Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on the day's biggest business stories

Subscribe to Axios Closer for insights into the day’s business news and trends and why they matter

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Stay on top of the latest market trends

Subscribe to Axios Markets for the latest market trends and economic insights. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sports news worthy of your time

Binge on the stats and stories that drive the sports world with Axios Sports. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tech news worthy of your time

Get our smart take on technology from the Valley and D.C. with Axios Login. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Get the inside stories

Get an insider's guide to the new White House with Axios Sneak Peek. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Denver news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Des Moines news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Twin Cities news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Tampa Bay news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Charlotte news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Nashville news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Nashville newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Columbus news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Columbus newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Dallas news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Dallas newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sign up for Axios NW Arkansas

Stay up-to-date on the most important and interesting stories affecting NW Arkansas, authored by local reporters

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty

Beto O'Rourke is now the first presidential candidate to be judged by a record of online posts from his high school days.

The big picture: Joe Menn's Reuters story Friday outed Beto as a high school member of the Cult of the Dead Cow, an influential Texas-based hacking collective in the late '80s and '90s. O'Rourke does not, however, appear to have been a hacker in the conventional sense of the term — rather, he was mostly on the forums to share screeds on punk rock and offer a teen's eye view on politics.

Why it matters: This is a paradigm shift in politics we've all known was coming — the moment when a lifetime record of social media postings (or, in this case, their early internet equivalent) gets turned against a presidential candidate.

  • It's a situation embodying every parent's — and politician's — worst fears of the Facebook era.

The intrigue: We'd already seen lifelong digital records seep into the political landscape, as with freshman Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's dancing video. But that was taken when the New York wunderkind was in college and ostensibly an adult.

By the numbers: Because of the age of candidates and the age of Facebook, we haven't seen many instances of high school hijinks coming back to haunt candidates for federal office. But that will change.

  • 2018 was the first election in history where someone with access to Facebook in high school was elected to federal office. That honor is split between Reps. Katie Hill, Abby Finkenauer and Ocasio-Cortez. (Facebook only started to allow kids 13 and up to join the service in 2006; it was previously limited to college students.)
  • While the trio would have had access to Facebook, social media wasn't yet the pervasive force we know today. That shifted around 2012, when Facebook crossed the 1 billion visitors a month mark and smartphones became ubiquitous.
  • Based on a back-of-napkin calculation, 85% of the Democratic nominees are 44 years old or older. Someone who was 13 in 2012 will be 44 years old in 2043.

O'Rourke, who wrote essays shared to the Cult of the Dead Cow dial-up bulletin boards as "Psychedelic Warlord," told an Iowa crowd, "I'm mortified to read it now, incredibly embarrassed, but I have to take ownership of my words."

  • Teenaged O'Rourke wrote and posted a short story that included his running over children with a car.
  • He also crudely railed against women he saw as punk rock posers, unlike real punks like him.

To be sure: We assume a public record of juvenilia will harm candidates, but it could just as easily humanize them. Beto's supporters are already pitching him as one candidate who won't get hacked by Russia.

Go deeper on O'Rourke and the Cult of the Dead Cow and how that era's hackers grew into government service.

Go deeper

Ina Fried, author of Login
21 mins ago - Technology
Column / Signal Boost

How smartphone cameras became the best cameras

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

For years, the smartphone has been the most convenient camera, and in recent years it has also become the easiest and most versatile camera. But this year's high-end smartphones have taken things to a new level — capturing images that would be either tough or impossible even with a high-end digital camera.

Between the lines: Traditional cameras have the advantage of bigger sensors and better lenses, but smartphone cameras are rivaling and even surpassing them by tapping computational power.

The rise of vegan food in unexpected places

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Vegan cuisine is popping up in two places it wasn't present before: fine dining and fast food.

Why it matters: The single biggest way an individual can reduce their carbon footprint is to eat less meat and dairy. Now, the popularization of meatless meals could help curb meat consumption in the U.S.

Tina Reed, author of Vitals
50 mins ago - Health

Experts predict an easier COVID winter this year

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

This winter probably won't bring another crushing COVID wave, experts say.

Why it matters: Last winter was the deadliest phase of the pandemic, and many Americans are braced for cold weather to once again usher in a surge in cases and deaths. But there are good reasons to think this year won't be nearly as bad.