May 22, 2020

Axios AM

❗ Quote of the day ... Joe Biden to Stephen Colbert on CBS' "The Late Show," regarding his V.P. pick: "I honest to God don't know who. I promise you right now."

  • Biden said the "very invasive process" of formal vetting by a team of lawyers — "every vote they've ever taken ... everything from their financial statements to their health circumstances" — is about to begin: "No one's been vetted."

Biden said a team has gone down "a preliminary list of people" and asked general questions like: "Why would they be interested, or not interested, in the job?"

  • "That process is coming to an end now," Biden said.
1 big thing ... New soccer moms: Zoom moms

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

She can't be a soccer mom, because soccer's canceled. She's not a conventional security mom, since America's biggest threat is now measured in microns.

  • In an election year defined by the coronavirus, the new voter to watch is the Zoom mom, Axios' Alexi McCammond and Margaret Talev write.

Why it matters: The presidency may hinge on the women's vote — how many white, suburban women who backed President Trump in 2016 will abandon him now, and how many women of color who stayed home four years ago will turn out for Joe Biden.

  • Women's rapidly growing use of video calls to socialize means that's where these conversations are now happening (sometimes with wine).
  • So Zoom moms could do for this year's campaigns what soccer moms did in 1996 and security moms did after 9/11. (Sorry, NASCAR dads!)

Celinda Lake, a Democratic pollster who has done some polling for the Biden campaign, said:

  • "What campaigns will be looking to do is equip these Zoom moms to do more ... communicating in their networks — in their book club, in their church club, in their moms' listserv."

During the pandemic, the share of Americans using video calls has swelled from less than half to around two-thirds, with women leading the way, says Chris Jackson of Ipsos Public Affairs, pollster for the Axios-Ipsos Coronavirus Index.

  • Of women who say they participate in videoconferences each week, 40% are Democrats, 25% are Republicans and 36% are independents.
  • "It's middle- and upper-income women," Jackson said. "Mothers, particularly, have a higher rate."

One in four women say that on their videoconferences, they're talking about politics and current events, according to the Axios-Ipsos data. That translates to millions of voters.

  • Some of these are happy hours: Zoom told us meetings are soaring on weekends, and on weeknights from 5 to 9 p.m.

Democratic strategist Jesse Ferguson, the first person we heard use the term "Zoom moms," tells Axios that long before the coronavirus, focus groups were showing suburban women "had problems with Trump’s character flaws."

  • But Trump has been more sophisticated about digital strategy than Biden.

1 fun thing: Though the sample size is small, our polling suggests a correlation between drinking and talking politics.

  • More than half of the women who use video calls for happy hours say they're also discussing politics.

Go deeper: "What Zoom women are saying."

2. China cracks down in move called "end of Hong Kong"

Delegates in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing. Photo: Andy Wong/Pool/AP

China plans to impose new national security legislation on Hong Kong that could ignite fresh pro-democracy protests.

  • The proposal appears to be far-reaching, banning sedition, treason and secession, Axios' Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian and Dave Lawler write.

President Trump said of the crackdown: "If it happens, we’ll address that issue very strongly."

A pro-democracy Hong Kong legislator, Dennis Kwok, told reporters through his mask: "This is the end of Hong Kong. This is the end of 'one country, two systems' — make no mistake about it."

BBC China correspondent Stephen McDonell said on BBC World: "As an indication of how worried [the Beijing authorities] are, every time we talk about this, they're pulling the plug on our feed."

  • "So right now, the screens have gone to black right across China."
3. Scoop: Prince Charles to lead climate meeting

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Dozens of world leaders in business, finance and politics will convene June 3 to discuss how the global economy can be "reset" — with climate change a defining theme — as nations recover from the coronavirus pandemic, Axios' Amy Harder reports.

  • The online event will be hosted by Prince Charles and Klaus Schwab, founder and executive chairman of the World Economic Forum, which hosts Davos.

A forum spokesman told Axios that the meeting "will see various guests from the public and private sector make contributions on how we can achieve a 'Great Reset' of our global economic system in the post-COVID era."

