Today in the Morning Line:
- The end of the 2014 midterms
- Two incumbent women lose for the first time ever
- Obama talks race — new polls on Ferguson, Garner
- Clinton continues to lead ’16 field.
The Deep South’s political transformation is complete: Yes, there’s a recount in an Arizona House race ongoing, but for pretty much all intents and purposes, the runoff election in the Louisiana Senate race Saturday put the final nail in the 2014 midterm elections. Republican Bill Cassidy ousted incumbent Democrat Mary Landrieu 56 to 44 percent. The Cassidy win gives Republicans a net pickup of nine seats in 2014. The GOP will have 54 senators in the next Congress. The nine-seat gain is the most for either party since 1980 when Ronald Reagan and Republicans gained 12 seats in the Senate. Perhaps it’s fitting that 1980 is the bookend, because that’s when the transformation of the Deep South began to take hold. Dixiecrats, conservative Democrats from the South, began voting Republican in national elections. And now, 34 years later, even as places like Virginia and North Carolina change demographically, the political transformation of the Deep South is complete. In fact, driving home that point, it’s the first time in 132 years that a Republican has held this Louisiana Senate seat.
This wasn’t the history women were looking for: There have been lots of firsts in politics when it comes to women in the last few election cycles. We’ve reported previously that for the first time, there will be 100 women in Congress. But here’s another first — with Landrieu’s loss, it marks the first time in U.S. history that two women incumbents have lost (Sen. Kay Hagan of North Carolina is the other), the University of Minnesota’s Smart Politics blog reports. In a way, though, it’s a mark of progress — there are more women running. And they are being reelected at about the same rate as men — 84 percent for women versus 87 percent for men. Smart Politics: “With two more cycles to go in 2016 and 2018, there have already been more female U.S. Senate nominees during the first three cycles of the 2010s (48) than in any other decade, ahead of the 1990s (47), the 2000s (46), 1980s (26), and 1970s (nine).” Despite Landrieu’s and Hagan’s losses, there will still be 20 women in the Senate with the wins by Republicans Joni Ernst of Iowa and Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia.
Clinton continues to lead: Speaking of women, there’s another that Democratic women hope will make history in 2016 — Hillary Clinton. And a Bloomberg/Selzer poll finds her continuing to lead the presidential field. She beats Jeb Bush (43-37), Chris Christie (42-36), Ted Cruz (46-33), Rand Paul (45-37) and Mitt Romney (45-39). Most importantly for Clinton, she has better favorability ratings than any of her potential GOP opponents — 52 to 42 percent net-positive. Of the Republicans, Paul had the best rating, 32-29 percent, but with a whopping 39 percent unsure.
Obama: Racism ‘deeply rooted,’ will take time to change: For the first time since Ferguson or the Eric Garner case in New York, President Obama did a TV interview. In an excerpt with BET, which airs in full Monday night, President Obama said, “[T]his is something that is deeply rooted in our society, it’s deeply rooted in our history.” But he urged patience to young protesters, adding, “We can’t equate what is happening now to what was happening 50 years ago, and if you talk to your parents, grandparents, uncles, they’ll tell you that things are better, not good in some places, but better.” He said of racial progress that “typically progress is in steps, it’s in increments.” More: In dealing with something “as deeply rooted as racism or bias in any society, you’ve got to have vigilance but you have to recognize that it’s going to take some time and you just have to be steady so that you don’t give up when you don’t get all the way there.” Attorney General Eric Holder will announce Monday new limits on racial profiling for agencies under the Department of Justice and any local police forces that are involved with joint task forces. The policy excludes border and TSA agents.
