Morning Must Reads for Thursday, December 22, 2016

Good Thursday morning from Salt Lake City. Today is the 357th day of the year. There are nine days remaining in 2016.

Utah Democrats look for a path forward. Jon Huntsman reportedly under consideration to be Ambassador to Japan. Donald Trump’s team is floating the idea of imposing tariffs on foreign goods once he takes office.

The clock:

  • 29 days until Donald Trump is inaugurated as the 45th President (1/20/2017)
  • 32 days until the first day of the 2017 Utah Legislature (1/23/2017)
  • 77 days until the final day of the 2017 Utah Legislature (3/9/2017)
  • 320 days until the 2017 municipal elections (11/7/2017)
  • 684 days until the 2018 midterm elections (11/6/2018)

Ten talking points for Thursday:

  1. Lost in the political wilderness. The Utah Democratic Party is looking for a path forward after a mostly unsuccessful 2016 election season. Outgoing Chair Peter Corroon says the biggest hurdle is finding common ground between progressives and more moderate and conservative members of the party [Utah Policy]. Here’s a podcast of our conversation with Corroon [Utah Policy].
  2. Countdown continues. The formation of a group aiming to hike income taxes to better fund Utah’s public schools is our #4 Utah political news story of 2016 [Utah Policy].
  3. Huntsman to Japan? Former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman is reportedly under consideration to be the Ambassador to Japan in the Donald Trump administration [New York Times].
  4. Trade war brewing? Donald Trump‘s transition team is floating the idea that the new president could take executive action shortly after he takes office to impose tariffs on imports. Understandably, that has many pro-business interests alarmed [CNN].
  5. Election hacking latest. The malware used to attack the Democratic National Committee computer system is similar to a cyber tool used against the Ukranian military, which suggests the Russian government was involved in both incidents [Wall Street Journal]. The White House rejected a Republican call to create a task-force to push back against attempted Russian influence saying the panel would duplicate existing efforts [Politico].
  6. End of the line. A new poll shows most Democrats and independent voters don’t want to see Hillary Clinton run for president again in 2020 [Politico]. The same poll shows Democrats want “someone new” to run in 2020, although they have no idea who that person might be [USA Today].
  7. Obamacare enrollment spikes. About 6.4 million Americans signed up for health insurance using the federal exchanges this year [Wall Street Journal]. The number of Utahns using the exchanges to find health insurance rose 24% in 2016, which was the biggest jump in the nation [Tribune, Deseret News]. Congressional Republicans are considering delaying the repeal of some of the taxes established under Obamacare [The Hill].
  8. Hot ticket. The demand for tickets to the presidential inauguration from Utahns is outstripping supply [Tribune].
  9. Prison fight. Correction officials are worried the new prison may not have enough beds when it’s finished while lawmakers are wary of cost overruns for the new facility [Deseret News, Tribune].
  10. Are you threatening me? Freshman Salt Lake City Councilman Derek Kitchen got a threatening email from a neighbor of one the proposed new homeless shelter sites, while other council members and the mayor’s office have been dealing with a deluge of angry messages related to the new shelters [Tribune].

On this day in history:

  • 1944 – Ordered to surrender by Nazi troops who had his unit trapped during the Battle of the Bulge, Gen. Anthony McAuliffe of the U.S. 101st Airborne Division replied with one word: “Nuts!”
  • 1984 – “Subway vigilante” Bernard Goetz shot and wounded four would-be holdup men on a New York City subway. He served eight months in prison for carrying an illegal weapon but was cleared of assault and attempted murder charges.
  • 2001 – Richard C. Reid, a passenger on an American Airlines flight from Paris to Miami, tried to ignite explosives in his shoes, but was subdued by flight attendants and fellow passengers.
  • 2010 – President Barack Obama signed a law allowing gays for the first time in history to serve openly in America’s military.