Aug 17, 2019

Axios AM

Happy Saturday! Today's Smart Brevity count: 995 words ... < 4 minutes.

  • Does your workout partner get Axios AM and PM? Invite 'em to sign up!
1 big thing: Dems struggle to reach black millennials

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

With African American millennials a vital audience for 2020 Democrats, Kamala Harris' team has a special text template for connecting with students at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), Alexi McCammond writes.

  • The goal, says a campaign aide, is to "actually speak like them, look like them, and be culturally relevant to them."

But several of the Democratic campaigns can barely articulate how they're reaching out to a group that's the future face of the party.

  • Why it matters: "Donald Trump’s campaign is handing out literature in black barbershops right now; they’re doing micro-targeting on Facebook and have a digital strategy to engage black folks," said Rashad Robinson, president of Color of Change, an online racial justice organization.

Some of the Dems — including Harris, Elizabeth Warren and Pete Buttigieg — are visiting HBCUs in hopes of turning students into organizers.

  • Others are going on shows like Showtime's "Desus and Mero" (Mayor Pete) or publishing articles on sites like The Root and The Grio (Harris and Warren).
  • Beto O'Rourke's campaign cites his voting rights proposal, which would help young people get registered as soon as they turn 18.
  • A Joe Biden aide says this isn't something the campaign is "ready to talk about right now."

What to watch: 30% of black millennials surveyed by the University of Chicago's GenForward Project said they feel the Democratic Party doesn't care about them.

2. Health officials probe illnesses linked to vaping
A high school principal in Massachusetts displays vaping devices that were confiscated from students. Photo: Steven Senne/AP

"State and federal health officials are investigating almost 100 cases of mysterious lung illnesses linked to vaping and e-cigarette use in 14 states, many of them involving teens and young adults," the WashPost's Lena Sun and Lindsey Bever report (subscription).

  • Why it matters: "Officials are warning clinicians and the public to be on alert for what they describe as a severe and potentially dangerous lung injury."

Kim Barnes, mother of a 26-year-old from Burlington, Wis., who has asthma and had been vaping for about a year — then was hospitalized last month and attached to a ventilator:

  • "You need to sit your kids down and tell them the dangers of this stuff."
3. Tariffs will still hit fall shoppers
Screenshot: MSNBC

Despite President Trump's reprieve until Dec. 15 for some China tariffs, $33 billion in apparel, shoes and hats are among items subject to a 10% tariff on Chinese imports beginning Sept. 1, The Wall Street Journal reports (subscription).

  • Why it matters: "Previous rounds of tariffs have largely spared consumers, with the administration targeting items such as telecommunications equipment, metal alloys and mechanical devices."
  • "It is not entirely accurate to label this a de-escalation," Chris Krueger, managing director of the Cowen Washington Research Group, told The Journal. He likened the policy to telling someone: "I was going to break both of your arms on Sept. 1 — now I am only going to break your elbow."

💰 Self-inflicted wound: Steve Rattner writes for the N.Y. Times ("How World Leaders Ruined the Global Economy") that the U.S., U.K., Europe, China and India "took the best growth picture in a decade and put us in danger of recession."

Bonus: Humanity interlude
Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

"The Star-Spangled Banner" is played for 150 citizenship candidates from around the globe, during a naturalization ceremony in Miami yesterday.

4. 🗞️ New chapter in covering Trump
Photo: Leah Millis/Reuters

Newsrooms around America, including the journalists of Axios, are wrestling with how best to cover what New York Times executive editor Dean Baquet referred to this week as the story of "what it means to be an American in 2019."

At a staff meeting to discuss coverage of race and a divisive administration, Baquet said the paper needs to regroup from "Chapter 1 of the story of Donald Trump" — the collusion/obstruction investigation — and "take on a different story," according to a transcript posted by Slate:

The day Bob Mueller walked off that witness stand [July 24], two things happened. Our readers who want Donald Trump to go away suddenly thought, 'Holy s---, Bob Mueller is not going to do it.'
And Donald Trump got a little emboldened politically, I think. Because, you know, for obvious reasons. And I think that the story changed. A lot of the stuff we’re talking about started to emerge like six or seven weeks ago. We’re a little tiny bit flat-footed. I mean, that’s what happens when a story looks a certain way for two years. Right?
I think that we’ve got to change. I mean, the vision for coverage for the next two years is: ... How do we cover a guy who makes these kinds of remarks? How do we cover the world's reaction to him? How do we do that while continuing to cover his policies? How do we cover America, that’s become so divided by Donald Trump? ...
How do we write about race in a thoughtful way, something we haven’t done in a large way in a long time? That, to me, is the vision for coverage.
5. "Wealth work" fuels California job growth
Personal shopper and stylist Kat Yeh looks at shoes for a client in San Francisco. Photo: Haven Daley/AP

Job growth in California, the world's fifth largest economy, is in its 113th month, tying the expansion of the 1960s, AP's Adam Beam writes from Sacramento.

  • One of the fastest-growing job categories is what economists call "wealth work": Catering to whims, desires and appetites of the wealthy.

California's unemployment rate dipped to 4.1% for July, tying a record low from 2018.

  • Unemployment was lowest in the Bay Area. Silicon Valley has fueled a surge in accompanying industries — finance, real estate and retail.
  • Joblessness was highest in the Central Valley, reflecting the seasonal demands of the agriculture industry. Imperial County, adjacent to San Diego, had an unemployment rate of more than 20%.

Two concerns:

  • The trade war with China could imperil job gains.
  • The state's labor force (number of people working and looking for work) dropped for the fifth month in a row, the L.A. Times notes: "Without additional labor, job growth can't maintain its pace."
6. 1 fun thing: Woodstock then, and now
Photos: AP

300,000 young people rocked out at Woodstock, 50 years ago this weekend.

  • And here's how Bethel, N.Y., looks today.

Thanks to AP for the slider, and Laz Gamio and Neal Rothschild for the GIF.

📱 Thanks for reading Axios AM. Invite your friends, relatives, co-workers to sign up here.