Photo: Bill Pugliano/Getty Images

Tonight's primary elections will include an important referendum on a growing trend: Progressive gubernatorial candidates vowing to implement some form of single-payer at the state level.

What to watch: Michigan's Democratic primary, which will be held tonight, includes Abdul el-Sayed — a progressive candidate (and former Detroit health commissioner) who has said he'll bring "Medicare for All" to Michigan.

No state has ever made single-payer work. But that's not stopping a handful of Democratic candidates from promising to try. The Washington Post's Dave Weigel runs through some of them:

  • Maryland's Ben Jealous and Massachusetts' Jay Gonzalez are both campaigning on "Medicare for All" as they try to defeat extremely popular moderate Republican governors in their respective blue states.
  • Cynthia Nixon, challenging New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo from the left, has endorsed an expansive health care overhaul there.
  • California Lieutenant Gov. Gavin Newsom, who has already won his primary, is also promoting the idea for California.

The problem is money. States would largely have to pay for their versions of single-payer on top of existing federal programs, not instead of them.

  • Medicare and the taxes that fund it, for example, are both federal programs that states — unlike the federal government — don't have the power to fold into some other system.

Why it matters: As unlikely as state-level single-payer might be, gubernatorial candidates' embrace of the idea is still a clear sign of where Democrats are headed.

Go deeper: Axios followed el-Sayed last week as he campaigned with newly minted progressive icon Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

Go deeper

America on edge as unrest rises

Louisville on Wednesday. Photo: Jon Cherry/Getty Images

Rarely have national security officials, governors, tech CEOs and activists agreed as broadly and fervently as they do about the possibility of historic civil unrest in America.

Why it matters: The ingredients are clear for all to see — epic fights over racism, abortion, elections, the virus and policing, stirred by misinformation and calls to action on social media, at a time of stress over the pandemic.

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
1 hour ago - Health

The long-term pain of the mental health pandemic

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

A less visible but still massive trauma caused by the coronavirus is becoming clear: our mental health is suffering with potentially long-lasting consequences.

Why it matters: Mental health disorders that range from schizophrenia to depression and anxiety exert a severe cost on personal health and the economy. Addressing that challenge may require out-of-the-box solutions.

2 hours ago - Axios on HBO

Preview: "Axios on HBO" interviews Bob Woodward

On the next episode of "Axios on HBO," journalist Bob Woodward tells Axios National Political Correspondent Jonathan Swan why he spoke out about President Trump being the "wrong man for the job."

  • "I did not want to join the ranks of the Senate Republicans who know that Trump is the wrong man for the job, but won't say it publicly," Woodward said.

Catch the full interview on Monday, Sept. 28 at 11 p.m. ET/PT on all HBO platforms.