Feb 14, 2019

Axios AM

By Mike Allen
Mike Allen

❤️ Happy Valentine's Day!

8 a.m. today in D.C. ... Join me for breakfast and conversation at our 2019 Congress preview News Shapers. I'll talk live onstage with Sen. Debbie Stabenow (Mich.), chair of the Senate Democratic Policy and Communications Committee ... House Republican Whip Steve Scalise (La.) ... House Democratic Caucus Chair Hakeem Jeffries (N.Y.).

1 big thing: Democrats' other social-media phenomenon
Expand chart
Data: NewsWhip (sum of Facebook interactions and Twitter Influence Shares). Chart: Harry Stevens/Axios

Sen. Kamala Harris of California is leading the field of Democratic presidential candidates in capturing social-media attention during the opening wave of the 2020 campaign, Axios' Neal Rothschild and Sara Fischer report.

  • Why it matters: That puts Harris in a strong position to help set the Democratic primary agenda, much as Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is doing for the House Democratic agenda.

The numbers from the past three months (Nov. 12 to Feb. 12) say it all:

On Google, Harris was searched twice as often as Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, who were next closest, according to Google Trends.

Instagram interactions, according to CrowdTangle:

  1. Harris: 8.3 million
  2. Sanders: 4.6 million
  3. Warren: 2 million

Twitter interactions, according to CrowdTangle (combining Senate and personal accounts):

  1. Harris: 14.4 million
  2. Sanders: 8 million
  3. Warren: 4.1 million

The exception is Facebook, where Sanders gets much of his clout, according to CrowdTangle (combining Senate and personal accounts):

  1. Sanders: 22.1 million
  2. Harris: 2.4 million
  3. Warren: 2.3 million

In the past three months, articles about Harris have generated 16.5 million interactions on Facebook and from shares on influential Twitter accounts, according to social media analytics company NewsWhip.

  • That compares with 14.2 million for Warren and 10.6 million for Sanders.

Harris' follower growth across those platforms during the past three months has been striking:

  • On Facebook, her main account has added 123,000 fans, per CrowdTangle. The next closest jump among 2020 competitors is Beto O'Rourke with 51,000.
  • On Instagram, Harris has added 613,000 followers. The next closest spikes came from O'Rourke and Warren with 200,000 followers added.
  • On Twitter, she has added 420,000 followers. Next closest is O'Rourke with 245,000.

Be smart: In President Trump's 2016 campaign, he showed unmatched ability to generate online attention. For this campaign, he has a potential rival.

2. First debate: 4 months away
Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) in Mason City, Iowa (Charlie Neibergall/AP)

Democrats' first two 2020 debates will be in June and July of 2019, DNC Chair Tom Perez told AP:

  • They'll be the first two of six debates in 2019, with at least six more to follow in 2020.
  • Perez says he plans to include a grassroots fundraising metric as part of the qualifying threshold, to be more inclusive than just using polling.
3. Dems may call Ivanka

Outlining a blueprint for the vast Russia probe planned by the new House majority, a Democratic member of Congress suggested at a roundtable with reporters this week that lawmakers may seek testimony from Ivanka Trump.

  • The lawmaker said Democrats have "made no decision as to Ivanka Trump," but "obviously there are a number of public reports about her involvement in the Trump Tower Moscow deal, and she may very well have relevant information."
  • "[W]e will ... sequence the interviews that we do with an eye towards knowing as much as we can before we bring in potential witnesses."

In describing an investigative machine that will run parallel to Mueller, the member of Congress said that "the issue of potential Gulf money is the second-largest area of concern after Russia."

  • "[T]hey may be distinct but overlapping when it comes to, for example, funding the inauguration. There may have been efforts to illegally funnel Russian money as well as Gulf money."
  • The lawmaker also pointed to "public reports of seeking to get money in the Gulf to support a clandestine social media effort to help the Trump campaign."

P.S. ... Manafort could face life in prison: "A federal judge ruled ... that Paul Manafort, President Trump’s former campaign chairman, had breached his plea agreement by lying multiple times to prosecutors." (N.Y. Times)

4. Pic du jour
Photo: Chesnot/Getty Images

A couple kisses in front of « The wall of I love you » (Le mur des je t’aime) in Paris, where words of love are combined in all languages.

5. World's fastest growing sport
Expand chart
Reproduced from Newzoo; Chart: Axios Visuals 

The global esports market is expected to surpass $1 billion this year — a 27% increase from last year — thanks to the explosive growth of brand sponsorships and media rights, according to the latest forecast from esports data company Newzoo.

  • Why it matters, from Axios' Sara Fischer: More brand sponsorships means that companies see esports as a prime opportunity to get in front of younger audiences that could be big spenders. Newzoo says sponsorships have grown by more than 30% since last year.

Brands still make up the majority of revenue that flows into esports, but the fastest-growing esports revenue stream is by far media rights.

  • North America, representing roughly 40% of the global esports market, is by far the largest esports market in the world.
  • China, whose tech giants have invested heavily in building esports business and culture, is set to overtake western Europe as the second-largest region in terms of revenues this year.
6. How Parkland changed K-12 life
A year ago, memorials lined a fence around Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. (Rhona Wise/AFP/Getty Images)

"Some students have difficulty trusting classmates outside their circle. Parents say interactions with school staff are more impersonal. Teachers worry that added security detracts from learning," AP's Adriana Gomez Licon reports:

  • "In the year [the anniversary is today] since a gunman fatally shot 14 students and three school staffers, the state's districts have reshaped the K-12 experience, adopting new rules for entering campus, hiring more police and holding frequent safety drills."

"In Miami, parents say some schools — even preschools — have lost a sense of community since Parkland."

  • Once-mundane morning drop-offs, which included chances for informal encounters with teachers, are now regimented.

Okeechobee, a central Florida farming town, "is one of at least 24 Florida districts that have started training and arming non-instructional personnel.

  • "On a recent afternoon, four school staffers ... grabbed ammunition from a military-style container and loaded a handgun. ... For hours, they practiced shooting at silhouette targets with sheriff deputies."
  • "Authorities keep the identities of these 'guardians' secret."
7. Trump campaign postgame on El Paso rally
Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

A top Republican official says President Trump's rally in El Paso this week drew the most Democrats of any of the president's campaign events since his election.

  • According to figures provided to Axios by Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale, an estimated 50% of the roughly 30,000 people who registered online were Democrats, 25% were swing voters and 25% were Republicans.

People registering for the rally submitted a phone number when they requested tickets, and that information was used to match the person with party voting data. (It’s unclear how many of those who registered online attended in the venue or in the overflow outside.)

  • An estimated 70% of registrants were Hispanic, according to the data.
  • Two-thirds had voted in two or fewer of the past four elections, per the data.
  • The El Paso County Coliseum, where the event was held, holds about 6,500 people, the El Paso Times reported. The El Paso Fire Department told the paper the attendance "might be 10,000 with the people outside."

Parscale said: "Our data shows that President Trump is building a coalition that extends far beyond the traditional Republican base."

  • "His fight to secure the border and finally finish the wall clearly energized and led to a significant amount of Democrat and Independent swing voters to attend his rally in El Paso."
8. Google builds across U.S.

Google CEO Sundar Pichai said in a blog post that 2019 "marks the second year in a row we'll be growing faster outside of the Bay Area than in it," AP reports:

  • Google will build new data centers in Nevada, Texas, Oklahoma, Nebraska, Ohio, South Carolina and Virginia.
  • Pichai said the expansion gives Google "the capacity to hire tens of thousands, ... and enable the creation of more than 10,000 ... construction jobs."

Why it matters: "It makes good political sense for Google to highlight its expansions outside coastal cities. ... U.S. legislators have paid increasing attention to Google and other big tech companies in the past year."

  • Google "will have a physical presence in 24 states by the end of the year."

⚡ P.S. ... Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and Ivanka Trump announced the new American Workforce Policy Advisory Board, including CEOs of Apple, Home Depot, IBM, Lockheed Martin, NAM, SAP America, Siemens USA, Visa and Walmart, plus education, nonprofit and labor officials. (WSJ)

9. "The Secret History of Women In Coding"

"Computer programming once had much better gender balance than it does today," Clive Thompson writes in the N.Y. Times Magazine (adapted from "Coders: The Making of a New Tribe and the Remaking of the World," out March 26):

When digital computers finally became a practical reality in the 1940s, women were ... pioneers in writing software for the machines. At the time, men in the computing industry regarded writing code as a secondary, less interesting task. The real glory lay in making the hardware. ...
If we want to pinpoint a moment when women began to be forced out of programming, we can look at one year: 1984. A decade earlier, a study revealed that the numbers of men and women who expressed an interest in coding as a career were equal. ... From 1984 onward, the percentage dropped; by the time 2010 rolled around, ... 17.6 percent of the students graduating from computer-science and information-science programs were women.
One reason ... has to do with a change in how and when kids learned to program. ... Once the first generation of personal computers, like the Commodore 64 or the TRS-80, found their way into homes, teenagers were able to play around with them [before entering college] ...
By the mid-'80s, some college freshmen ... were remarkably well prepared. ... [T]hese students were mostly men, as two academics discovered when they looked into the reasons women’s enrollment was so low.

Log in.

10. 🦈 1 fun thing
Screenshot via YouTube

Baby Shark has a holiday version, "Valentine's Day Sharks":

Valentine's Day, doo doo doo doo doo doo / Valentine's Day, doo doo doo doo doo doo / Valentine’s Day, doo doo doo doo doo doo / Valentine’s Day! I love you, I love you!

YouTube, if you dare.

Mike Allen