Jan 13, 2019

Axios AM

By Mike Allen
Mike Allen

☃️ Good snowy Sunday morning. And if you're like Jordan and in a place where it's not snowing: 😎.

1 big thing: More Twitter power than top media companies
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Data: CrowdTangle. (Kamala Harris tweets are combined from her personal and Senate accounts.) Chart: Chris Canipe/Axios

A freshman congresswoman is dominating the Democratic conversation on Twitter, generating more interactions (retweets plus likes) than the five most prolific news organizations combined over the past month.

  • Axios' Neal Rothschild and Chris Canipe found that Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, while miles behind President Trump in online action, has far more Twitter power than the most prominent Democrats, including the congressional leaders and the likely 2020 presidential candidates.

Ben Thompson — founder of Stratechery, and one of the most pioneering online thinkers — points out that neither Ocasio-Cortez's "background nor her position as a first-time representative are ... noteworthy enough to be driving the national political conversation. And yet she is doing exactly that."

  • "In short, she is the first — but certainly not the last — of an entirely new archetype: a politician that is not only fueled by the Internet, but born of it."

Antonio García Martínez of Wired — author of "Chaos Monkeys," about Silicon Valley — calls her "a harbinger of a new American political reality":

  • "[W]hen a 29-year-old former bartender of Puerto Rican descent beats a senior Democratic leader of the House, and then proceeds to set the political agenda during her first week in office, it’s more than a cute social media story."
  • "AOC is one answer to the bigger question of how social media impacts not just the portrayal of political power, but its seizure and exercise."

The takeaways from our data:

  • Among 2020 Democratic hopefuls, Sen. Kamala Harris of California (combining her Senate and personal accounts) had the highest Twitter engagement at 4.6 million interactions over the last 30 days — but that's still way behind Ocasio-Cortez.
  • Sen. Bernie Sanders (I) had 2.6 million.
  • Notable Democrats:
    • Speaker Nancy Pelosi: 2.6 million
    • Sen. Chuck Schumer: 2.4 million
    • Beto O'Rourke: 1.8 million
    • Sen. Elizabeth Warren: 1.4 million
  • News organizations' metrics do not include numbers from their star journalists. CNN's Jim Acosta generated 2 million interactions, compared to the network's 3 million.
  • On the right, individual personalities out-index partisan news organizations. The biggest conservative megaphones — aside from the president — are Charlie Kirk (7.3 million interactions) and Donald Trump Jr., whose 1.86 million interactions eclipsed the New York Times' 1.84 million by a hair.
  • The volume of tweets is an important variable to consider:
    • Trump: 9.1 tweets per day
    • Ocasio-Cortez: 5.8
    • Harris: 9.7
    • CNN: 136

Two notes about the data: Fox News has boycotted Twitter since November, when Tucker Carlson's home address was shared online, and his house was attacked. And remember that bots can account for significant Twitter activity.

2. Trump hides Putin details

"President Trump has gone to extraordinary lengths to conceal details of his conversations with Russian President Vladi­mir Putin, including on at least one occasion taking possession of the notes of his own interpreter," the WashPost's Greg Miller reports:

  • Trump even instructed the interpreter "not to discuss what had transpired with other administration officials."
  • "U.S. officials learned of Trump’s actions when a White House adviser and a senior State Department official sought information from the interpreter beyond a readout" by then-SecState Rex Tillerson.
  • Why it matters: "U.S. officials said there is no detailed record, even in classified files, of Trump’s face-to-face interactions with the Russian leader at five locations over the past two years."

This is wild: "[O]fficials at times have had to rely on reports by U.S. intelligence agencies tracking the reaction in the Kremlin."

  • "U.S. intelligence agencies have been reluctant to call attention to such reports during Trump’s presidency because they have at times included comments by foreign officials disparaging the president or his advisers, including his son-in-law Jared Kushner."
  • A former administration official: "The feedback tended not to be positive."

Update ... Sarah Sanders says in a statement: "The Washington Post story is so outrageously inaccurate it doesn’t even warrant a response."

