Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on the day's biggest business stories

Subscribe to Axios Closer for insights into the day’s business news and trends and why they matter

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Stay on top of the latest market trends

Subscribe to Axios Markets for the latest market trends and economic insights. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sports news worthy of your time

Binge on the stats and stories that drive the sports world with Axios Sports. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tech news worthy of your time

Get our smart take on technology from the Valley and D.C. with Axios Login. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Get the inside stories

Get an insider's guide to the new White House with Axios Sneak Peek. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Denver news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Des Moines news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Twin Cities news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Tampa Bay news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Charlotte news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Nashville news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Nashville newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Columbus news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Columbus newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Dallas news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Dallas newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sign up for Axios NW Arkansas

Stay up-to-date on the most important and interesting stories affecting NW Arkansas, authored by local reporters

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Photo illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios. Getty Images photo: Dimitrios Kambouris

Women’s groups are spending millions in battleground states to ward off gender-based smears against Kamala Harris, as misinformation campaigns and misogynistic memes proliferate.

Why it matters: They worry that sexist branding of Joe Biden's running mate by forces supporting President Trump could depress turnout by Black and Latina women who don't consistently vote but would likely support the Biden-Harris ticket if they did cast a ballot.

The attacks on Harris go well beyond standard fare of criticizing her as "phony" or even as "radical," veering into misinformation and salacious insinuations that she leveraged her sexuality for professional gain.

  • Harris, who is married and a stepmother, is a graduate of Howard University and the University of California-Hastings law school. She's a former prosecutor, district attorney of San Francisco and California's attorney general before her election to the U.S. Senate.
  • But Rush Limbaugh, the American Spectator and other conservative outlets have seized on Harris' relationship with former San Francisco mayor Willie Brown in the mid-1990s, more than a decade after he and his estranged wife separated, to suggest Harris behaved unethically or that her political achievements are not legitimate.

A meme that falsely suggested that Harris was sexually promiscuous circulated so widely that one photographer contracted by the NBA casually shared one on Facebook — and lost his job for it, Yahoo Sports reported. He later said he deeply regretted the move and that it didn't reflect his own views.

  • Amazon was selling T-shirts with the same phrase (they later removed them from their marketplace after facing backlash).
  • Trump said suggestively at an August campaign rally in New Hampshire that "I want to see the first woman president also, but I don't want to see a woman president get into that position the way she'd do it," charging that Harris was "not competent."

Details: PACRONYM, Black PAC, WOMEN VOTE! and Planned Parenthood Votes, have launched a $10 million ad campaign to support Harris and other groups are conducting weekly polling to monitor how disinformation is sticking.

  • The coalition is targeting 5 million voters across MI, WI, PA, NC, AZ, and GA to persuade them to vote for the Democratic ticket — with an emphasis on women of color under 40 who live in urban and rural areas and typically consume little political news.

Between the lines: Rather than pull voters to Trump's side, activists say, gender-based attacks on Harris are designed to keep low-information Democratic voters home by turning them off.

  • "That’s really the challenge we’re trying to overcome here," said Tara McGowan, founder and CEO of progressive nonprofit ACRONYM and its super PAC. "When [misinformation] reaches individuals in a vacuum and that’s all they’re getting, they’re more likely to believe it."
  • PACRONYM ads currently on Facebook focus on Harris' record of taking on big banks. Others bill her as a fighter for equality and justice. None directly addresses the gender-based attacks.

The big picture: More than 11,000 online news articles were flagged by TIME'S UP Now, a group formed in the wake of the #MeToo movement, as using sexist or racist language about Harris in the first two weeks after her announcement.

  • They also found 21 million people actively engaged with this type of content with the potential for a far broader reach. Voters are "absorbing these messages without fully understanding that it’s devaluing Black women," Tina Tchen, president and CEO of the group, told Axios.

Be smart: Women's groups anticipated sexist and false attacks no matter which female running mate Biden selected — and were discussing potential strategies for months before Biden decided on Harris.

Go deeper

Senate confirms Amy Coney Barrett's replacement on federal appeals court

Thomas Kirsch during his confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill in November. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

The Senate on Tuesday confirmed Indiana prosecutor Thomas Kirsch as Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett's replacement to sit on a federal appeals court in Chicago.

Why it matters: He's the latest Trump-appointed district judge the Senate has confirmed since Election Day, breaking with a tradition that's previously seen no nominees appointed when a lame-duck president is in office.

Ben Geman, author of Generate
43 mins ago - Energy & Environment

Democrats' clean power outlook is very muddy

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Here are two big questions as a key Democratic proposal to slash emissions from power generation flounders: how much its demise would sap climate protections, and what might replace it.

Catch up fast: New financial carrots and sticks for utilities to deploy zero-carbon power — the Clean Electricity Performance Program (CEPP) — look unlikely to stay in Democrats' big social spending and climate bill.

Colin Powell dies from COVID complications at 84

Photo: Paul Morigi/Getty Images for Capital Concerts

Colin Powell, the first Black U.S. secretary of state, died of complications from COVID-19, his family announced Monday. He was 84.

Driving the news: The Powell family said in a statement that he was fully vaccinated. "We want to thank the medical staff at Walter Reed National Medical Center for their caring treatment."