  • Other participants include IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva and Bank of America President and CEO Brian Moynihan.

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4. Pic du jour
Photo: Pete Souza for Esquire. Used by permission

Pete Souza, former chief White House photographer for President Obama, took this photo in Madison, Wisc., as part of an 18-photographer portfolio for Esquire, "Main Street in America: 62 Photos That Show How COVID-19 Changed the Look of Everyday Life."

  • "Students from the University of Wisconsin wheel a keg down State Street. Official commencement ceremonies were canceled, but — global pandemic be damned — graduates celebrated their achievement."

See more photos.

5. Virus hits Trump country
Map courtesy of Brookings. High-risk counties are counties with at least 100 cases per 100,000 residents, as of May 17.

For the last four weeks, counties newly designated as having a high prevalence of coronavirus cases — meaning at least 100 cases per 100,000 people — were more likely to have voted for President Trump than Hillary Clinton in 2016, Axios Vitals author Caitlin Owens writes from a Brookings analysis.

  • The newer high-risk counties tend to be in the South and the Midwest.

Why it matters: There's a notable partisan split in views of the virus.

  • Republicans are more willing than Democrats or independents to attend in-person gatherings, according to Axios-Ipsos polling.

The bottom line: The virus doesn't care about politics.

6. Google searches show rising worry about jobs
Data: Schema analysis of Google Trends. Chart: Axios Visuals

Questions about the economic fallout from the pandemic have overtaken questions about the virus itself, Axios' Stef Kight writes from Google search data from around the world.

  • Why it matters: Search data indicates that the coronavirus has become a fact of life for much of the world.

Health-oriented searches have been supplanted by questions about jobs, unemployment, furloughs and government aid.

7. Zuckerberg's work-from-home revolution

Mark Zuckerberg announces Facebook Shops on Tuesday. Photo: Kyodo News via Getty Images

During a town hall for Facebook employees yesterday, CEO Mark Zuckerberg said the company will move "in a measured way" toward a substantially remote work force — a hint of the profound post-pandemic changes that society has coming, reports Axios' Sara Fischer.

  • "I think we're going to be the most forward-leaning company on remote work at our scale," Zuckerberg told Axios.
  • "My prediction is that in 5-10 years we could have ~50% working remote. That's not a target, just a prediction based on the demand we've seen so far."

"The first steps," Zuckerberg added, "will be aggressively opening up remote hiring around the whole U.S. and Canada, especially for experienced engineers, as well as letting some employees request to become permanent remote workers."

What to watch: The result could reimagine not just Silicon Valley but other cities as companies expand hiring in places like Atlanta, Dallas and Denver, where Facebook plans to open "hubs" for new, mostly remote, hires. (AP)

8. Time capsule

Photo: Leah Millis/Reuters

President Trump shows off a mask he wore outside the range of news photographers at a Ford plant in Ypsilanti, Mich., that's been making ventilators.

  • Trump told reporters: "I had one on before. I wore one in this back area. But I didn't want to give the press the pleasure of seeing it."
9. U.C. system drops SAT/ACT requirement

Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

"In a decision that could reshape the nation’s college admissions process, University of California regents unanimously voted ... to suspend SAT and ACT testing requirements through 2024 and eliminate them for California students by 2025," the L.A. Times' Teresa Watanabe reports.

  • Why it matters: "The action by the nation's premier public university system could mark a turning point in the long-running debate over whether the standardized tests unfairly discriminate against disadvantaged students."
10. 1 smile to go: Vegas weddings return

Photo: John Locher/AP

Above, LaTahja Frazier (left) and Laborskie Frazier are married at The Little Neon Chapel in Las Vegas.

  • They're among more than 1,500 couples who have been issued marriage licenses in Vegas since its clerk’s office reopened April 27 after closing for nearly six weeks to slow the virus, AP's Michelle Price reports.

What it's like: Brides and grooms sanitize their hands and get their temperature checked before walking down the aisle. Guests are rare and typically don face masks. And drive-thru weddings are more popular than ever.

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