While We Were Out: The 2016 Thanksgiving Break Edition


We shake-off our turkey comas and rundown what happened in the world of politics on our week off!



Coming back from a long break is always strange. What’s even stranger is coming back knowing that in a few weeks another long break is just over the horizon. As we gather our bearings once again and finalize the site’s content plans for late-December/early-January, here’s a quick rundown of all the things that we missed while we were out.  



The Death of Fidel Castro



Somehow it’s fitting that Father Time was the one that eventually killed Fidel Castro.


As a long time foil of the US, Cuban “President” Fidel Castro passed over the weekend. Castro was a more complex figure than most US history books would suggest. In the 1950’s Castro took part in the Cuban Revolution which set to overthrow Fulgencio Batista’s military junta. As we know, Cuba was the farthest place from the free society that Castro had said he envisioned and in many cases, became the brutal regime he fought so desperately to overthrow.


Because of the Cuban Revolution (and more importantly, Castro’s distrust of the US) Cuba had become isolated from the rest of the World. It was only until recently that President Obama had started to normalize relations with Cuba. However with president-elect Donald Trump, it’s hard to say if that’s to continue.



With Castro’s passing and his brother Raul Castro – the current leader of Cuba – being 85 himself, it’s hard to say what the future for Cuba holds. Hopefully it’s both brighter and modern than its turbulent past.



Trump’s Transition


Last week President-Elect Donald Trump started to name members of his cabinet. Unlike his picks for Chief-of-Staff (Reince Priebus), Chief Strategist (Stephen Bannon), and National Security Advisor (Retired Army Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn), these cabinet nominees will have to be confirmed by the US Senate to move forward. Here are some of the positions he’s picked already.


  • Attorney General: Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama

  • Secretary of Education: Betsy DeVos (major GOP donor and philanthropist)

  • Ambassador to the UN: South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley

  • CIA Director: Rep. Mike Pompeo of Kansas

  • Secretary of Commerce: Wilbur Ross (billionaire investor)


There are many aspects which stand out regarding Trump’s picks with the most notable being that everyone he’s picked so far had supported him during his presidential campaign. While this isn’t anything out of the ordinary for a President-Elect to do when creating a transition team, it’s now become very obvious that Trump is less about picking cabinet members that are experts in their respective fields and more about choosing them based on how loyal they were during his campaign.


In a pure policy making standpoint, that could end up biting Trump in the ass down the road…



Looks Like We’re Going to Have a Recount



With the 2016 presidential election having Donald Trump win the electoral vote and Hillary Clinton winning the popular vote, it was only a matter of time before someone would call for a recount in one of the states. Though what you didn’t expect was that it would come from the 2016’s Green Party candidate Jill Stein!


As of this writing, Stein has raised more than $5 million for her recount efforts. Currently she has filed for a recount in Wisconsin, with the promises of filing similar contentions in Michigan and Pennsylvania. With the Clinton campaign now getting behind the effort, Trump is taking it as well as you’d think.



So, two things:


  • One, a recount doesn’t mean they aren’t accepting results of the 2016 election. It just means that they’re recounting the votes in close states to make sure there aren’t any voter irregularities. It’s a practice that happens quite often, but isn’t generally reported on.


  • Two, in the above tweets, Trump is accusing that voter fraud happened in a US presidential election. Or in other words, Trump is basically taking a sledge hammer to the bedrock of American Democracy! He is QUITE LITERALLY questioning the legitimacy of an election that he won!?! (Also this should go without mention but since he’s now the president-elect; Trump’s claim that millions voted illegally for Clinton is completely bogus!!)


Now with all that aside, let’s be real here. Trump won the 2016 presidential contest. Sure Clinton got the most votes, but that’s not the system we use to determine US presidents. It’s by no means perfect – or even at times logical – but it’s just how it works. Also the Green Party has tried to contest the results of presidential elections before. The only difference is that this time, it’s getting more press.


The groundswell of support over the recount effort just shows that people are still processing a Donald Trump presidency. Considering Trump’s tweets in the last couple of weeks, this friction between the president-elect and his detractors is something that looks to become the political norm going forward.



(Photo Credits: Google Images, Wikipedia)


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