Jul 22, 2018

Inside the Kavanaugh campaign

Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh speaks while US President Donald Trump listens. Photo: MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images

On Monday, the right's deepest-pocketed judicial group will launch the latest phase of its campaign to pressure key Democratic senators to confirm Trump's nominee, Brett Kavanaugh, to the Supreme Court.

The Judicial Crisis Network will run a new round of ads targeting red-state Democrats in West Virginia, North Dakota, Indiana, and Alabama. The ad buy, worth $1.5 million, takes JCN spending to $5.3 million since Justice Anthony Kennedy retired from the court.

Why this matters: JCN was the most powerful outside group that helped confirmed Trump's first justice, Neil Gorsuch. The group, which can legally protect its donors' anonymity, spent millions flooding the airwaves on Gorsuch's behalf.

  • As we've reported, progressives appear to be better organized this time around, and JCN is now contending with a well-coordinated array of groups on the left that are mobilizing against Kavanaugh.

First look... The JCN ads accuse red state Democratic senators Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Joe Donnelly of Indiana of being beholden to "liberal Chuck Schumer" and Elizabeth Warren.

  • The group will also release polling by Whit Ayres' North Star Opinion Research, showing that majorities of voters in all four targeted states say that the U.S. Senate should confirm Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. (No surprise here, given Trump won these states handily in 2016.)

Go deeper

Kenan Thompson and Hasan Minhaj to headline White House Correspondents' Dinner

Kenan Thompson on "SNL" in 2018. Photo: Rosalind O'Connor/NBC via Getty Images

Kenan Thompson, the longest-tenured "Saturday Night Live" cast member, will host the White House Correspondents' Association dinner on April 25.

And Hasan Minhaj — host of Netflix’s "Patriot Act with Hasan Minhaj," and the entertainer at the 2017 dinner — will return as featured entertainer.

"Billions": Season 2020

Mike Bloomberg speaks at Hardywood Park Craft Brewery in Richmond, Va., on Saturday. Photo: James H. Wallace/Richmond Times-Dispatch via AP

Money alone can’t buy a presidential election, but it surely gets you VIP access.

Why it matters: Billionaire Michael Bloomberg is duking it out with Billionaire Donald Trump, often on Billionaire Jack Dorsey’s Twitter and in ads on Billionaire Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook, all chronicled in Billionaire Jeff Bezos’ Washington Post. 

Biometrics invade banking and retail

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Banks have been quietly rolling out biometrics to identify customers — verifying them by their fingerprint, voice or eye scan — and retailers like Amazon are getting into the game.

Why it matters: These companies are amassing giant databases of our most personal information — including our gait, how we hold our cellphones, our typing patterns — that raise knotty questions about data security and privacy.