Hillary Clinton’s Lead Expands, and Ivanka Trump Separates From Her Brand

Hillary Clinton has widened her lead in the popular vote to 1.5 percentage points, a spread not seen for a losing candidate since the disputed election of 1876. Meanwhile, Ivanka Trump has taken steps to separate herself from her fashion brand, and President-elect Donald J. Trump has chosen Gov. Nikki Haley of South Carolina to be ambassador to the United Nations.

President-elect Donald J. Trump after a wide-ranging interview on Tuesday with reporters and editors inside The New York Times Building in Manhattan. Credit Todd Heisler/The New York Times
President-elect Donald J. Trump after a wide-ranging interview on Tuesday with reporters and editors inside The New York Times Building in Manhattan. Credit Todd Heisler/The New York Times

Clinton’s popular vote lead surpasses two million.

(The New York Times)  –With new votes tallied from New Jersey, Illinois, Maryland and California, Mrs. Clinton’s popular vote lead reached 2,017,563 overnight, prompting new calls for an audit of voting machines in battleground states.

Mrs. Clinton’s lead now exceeds the winning percentages of seven presidents, five of whom also won the Electoral College. And it has given rise to a push from liberal activists to demand audits in three states won narrowly by Mr. Trump: Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania. The University of Michigan computer scientist J. Alex Halderman posted an extensive explanation on Wednesday.

Nate Cohn, who wrote of voter projections for The New York Times, isn’t buying it.

Mainly, it would seem, Mrs. Clinton’s record losing lead is pointing toward a structural disadvantage Democrats have with the Electoral College: Their voters are too concentrated in the bright blue states of the West Coast and Northeast. Democrats have now won the popular vote in six of the last seven presidential elections, but lost two of them (Al Gore in 2000, and Mrs. Clinton now) in the Electoral College.

Ivanka Trump steps away from her brand.

After the hoo-ha created when Ivanka Trump Fine Jewelry started hawking a bracelet worn by Ms. Trump during her “60 Minutes” appearance as part of the new first family, Ivanka Trump-the-brand and Ivanka-Trump-the-woman are beginning to disengage.

At least on Instagram. Facebook and elsewhere.

On Monday, a public letter from Ivanka Trump HQ noted (in part):

“Our company’s mission is not political — it never was and it never will be — however, Ivanka, personally, has an increased opportunity to advocate for women and be a positive force for change. As a private citizen, with full awareness of her heightened visibility, she will broaden her efforts to take a stance on issues of critical importance to American women and families. Meanwhile, our team will continue working to inspire and empower women to create the lives they want to live through solution-oriented product and inspiring content on IvankaTrump.com and across social media.

Effective today, you’ll notice a shift in our social channels. Follow @IvankaTrumpHQ on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter to get the latest on #WomenWhoWork, The Skill Set, fashion stories and the rest of the content we’re creating each week. Keep following @IvankaTrump on all channels for Ivanka’s personal feed.”

The separation follows another public letter from the designer Sophie Theallet announcing that she would refrain from dressing Melania Trump and encouraging her fellow designers to do the same. One more such open missive and we will have a new fashion trend.

Elton John to perform at inauguration?

So says the hedge fund titan and Trump adviser Anthony Scaramucci to The New York Post.

“Having the ‘Rocket Man’ singer perform, he continued, ‘shows our commitment to gay rights.’”

Diversity is a plus.

Gov. Nikki Haley is selected to be U.N. ambassador.

President-elect Trump has chosen Gov. Nikki Haley of South Carolina, the daughter of Indian immigrants, to be his ambassador to the United Nations, the transition team announced Wednesday.

Mr. Trump, whose presidential run was buoyed by an uncompromising stance against immigration, has mostly chosen older white men for cabinet posts in assembling his new team.

Her move would eventually elevate South Carolina’s lieutenant governor, Henry McMaster, an early and vocal supporter of Mr. Trump’s. Ms. Haley backed Senator Marco Rubio of Florida during the primaries.

Trump heads to his winter retreat, and business follows.

Mr. Trump arrived on Tuesday night in Florida to celebrate Thanksgiving at his private club, Mar-a-Lago, in Palm Beach, a visit intended to give the president-elect some time with his family, and he isn’t planning a packed schedule for Wednesday. But officials familiar with the transition process say that he will be busy deliberating his cabinet selections and may announce a domestic appointment before taking a quick break from work.

Much of the speculation is focusing on Ben Carson, one of Mr. Trump’s rivals in the Republican primaries, as the housing secretary. Mr. Trump himself posted on Twitter that he was “seriously considering” Mr. Carson for the position.

The trip is the first time since Mr. Trump was elected president that he has visited his club, which played host to a few primary night victory parties.

Obama makes last turkey pardons.

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Tater and Tot, the turkeys that will be pardoned on Wednesday by President Obama, awaiting their fate in a hotel room in Washington. Credit Al Drago/The New York Times

President Obama will, for the last time, take part on Wednesday in one of our country’s odder Thanksgiving traditions: the annual pardoning of the turkeys at the White House. Two turkeys, named Tater and Tot, will get the ritual absolution and move on to a nice home at Virginia Tech, even though only one of them will become the official national Thanksgiving turkey.

It will be up to President Trump to do the honors — or not, should he choose otherwise — next year.

Democrats take aim at Trump holdings.

Democrats will try to weigh in legislatively on Mr. Trump’s business holdings next week. Senator Benjamin L. Cardin of Maryland, the senior Democrat on the Foreign Affairs Committee, says he will introduce a “sense of Congress” resolution stating that the new president should convert his substantial holdings in a way to avoid entanglements with foreign governments.

If he does not do so, or unless Congress specifically authorizes his conduct, Mr. Trump would be considered in potential violation of the Constitution.

The resolution is unlikely to see the light of day in the Republican-controlled Senate, but it will be part of what is expected to be a longer-term effort by Democrats to shine a light on the president-elect’s business dealings.

Clinton fans aren’t giving up hope of victory.

As Mrs. Clinton’s lead in the popular vote grows, some of her most ardent supporters are clinging to hope that she could still win the election.

A Change.org petition has garnered more than four million signatures urging Electoral College “electors” in some states to ignore the will of the voters and back Mrs. Clinton, reminding them that they could do so without any legal penalty.

The electors will cast their ballots on Dec. 19. On Twitter, the hashtags #AuditTheVote and #AuditTheElection have become rallying cries for supporters of Mrs. Clinton who are directing people to flood the Justice Department with telephone calls about voting irregularities. The push is also taking place on Facebook, where calls are growing for a full investigation into Russia’s role in the election.

Even the sister of Huma Abedin, a top aide to Mrs. Clinton, weighed in, noting the tantalizingly slim margin that Mrs. Clinton would need to make up in three swing states — Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania — to come out on top in the Electoral College.

“They are starting to recognize there really is something off about the election results as they come in,” Heba Abedin wrote. “Considering everything that is at stake, a vote audit should be done.”