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Courtesy of Bloomberg Businessweek PR

First look at a hot passage from a book out today by Josh Green of Bloomberg Businessweek, "Devil's Bargain: Steve Bannon, Donald Trump, and the Storming of the Presidency":

"[B]oth campaigns battled for a group of voters who would ultimately decide the race. ... Trump's data analysts gave them a nickname: 'double haters.' These were people who disliked both candidates but traditionally showed up at the polls to vote. They were a sizable bloc: 3 to 5 percent of the 15 million voters across seventeen battleground states that Trump's staff believed were persuadable.

"Early on, many indicated support for third‐party candidate Gary Johnson. But after a series of televised flubs, ... they largely abandoned him. ... Many refused to answer pollsters' questions ... These were the voters Clinton had hoped to shear off from Trump with her 'alt-right' speech in August. ... Comey's letter had the effect of convincing the double haters to finally choose."

How the "double haters" voted: The national exit poll found 18% of voters had an unfavorable opinion of both Trump and Clinton. Those voters went 47% for Trump, 30% for Clinton.

Other nuggets from Josh Green's book:

  • Trump thought governing was going to be easy: "I deal with people that are very extraordinarily talented people," he told Green, just after wrapping up nomination. "I deal with Steve Wynn. I deal with Carl Icahn. I deal with killers that blow these [politicians] away. It's not even the same category. This" — he meant politics— "is a category that's like nineteen levels lower. You understand what I'm saying? Brilliant killers."
  • "Bannon was prepared to sic the alt-right on Paul Ryan if he tried to steal the GOP nomination from Trump at a brokered convention: 'Pepe's gonna stomp their ass,' [Bannon] said, referring to the racist frog."
  • Early on, Chuck Schumer was deeply worried that Bannon's nationalism might fracture the Democratic coalition: "I know what you're doing, and I'm not going to let it happen," the Senate Dem leader told Bannon in the early days of the administration.
  • Schumer feared Trump would begin by pursuing a $1 trillion infrastructure bill that would neatly align with Trump's "builder" image, produce tangible benefits, win over union voters Democrats rely on, and stand as a testament to what "America first nationalism" could mean.
  • Trump blew up at Paul Manafort over a N.Y Times story saying the campaign chairman received $12.7 million in cash from a pro-Russian political party in Ukraine: "How can anybody allow an article that says your campaign is all fucked up?"

Go deeper

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker will not seek re-election in 2022

Mass. Gov. Charlie Baker (R) speaking during a press conference in November 2021. Photo: Jonathan Wiggs/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker (R), a moderate who typically ranks as one of the nation's most popular governors, said Wednesday that he and Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito (R) will not seek third terms in 2022.

Why it matters: The decision leaves the gubernatorial race wide open and will likely affect multiple down-ballot races next year. Baker was expected to be the front-runner had he joined the race.

3 hours ago - Health

CDC prepares tougher testing rules for international travelers

Travelers with their luggage arrive at a COVID-19 testing location at the airport in Los Angeles, Calif., on Nov. 23, 2021. Photo: Frederic J. Brown/AFP via Getty Images

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Tuesday night that it is working to impose stricter testing requirements for international travelers due to the spread of the new Omicron variant.

The big picture: The new rules would require all international travelers, regardless of vaccination status, to show a negative test taken a day before their flight to the U.S. Currently, the CDC says fully vaccinated travelers are allowed to show a test taken no more than three days before their departure, AP reports.

Republicans threaten to shut down government over vaccine mandates

Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) in the Capitol in November 2020. Photo: Joshua Roberts/Getty Images

Conservative Republicans in the House and Senate are planning to force a government shutdown Friday to deny funding needed to enforce the Biden administration's vaccine mandates on the private sector, according to Politico.

Why it matters: Congress has until the end of the week to pass a stopgap measure to extend funding into 2022, though objection from a small group of Republicans could shut down the government.