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Expand chart
Data: NewsWhip; Chart: Chris Canipe/Axios

Interest in the 2020 Democratic primary plunged last week as articles about the candidates generated just 6.5 million combined social media interactions — the fewest since mid-January, according to data from NewsWhip exclusively provided to Axios. Articles about President Trump generated 23.2 million interactions.

Why it matters: It's a reminder of the president's stranglehold on the public interest. He's capable of single-handedly steering the news cycle, as he did with his attacks on Democratic congresswomen.

Between the lines: The numbers also indicate that 2020 Democrats lack a lightning rod media sensation who can drive the conversation like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (4.8 million interactions).

  • Democratic challengers will have to decide whether to mix it up to steal some of the limelight or stay above the fray.

What's going on: The Democratic field lacked storylines that found a foothold last week.

  • The biggest story about a candidate was on Kamala Harris' proposal to require rent, utilities and cellphone bill payments to be incorporated into credit scores as part of her policy for addressing the black homeownership gap. (MarketWatch, 208k interactions)

What people were reading with their attention off of the 2020 race:

  • Trump's tweets attacking progressive House Democrats of color.
  • The mounting case against Jeffrey Epstein.
  • The pressure against and subsequent resignation of Labor Secretary Alex Acosta.
  • Megan Rapinoe's speech at the World Cup championship parade.
  • Nancy Pelosi vs. freshmen House Democrats.
  • U.S. budget deficit up 23%, Treasury requests increased debt ceiling.

Our 2020 attention tracker is based on data from NewsWhip exclusively provided to Axios as part of a project that will regularly update throughout the 2020 campaign.

See all past editions of the tracker here.

Go deeper

Biden threatens Putin

Photo: Kremlin Press Office/Handout/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

In a video call that lasted for just over two hours on Tuesday, President Biden warned Russian President Vladimir Putin that if Russia invades Ukraine the U.S. will impose unprecedented sanctions and provide additional weaponry to the Ukrainians, national security adviser Jake Sullivan said.

Why it matters: Russia's military activity on the border with Ukraine has triggered alarms from the U.S. and its European allies of a potential large-scale Russian invasion in early 2022. Sullivan said Biden made clear to Putin that, "things we did not do in 2014, we are prepared to do now."

Senate leaders sell members on debt limit deal

Sen. Chuck Schumer (L) and Sen. Mitch McConnell (R) Photo by Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) are urging their respective caucuses to back a deal that would clear a path to raising the debt ceiling.

Driving the news: The agreement, negotiated by the two leaders and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), involves Congress passing a law allowing a one-time rule change so the Senate can raise the debt ceiling with just 51 votes, rather than the 60 typically needed to overcome the filibuster.

Updated 2 hours ago - Health

CDC: 60% of U.S. is fully vaccinated

Photo: Nick Oxford/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Sixty percent of the U.S. population is fully vaccinated against COVID-19, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Why it matters: This comes as the Omicron variant continues to spread across the U.S. It has been detected in 19 states, and the number is expected to increase, CDC director Rochelle Walensky said during Tuesday's White House COVID-19 briefing.