Get More Smarter on Monday (November 28)

Get More SmarterHappy Cyber Monday! To celebrate, today’s edition of Get More Smarter is completely free (sans shipping and handling). It’s time to Get More Smarter with Colorado Pols. If you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example). If you are more of a visual learner, check out The Get More Smarter Show.


► President-elect Donald Trump is casting doubts on the legitimacy of his own election. From Politico:

Donald Trump on Sunday used his platform as president-elect to peddle a fringe conspiracy theory to justify his loss of the popular vote, claiming without evidence that millions of people voted illegally Nov. 8.

Trump’s tweets marked an unprecedented rebuke of the U.S. electoral system by a president-elect and met with immediate condemnation from voting experts and others. And they offered a troubling indication that Trump’s ascension to the highest political office in the United States may not alter his penchant for repeating unproven conspiracy theories perpetuated by the far right.

“In addition to winning the Electoral College in a landslide, I won the popular vote if you deduct the millions of people who voted illegally,” Trump wrote on Twitter. There is no evidence to support Trump’s claim and PolitiFactruled it false.

Several hours later, he added more specifics, but again without any evidence: “Serious voter fraud in Virginia, New Hampshire and California — so why isn’t the media reporting on this? Serious bias — big problem!”

Election law experts quickly rejected Trump’s claims as far-fetched.

Trump’s comments on Sunday are confusing to say the least; the President-elect is almost making an argument in favor of a recount of his own victory. Last week, Green Party Presidential candidate Jill Stein moved forward with a plan demanding a recount of votes in Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania; on Monday, officials in Wisconsin set Thursday as the starting date for a recount. Casting your own doubts on the legitimacy of the 2016 election is not a good strategy when you are simultaneously trying to delegitimize efforts that could cost you the election.


► Trump-whisperer Kellyanne Conway is definitely not on board with the possibility that Mitt Romney could be named Secretary of State. From “The Fix”:

Kellyanne Conway made one thing very clear in her Sunday interview with “Meet the Press” host Chuck Todd: She’s not a fan of Mitt Romney. Like, at all.

Here’s how she responded to Todd’s question about her feelings about the 2012 Republican presidential nominee:

People feel betrayed to think that Governor Romney, who went out of his way to question the character and the intellect and the integrity of Donald Trump, now our president-elect, would be given the most significant cabinet post of all, secretary of state. And that is a decision that only one man can make, President-elect Donald Trump. I will respect it, and I will support it 1,000 percent. But I’m reflecting what the grass roots are saying…

They feel a bit betrayed that you can get a Romney back in there after everything he did. We don’t even know if he voted for Donald Trump. He and his consultants were nothing but awful to Donald Trump for a year. [Pols emphasis]

Trump is scheduled to meet again with Romney on Tuesday.


► As much as Colorado Republicans would like to blame the federal government, Colorado is not facing crippling budget problems because of Medicaid. Get the facts first.



Get even more smarter after the jump… (more…)

Banker Scott Tipton Finally Gets His Chance

Rep. Scott Tipton (R).

Rep. Scott Tipton (R).

GOP Rep. Scott Tipton, the Western Slope Republican who trades heavily on his “profession” as co-owner of Mesa Verde Indian Pottery, is excited to reveal his other talents to the world under the incoming Donald Trump administration and undivided Republican Congress! As the Grand Junction Sentinel’s Gary Harmon reports:

U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton, R-Colo., will reintroduce three measures that he has already introduced to reduce the effects of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner, R-Colo., said regulations issued by the Obama administration in recent months will get close congressional review and possibly reversal once the GOP-run Congress is in place and Donald J. Trump is in the Oval Office…

Tipton is looking to continue his efforts to pass legislation aimed at reducing regulatory burdens aimed at larger banks that must be met by small, community banks, Tipton said.

Another measure aimed at increasing banking services for rural-area residents will be reintroduced, as well, Tipton said.

