Steve Helber / AP

A bunch of out of-the-box names are getting buzz in elite Democratic circles for their quiet maneuvering to be part of the 2020 conversation:

  • Joe Biden: In private, he talks incessantly about what he'd be doing if he had the Oval. He'll look for every reason and opening to run. If he weren't 74 (Trump is 70), Biden would be in already. Watch for signs his campaign hands are quietly laying the groundwork.
  • Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe: He has talked extensively with friends and advisers about running. The guy has boundless energy, ambition and access to money — and the personality and love of the game to withstand the grind and glare of politics.
  • Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (N.Y.): She has met privately with top party officials and just hit California to raise money and her profile. Make no mistake: She wants to run. But that doesn't mean she will.
  • Mark Cuban: He considers himself a smarter, better-looking and more authentic version of Trump. He has coin, ambition and comfort in his own skin. Of all the CEO/celebrities, he's the most likely to plunge into the shark tank of politics.
  • Rahm Emanuel: He has not given any signals he'll run, but friends tell us the Chicago mayor thinks he has a better read than the others on what it takes for a Democrat to win in today's America. That said, he runs a city with huge murder and money problems.
  • Sen. Elizabeth Warren (Mass.): Although she's assumed to shun the idea of running, reporters watching the field say Warren has the best developed, most intentional message of any of the hopefuls.
  • Sen. Kamala Harris (Calif.): She was interviewed by Kara Swisher this week at Recode's Code Conference, exposing the freshman to a new swath of the chattering class.
  • Sen. Cory Booker (N.J.): He'd be so hacked if I left him off.

Go deeper

Case growth outpacing testing in coronavirus hotspots

Data: The COVID Tracking Project. Note: Vermont and Hawaii were not included because they have fewer than 20 cases per day. Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

The United States' alarming rise in coronavirus cases isn't due to increased testing — particularly not where cases have grown fastest over the last month.

Why it matters: The U.S. doesn't yet know what it looks like when a pandemic rages on relatively unchecked after the health system has become overwhelmed. It may be about to find out.

The impending retail apocalypse

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Because of the coronavirus and people's buying habits moving online, retail stores are closing everywhere — often for good.

Why it matters: Malls are going belly up. Familiar names like J.C. Penney, Neiman Marcus and J. Crew have filed for bankruptcy. Increasingly, Americans' shopping choices will boil down to a handful of internet Everything Stores and survival-of-the-fittest national chains.

Biden campaign using Instagram to mobilize celebrity supporters

Collins appears on the Build live interview series in November 2019. Photo: Gary Gershoff/Getty Images

The Biden campaign is launching a new initiative today that will draft Hollywood celebrities for Instagram Live chats with campaign officials and other Biden supporters.

Why it matters: The campaign, called #TeamJoeTalks, is an attempt to open up a new front on social media, drawing on celebrities’ Instagram followers to help find and motivate voters while large parts of the country remain locked down.