The President-elect made offers his campaign prominent surrogates could refuse
And will President Barack Obama pick a favorite for DNC chair?
President-elect Donald Trump’s strategy to disappoint some loyalists and several twists on how Democrats are looking to mount a comeback were part of this week’s “Inside Politics” forecast.
1. Part of Trump’s hiring approach: Make an offer you WILL refuse
The next week or two will provide a deeper sense of how many longtime loyalists Trump is eager to please, and how many he is prepared to disappoint.
In filling Cabinet posts, there has been a common thread, according to CNN’s Sara Murray: Make an offer, or offers, that were all but certain to be refused. That played out, for example, with former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. They wanted State and Justice, respectively, but the President-elect wanted to go in a different direction in both cases. So he offered the Giuliani and Christie other jobs – knowing full well the answer would be no.
Watch again now as Trump moves on to senior jobs in the White House and critical government agencies.
“It gives him the opportunity to appear magnanimous. It gives them the opportunity to save face,” Murray said. “Trump is expected to roll out a list of White House staffers. And you can bet that missing from that list are going to be some of Trump’s earliest and most strident supporters.”
2. Treasury pick a test for Democrats on economic themes
Democrats promise to give all of Trump’s Cabinet picks a thorough vetting in the confirmation process.
But some picks always get more scrutiny than others, and after performing poorly with blue collar voters in 2016 Democrats are looking to make a point when considering Trump economic picks.
Like Steven Mnuchin, the choice for treasury secretary whose history in banking is about to get a ton of Democratic attention.
Julie Pace of The Associated Press laid out the Democratic calculation.
“Mnuchin is a former Goldman Sachs banker who made quite a bit of money off the foreclosure crisis,” Pace said. “And Democrats really see his hearings as a way to start dinging Trump on his own economic message, while refocusing the Democratic Party’s message.”
3. The President weighs in on Democratic leadership race – now will he follow through?
At his year-end news conference, President Barack Obama was effusive in his praise of Labor Secretary Tom Perez, who is a late entry into the race to lead the Democratic National Committee.
The President also said there were other fine candidates, but his preference was more than obvious.
The question now is whether the President tries to help Perez round up the votes – at a time, Jonathan Martin of The New York Times reports, there is no overwhelming frontrunner.
“Only about a quarter of the DNC voting committee, which is about 440 people, are now committed to a candidate,” Martin said. “So this thing is wide open and the endorsement of a current or former president could matter a great deal.”
4. All politics is local – and a building block for discouraged Democrats
Losing the White House stings, and the Democratic hangover in Washington also includes disappointment at the party’s small gains in the House and Senate.
All concerns as the party tries to put 2016 in the rear view mirror and prepare for 2018 and 2020.
But Dan Balz of The Washington Post shared reporting from Democrats who think the best and more durable road back is through mounting better campaigns for governor, especially in places where Trump surprised Democrats this year.
“The party cannot underestimate the significance of trying to win back governorships,” Balz said. “There are a number of Midwest governorships that are at stake obviously in 2018 and that’s where a lot of Democrats think the party really needs to concentrate.”