Former U.S. Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., half of the Dodd-Frank tandem, has conceded that the measure likely overreached, especially on its effect on community banks, Tipton said…

Not everything will be rolled back, Tipton said, noting that new financial instruments are on the market and that consumer protections still are in order, but that so are cost-benefit analyses and “a level of common sense.” [Pols emphasis]

Now the truth is that former Rep. Barney Frank has only mentioned a couple of changes he would make to his namesake banking reform law, including raising the minimum amount of assets required to mandate a higher degree of scrutiny of a bank. By contrast, Tipton has expressed a desire to go much farther in dismantling the law’s protections than anything former Rep. Frank would ever support–even if that’s not the impression you get from Tipton in this story.

And the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s Tipton playbook, which we doubt very many people in CD-3 care much about–especially right now–is one of the few places you can find out the answer:

Scott Tipton served on the board of directors for Vectra Bank Colorado from 1998 to 2005. [Pols emphasis] During Tipton’s tenure as a bank board member for Vectra Bank, there were reported incidences of Vectra Bank charging exorbitant interest rates to rural Colorado farmers. Additionally, Vectra Bank made the decision in early 2003 to close several rural banks in rural Colorado. In 2010, when Tipton’s participation with Vectra Bank was questioned by the Salazar campaign, Tipton denied his involvement as a bank board member for Vectra Bank.

There’s no mention of it in Tipton’s official congressional biography, but the truth is that Tipton was a much more influential banker than pottery maker. It’s understandable that Tipton “forgot” to mention this in his bio, since bankers don’t have a very good reputation.

Anyway, we’ll have to wait and see what Tipton’s next moves are with regard to rolling back regulations on the banking industry, though the current climate among congressional Republicans as Trump prepares to take office has been described as “heady.” Trump’s transition team has specifically mentioned Dodd-Frank as an early repeal target, without all that happy talk about keeping parts of the law that protect consumers.

It will be interesting to see if banker Scott Tipton is as beloved as the pottery maker when it’s over.

Monday Open Thread

“Since a politician never believes what he says, he is quite surprised to be taken at his word.”

–Charles de Gaulle

Holiday Weekend Reading: Medicaid Fact vs. Fiction

snowycapitolAs we emerge from our tryptophan comas–which is a myth, by the way, you were just tired–our friends at the Bell Policy Center contributed a very useful body of knowledge about the growing cost of funding the state’s Medicaid public health insurance system. Going into next year’s legislative session, where the state’s Medicaid commitments will mingle with a much larger national debate over the Affordable Care Act’s future, it’s critically important to keep some basic facts about what’s happening and why:

On November 14, Colorado’s Joint Budget Committee kicked off its first week of meetings to begin the long, intricate process of passing a state budget. The Governor’s FY 17-18 budget request asks for a $142.8 million increase for the Department of Health Care Policy and Financing (HCPF), which administers Medicaid, called Health First Colorado. The discussion turned to why the HCPF budget continues to grow and what can be done about it given the projected state budget deficit. It won’t be the last time we talk Medicaid this session, and the conversation is sure to grow more important after Inauguration Day. But for now, here are some things to keep in mind:

Medicaid provides important support for many types of Coloradans, including many who are working. In last year’s presentation to the JBC, HCPF documented that it insures one in five people in our state. Health First Colorado insures pregnant women, approximately 43% of Colorado child births, children and adolescents, working adults (approximately 74% of those insured by Medicaid are employed), and the elderly and disabled. About one-third of Coloradans over age 65 are living with a disability, according to a report from Caring Across Generations.

