On Friday September 18, Axios' Margaret Talev hosted a conversation on the 2020 election, exploring the Trump and Biden administrations' positions on everything from health care to economics to the coronavirus response, featuring Rep. Ro Khanna and Rep. Susan Brooks.

Rep. Khanna discussed how the government response to coronavirus has affected Americans' attitudes towards health care, and the possible ramifications on the 2020 election.

  • How COVID-19 has shifted Americans' perspectives on the health care system: "Even middle class, upper middle class professionals who have lost their jobs or are without health insurance are now seeing how costly and how cruel the private insurance system can be."
  • On the long-term policy impact of the coronavirus response: "Because there is a greater shared understanding about the vulnerability of people who lose their jobs, the vulnerability of people who don't have health care — I think that's created the groundswell for support for Medicare for All."

Rep. Brooks discussed how coronavirus exposed the limitations of the national stockpile and need for reinvestment in the Paycheck Protection Program.

  • On the strategic national stockpile: "What we've learned with the strategic national stockpile is that we're really not adequately supplied for a very long incident or episode of a pandemic...Besides the fact that Congress had been beefing up the appropriations for preparedness, it certainly was not enough."
  • On strengthening the economy: "We need to replenish the Paycheck Protection Program to keep people employed. We had the lowest unemployment before this pandemic hit — 3.6% I believe — and then we soared into unprecedented numbers...We've got to do what we can to get people back into that workforce."

Axios co-founder and CEO Jim VandeHei hosted a View from the Top segment with filmmaker of FRONTLINE's The Choice 2020: Trump vs. Biden Michael Kirk, who discussed making a documentary during the pandemic and the impact of pivotal life experiences on both presidential candidates.

  • On the structure of the documentary: "[It's] eight different crisis moments in the lives of these two guys, and we try to reveal something surprising about what they gathered along the way...What is the man carrying with him, as part of his life methodology, as a result of these moments?"

Thank you PBS and FRONTLINE for sponsoring this event. The Choice 2020: Trump vs. Biden airs Tuesday, September 22 on PBS.

Go deeper

How Trump, Biden plan to score at Tuesday's debate

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

President Trump has been practicing with flashcards and prepping with former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie before Tuesday's presidential debate.

Behind the scenes: Top aides tell Axios he's been testing his attacks on the campaign trail for weeks, seeing what ignites his crowds or falls flat. One of the biggest themes Trump plans to drive home is his "tough guy" persona, which advisers see as an advantage with voters in key states.

Progressives bide time for a Biden victory

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Progressive Democrats want to beat President Trump so badly that they're tabling their apathy about Joe Biden — organizing hard to get him into office, only to fight him once elected.

Why it matters: That's a big difference from 2016, when progressives’ displeasure with Hillary Clinton depressed turnout and helped deliver the White House to Trump.

Axios roundtable on small business

On Thursday, September 24 Axios' Sara Fischer and Dan Primack hosted the first in a series of three virtual roundtables, featuring business leaders, innovators, and policy experts to discuss how small businesses have adapted to the COVID-19 economy, the role of digital tools, and the path forward.

Moderators highlighted a study recently by Connected Commerce Council that showed 93% of small businesses were affected by coronavirus in loss of revenue, loss of customer base, the inability to use brick and mortar facilities, or access to staff. Attendees unpacked small business needs in a time of crisis, the impact of the Paycheck Protection Program, and broader trends in entrepreneurship.

Trevor Parham, founder and director of Oakstop and co-founder of the Oakland Black Business Fund discussed how capital buys small businesses time to make better informed decisions:

  • "A big part of what businesses need is not just the capital and not just the education, but it's the resource of time...A big part of what businesses are lacking at the small business level, especially minority businesses, is they don't have the runway to contemplate what they want to do as their next strategic move where some other businesses might."

Aerica Shimizu Banks, founder at Shiso LLC highlighted the specific needs of Black and minority owned businesses:

  • "The SBA and government agencies are somewhat limited in targeting by race and therefore create race blind policies that have the unintended consequences of sometimes cementing inequity in the distribution of resources and loans."
  • "There is also a strong story of resilience here for business owners of color, for women-owned businesses, that despite these challenges in the midst of this crisis, what we're seeing is that particularly business owners of color have been making the best of this pandemic in converting to digital."

Sery Kim, assistant administrator at the US Small Business Administration, Office of Women's Business Ownership discussed the most common obstacle for women starting their own businesses.

  • "The number one barrier for women being entrepreneurs is not access to capital. It is childcare."

Emilia Dimenco, Women's Business Development Center president and CEO on what small businesses need during economically turbulent periods:

  • "They really need technical assistance. A large corporation would hire a major consulting firm to help them pivot, help them through a major change. A small business can't do that. [They need] quality advisory services, and financial and business acumen."

Thank you Google for sponsoring this event.

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