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Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand is rejecting corporate PAC donations. Photo: Aaron P. Bernstein/Getty Images

Democrats' latest litmus test is rejecting corporate PAC money. It's an easy way to appeal to their progressive, anti-establishment base that demands campaign finance reform.

By the numbers: More than 170 federal candidates have pledged not to take any donations from corporate PACS, AP's Lisa Lerer reports.

Between the lines: Lerer writes that this rejection "may be more symbolic than financial" because corporate donations really only make up a tiny fraction of political finance.

  • This is especially true for senators. Lerer points to Kamala Harris, who raised $19.7 million before she was elected in 2016, but less than 5% of that (around $900,000) was from corporate PAC donations.
  • But the symbolism matters, Democrats like Rep. David Cicilline argue. “I just have come to the realization over time that as long as the Republicans are in charge, they’re not going to move forward with any of the significant campaign finance reform,” he told AP. “Maybe this is a small way, on your own, to make a difference.”

Go deeper

Felix Salmon, author of Capital
11 mins ago - Economy & Business

America fought the pandemic economy — and won

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The U.S. economy is emerging from the pandemic with more well-paying jobs for those who want them, less hunger, less poverty, higher wages, less inequality, and more wealth for everyday Americans.

Why it matters: None of these outcomes were expected when the pandemic began. All of them are the result of massive government programs.

GOP Rep. Gonzalez retires in face of Trump-backed primary

Ohio Rep. Anthony Gonzalez (R) Photographer: Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Ohio Rep. Anthony Gonzalez (R) announced his retirement on Thursday, declining to run against a Trump-backed primary challenger in 2022.

Why it matters: Gonzalez has suffered politically since siding with House Democrats to impeach the 45th president after the Capitol riot.

Swing voters oppose Texas abortion law

Protesters at a rally at the Texas State Capitol. Photo: Jordan Vonderhaar/Getty Images

All 10 swing voters in Axios’ latest focus groups — including those who described themselves as "pro-life" — said they oppose Texas' new anti-abortion law.

Why it matters: If their responses reflect larger patterns in U.S. society, this could hurt Republicans with women and independents in next year's midterm elections. The swing voters cited overreach, invasion of privacy and concerns about frivolous lawsuits jamming up the courts.