Next fiscal year, according to the Office of State Planning and Budgeting (OSPB) nine percent of Medicaid members will be elderly and people with disabilities – but they will account for 42 percent of the overall FY 17-18 expenditures. This week the Governor said, as the Bell has noted, that these numbers will continue to grow. Lieutenant Governor Donna Lynne echoed that this rising piece of the Medicaid caseload will tap right into the General Fund. She added, “long-term care is the single biggest driver with respect to our Medicaid budget.” [Pols emphasis]

And that means something very, very important to the politics of the upcoming debate, from Colorado’s budget to the halls of Congress:

Colorado’s Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is not the main source of General Fund pain. The nonpartisan Colorado Health Institute released a report last May that provided a snapshot of Colorado’s ACA Medicaid expansion efforts to date. It found that the total cost of expansion under the ACA in Colorado was $1.6 billion as of June 2015, which was more than expected. However, this was almost entirely paid for by the federal government. Less than five percent of the expansion was paid for by the state, and those costs were paid out of the hospital provider fee (HPF), not the general fund. [Pols emphasis] The larger-than-expected costs are in part because we experienced growth in enrollees who were already eligible for Medicaid before we expanded Medicaid, but who had not previously enrolled. Starting next year, the state share of the expansion will grow, capped at 10 percent by 2020 under current federal law. Revenues from the HPF are supposed to cover this expense.

With “Obamacare” now the vessel into which all dissatisfaction with American health care delivery is being poured, it’s practically guaranteed that Republicans at all levels will unfairly blame the 2010 reform law for the very different problem caused by rising cost of care and an aging population–a population eligible for Medicaid coverage before President Barack Obama’s “signature achievement” was ever signed. The truth is that between the revenue from the hospital provider fee and federal money to cover most of the Medicaid expansion from the ACA, the expansion is not what’s driving the increase in bottom-line costs for Colorado.

It’s us. It’s our parents. It’s people who can’t be so crassly stereotyped. Because Medicaid is providing this major benefit to thousands more Coloradans with federal funds, it’s boosting Colorado’s economy–not hurting it. And moving into an uncertain 2017, these simple facts about Medicaid’s cost and benefits in Colorado are going to need to be restated again and again. Being able to agree on a common set of facts, after all, is the only way to have an honest discussion about the impact of Medicaid on rest of the budget, the debate over the hospital provider fee and TABOR, or anything else.

Thanksgiving Weekend Open Thread

“History teaches us that the American instinct has never been to seek isolation in opposite corners; it is to find strength in our common creed and forge unity from our great diversity.”

–From President Barack Obama’s Thanksgiving Day, 2016 Proclamation

Get More Smarter on Wednesday (November 23)

MoreSmarterLogo-PilgrimHatYou’re less than 24 hours away from being asleep on the couch. It’s time to Get More Smarter with Colorado Pols. If you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example). If you are more of a visual learner, check out The Get More Smarter Show.


► What’s the difference between Donald Trump the candidate for President and Donald Trump the actual President of the United States? Perhaps quite a bit. As the New York Times reports:

President-elect Donald J. Trump retreated on Tuesday from some of his most extreme campaign promises, dropping his vow to jail Hillary Clinton, expressing doubt about the value of torturing terrorism suspects and pledging to have an open mind about climate change.

But in a wide-ranging, hourlong interview with reporters and editors at The New York Times — which was scheduled, canceled and then reinstated after a dispute over the ground rules — Mr. Trump was fiercely unapologetic about repeatedly flouting the traditional ethical and political conventions that have long shaped the American presidency.

Trump also made it clear that he has not forgiven Republicans who opposed his Presidential bid — here’s looking at you, Sen. Cory Gardner — while his sit-down interview with the Times also led to some significant concerns from other journalists.


► President-elect Donald Trump may have finally run out of white dudes to select as top administration officials. Trump announced on Wednesday that he will nominate South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley as U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations.

Just kidding on the white dude thing; former Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney is apparently the frontrunner to become Secretary of State.


► The 2018 Big Line is now live! And there was much rejoicing.


Get even more smarter after the jump… (more…)

Wednesday Open Thread

“An apology? Bah! Disgusting! Cowardly! Beneath the dignity of any gentleman, however wrong he might be.”

