Jan 22, 2019

AOC, Beto: The 7 letters disrupting politics

Mike Allen, author of AM

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The biggest political story since the election of Donald Trump is the sudden, stark, sustained rise of the political artists also known as AOC and Beto.

The big picture: Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and former Rep. Beto O'Rourke are political and cultural phenomena — one known by her initials, one by his first name, like Drake or JFK or RG3. Both arose from nowhere seven months ago, during the midterms, and today are everywhere.

  • Both are hotter than establishment Democrats on social platforms and among staffer wannabes, the press, donors and activists.

Exclusive: A new Axios/SurveyMonkey poll finds that 74% of Democrats (and people who lean Dem) would consider voting for Ocasio-Cortez if she were old enough to run for president. (She's 29; you have to be at least 35.)

  • That includes the 17% who would "definitely" vote for her.
  • Jon Cohen, SurveyMonkey's chief research officer, tells me: "These data show the phenomenon is real — she tops Sen. Schumer in favorability among Democrats and overall nearly rivals Speaker Pelosi."

Both AOC and Beto continue to break through news cycles clogged by Mueller and the shutdown:

  • Ocasio-Cortez, described by Bloomberg Businessweek as the "Darling of the Left, Nightmare of the Right," is driving an actual policy debate on taxes, Medicare and free tuition. Last week, she taught a social media class to older House Dems.
  • O'Rourke, 46, gets coverage for hitting the road on a solo road trip to fuel 2020 buzz and shake off what he called a "funk" after losing to Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas). But one Democratic operative tells the New York Times that some chafe at his "Beto-first politics."

Neera Tanden, president of the progressive Center for American Progress, tells me: "Both of them understand that people are tired of traditional politics and looking for authenticity."

  • "They both say what they believe — unvarnished — and connect directly with the public."

Be smart: That sounds a lot like President Trump — a sign of our times.

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Data: Democrats and those who lean Democratic from a SurveyMonkey poll of 2,277 U.S. adults conducted Jan. 16–18 with a margin of error of ±3.5%. Poll methodology; Chart: Axios Visuals

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Updates: George Floyd protests nationwide

Police officers wearing riot gear push back demonstrators outside of the White House on Monday. Photo: Jose Luis Magana/AFP via Getty Images

Protests over the death of George Floyd and other police-related killings of black people continued for a seventh day across the U.S., with President Trump threatening on Monday to deploy the military if the unrest continues.

The latest: Four police officers struck by gunfire while standing near a line in St Louis on Monday after a peaceful demonstration, Police Chief John Hayden said early Tuesday. They were all taken to hospital with non-life threatening injuries. He said a small group of people had thrown rocks and fireworks at police officers.

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 3 a.m. ET: 6,273,402 — Total deaths: 375,683 — Total recoveries — 2,697,873Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 3 a.m. ET: 1,811,277 — Total deaths: 105,147 — Total recoveries: 458,231 — Total tested: 17,340,682Map.
  3. Public health: Nearly 26,000 coronavirus deaths in nursing homes have been reported to federal health officials —Coronavirus looms over George Floyd protests across the country.
  4. Federal government: Trump lashes out at governors, calls for National Guard to "dominate" streets.
  5. World: Former FDA commissioner says "this is not the time" to cut ties with WHO.
  6. 🎧 Podcast: The virus didn't go away.
Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

St. John's clergy: Trump used church as prop, Bible as symbol of division

Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images

Clergy of the historic St. John's Episcopal Church expressed furor and confusion over President Trump's visit on Monday, which he claimed was to honor the establishment after George Floyd protestors sparked a small fire on the property Sunday night.

The big picture: Park rangers and military police deployed tear gas and physical force to disperse peaceful protestors from Lafayette Park, which surrounds the White House, so Trump could walk to "pay respects" to the church — and a St. John's rector on the scene revealed in a Facebook post that she was left "coughing" from the tear gas.