Dec 28, 2018

Axios AM

By Mike Allen
Mike Allen

Happy Friday from Miami Beach.

⚡ Bulletin: "Saudi Arabian officials arrested a partner at consulting giant McKinsey & Co. in the fall of 2017 and have been holding him in detention since then," per The Wall Street Journal.

  • "In recent months, he has been repeatedly beaten."
  • 'A McKinsey spokesman said that as of early this year the consultant, Hani Khoja [a Saudi national], is no longer a McKinsey employee.'
1 big thing: More industries want to be regulated

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

While President Trump's deregulatory agenda is beloved by some large companies, an increasing number of industries are pleading with feds to impose new rules, Axios managing editor Kim Hart writes:

  • These companies say that without the certainty that comes with regulation, it's harder for them to grow, which hurts the economy.

Here's a sampling of industries — both fledgling and established — that want the government to slap regulations on them:

  • Drones: The Gatwick Airport drone incident underscores why drone companies want the FAA to write rules.
  • Autonomous vehicles: Current federal law prohibits the deployment of self-driving vehicles without steering wheels.
  • Electric vehicles: In October, GM urged the Trump administration to create what amounts to a national electric vehicle sales mandate.
  • Facial recognition: Microsoft wants the government to set limits on the technology, which is being used in surveillance and other law enforcement work — raising the risk of bias, discrimination and privacy breaches.
  • Digital currencies: 2017 ushered in a boom in so-called “initial coin offerings,” but the SEC and state regulators have found fraudsters as hard to catch.
  • Online privacy: Telecom and tech companies are on board with policymakers' sudden appetite for new rules — partly because they're inevitable, and partly to pre-empt state regulations that are cropping up all over the country.
  • Financial advisers: Brokerage firms want more clarity.
  • Oil: Some of the biggest oil and gas companies want the EPA to regulate emissions of methane.

The bottom line: Companies may feel safer handing government the hot potato of figuring out where to draw lines around potentially controversial technologies to help limit their own liabilities.

  • But government may not be inclined to limit its own freedom to use the new tools, including facial recognition and drones, notes Axios' Ina Fried.
2. Dems' early 2020 theme: Head over heart
Then-Sen. Barack Obama arrives at a rally in Des Moines in 2008. (Jae C. Hong/AP)

"The same early Obama supporters who admit to being swept off their feet by the then-Illinois senator are now looking steely-eyed for someone who can simply seize the presidency from Donald Trump," AP's Tom Beaumont reports from Des Moines:

  • The 2020 Iowa caucuses "are already shaping up for many of Obama's earliest supporters to be more about their heads than their hearts."
  • "The innocence in us wants to fall in love," said Niki Neems, an Iowa City Democratic activist. "But whoever we all think stands the best chance, then let's get out there and start door-knocking. So, for me, it's OK to just fall in like."

"More than a dozen Democrats weighing 2020 presidential campaigns have already begun testing their ability to connect with Iowans."

  • In October, "New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker paced the stage at an Iowa Democratic Party fall banquet, repeatedly quoting Martin Luther King in a sermon-like speech to 1,200 of the state’s most influential party activists, officials and donors."
3. GOP share of Latino vote steady under Trump

"More Latinos reliably vote Republican than many think and the GOP's position among Latinos has not weakened during the Trump administration," AP's Nick Riccardi reports:

  • "In November's elections, 32% of Latinos voted for Republicans, according to AP VoteCast data. The survey of more than 115,000 midterm voters [includes] 7,738 Latino voters."
  • Other surveys, including data from the Pew Research Center, "also found roughly one-third of Latinos supporting the GOP."
  • "That tracks the share of Latinos supporting Republicans for the last decade."

"[T]wo groups stand out as especially likely to back the GOP — evangelicals and veterans."

Bonus: Pic du jour
Chan Bekti/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

"A transformer explosion at an electrical plant set the skies above New York City ablaze in an eerie, pulsing blue light [last] night, causing scattered power outages, delaying flights and sparking a social media storm of jokes about an alien invasion," AP reports.

  • "The blast prompted a brief fire at a sprawling Con Edison facility in Queens — but no injuries — and a spectacular illumination of the New York skyline."
4. Day 7: Shutdown expected to last into 2019
Ben Franklin, in an empty corridor outside the Senate chamber yesterday. (J. Scott Applewhite/AP) (J. Scott Applewhite/AP)

"Republican leaders gave up hope [yesterday] of reopening the government before the new year, leaving the border wall impasse to House Democrats as they assume the majority next week," the N.Y. Times' Nicholas Fandos and Catie Edmondson report.

  • "House Democrats, who take control on Wednesday, are weighing three approaches to getting funds flowing, none of which would include additional money for President Trump’s proposed wall along the southwestern border."

Democratic leaders "said they would vote promptly on Jan. 3, hoping to project the image of Democrats as a steadying hand in Washington."

  • Speaker-designate Pelosi: "We will vote swiftly to reopen government and show that Democrats will govern responsibly in stark contrast to this chaotic White House."

P.S. More Americans blame President Trump (47%) than congressional Democrats (33%) for the shutdown, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll.

5. Stat du jour
Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images

Five people have gone overboard on Florida-based cruise ships since late November, the Miami Herald's Taylor Dolven writes:

  1. The Coast Guard was searching for a 20-year-old Royal Caribbean cruise line crew member who went overboard in the Atlantic Ocean, from the Harmony of the Seas on Christmas Day.
  2. "[A] 27-year-old crew member on Royal Caribbean’s Adventure of the Seas disappeared from the ship and was never found."
  3. "A 69-year-old woman from Holland went overboard the MSC Preziosa; the Coast Guard did not find her."
  4. A 26-year-old man "went overboard from the Carnival Victory and was never found."
  5. "A 22-year-old man with autism went overboard on the Carnival cruise line ship Fantasy and was never found."

"In four out of five of the recent overboard incidents, ship crews did not become aware that a person was missing until hours later."

  • "A 2010 federal law requires cruise ships to have technology to detect when passengers go overboard as soon as it happens 'to the extent that such technology is available.'"
  • "Most cruise lines, including Royal Caribbean, say the technology on the market is unreliable and causes too many false positives, so most ships do not have it."
6. 1 🏈 thing

Headline of the day ... A tease on the N.Y. Times front page: "More Washington Dysfunction" ... And on the actual story, by Kevin Draper: "The Redskins Aren’t Very Good on the Field. Off It, They’re Even Worse."

  • "At 7-8, Washington will miss the playoffs for the 15th time in the 20 seasons since Dan Snyder bought the team in 1999.
  • "With precious little salary cap room, next year’s outlook on the field isn’t any rosier. But it is also the constant self-inflicted, off-the-field controversies and indignities that have drained many fans in Washington of any enthusiasm they once had for the team."

"The team used to claim that it had over 200,000 fans on a season ticket waiting list. But before this season, it announced that there was no ... waiting list."

  • "[T]he Redskins have ripped about 10,000 seats out of FedEx Field."
  • This season, "Washington averaged fewer than 61,000 [in attendance], 27th in the N.F.L."
  • "FedEx Field has been only 74 percent full this season, the lowest percentage in the league."
  • "The team’s local television rating ranks 22nd in the league."
Mike Allen