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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Democrats — after trying to resist bashing President Trump during the midterms and instead focus on their health-care message — are savoring the chance to go all-in now that he's going to be on the ballot.

  • Driving the news: Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand's announcement video included a brief section about Trump. And during her first press conference as a presidential candidate, she mentioned him early and often: “Donald Trump has chosen to tear the country apart. I believe he’s literally ripping apart the fabric of our country.”

Nevertheless, Sen. Elizabeth Warren has gotten press attention for barely mentioning Trump on the trail.

  • Warren has been Trump's favorite opponent so far — he's tweeted about her numerous times since she announced her 2020 run.

What they're saying: "Not only is it advantageous [to talk about Trump], but it’s necessary," said Paul Maslin, a Democratic strategist who was Howard Dean's campaign pollster in 2004. "The risk is much greater to not do it because he dominates our politics and what is driving the news."

  • Maslin pointed to Trump's unfavorable rating among Democratic voters (93%) and said that's evidence enough that candidates should be talking about him.
  • That toxicity among Democrats can help in tangible ways, too. "To raise money, Donald Trump’s name is magic with Democratic donors," said Jim Messina, Barack Obama's 2012 campaign manager.

The challenge for any Democrat running in a crowded 2020 primary field is to determine when and how to talk about Trump in a way that's different from the others.

  • "If someone’s out there relishing attacking Donald Trump and that’s their only message, not only should they not be the president but they won’t be elected president," said Philippe Reines, a former Clinton adviser who's worked with her since 2002.
  • "No matter how substantive an HRC speech would be in 2016, if there was one line on Trump, that's what would be the one that was on the news," tweeted Rebecca Katz, a Democratic strategist who most recently worked on Cynthia Nixon's gubernatorial campaign.

Go deeper

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58 mins ago - World

Remote work shakes up geopolitics

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The global adoption of remote work may leave the rising powers in the East behind.

The big picture: Despite India's and China's economic might, these countries have far fewer remote jobs than the U.S. or Europe. That's affecting the emerging economies' resilience amid the pandemic.

Trump gives Biden access to presidential intelligence briefings

Photo: Mark Makela/Getty Images

The Trump White House on Tuesday gave President-elect Biden access to daily presidential intelligence briefings, a source familiar with the matter tells Axios.

Why it matters: Trump has refused to share the briefs until now, as he continues to challenge the result of the election and declines to concede. The president's acquiescence comes as another sign that the transition to a Biden administration is taking place.

AOC and Ilhan Omar want to block Biden’s former chief of staff

Reps. Ilhan Omar and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Photo: Brendan Smialowski/Getty Images

Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Ilhan Omar are boosting a petition against Joe Biden nominating his former chief of staff to a new role in his administration, calling Bruce Reed a "deficit hawk” and criticizing his past support for Social Security and Medicare cuts.

Why it matters: Progressives are mounting their pressure campaign after the president-elect did not include any of their favored candidates in his first slate of Cabinet nominees, and they are serious about installing some of their allies, blocking anyone who doesn't pass their smell test — and making noise if they are not heard.