Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.V.) Photo: Patrick Smith/Getty Images

Trump's choice for an open Federal Energy Regulatory Commission seat has been confirmed by a 50-49 margin — despite a late twist that arrives at an interesting moment in energy politics.

Driving the news: West Virginia Democrat Joe Manchin unexpectedly opposed Bernard McNamee in a procedural vote yesterday, citing his early 2017 comments recently unearthed by the publication Utility Dive.

"After viewing video footage, which I had not previously seen, where Bernard McNamee outright denies the impact that humans are having on our climate, I can no longer support his nomination to be a FERC commissioner."
— Joe Manchin, in statement

Why it matters: The change of heart arrives as some progressive activists are pressing Democratic leaders to block Manchin from becoming the ranking Democrat on the Energy and Natural Resources Committee.

  • They say Manchin is too close to the fossil fuel industry, citing his acceptance of campaign contributions.

The big question: Whether yesterday's surprise move will affect the internal Democratic caucus politics around Manchin's potential ascension on the committee.

  • Minority Leader Chuck Schumer has declined comment on calls to block him.

Yes, but: Don't look for activists to end their campaign against Manchin.

  • "A last minute flip on McNamee doesn’t erase a career of putting polluters ahead of people. Manchin has the worst climate record of any Democratic Senator," 350.org's Jamie Henn tells Axios.
  • The Sunrise Movement said they still oppose his rise on the panel.

Go deeper: Climate politics moves up the Democrats' priority list

Go deeper

Breaking down the Tesla obsession

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Tesla is the company of the moment — the prime exemplar of just about any big and important trend that you might care about.

Why it matters: Almost every reader of finance and business news will have at least one strongly-held opinion about Tesla. What you might not realize is just how widely those opinions range, and the degree to which they map onto much broader views of the world.

Gallup: Party preference swings dramatically in favor of Democrats

Photo: Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

Americans' political party preferences have swung sharply from a 2-point Republican advantage in January to an 11-point Democratic advantage in July, according to Gallup's monthly averages of telephone polls in 2020.

The big picture: The dramatic shift is more a product of fewer people identifying as Republican or Republican-leaning (down 8% since January) than gains among those who identify as Democratic or Democratic-leaning (up 5%).

Nancy Pelosi: "I yearn for other Republican presidents"

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) called on President Trump Thursday to exercise "the full power" of the Defense Production Act to meet coronavirus equipment needs and accused him of engaging in a "massive dereliction of duty" by ignoring science during the pandemic.

What she's saying: "I yearn for other Republican presidents," Pelosi said at a press conference. "While we may have disagreed on many points, but at least we had a shared commitment to the governance of our country."