–Steve Martin

The Square Root of Gerrymandering

Good luck finding the "efficiency gap" in current legislative maps.

Finding the “efficiency gap” in the redistricting process could soon get much easier.

Michael Wines of the New York Times has a fascinating look at a new court ruling in Wisconsin that has the potential to dramatically change the process of redistricting/reapportionment across the country.

A panel of three federal judges ruled on Monday that the Wisconsin legislature relied upon unconstitutional partisan gerrymandering when it redrew state legislative districts in 2011.  The case could now move to the Supreme Court, where a new mathematical formula designed to measure partisan gerrymandering could significantly alter the next round of state redistricting/reapportionment in 2021. From the Times:

In Monday’s ruling, the court was swayed by a new and simple mathematical formula to measure the extent of partisan gerrymandering, called the efficiency gap. The formula divides the difference between the two parties’ “wasted votes” — votes beyond those needed by a winning side, and votes cast by a losing side — by the total number of votes cast. [Pols emphasis] When both parties waste the same number of votes, the result is zero — an ideal solution. But as a winning party wastes fewer and fewer votes than its opponent, its score rises.

A truly efficient gerrymander spreads a winning party’s votes so evenly over districts that very few votes are wasted. A review of four decades of state redistricting plans concluded that any party with an efficiency gap of 7 percent or more was likely to keep its majority during the 10 years before new districts were drawn.

In Wisconsin, experts testified, Republicans scored an efficiency gap rating of 11.69 percent to 13 percent in the first election after the maps were redrawn in 2011.

Some experts said the efficiency gap gives gerrymandering opponents their most promising chance yet to persuade a majority of the Supreme Court to limit partisan redistricting. [Pols emphasis]

The once-per-decade redistricting/reapportionment process is often a long, drawn-out (pun intended) process that involves months of legal wrangling from both sides of the political aisle. When it is done particularly poorly, as it was in the infamous 2003 “Midnight Gerrymandering” by Colorado Republicans, it can create deep political wounds that resonate for several election cycles.

We aren’t well-versed enough in election law to definitively say whether or not this “efficiency gap” calculation is the ideal approach for Colorado, but it would certainly be helpful if there were some sort of basic formula that every state could use when it begins the next redistricting/reapportionment process.

The Debut of the 2018 Big Line

biglineflag18The 2016 election has been over for nearly two weeks now, so you know what that means: It’s time to move on toward 2018!

The 2018 Big Line is now available at the top of the page (or via this link if you prefer). As we always say around this time of a new election cycle, the Big Line is very preliminary; Democrats will certainly try to unseat Attorney General Cynthia Coffman, for example, but we haven’t heard enough rumors about any one particular challenger to start listing names just yet.

Expect to see significant changes to The 2018 Big Line before the end of the year, particularly in regards to the race for Governor and the potential open seat in CD-7 (should Rep. Ed Perlmutter indeed jump in the race for Colorado’s top office). But we’ve gotta start somewhere, and this is where we begin…

Joe Salazar Joins Dakota Access Pipeline Protest

Rep. Joe Salazar.

Rep. Joe Salazar.

A local angle on a story making headlines across the country, after police in North Dakota used water cannons in freezing weather on protesters sending many to the hospital. CBS4 Denver reports:

Protesters are trying to block the construction of the 1,100-mile oil pipeline. They say it threatens drinking water on the nearby American-Indian reservation. Some Coloradans are part of the protest, and one Colorado state lawmaker plans to join them.

The Dakota Access Pipeline stretches from oil fields in North Dakota to Illinois. It’s largely complete except for a section that runs under a Missouri River reservoir near the Standing Rock Sioux reservation. The tribe went to court to stop it, but lost. Protesters aren’t giving up and police are cracking down.

“It’s 10 degrees outside and they’re spraying people down with water,” said Rep. Joe Salazar, D-Thornton.

After watching the standoff in North Dakota unfold for months, Salazar says he can no longer stand by.

