Huffington Post / Sam Stein]
  • (Ironically, if what the party needs is a leader willing to stand up to President-elect Donald Trump, it could do worse than to coax outgoing Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid out of retirement.) [Sen. Harry Reid]

Putting the JKLOL in Donald J. Trump

Trump, Ryan, and Pence Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images
  • The first staff shake-up of the Trump administration came three days after his electoral victory. Vice President-elect Mike Pence has replaced New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie as head of the transition team — though whether it's because Christie is likely to be appointed to the Cabinet or because he's likely to be indicted in Bridgegate is unclear. [WSJ / Michael C. Bender]
  • Also on the Trump transition team: his three eldest children. The same ones who are now supposed to be running his business (in what Trump is calling a "blind trust," though by definition owners of blind trusts don't know the assets they own) to avoid a conflict of interest with his administration. [Washington Post / Aaron Blake]
  • It's almost as if the Trump administration isn't paying much attention to its own (decent) proposals on ethics in government. [Vox / Jeff Stein]
  • In other Donald JKLOL Trump news, the president-elect said today that thanks to his conversation with outgoing President Obama yesterday, he might keep part of the Affordable Care Act after all. [WSJ / Monica Langley and Gerard Baker]
  • (During the campaign, it was known to his own staff that Trump has a tendency to agree with whomever he spoke to last. It is going to be a long four years.) [Vox / Dara Lind]
  • This is probably good news for Republican lawmakers from states that have expanded Medicaid coverage, since Medicaid expansion is politically popular and they didn't want to be the ones to take it away. [Caitlin Owens via LinkedIn Pulse]
  • Also politically popular: keeping the ban on denying coverage to people with preexisting conditions. Which Trump also wants to keep. But without subsidies and an individual mandate, the ban on preexisting conditions isn't worth much. [Vox / Sarah Kliff]

Take a breath

Trump protesters Bryan R. Smith/AFP/Getty Images
  • In the days since the election (and even before), there have been innumerable reports on social media of people of color being attacked, bullied, and harassed — often with explicit reference to the election of Donald Trump. [Insanul Ahmed via Twitter]
  • The incidents range from online harassment, like a group of black students at Penn who were added to a GroupMe thread calling for them to be lynched... [Billy Penn / Mark Dent]
  • ...to the murder of a Saudi exchange student in Wisconsin last month, in which the suspect and motive aren't yet known but which friends suspect was a hate crime. [NYT / Christine Hauser]
  • That being said, many of these attacks are unverified. And some have been disproven — a student at a Louisiana college admitted to police that she had made up a story about being attacked and robbed by two men, one of whom, she had claimed, was wearing a "Make America Great Again" hat. [AP]
  • At a certain point, drowning yourself in unverified and horrible stories is unhealthy. It is self-terrorizing, and it can distort the realities of who is under threat (and who was under threat before Tuesday). [Yasmin Nair via Facebook]
  • If you want to help people who might be feeling vulnerable, you can try a symbolic gesture of support (like wearing a safety pin, which caught on in Britain after a reported wave of post-Brexit hate crimes). [Vox / Alex Abad-Santos]
  • But if you really want to help, you'll read this guide to deescalating harassment if you witness it — and have the strength to put it into practice when the person being put in danger isn't you. [Maeril via Tumblr]

Miscellaneous

  • I don't know if I hate anything as much as Donald Trump hates eating inside of tents. [Eater / Helen Rosner]
  • Trump may be Obama's successor in the US. Angela Merkel is trying to be his successor in the world. [FT / Stefan Wagstyl]
  • A one-hour increase in the average amount of sleep an area gets is correlated with a 5 percent rise in wages there in the long run. [Matthew Gibson and Jeffrey Shrader]
  • Happy 50th birthday to the "Paul is dead" conspiracy theory. [Inverse / Ryan Britt]
  • Making an easy-to-use website to help Californians get food stamps seems like a total no-brainer. Here's how it became maddeningly difficult. [NYT Mag / Yiren Lu]

Verbatim

  • "He can build a wall, but we’ll just build a tunnel. If we leave, the entire country will fall apart." [Magdaleno Santos to The Atlantic / Alexia Fernández Campbell]
  • "'Technology,' she says. 'Internet,' he replies. She opens an app and the futuristic phone’s screen illuminates her face from below. 'Isn’t it funny?' she asks. 'That we are physically so close and yet our handheld devices disconnect us emotionally?' 'Social media,' he says, and nods." [McSweeney's / Andrew Cushing]
  • "The rhetoric of decline is wrong because it portrays a past that wasn’t, a present that isn’t and a future that probably won’t be." [Charles Wolf Jr. via NYT / Sam Roberts]
  • "He may not spend very much time trying to get Mexico to pay for it. But it was a great campaign device." [Newt Gingrich via NPR / Scott Detrow]
  • "If this is going to be a time of healing, we must first put the responsibility for healing where it belongs: at the feet of Donald Trump, a sexual predator who lost the popular vote and fueled his campaign with bigotry and hate. Winning the electoral college does not absolve Trump of the grave sins he committed against millions of Americans." [Harry Reid]

Watch this: The hard life of India’s illegal sewer cleaners

More than 1 million people in India’s “untouchable” caste are still tasked with cleaning sewers, drains, and latrines — with no protective gear. [YouTube / Vishakha Darbha and Matteen Mokalla]