2020 Democratic candidate Sen. Cory Booker claimed on CNN's "State of the Union" Sunday that President Trump is "worse than a racist" and that his rhetoric weaponizes race just as Gov. George Wallace — a staunch segregationist — did in his presidential campaigns.

"The reality is this is a guy who is worse than a racist. He's actually using racist tropes and racial language for political gain. He's trying to use this as a weapon to divide our nation against itself and this is somebody who is very similar to George Wallace, to racists who uses the exact same language."

The big picture: CNN's Dana Bash notes that unlike other 2020 candidates, Booker has criticized Trump's comments as racist, but has hesitated to specifically label the president himself a racist. Booker shot back and said he would not stop short of using the word racist to describe Trump.

  • "We have a demagogue, fear-mongering person who is using race to divide. This is a referendum, not on him, it's actually a referendum on the heart and soul of our country."

Go deeper

Wall Street is no longer betting on Trump

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Betting markets have turned decisively toward an expected victory for Joe Biden in November — and asset managers at major investment banks are preparing for not only a Biden win, but potentially a Democratic sweep of the Senate and House too.

Why it matters: Wall Street had its chips on a Trump win until recently — even in the midst of the coronavirus-induced recession and Biden's rise in the polls.

With new security law, China outlaws global activism

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

The draconian security law that Beijing forced upon Hong Kong last week contains an article making it illegal for anyone in the world to promote democratic reform for Hong Kong.

Why it matters: China has long sought to crush organized dissent abroad through quiet threats and coercion. Now it has codified that practice into law — potentially forcing people and companies around the world to choose between speaking freely and ever stepping foot in Hong Kong again.

Axios-Ipsos poll: There is no new normal

Data: Axios/Ipsos poll; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

The longer the coronavirus pandemic lasts, the farther we're moving apart, according to our analysis of nearly four months of data from the Axios-Ipsos Coronavirus Index.

Why it matters: Ever since life in the U.S. as we knew it came to a screeching halt, we've been trying to get our heads around what a "new normal" will look like. But so far, the politicization of the virus — and our socioeconomic differences — are working against any notion of national unity in impact or response.