As CBS reports, Rep. Salazar played a key role in killing legislation that would have granted oil companies eminent domain rights to construct pipelines, so his interest in the fight over the Dakota Access Pipeline makes sense. Supporters of the pipeline argue that it’s a much safer and cheaper transportation method than oil trains, but the Standing Rock Sioux cite both treaties and environmental threats in their determined protest.

Wherever you stand on the issue, water cannons in the bitter North Dakota cold don’t seem like a good idea.

Get More Smarter on Tuesday (November 22)

MoreSmarter-ThanksgivingWe’re dreaming…of a sleeting…Thanksgiving… It’s time to Get More Smarter with Colorado Pols. If you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example). If you are more of a visual learner, check out The Get More Smarter Show.


► “Lock her up!” Nah, that was just talk, says Donald Trump. From the Washington Post:

President-elect Donald Trump has decided that he won’t seek criminal investigations related to former rival Hillary Clinton’s private email server or her family foundation, a senior Trump adviser said Tuesday

Trump’s apparent decision, conveyed by former campaign manager Kellyanne Conway in an interview on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,’’ is a change from his campaign rhetoric, in which he issued incendiary calls for a special prosecutor to reopen the FBI’s closed investigation of Clinton’s use of a private server while serving as secretary of state and had also urged investigations of allegations of corruption at the Clinton Foundation. He nicknamed the Democratic nominee “Crooked Hillary” and encouraged chants of “Lock her up!” at his rallies.

Trump’s decision to pursue or not pursue a criminal investigation from the Oval Office would be an extraordinary break with political and legal protocol, which holds that the attorney general and FBI make decisions on whether to conduct investigations and file charges, free of pressure from the president.

For all of those Trump supporters out there who are upset that their candidate is backing away from this particular campaign pledge…well, get used to it (you, too, Breitbarters).

Perhaps Trump realized that it wouldn’t look good to go after Clinton when his own Trump Foundation had just admitted to breaking IRS rules on “self-dealing.”


► Elsewhere, Trump presided over a bizarre meeting with top executives and journalists from several media outlets on Monday. As The New York Post reports, the meeting did not go well:

“Trump kept saying, ‘We’re in a room of liars, the deceitful dishonest media who got it all wrong.’ He addressed everyone in the room calling the media dishonest, deceitful liars. He called out Jeff Zucker by name and said everyone at CNN was a liar, and CNN was [a] network of liars,” the source said…

…The meeting was off the record, meaning the participants agreed not to talk about the substance of the conversations.

The hour-long session included top execs from network and cable news channels. Among the attendees were NBC’s Deborah Turness, Lester Holt and Chuck Todd, ABC’s James Goldston, George Stephanopoulos, David Muir and Martha Raddatz.

And that was just yesterday. As the Washington Post explains, Trump’s media tirade continued on Tuesday:

President-elect Donald Trump escalated his long-standing battle with the media on Tuesday, canceling a meeting at the New York Times and blasting the publication on Twitter hours after he criticized TV journalists at another contentious sit-down. But as mercurial as he has been known to be, he later changed his mind and agreed to the meeting.

Trump had scheduled two meetings with the publisher and journalists from the Times on Tuesday, including one on-the-record session. But the president-elect, who frequently attacked the paper during his campaign, suddenly canceled the events in a series of tweets.

“I cancelled today’s meeting with the failing @nytimes when the terms and conditions of the meeting were changed at the last moment. Not nice,’’ Trump wrote to his nearly 16 million followers on the micro-blogging site. “Perhaps a new meeting will be set up with the @nytimes,’’ he continued. “In the meantime they continue to cover me inaccurately and with a nasty tone!’’

Ladies and gentlemen, the next President of the United States!


► Former Congressman and two-time gubernatorial loser Bob Beauprez is reportedly being considered for Interior Secretary in Donald Trump’s administration. This is the same Bob Beauprez who once said that his plan for dealing with wildlife and oil and gas drilling was to teach elk to learn to migrate somewhere else.



