Biden seeks seismic shift in primary system, putting South Carolina first: The Note
The president looks stronger post-midterms and amid more hopeful economic news.
The TAKE with Rick Klein
The immediate post-election period saw one big piece fall quickly into place for 2024, with another big decision set to linger into 2023.
But former President Donald Trump's formal entry into the next campaign hasn't frozen out others. And even with President Joe Biden deferring an announcement until next year, he has now taken his biggest step yet to shape the kind of primaries that Democrats will have going forward.
Biden's late suggestions to the Democratic National Committee would kill off the Iowa caucuses and knock out New Hampshire's first-in-the-nation primary status. He favors adding Georgia and Michigan among the first five voting states and would vault South Carolina -- the state that famously rescued his 2020 candidacy -- to the front of the line.
"I have made no secret of my conviction that diversity is a critical element for the Democratic Party to win elections AND to govern effectively," Biden wrote in a letter to the DNC Rules & Bylaws Committee.
That committee will now do its own work -- with the objections of angry committee members from New Hampshire and skeptical representatives from across the map.
As for Trump, his sway isn't slowing planning for other Republicans. In his extended book tour, former Vice President Mike Pence is making clear that when he says "there will be better choices" for Republicans in 2024, he very well could offer himself as one of them.
Former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley says she is reconsidering her promise not to run if Trump does. Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is also saying his decision isn't impacted by Trump's candidacy -- while using Twitter to throw some shade at his former boss.
This week brought news of books coming next year from both Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio. Outgoing Govs. Asa Hutchinson of Arkansas and Larry Hogan of Maryland are among those saying they are considering runs of their own.
On both sides, events matter. Trump has shown some weak spots, particularly with his ill-advised dinner earlier this month and shifting explanations about why it happened.
Biden looks stronger out of the midterms and amid more hopeful economic news. That matters in and out of his party, whether or not his suggestions prevail inside DNC deliberations, and whether or not Democrats believe he's going to run again.
The RUNDOWN with Alisa Wiersema
The threat of a looming rail strike was headed off on Thursday with the Senate passing legislation to impose a deal between union workers and railroad companies.
After days of legislative maneuvering, the measure's passage met the president's requested weekend deadline -- despite not including additional time for sick days, as workers sought in their negotiations and was previously passed in the House under a separate bill.
The president predicted the outcome earlier in the day, saying he believed the sick leave policy would be accomplished but "not within this agreement."
"We're going to avoid the rail strike, keep the rails running, keep things moving and I'm going to go back and we're going to get paid leave, not just for rail workers but for all workers," Biden said on Thursday.
According to the Association of American Railroads, the passed agreement grants workers a 24% wage increase by 2024 and more flexibility for requesting time off as well as the ability to receive performance bonuses and one paid personal leave day per year.
"The product of these agreements is a compromise by nature, but the result is one of substantial gains for rail employees. More broadly, all rail stakeholders and the economy writ large now have certainty about the path forward," AAR President and CEO Ian Jefferies said in a statement.
But not all rail unions voiced support for the outcome, with at least one group choosing to spotlight tensions between political rhetoric and active policy.
"What took place in the United States Senate today is a symptom, and further illustration, of a larger issue in our country. Almost every elected member of Congress campaigns on being "for the working class"; the actions of many today demonstrated they are for the corporate class. The dereliction of duty and inability to hold corporations accountable for a lack of good faith to their employees will not be forgotten," the Brotherhood of Railroad Signalmen said in a statement.
The TIP with Oren Oppenheim
One of the most closely watched House races in the country is headed to a recount, although it's not much of a surprise to anyone.
Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold announced Thursday that a mandatory recount had been triggered and will be held in Colorado's 3rd House District -- where the race between GOP Rep. Lauren Boebert and Democratic challenger Adam Frisch ended with a better-than-expected performance from Frisch, who has already conceded the race.
In a statement on Wednesday, Griswold said, "The results of the District 3 race reinforce the fact that every vote matters. Colorado voters have made their voices heard, and I am ordering this recount in accordance with Colorado law to confirm the will of the voters."
The recount is automatically triggered and is consistent with state law, which requires an automatic recount when the difference in votes between the leading candidates is 0.5% or less. Currently, Boebert leads with 50.1% of the vote, followed by Frisch with 49.9%. (ABC News has already reported a projection in this race for Boebert.)
Frisch said in a statement on Thursday that his concession "remains sincere but has no legal implications."
"If, by some slight chance, there is a big enough vote swing to put us in the lead after the recount, we would be certified the winner and sworn into congress on January 3rd," Frisch added. "But the reality is we do not expect the results of this election to change with the recount."
ABC News' "Start Here" podcast. "Start Here" begins Friday morning with a look at the latest on the high-stakes Georgia Senate runoff. ABC's Rick Klein leads us off. Then, ABC's Elizabeth Schulze breaks down why gas prices are plunging. And, ABC's Ashan Singh does a deep dive on what went wrong with Ticketmaster and Taylor Swift concert tickets. http://apple.co/2HPocUL
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW THIS WEEKEND
- President Biden on Friday heads to Boston where, at 2:50 p.m. ET, he will greet the Prince of Wales at the John F. Kennedy Library and Museum. Then he will participate in a phone bank with union workers. At 5:45 p.m. ET, he attends a political fundraiser.
- On ABC's "This Week": Incoming House Democratic leader Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y.; Roundtable: Former New Jersey governor and ABC News contributor Chris Christie, Former Democratic National Committee chair and ABC News contributor Donna Brazile, Associated Press Executive Editor Julie Pace and Washington Post congressional reporter Marianna Sotomayor.
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The Note is a daily ABC News feature that highlights the day's top stories in politics. Please check back next week for the latest.