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

This tracker looks at all the attention 2020 Democrats are generating from stories on social media, but many of the most viral pieces are actually being published by conservative media, according to data from NewsWhip exclusively provided to Axios.

Why it matters: The stories drive at wedge issues like immigration, redistributive policies and the culture war du jour, painting the Democratic candidates as radical leftists and serving as a testing ground for attacks from President Trump.

What's going on: Over the past two weeks, most of the stories about the candidates leading our tracker that generated the most interactions on Twitter (retweets and likes) and Facebook (reactions, comments and shares) came from conservative sites:

  • Joe Biden — 2 of the top 5 articles (Breitbart x2)
  • Kamala Harris — 4 of 5 (Fox News x2, Breitbart, The Federalist Papers)
  • Cory Booker — 4 of 5 (Fox News, The Federalist Papers, The Blaze, Daily Caller)
  • Julián Castro — 4 of 5 (Fox News, Washington Times x2, Breitbart)
  • Bernie Sanders — 3 of 5 (Fox Business, Breitbart, Fox News)
  • Elizabeth Warren — 1 of 5 (Daily Wire)

For Biden, Harris, Booker and Castro, the top story came from a conservative site. The articles run the gamut of conservative attack lines against Democrats.

  • Biden: "20 Times Breitbart Reported on Migrant Deaths During Obama-Biden Years and No One Cared" (Breitbart)
  • Harris: "Kamala Harris announces $100B plan for black homeownership, tackling racial wealth gap" (Fox News)
  • Booker: "Cory Booker crosses into Mexico to escort asylum seekers to US" (Fox News)
  • Castro: "Julián Castro, Beto O'Rourke back Nike, saying Betsy Ross flag is 'hurtful'" (Fox News)

The bottom line: While these stories might not be reaching many Democratic voters, they’re shaping the way a big chunk of the electorate looks at these candidates and exposing potential lines of attack for Trump to exploit.

What to watch: Liberal groups are trying to fight the conservative media machine with a string of new media companies.

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

Cuomo asks New York AG and chief judge to choose "independent" investigator into sexual harassment claims

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo at a press conference on Feb. 24. Photo: Seth Wenig/pool/AFP via Getty Images

A special counselor to New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo released a statement on Sunday asking the state's attorney general and chief judge to jointly pick an "independent and qualified lawyer in private practice without political affiliation" to investigate claims of sexual harassment against the governor.

The state of play: The statement is an about-face from Cuomo, who had previously selected a former judge close to a top aide to lead the investigation, the New York Times reported, a move that was widely criticized.

Republican Sen. Sasse slams Nebraska GOP for "weird worship" of Trump after state party rebuke

Sen. Ben Sasse, (R-Neb.) Photo: Andrew Harnik - Pool/Getty Images

The Nebraska Republican Party on Saturday formally "rebuked" Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) for his vote to impeach former President Trump earlier this year, though it stopped short of a formal censure, CNN reports.

Why it matters: Sasse is the latest among a slate of Republicans who have faced some sort of punishment from their state party apparatus after voting to impeach the former president. The senator responded statement Saturday, per the Omaha World-Herald, saying "most Nebraskans don't think politics should be about the weird worship of one dude."

Cuomo barraged by fellow Dems after second harassment accusation

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo faced a barrage of criticism from fellow Democrats after The New York Times reported that the second former aide in four days had accused him of sexual harassment.

Why it matters: Cuomo had faced a revolt from legislators for his handling of nursing-home deaths from COVID. Now, the scandal is acutely personal, with obviously grave political risk.