Get even more smarter after the jump… (more…)

Tuesday Open Thread

“We make the future sustainable when we invest in the poor, not when we insist on their suffering.”

–Bill Gates

We Give Up: Bob “Elk Whisperer” Beauprez Considered For Interior Secretary

"Both Ways" Bob Beauprez (right).

“Both Ways” Bob Beauprez (right).

That’s the news sending palms crashing into foreheads around Colorado this Monday evening: two-time Colorado gubernatorial loser Bob Beauprez, one of the most spectacular failures in our state’s modern political history, is being “considered” by Republican President-elect Donald Trump for the job of Secretary of the Interior! As GOP metaspox “reporter” Dan Njegomir is excited to announce from the Phil Anschutz-owned Colorado Springs Gazette:

Colorado Republican former congressman Bob Beauprez confirmed reports today that he is among those under consideration to become the Trump administration’s secretary of the interior, a Cabinet post of pivotal importance to Colorado and the West…

Reached for comment this afternoon, Beauprez—a former dairy farmer, current bison rancher and businessman who made two runs for governor and remains a state GOP mover and shaker—expressed enthusiasm for the position but stressed his inclusion on the list of prospects is very preliminary…

Bob Beauprez’s second failed bid for governor in 2014 was one of the nastiest campaigns in recent memory, slinging so much mud at the popular incumbent Gov. John Hickenlooper that it backfired–costing Beauprez votes in an otherwise very good election for Republicans in Colorado and nationally. Along the way to Beauprez’s second loss two years ago, his long history of militant whackadoodlery, “birther” blatherings about President Barack Obama, and gaffes like claiming that 75% of African-American pregnancies end in abortion were all revisited in media coverage.

Elk (left) and Bob Beauprez

Elk (left) and Bob Beauprez

With regard to the environmental and land use policy Beauprez would direct as Interior Secretary, he managed to position himself well to the right of Hickenlooper–already known as one of the most energy development-friendly Democratic governors in America. In 2006, Beauprez was lampooned for his suggestion that elk could be “trained” to avoid oil and gas production sites (see title).

And in 2009, Beauprez wrote in his book A Return To Values that climate change “at best a grossly overhyped issue and at worst a complete hoax foisted on most of the world.”

The only thing we can say about this news that the same Bob Beauprez Colorado politics has known for so many years is being considered for Secretary of the Interior, is that like Trump’s choice of the white nationalist chief political strategist, the National Security Advisor who calls one of the world’s great religions a “cancer,” and the Attorney General who said the KKK was “okay” until he realized they “smoke pot,” Beauprez is the absolutely perfect choice for the job of the nation’s chief protector of our land and water and people.

And by perfect, we of course mean perfectly disastrous.

Perlmutter Backs Tim Ryan Over Pelosi for Minority Leader

Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-Jefferson County)

Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-Jefferson County)

Ohio Democratic Rep. Tim Ryan announced last week that he would challenge longtime Democratic Congressional boss  Nancy Pelosi for the title of Minority Leader. Democrats will hold a caucus vote next Wednesday (November 30th) — a delayed vote requested by Democrats in the wake of a difficult 2016 election.

It is probably still too early to gauge whether or not Ryan has a real chance of upending Pelosi, but he apparently has convinced at least one high-profile Colorado Democrat. As the Denver Post reports:

Colorado Democrat Ed Perlmutter said Monday that he has decided to support Ohio congressman Tim Ryan in his upstart bid to unseat Nancy Pelosi as the top Democrat in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Perlmutter, recently re-elected to his sixth term, said he had nothing against Pelosi or current leadership, but the results of the Nov. 8 election — which saw Hillary Clinton lose swing states such as Ohio and Pennsylvania to Donald Trump — were enough to convince him a change was needed.

