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Photo: Aaron P. Bernstein/Getty Images

Democrats plan to make health care the central issue in their fight to oppose whomever Trump picks to replace Anthony Kennedy on the Supreme Court.

What they're saying: Here's Democratic leader Chuck Schumer framing the strategy on the Senate floor Wednesday: "This is the most important Supreme Court vacancy for this country in at least a generation. Nothing less than the fate of our health care system...[is] at stake."

Democrats plan to keep hammering two arguments:

  1. That Kennedy's replacement will tip the court into deep social conservatism and will ultimately lead to abortion becoming illegal in America.
  2. That Kennedy's replacement will ultimately vote to overturn the Affordable Care Act, removing protections for people with pre-existing conditions.

Why this matters: Democrats believe these arguments will resonate with voters whom polls show are already worried about their health care under Republican leadership. Democrats also think they'll resonate with the swing vote senators needed to confirm Kennedy's replacement — many of whom support abortion rights and voted against Trump's efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

  • "Republicans had hoped they put a band aid on the self-inflicted wounds that came from health care repeal and gutting protections for people with pre-existing conditions," Democratic strategist Jesse Ferguson told me.
  • "Then, Donald Trump ripped the band aid off with his lawsuit to overturn those protections and now the fight over his Supreme Court Justice will pick the scab."  

Go deeper: Read Axios' Sam Baker on the Trump Justice Department's decision to not defend the Affordable Care Act in court, including "the provision of the law that forces insurance companies to cover people with pre-existing conditions."

Go deeper

3 hours ago - Health

Fauci: COVID vaccine rollout needs to prioritize people of color

Anthony Fauci. Photo: Alex Wong via Getty Images

Infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci highlighted the need to address racial disparities in the COVID-19 vaccination process, per an interview with The New England Journal of Medicine on Wednesday.

What he’s saying: "I think that's the one thing we really got to be careful of. We don't want in the beginning ... most of the people who are getting it are otherwise, well, middle-class white people."

The Mischief Makers

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Several Republican and Democratic lawmakers are emerging as troublemakers within their parties and political thorns for their leadership.

Why it matters: We're calling this group "The Mischief Makers" — members who threaten to upend party unity — the theme eclipsing Washington at the moment — and potentially jeopardize the Democrats' or Republicans' position heading into the 2022 midterms.

4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Obama speechwriter fears Biden unity drive is one-sided

Cody Keenan (right) is shown heading to Marine One in December 2009. Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

President Obama's former speechwriter says he's "preemptively frustrated" with President Biden's effort to find unity with Republicans.

What they're saying: Cody Keenan told Axios that Biden's messaging team has "struck all the right chords," but at some point "they're gonna have to answer questions like, 'Why didn't you achieve unity?' when there's an entire political party that's already acting to stop it."