Nov 1, 2019

Axios AM

🦃 Good morning, and welcome to November.

🎬 Coming Sunday on “Axios on HBO”: We dig into the GOP’s looming Texas-sized problem, with Reps. Will Hurd and Dan Crenshaw. See a clip.

  • And I travel to Canada for the first interview with former megachurch pastor Joshua Harris, who inspired a generation of evangelicals — and now has renounced the faith.
1 big thing: Racial wealth gap among 2020 Dems
Expand chart
Data: FEC. Chart: Naema Ahmed/Axios

The leading white candidates in the Democratic presidential primary combined have nearly four times as much cash on hand as all five non-white candidates, Alexi McCammond writes.

  • Why it matters: Some argue the country's racial wealth gap is underlying what we're seeing in the race for the White House — where a diverse field of Democratic candidates is trailing three white front-runners, and where Sen. Kamala Harris was forced to lay off dozens of campaign staffers this week.

While the Democratic Party and the country are having real conversations about race and gender in politics, the numbers don't lie — it's still challenging for non-white candidates to raise the money they need to be viewed as viable.

  • Brookings found this stunning snapshot of the racial wealth gap: "The median average white family in the U.S. has approximately $171,000 in net wealth, while the median African American family has approximately $17,000."

The big picture: People of color at the federal, state, and local level have a harder time fundraising than their white colleagues.

  • For black women, the numbers are particularly stark. Black female candidates in 2018 House races raised the least amount of money among any female candidates — less than half as much as the average white female candidate, per the analysis.

Between the lines: Several Democratic strategists said there's a lack of institutional support for people of color running for office, from mayor on up.

  • "[T]hey don’t have the affluent networks or generations of wealth that white candidates typically have," said Lizet Ocampo, People for the American Way political director.

Between the lines: Competitive races always attract more money.

2. ⚖️ Impeachment begins: Wider divide
A shot you rarely see: Cameras were allowed in the House chamber yesterday. Above the flag, over the clock, is the press gallery. Photo: Andrew Harnik/AP

During the House's historic vote to set the ground rules for the impeachment of Donald J. Trump, members shouted and booed as the votes popped up in lights on the wall above them, Axios' Alayna Treene reports from the Capitol.

  • You could see Republicans shaking their heads as the "Yea" votes soared.

Speaker Pelosi lost only two Democrats; no Republicans crossed over.

  • Why it matters: The Legislative Branch embarks on its ultimate weapon against the Executive Branch with the two parties locked in corners.

It wasn't this stark 21 years ago, for the 1998 vote launching the impeachment of William J. Clinton: 31 Democrats joined all Republicans in setting up a formal process for considering impeachment, Paul Kane points out in the WashPost:

  • "Look, it's just a more partisan time," Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.), told Kane. "Each party is much more cohesive."
  • Sign of the times: "In 1998, two of Connecticut’s five members of the House were Republicans and three of Arkansas’s four-member delegation were Democrats. Today, ... Connecticut [is] fully Democratic and Arkansas fully Republican."
  • "Back in 1998, Clinton was dramatically more popular than Trump is today — his job approval rating never fell below 60 percent even as his personal scandals spun out into the open, month after month."
  • "Clinton’s highest [Gallup] rating, 73 percent, came the weekend the House approved two articles of impeachment against him."
Chart: AP

Tale of the tape, from AP: The only Democratic "no"s were Reps. Jeff Van Drew, a New Jersey freshman, and 28-year veteran Collin Peterson of Minnesota, one of the House's most conservative Democrats.

  • Both are battling for reelection in Republican-leaning districts.
  • Also supporting the rules: independent Rep. Justin Amash of Michigan, who left the GOP this year after announcing he was open to impeachment.

🥊 David Brooks writes: "Is it possible that more than 20 Republican senators will vote to convict Donald Trump of articles of impeachment? When you hang around Washington you get the sense that it could happen." ...

  • "And yet when you get outside Washington it’s hard to imagine more than one or two G.O.P. senators voting to convict."
3. Florida man
Courtesy N.Y. Post

In late September, President Trump "changed his primary residence from Manhattan to Palm Beach, Fla., according to documents filed with the Palm Beach County Circuit Court," the N.Y. Times' Maggie Haberman scoops.

  • "Melania Trump ... also changed her residence to Palm Beach."
  • Maggie's A+ lead: "He came of age in Queens, built Trump Tower, starred in 'The Apprentice,' bankrupted his businesses six times, and drew cheering crowds and angry protesters to Fifth Avenue after his election. Through it all, President Trump — rich, bombastic and to many Americans the epitome of a New Yorker — was intertwined with the city he called his lifelong home."

After the story broke, Trump tweeted:

[D]espite the fact that I pay millions of dollars in city, state and local taxes each year, I have been treated very badly by the political leaders of both the city and state. Few have been treated worse. I hated having to make ... this decision, but in the end it will be best for all concerned.

Go deeper: "Why Trump is Florida man," by Jonathan Swan.

4. The sovereign state of Facebook

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Facebook's scale and power make it seem more a kind of quasi-sovereign nation than a traditional company, Axios managing editor Scott Rosenberg writes.

  • Why it matters: Digital giants like Facebook, Google, Apple and Amazon are making the kinds of decisions about speech, personal safety, political power and financial relationships that belonged to governments in the past.

Facebook's operations as a quasi-state span realms such as:

  1. Speech: Facebook's mission of connecting people, combined with its global reach and billions of users, means that it is constantly making decisions about who can say what.
  2. Money: Facebook launched its own global cryptocurrency, Libra.
  3. Safety: Facebook's global footprint means it is constantly dealing with waves of conflict.
  4. Taxes: Facebook stockpiles our data to target ads and fine-tunes our "engagement."

Our thought bubble: Governments must manage complex webs of stakeholders wielding constantly shifting amounts of political power. Facebook has a rough road ahead because it suddenly must perform this dance everywhere.

5. First look: Andrew Yang's new frame
To the Yang Gang, MATH is "Make America Think Harder." Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

Andrew Yang will unveil a "New Way Forward" message when he joins other candidates onstage in Des Moines tonight at the Iowa Democratic Party's Liberty & Justice dinner (formerly the Jefferson-Jackson Dinner).

Yang wants to set himself apart by discussing the root causes that led to President Trump, as a way to promote Yang's signature universal basic income for all American adults, which he calls the Freedom Dividend:

  • "Sadly, Donald Trump is not the root of the problem. Your kids were not all right before he got elected ..."
  • "Donald Trump got the problems right ... But his solutions were garbage and nonsense. ... We have to evolve in the way we think about work and value."
6. 1 ⚾ thing: "Postseason upset run was greatest in history"
Nat's Anthony Rendon and Adam Eaton celebrate in the locker room. Photo: David J. Phillip/AP

"The Nationals just pulled off the greatest postseason upset run in the history of baseball. And I doubt it’s even a close call," writes columnist Tom Boswell, who started his career at The Washington Post as a copy aide in 1969:

  • "I hardly ever take selfies. Back in olden times, I once went a dozen years without any photo of myself in existence except my press passes. But after the Nationals won the pennant, I took a selfie standing in the infield, looking up at the fans standing and cheering, with the scoreboard in the background. I look delightedly dazed."
  • "[T]here will never be a Nationals team like this. Let it all loose, D.C. Go shark raving mad."

Keep reading.

📬 Thanks for reading! Please tell a friend about AM/PM.