“Let’s not go back to the status quo here,” Perlmutter said in an interview. “That’s not taking anything away from Nancy Pelosi or Steny Hoyer or Jim Clyburn. They’re my friends, they’ve assisted me. They’ve been supportive of me. But as a general proposition, we need a change.”

This is a good move for Perlmutter for a number of reasons, not the least of which is the fact that he is likely to seek the Democratic nomination for Governor in 2018. While fellow Congressional Democrats in Colorado (Rep. Diana DeGette and Rep. Jared Polis) have yet to take a public position on the Democratic House leadership battle, neither are considering an immediate run for statewide office. If Perlmutter wants to convince rank-and-file Democrats that he is the right person to lead Colorado donkeys in 2018, it would be difficult to make that argument while also sticking with the “status quo” on Capitol Hill.

Perlmutter cannot easily be accused of blind political ambition in making this decision; when he says that he believes Democrats need to change things up, it is a decision rooted in his own history of making independent choices in deciding where to put his support. The Jefferson County Democrat was an early supporter of then-Senator Barack Obama when the latter ran for President in 2008, but he has also been open in the past about his support for Democrats such as Pelosi and Hillary Clinton.

Whether or not Ryan is successful in toppling Pelosi next week, this is the kind of leadership move from Perlmutter that should only help him in earning support from Colorado Democrats aching to see a different approach in 2018.

How Big Will Hillary Clinton’s Popular Vote Margin Get?

Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton.

Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton.

As the Washington Post’s Paul Waldman writes, we’re in uncharted territory:

As of the most recent count, Clinton has received 1.7 million more votes than Trump. In fact, she received more votes than any presidential candidate in history not named Barack Obama. And it’s not over yet.

On Friday, the California Secretary of State’s office reported that the state still has 2.8 million ballots left to count, mostly because mail-in ballots take time to arrive and there are significant numbers of provisional ballots to examine as well. Clinton won California by an almost 2-1 margin, and if the remaining ballots reflect the same split, her final popular vote lead over Trump could reach 2.5 million. That’s five times as large as the margin by which Al Gore beat George W. Bush in the popular vote in 2000.

Legally speaking, that fact is irrelevant. But the fact that a couple million more Americans chose Clinton to be their president is highly relevant to Trump’s legitimacy. [Pols emphasis]

There’s no question today that Hillary Clinton’s campaign was way off in their confidence in easy victories in the “Rust Belt” states of Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Wisconsin–states that slipped away from Clinton decisively while she was in retrospect foolishly trying to “expand the map” into red states like Arizona. As the margin of Clinton’s popular vote victory nationwide grows to historic proportions, the failure of Clinton’s electoral vote strategy, a.k.a. the only part that matters, stands out in sharper and more painful relief for Democrats.

But looking ahead, Donald Trump’s stunning Electoral College win may contribute to his swift undoing–especially if Trump doesn’t learn the humility that should come with being President despite millions more Americans voting against you than for you.

In normal circumstances, a minority president might take it as a strong suggestion to tread carefully — not just to “reach out” to the other party by appointing one or two of its members to his Cabinet or by inviting its congressional leadership over for dinner, but to govern with an awareness that most Americans still need to be convinced that his presidency will be something other than a disaster. That means moving carefully, making efforts to assure the people who voted against you that they won’t be victimized by your presidency, and not undertaking sweeping, disruptive changes that the public isn’t behind.

Unfortunately, all signs coming from the Trump presidential transition point to the most belligerently partisan and ideologically skewed administration in many years. Trump’s Cabinet picks so far have been the precise opposite of “reassuring” to the majority of Americans who voted against him.

Donald Trump has risen to power by disregarding every bit of political conventional wisdom, but that doesn’t mean he can do that forever as President. Trump does not have anything like a mandate to carry out the radical agenda he ran on. He has the power, and he has the votes in Congress, but he does not have the electorate behind him.

If he ignores that–and we’re guessing he will–2018 could be a big, big year.