Photo: Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images; Win McNamee/Getty Images

Democrats plan to portray President Trump, Justice Brett Kavanaugh and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell as the three villains defining the three branches of government for the 2020 campaign.

Why it matters: Each of these white men, they will argue, symbolizes Republican corruption and rule-bending.

The three targets are already apparent:

  • House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has told advisers it's hard to move the public mood on Trump alone — and will urge her caucus to crank up anti-McConnell attacks, Axios' Alayna Treene reports.
  • At least six 2020 candidates — Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris, Pete Buttigieg, Cory Booker, Beto O'Rourke and Julián Castro — yesterday called for Kavanaugh’s impeachment after the N.Y. Times published "new information about allegations of sexual misconduct against him." Democratic strategists are eager to revive #MeToo concerns as one way to rally female voters.
  • Trump, of course, will be the central target, and several campaigns are trying to follow the Joe Biden/Kamala Harris approach of focusing on the president as much as their rivals. 

Pelosi's coming focus on McConnell emerged from Democratic divisions over how to run against the president, plus their fears that "Trump fatigue" could give their attacks diminishing returns.

  • Pelosi has relentlessly reminded Democrats that the party regained the House majority in 2018 by focusing on issues (particularly health care), not by bashing Trump.
  • She's still cautioning against impeachment, even though the majority of the caucus now supports an inquiry.

Between the lines: Pelosi believes there's a ceiling on how much the party can shift public opinion on Trump, aides say, noting that his approval rating has remained steady.

  • But demonizing McConnell "is something even the more moderate Democrats can glom onto," one aide said: "He's seen as the face of obstruction and Trump’s enabler."

Go deeper: Inside Democrats' 2020 Trump war room

Go deeper

Axios-Ipsos poll: Americans fear return to school


Data: Axios/Ipsos poll; Note: ±7% margin of error; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Most U.S. parents say it would be risky to send their children back to school in the fall — including a slim majority of Republicans and a staggering nine in 10 Black Americans — in this week's installment of the Axios-Ipsos Coronavirus Index.

Why it matters: President Trump and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos have threatened to withhold federal funds from schools that don't reopen. The new findings suggest that this pressure campaign could backfire with many of the voters to whom Trump is trying to appeal ahead of the election.

9 hours ago - World

China-Iran deal envisions massive investments from Beijing

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

China and Iran have negotiated a deal that would see massive investments flow into Iran, oil flow out, and collaboration increase on defense and intelligence.

Why it matters: If the proposals become reality, Chinese cash, telecom infrastructure, railways and ports could offer new life to Iran’s sanctions-choked economy — or, critics fear, leave it inescapably beholden to Beijing.

Updated 10 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 7 p.m. ET: 13,048,249 — Total deaths: 571,685 — Total recoveries — 7,215,865Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 7 p.m. ET: 3,353,348— Total deaths: 135,524 — Total recoveries: 1,031,856 — Total tested: 40,282,176Map.
  3. World: WHO head: There will be no return to the "old normal" for foreseeable future — Hong Kong Disneyland closing due to surge.
  4. States: Houston mayor calls for two-week shutdownCalifornia orders sweeping rollback of open businesses — Cuomo says New York will use formula to determine if reopening schools is safe.
  5. Education: Los Angeles schools' move to online learning could be a nationwide tipping point.