  • "The liberal media has wasted two years trying to manufacture a fake collusion scandal instead of reporting the fact that unlike President Obama, who let Russia and other foreign adversaries push America around, President Trump has actually been tough on Russia."
3. Shutdown, Day 23: Wall support grows

President Trump is flanked by Texas Sens. John Cornyn and Ted Cruz near the Rio Grande on Thursday. (Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images)

A WashP0st/ABC News poll shows that support for a border wall has risen eight points in the past year to 42%.

  • "A slight majority of Americans (54 percent) oppose the idea, down from 63 percent a year ago," per the WashPost.
  • Republican support "jumped 16 points in the past year, from 71 percent to 87 percent."
  • "Not only has GOP support increased, it has also hardened. Today, 70 percent of Republicans say they strongly support the wall," up 12 points in a year.

Other scenes from the shutdown:

  • Sentence of the day ... Selective shutdown: "[I]f you’re a sportsman looking to hunt game, a gas company planning to drill offshore or a taxpayer awaiting your refund, you’re in luck: This shutdown won’t affect your plans." (AP)
  • This should get Trump's attention: "A partial shutdown of the U.S. government could slash job growth by as much as 500,000 in January and lift the unemployment rate above 4.0 percent." (Reuters)
  • The WashPost/ABC poll finds that by a wide margin of 53% to 29%, Americans blame Trump and Rs over congressional Dems. (WashPost)
  • "Metro officials are concerned the ... shutdown is cutting into ... revenue as the system ... runs full service despite" furloughs, per the WashPost.
    • Daily decreases last week ranged from 6% to 11% compared with the year before. Service cuts would be considered, but don't sound imminent.
4. 2020 vision
Eric Gay/AP

Above: Former HUD Secretary Julian Castro made immigration a centerpiece of his announcement for president in his hometown of San Antonio, less than 200 miles from the border. (San Antonio Express-News)

  • "He became the second Democrat to formally enter the race, after former Maryland Rep. John Delaney." Sen. Elizabeth Warren announced an exploratory committee. (AP)

Below: Elizabeth Warren introduced her golden retriever, Bailey, during remarks yesterday at Manchester Community College in New Hampshire. She's trying to use her early start to poach Bernie Sanders' base. (Boston Globe)

Scott Eisen/Getty Images
5. Millennial women fuel U.S. job gains

"Millennial women are participating in the American job market at levels last seen in 2000," per Bloomberg's Jeanna Smialek:

  • "The share of 25- to 34-year-old women who are employed or looking has staged a sharp turnaround since 2016."
  • Why it matters: "[T]hey may be laying the groundwork for higher wages as their careers progress."

Men have "posted a comparatively weak labor-market rebound":

  • "Their participation rate — though still higher than their female counterparts — has failed to recover to pre-recession levels."

Be smart: This is part of an increasing gender gap that's empowering women, including attending college, voting, donating to campaigns and running for office — and winning.

  • "Millennial women are now more likely to have a college degree than their male peers, and employment rates climb with education," Bloomberg notes.
  • "The age group has also been delaying weddings and kids."
6. 1 fun thing
Lin-Manuel Miranda shed tears during a standing ovation after the "Hamilton" premiere in Puerto Rico. (Carlos Giusti/AP)

"Lin-Manuel Miranda reprised his lead role in the hit musical 'Hamilton' to start a two-week run in Puerto Rico expected to raise millions of dollars for artists and cultural groups struggling in the wake of Hurricane Maria," AP's Danica Coto reports from San Juan:

  • "The audience giggled, hooted, clapped and tapped their feet throughout Friday's night's performance as Miranda took the stage for the first time since his last appearance in the Broadway version in July 2016."

"[D]uring the curtain call he wiped away tears and wrapped himself in a large Puerto Rican flag as he briefly addressed the crowd in Spanish and English."

  • "'I have never felt anything like that,' he said of the crowd's energy, adding that singing the song 'Hurricane' was a challenge."

"Opening night drew more than 1,000 people who bought tickets ranging from $10 to $5,000."

  • "Among the attendees was Ron Chernow, the Pulitzer Prize winner whose biography of Alexander Hamilton inspired the musical."
Mike Allen