☕Happy holiday Saturday!
Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios
The 2020 Democratic field splits into two rough camps: anger vs. optimism.
Axios' Alexi McCammond writes that Democrats ultimately have to choose between someone who's the mirror image of President Trump (an angry fighter) — or the opposite (an optimistic pragmatist).
The fighters are defined by their brand of liberal populism:
The optimists paint a hopeful, and relatively more moderate, view:
What the polls show: Democratic voters value electability. 56% "prefer someone who would be a strong candidate against Trump even if they disagree with that candidate on most issues," according to a recent Monmouth University poll.
"Activists and some church leaders hoped the Vatican would take a tougher stance [on sexual abuse] under Pope Francis," The Wall Street Journal's Francis X. Rocca reports from Vatican City (subscription):
"No clearer is the rift than in the relationship between Pope Francis and ... Cardinal Sean O’Malley of Boston, ... the Vatican’s point man on sex abuse."
⚡Breaking ... Pope Francis has defrocked former U.S. Cardinal Theodore McCarrick after Vatican officials found him guilty of soliciting sex while hearing Confession, and sex crimes against minors and adults. (AP)
"White House attorneys repeatedly warned him the risk of failure in court was high," the WashPost's Matt Zapotosky and Josh Dawsey write:
How WhiteHouse.gov covered it: "President Donald J. Trump’s Border Security Victory."
How The N.Y. Times covered it:
Gusty winds broke a branch of the famous Lone Cypress tree in Pebble Beach, on the Monterey Peninsula's scenic 17-Mile Drive on California's northern coast.
Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios
Researchers have broadened the controversial technology called "deepfakes" — AI-generated media that experts fear could roil coming elections by convincingly depicting people saying or doing things they never did, Axios' Kaveh Waddell reports.
How it works: The program "writes" by choosing the best next word based on both the human-written prompt and an enormous database of text it has read on the internet.
Go deeper ... AI wrote this Axios story
"The Senate today acquitted President Clinton on two articles of impeachment, falling short of even a majority vote on either of the charges against him: perjury and obstruction of justice," wrote the N.Y. Times' Alison Mitchell, now an assistant managing editor.
"Spoiler alert ... The last line of a novel can be transformative. These are the 23 most unforgettable final sentences in fiction," WashPost Book World critic Ron Charles writes: