Apr 26, 2019

2020 Democrats are focusing on Trump-centric topics in online ads

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Onstage and on the air, 2020 Democrats are talking about topics like health care, student loans and reparations, but in the online scramble for donations and e-mail addresses, Trump-centric topics dominate the left's conversation.

The big picture: Hot-button issues like gun control, abortion, immigration and climate change are among the topics that have dominated digital advertising — mostly on Facebook and Google‚ since the midterms, according to data provided to Axios by the progressive group Tech for Campaigns.

Why it matters: Polarizing topics are being pushed via ads on social platforms, where algorithms elevate content that tends to be more emotion-driven. 

  • "On social media, you're in an attention war, and you need content that makes people stop scrolling — that's what these emotionally-charged issues do," said Greg Dale, the director of campaign relations for Tech for Campaigns.
  • A lot of the groups that are spending around these issues are involved in statewide races. That's particularly true for abortion at the state level, where legislative action has heated up in response to Republican power in D.C.

The bottom line: The need to get donations fast is driving a push toward more polarizing messaging. 

Go deeper: For hacked campaigns, 2020 might as well be 2016

Go deeper

Biden formally secures Democratic presidential nomination

Joe Biden speaks at Delaware State University's student cente on June 5. Photo: Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

Former Vice President Joe Biden became the formal Democratic presidential nominee on Friday evening, per AP.

The big picture: Biden has been the presumptive frontrunner to take on President Trump since Sen. Bernie Sanders suspended his campaign in early April.

Updated 8 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 9 p.m. ET: 6,724.516 — Total deaths: 394,018 — Total recoveries — 2,996,832Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 9 p.m. ET: 1,894,753 — Total deaths: 109,042 — Total recoveries: 491,706 — Total tested: 19,231,444Map.
  3. Public health: WHCA president says White House violated social-distancing guidelines to make reporters "a prop" — Jailing practices contribute to spread.
  4. Sports: How coronavirus could reshuffle the sports calendar.
  5. Jobs: Better-than-expected jobs report boosts stock market.
  6. Media: The Athletic lays off 8% of staff, implements company-wide pay cut.

Scoop: German foreign minister to travel to Israel with warning on annexation

Heiko Maas. Photo: Michael Kappeler/picture alliance via Getty Images

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas is expected to travel to Israel next week to warn that there will be consequences if Israeli leaders move forward with plans to annex parts of the West Bank, Israeli officials and European diplomats tell me.

Why it matters: Israeli and European officials agree that if Israel goes ahead with unilateral annexation, the EU will respond with sanctions.