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

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Supreme Court rejects GOP push to cut absentee ballot deadline in N.C.

Photo: Robert Alexander/Getty Images

The Supreme Court on Wednesday rejected an attempt by conservatives to shorten North Carolina's deadline for mail-in ballots from nine to three days.

The big picture: This is the latest of a series of decisions over mail-in ballot deadlines in various states.

Hurricane Zeta makes landfall on Louisiana coast as Category 2 storm

A satellite image of Hurricane Zeta. Photo: National Hurricane Center/NOAA

Hurricane Zeta made landfall along the southeastern coast of Louisiana as a Category 2 storm on Wednesday, bringing with it "life-threatening storm surge and strong winds," per the National Hurricane Center.

What's happening: The hurricane was producing maximum sustained winds of nearly 110 mph and stronger gusts.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Politics: Biden ahead in Wisconsin, Michigan as cases surge in the Midwest.
  2. Health: Surge "is real" and not just caused by more tests, Trump's testing czar saysMask mandates help control rise in hospitalizations Some coronavirus survivors have "autoantibodies."
  3. Business: Surge is sinking consumer confidence Testing is a windfall.
  4. World: Europe faces "stronger and deadlier" coronavirus wave France imposes lockdown as Macron warns of overwhelming second COVID wave Germany to close bars and restaurants for a month.
  5. Sports: Boston Marathon delayed as COVID-19 surges MLB to investigate Dodgers player who joined celebration after positive COVID test.