Divided by race: Two new polls show how divided Americans are by race in their view of these two cases. NBC/Marist: “47 percent of Americans say that law enforcement applies different standards to blacks and whites, while 44 percent disagree. But 82 percent of African-Americans say that police have different standards based on race, while half of whites say the opposite.” President Obama gets just a 30 to 46 percent approval of his handling of the grand jury decisions. But overwhelmingly, 76 percent believe police should have to wear body cameras. The Bloomberg poll finds 52 percent agreed with the Ferguson grand jury not to indict Darren Wilson, the white police officer who shot and killed black teenager Michael Brown. But it found the opposite in the Garner case — 60 percent disagreed with the decision in that case. There was a huge racial divide: on Ferguson, 89 percent of blacks disagreed with the grand jury, but just 25 percent of whites felt the same; on Garner, 89 percent of blacks disagreed with the grand jury and so did a majority (52 percent) of whites.
Daily Presidential Trivia: On this day in 1863, President Abraham Lincoln announced his plan for reunification of the United States with his Proclamation of Amnesty and Reconstruction. Who was president when the Reconstruction period finally ended? Be the first to tweet us the correct answer using #PoliticsTrivia and you’ll get a Morning Line shout-out. Congratulations to Charles Hicks (@mrcharleshicks) for guessing Wednesday’s trivia: Jackson was the first Irish-American president; where was he born? The answer was: Waxhaws, which scholars debate was either in South Carolina or North Carolina. No one guessed Thursday’s trivia: How many U.S. presidents took office after serving as a military general and without holding prior elected office in the U.S. government? The answer was: 4- Washington, Eisenhower, Grant and Taylor.
The government will shut down at the end of the week if Congress is unable to push through a government funding bill by Thursday.
Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel announced Saturday that the U.S. will keep 1,000 additional troops in Afghanistan through the early part of next year.
Secretary of State John Kerry will testify before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Tuesday on America’s fight against the Islamic State.
On Friday, Kerry called Sen. Dianne Feinstein to warn her about the potential negative impacts of releasing the CIA torture report, including the danger it could pose to American hostages abroad. Former President George W. Bush is also pushing back on the report and its assertions about the actions of CIA agents, saying “these are patriots and whatever the report says, if it diminishes their contributions to our country, it is way off base.”
Over the weekend, Uruguay accepted six detainees from the Guantanamo Bay prison. This marked the largest single group of inmates to be released from Guantanamo since 2009.
As Congress prepares for a net neutrality fight next year, telecom companies are targeting the newest members to help garner support.
The New York Times has found that attorneys general in at least a dozen states are trading influence for monetary backing from energy companies. This is the first time attorneys general have joined forces on this scale to oppose Washington regulation.
Oil, gas and coal lobbyists are ready to reap the spoils of the GOP’s victory. At a conference of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), they discussed with state legislators model legislation to target the EPA at the state level.
After their success with older and more conservative voters in 2016, progressives are pushing more liberal ballot initiatives for what they hope will be a favorable climate in 2016.
Newly released interviews with Clinton administration vets show Hillary Clinton to be a first lady “who was at once formidable and not always politically deft.”
Soon-to-be Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he’s been preparing his would-be chairman for legislative action since last spring. In an interview with Roll Call, he downplayed divisions within his own party and expressed optimism about his working relationship with the president.
With in-house polling, text-messaging, advertising and data collection on 250 million Americans, the Koch brothers’ political operation is beginning to look like its own party, whose digital and data resources exceed the Republican National Committee’s.
Nancy Pelosi is feeling anything but irrelevant. By providing the extra votes the GOP House leadership can’t muster, Pelosi is making sure Democrats remain key players in the new Congress.
Newly disclosed phone records suggest that New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie may have been more concerned about the George Washington Bridge lane closures earlier than he originally said.
To the surprise of sponsor Sen. Patrick Leahy, Sen. Jay Rockefeller has come out against the Freedom of Information Act Improvement Act, threatening its chances of making it through this Congress.
The Washington Post looks at which politicians are actually…maybe…possibly the most likely to be in the mix for the 2016 GOP nomination.
Chris Hughes lays out a very compelling non-vision for his non-dead non-New Republic. http://t.co/iD3RA8MiTH
— Glenn Thrush (@GlennThrush) December 8, 2014
A delayed deportation joke last night from Martin Short: "Mr. President – because of you, the Three Amigos can stay indefinitely."
— Mark Knoller (@markknoller) December 8, 2014
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