Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Democrats' 2020 race is already one for the history books: There’s a tighter pack, more diversity, more authentically viable candidates, more early money, and more creative, meaty ideas than anyone expected.

Why it matters: This is a big, durable field of candidates with staying power — promising a long, diffuse scramble to define liberalism. It is unfolding in a reality distortion field, with early money and social media attention signaling Democrats are more liberal than they actually are.

The field has more lanes than were expected as the year began, so more candidates are likely to last until the snow flies:

  • Bernie Sanders' formidable fundraising means he starts stronger than expected.
  • Joe Biden starts weaker than expected, perhaps prolonging other candidates' runs. 
  • Pete Buttigieg started as a curiosity but now is a true force. He gave a speech about gay Americans last weekend that has been compared to Barack Obama's address on race, for having the potential to "live on past its moment," as MSNBC's Brian Williams put it.
  • Beto O'Rourke's sunniness promised to make him the field's crowd-pleaser, but he now could be diluted by Mayor Pete in competing as the fresh, new thing. 
  • Elizabeth Warren has announced a spate of clever, ambitious policy ideas that will keep her in the mix and conversation. 
  • Kamala Harris launched with a big bounce, and California's early spot in the primary calendar gives her a superpower you should not undervalue. 

A top veteran of Democratic politics tells me: "The race has gone to full steam preposterously early." Well, it’s only getting faster and more crowded. 

  • Be smart ... The Trump plan is simple: Scream "socialist!" until Election Day and make it a stark choice — and not a referendum on his behavior.
  • He’s betting the powerful swing to the Sanders left will play into his hands.

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Unrest in Philadelphia after fatal police shooting of Black man

Demonstrators rally on Tuesday near the location where Walter Wallace was killed by two police officers in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Photo: Mark Makela/Getty Images

The Pennsylvania National Guard was mobilized Tuesday during a tense second night of protests in Philadelphia over the fatal police shooting of Walter Wallace, a 27-year-old Black man.

Driving the news: Philadelphia Jim Kenney (D) and Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw said in a joint statement Monday that police were launching a "full investigation" to answer questions that arose from video that captured part of the incident with police.

Updated 49 mins ago - Politics & Policy

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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

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Louisiana braces for 3rd hurricane in 2 months as Tropical Storm Zeta nears

Municipality workers clean the streets of garbage in Playa del Carmen, Mexico, on Tuesday that was left by Zeta, which struck the Yucatan Peninsula as a Category 1 Hurricane a day earlier — causing no major damage to infrastructure. Photo: Medios y Media/Getty Images

Tropical Storm Zeta is expected to strengthen back into a hurricane and bring dangerous storm surge conditions to parts of the northern Gulf Coast on Wednesday, per the National Hurricane Center.

The state of play: Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) requested a pre-landfall Federal Declaration of Emergency in a letter to President Trump on Tuesday, ahead of the storm's expected arrival south of New Orleans.