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Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

President Trump redefined mainstream conservatism. Now, a cast of rising Democratic stars and 2020 candidates are redefining mainstream liberalism.

What's happening: You see it in many of the major domestic debates of our times.

  • Support for a big government "Green New Deal" to fight climate change. Watch the 2020 candidates jump on this bandwagon. 
  • Support for Medicare for All, calling for a much bigger government role in health care, beyond the Affordable Care Act.
  • A rush away from tough-on-security as crucial to immigration reform, which until recently was seen by most Democrats as essential to not looking soft on crime or terrorism.

In all three cases, these topics are shaping up as the new litmus tests for liberal activists heading into 2020.

  • Why it matters: These ideas and their champions are coming to the fore at a moment when there are real opportunities to begin to realize them.

You can see this shift in one important number: the number of Democrats proudly calling themselves liberal.

  • Gallup said yesterday that 51% of Democrats self-describe as liberal, a new high "following gradual increases since the 1990s."
  • In 1992, when Clinton first won, 25% self-identified as liberal, 25% as conservative and the rest as moderate.
  • And across the spectrum, the country's traditional lean in favor of conservatives has narrowed: 35% of Americans told Gallup they're conservative, 35% moderate and 26% liberal.

Jon Favreau, the former Obama adviser and now Pod Save America star, said people "want ideas that are commensurate with the size of the challenges we’re facing."

  • "No more incrementalism. No more warmed-over white paper bullshit. It’s go big or go home."
  • "When I was working on ''The Wilderness' [documentary], I spoke to Obama-Trump voters and Obama voters who didn’t vote in '16, and both groups were highly favorable toward ideas like Medicare for All, big infrastructure spending, and a $15 minimum wage."

Matt Bennett of Third Way, who is a leading Democratic centrist thinker, disagrees: "The far left is trying to redefine mainstream liberalism. But so far, there’s plenty of evidence that they aren’t succeeding."

  • He argues liberals had a bumpy 2018 election, are struggling to get Medicare for All to catch on, and show no signs of lifting far-left candidates like Bernie Sanders beyond single digits in polls.

Be smart: The momentum — online, on cable, among donors, with newly elected Democrats and among the early 2020 crop — is clearly with the new, more unabashed liberals.Go deeper:

Go deeper

Scoop: Gina Haspel threatened to resign over plan to install Kash Patel as CIA deputy

CIA Director Gina Haspel. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

CIA Director Gina Haspel threatened to resign in early December after President Trump cooked up a hasty plan to install loyalist Kash Patel, a former aide to Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), as her deputy, according to three senior administration officials with direct knowledge of the matter.

Why it matters: The revelation stunned national security officials and almost blew up the leadership of the world's most powerful spy agency. Only a series of coincidences — and last minute interventions from Vice President Mike Pence and White House counsel Pat Cipollone — stopped it.

Updated 8 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: Coronavirus deaths reach 4,000 per day as hospitals remain in crisis mode — CDC warns highly transmissible coronavirus variant could become dominant in U.S. in March.
  2. Politics: Biden says, "We will manage the hell out of" vaccine distribution — Biden taps ex-FDA chief to lead Operation Warp Speed amid rollout of COVID plan — Widow of GOP congressman-elect who died of COVID-19 will run to fill his seat.
  3. Vaccine: Battling Black mistrust of the vaccines"Pharmacy deserts" could become vaccine deserts — Instacart to give $25 to shoppers who get vaccine.
  4. Economy: Unemployment filings explode againFed chair: No interest rate hike coming any time soon —  Inflation rose more than expected in December.
  5. World: WHO team arrives in China to investigate pandemic origins.

John Weaver, Lincoln Project co-founder, acknowledges “inappropriate” messages

John Weaver aboard John McCain's campaign plane in February 2000. Photo: Robert Schmidt/AFP via Getty Images)

John Weaver, a veteran Republican operative who co-founded the Lincoln Project, declared in a statement to Axios on Friday that he sent “inappropriate,” sexually charged messages to multiple men.

  • “To the men I made uncomfortable through my messages that I viewed as consensual mutual conversations at the time: I am truly sorry. They were inappropriate and it was because of my failings that this discomfort was brought on you,” Weaver said.
  • “The truth is that I'm gay,” he added. “And that I have a wife and two kids who I love. My inability to reconcile those two truths has led to this agonizing place.”