Jan 12, 2019

Kamala Harris sets the stage for a 2020 run

Photo: Zach Gibson/Getty Images

As 2020 inches closer — with Sen. Elizabeth Warren spending a weekend in Iowa, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard throwing her hat in the ring and former Vice President Joe Biden telling friends he's "definitely running" — Sen. Kamala Harris is getting closer to making a decision.

The big picture: The New York Times reports that Harris is believed to be "well positioned to create electoral coalitions among Democrats desperate" to beat Trump in 2020. But some worry that in a crowded field of Democratic candidates, Harris may not be liberal enough for voters, and could be in a tough spot if other progressive challengers "try to to move the debate to the left in ways that could force difficult choices for her," the Times explains.

Driving the news: On Friday night, Harris laid "the groundwork for a national profile" on a book tour stop in New York, where she discussed criminal justice reform, standing up to the White House, bipartisanship and more, the Times' Astead Herndon reports.

  • Herndon notes that Harris "speaks less about Wall Street corruption and economic populism" than potential 2020 challengers Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren.
  • Harris has gained supporters for her notorious grilling of Trump administration officials on the Senate Judiciary Committee, but continues to face criticism from criminal justice activists because of policies she put in place as California's attorney general.
  • One woman who came to Harris' book tour stop on Friday, 33-year-old Sarah Weiss, said: “She keeps saying there’s more that connects us than divides us, but at this time in politics, it seems like that’s not enough.”
  • Another woman at the event, 50-year-old Vaolree Celona, said: "Her message of unity, that's the key. If she can get people to have that hope again, that's what's important. That's what President Obama did."

Go deeper: Our 2020 election tracker.

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Scoop: Census Bureau is paying Chinese state media to reach Americans

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The 2020 Census Paid Media Campaign, which sends U.S. taxpayer dollars to community media outlets to run ads about the upcoming census, is including a Chinese state-run broadcaster as one of its media vendors.

Why it matters: After China's yearslong campaign to co-opt independent Chinese-language media in the U.S., Washington is now paying Beijing-linked media outlets in order to reach Chinese Americans.

Go deeperArrow48 mins ago - World

Live updates: Coronavirus spreads to Latin America

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens.

Brazil confirmed the first novel coronavirus case in Latin America Wednesday — a 61-year-old that tested positive after returning from a visit to northern Italy, the epicenter of Europe's outbreak.

The big picture: COVID-19 has killed more than 2,700 people and infected over 81,000 others. By Wednesday morning, South Korea had the most cases outside China, with 1,261 infections. Europe's biggest outbreak is in Italy, where 374 cases have been confirmed.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 2 hours ago - Health

GOP congressman accuses California pension official of working for China

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

The latest season of Red Scare has come to Sacramento.

Driving the news: Rep. Jim Banks (R-Ind.) has repeatedly accused Ben Meng, chief investment officer of the California Public Employees' Retirement System (CalPERS), of tacitly working on behalf of the Chinese government. Banks also says that, were it up to him, Meng would be fired — and has questioned the patriotism of California Gov. Gavin Newsom for not at least investigating Meng.

Go deeperArrow2 hours ago - World