Weekly Review — November 22, 2016, 5:16 pm

Weekly Review

White nationalists celebrate Trump’s election, and Hillary Clinton’s popular-vote margin of victory climbs to 1.7 million.

WeeklyReviewAvatar-Sherrill-WPPresident-elect Donald Trump announced several high-level appointments to his administration, naming Kansas congressman Mike Pompeo, who has called for the death penalty for Edward Snowden, as director of the CIA; Alabama senator Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III, who was denied a federal judgeship in the 1980s for making racist remarks, as attorney general; former Breitbart News editor Steve Bannon, who staffers said “aggressively pushed stories against immigrants, and supported linking minorities to terrorism and crime,” as chief strategist; and Lieutenant General Michael Flynn, who has said that fearing Muslims is rational, as national-security advisor.[1][2][3][4] “Great,” said former Ku Klux Klan imperial wizard David Duke.[5] The president of the Czech Republic urged Trump to appoint his ex-wife Ivana as an ambassador, and Trump’s 35-year-old son-in-law, Jared Kushner, explored the possibility of a White House position, despite a federal law banning presidents from hiring their family members.[6][7] It was reported that Trump is considering appointing former Texas governor Rick Perry as secretary of the Department of Energy, which, as a candidate for the Republican nomination for president in 2011, Perry promised to eliminate.[8]

A San Antonio judge presiding over a naturalization ceremony told new citizens that if they don’t like Trump as the president-elect, they “need to go to another country”; Kansas secretary of state and Trump transition-team member Kris Kobach suggested that Trump was amenable to creating a registry for Muslim immigrants; and Trump’s chief-of-staff appointee, Reince Priebus, suggested that immigration from certain Muslim regions of the world would be temporarily halted.[9][10][11] The Trump International Hotel Washington, D.C., hired a “director of diplomatic sales” to attract foreign dignitaries, and Trump denied an allegation from a reporter in Argentina that he had asked Argentine president Mauricio Macri for permission to build a new office building in Buenos Aires.[12][13] Syrian president Bashar al-Assad referred to the incoming Trump administration as a “natural ally,” President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines called Trump’s victory “well-deserved,” Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdo?an told U.S. anti-Trump protesters to “show some respect,” and the leadership of North Korea said it did not care who won the election.[14][15][16] Hillary Clinton’s margin of victory in the popular vote climbed to 1.7 million votes.[17] “Heil victory!” shouted the attendees of a white-supremacist gathering celebrating Trump’s election in a federal building a few blocks from the White House.[18]

The vice foreign minister of China refuted Trump’s previous claim that climate change was a hoax invented by the Chinese government.[19] Trump agreed to pay $25 million to settle three lawsuits against his for-profit college, Trump University, after being accused of unfair business practices, false advertising, fraud, and financial elder abuse. “Resolution of these matters,” said a spokesperson, “allows President-Elect Trump to devote his full attention to the important issues facing our great nation.”[20] Trump used his Twitter account to attack negative coverage in the New York Times, to criticize the television program Saturday Night Live for being biased and unfunny, to complain about audience members booing vice president-elect Mike Pence at a performance of the historical hip-hop musical Hamilton, and to promote a story about how he saved a Ford automotive plant that was, in fact, never in jeopardy of closing.[21][22][23][24] An analysis found that “fake news,” or propaganda, websites generate more traffic on Facebook than major news outlets, and Oxford Dictionaries announced that the word of the year was “post-truth.”[25][26]

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Donald Trump’s presidency signals a profound but inchoate realignment of American politics. On the one hand, his administration may represent the consolidation of minority control by a Republican-dominated Senate under the leadership of a president who came to office after losing the popular vote by almost 3 million ballots. Such an imbalance of power could lead to a second civil war—indeed, the nation’s first and only great fraternal conflagration was sparked off in part for precisely this reason. On the other hand, Trump’s reign may be merely an interregnum, in which the old white power structure of the Republican Party is dying and a new oppositional coalition struggles to be born.

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When I saw Ted Cruz speak, in early August, it was at Underwood’s Cafeteria in Brownwood. He was on a weeklong swing through rural central Texas, hitting small towns and military bases that ensured him friendly, if not always entirely enthusiastic, crowds. In Brownwood, some in the audience of two hundred were still nibbling on peach cobbler as Cruz began with an anecdote about his win in a charity basketball game against ABC’s late-night host Jimmy Kimmel. They rewarded him with smug chuckles when he pointed out that “Hollywood celebrities” would be hurting over the defeat “for the next fifty years.” His pitch for votes was still an off-the-rack Tea Party platform, complete with warnings about the menace of creeping progressivism, delivered at a slightly mechanical pace but with lots of punch. The woman next to me remarked, “This is the fire in the gut! Like he had the first time!” referring to Cruz’s successful long-shot run in the 2011 Texas Republican Senate primary. And it’s true—the speech was exactly like one Cruz would have delivered in 2011, right down to one specific detail: he never mentioned Donald Trump by name.

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H

e is a nondescript man.

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