Nov 3, 2019

Axios AM

By Mike Allen
Mike Allen

⚡️Breaking: A new Fox News poll shows Joe Biden beating President Trump in a general election by 12 points — the highest margin out of any 2020 Democrat.

🎬 Tonight at 6 on "Axios on HBO" ... Tinder babies ... Reps. Dan Crenshaw and Will Hurd talk Texas and the future of the GOP ... Ina Fried interviews PayPal CEO Dan Schulman ... I travel to Canada for the first interview with Josh Harris, a million-selling evangelical author and megapastor who suddenly renounced Christianity — via Instagram.

If you're feeling perky, your phone "fell back" and gave you an extra hour.

1 big thing: What matters for 2020 and beyond

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Mark Ralston/AFP via Getty Images

Election Day is one year from today — Nov. 3, 2020. Axios CEO Jim VandeHei spells out our plans to take a wholly different approach to election coverage, by focusing on the critical trends that are certain to outlive the moment:

  • Why it matters: Election coverage is too often myopic and maniacally focused on the daily churn of dust-ups and distractions. Toss in social media, and the emotionalism of the moment, and it's easy to lose sight of the tectonic shifts unfolding in real time.
  • Yes, we will keep you up to speed on in-the-moment developments that matter — but our focus will be on the long term, to rise above the distractions.

Here are the topics that will matter, which we'll highlight in Axios AM and PM, on Axios.com, in our other newsletters and on “Axios on HBO”:

  1. Mind manipulation on social media is a defining topic of this era. America is addicted to Facebook, Twitter and other platforms, creating wonderful tools for politicians to target voters — but also for bad actors to exploit fears and anxieties with fake or manipulative information. This is where most people get informed, so this is where we focus most of our attention.
  2. We're on the cusp of an enormously disruptive industrial wave driven by artificial intelligence and robotics. Candidates and voters are only beginning to get their heads around what this will mean for our jobs and lives. We will keep spotlighting this change as it rips through the global economy and reshapes our political landscape.
  3. China's economic, military, and technological ambitions are reordering the world — and America's place in it. That doesn’t make China an enemy — it simply makes it a story of greater import and complexity.
  4. Human activity is driving Earth's temperature up, which creates serious threats. Climate change, and proposed policies to address it, deserve intense scrutiny, free of hyperbole and denial.
  5. All of the incentives in our health care system are pushing costs up, not down. This often gets lost — or downplayed — in health care debates.
  6. Demographics don’t lie: We are quickly becoming an even more diverse nation, radically changing the politics of specific states and the whole nation. Few things animate American politics more than this shift.
  7. America is a capitalistic nation, brimming with economic possibilities but often stacked to favor the powerful and rich. Growing inequality has sparked a debate about whether and how American capitalism should be reimagined.

The bottom line: Our subject-matter experts will serve our audience in four principal ways:

  • Smart Brevity: We aim to be wise, helpful and efficient in all we do, telling you what’s new and why it matters on these topics in real time.
  • Deep Dives: We tap the experience and knowledge of our subject-matter experts to go deeper on each big topic. We want to help you think bigger about the topics reshaping the world — and force the campaigns to do the same.
  • On TV: Our “Axios on HBO” show will expand to more episodes starting in 2020, so we can bring the major characters and trends to life on your big and small screens.
  • At events: Watch for live events nationwide where you can see the big debates unfold.

❓What do you think of our "What Matters 2020" plan?

  • What topics do you think are under-covered?
  • Please just reply to this email, or drop me a line: mike@axios.com.
2. 🐦 Tweet by tweet: Trump praises Trump 2,026 times
Photo: Doug Mills. Illustration: The New York Times. Used by permission.

The N.Y. Times read all 11,390 of President Trump's White House tweets (twice), and reports these findings in a 10-page special section, with three articles online:

  • "At the beginning of his presidency, Mr. Trump tweeted about nine times per day. ... In the past three months, President Trump’s tweets have spilled out at triple the rate he set in 2017."

"[T]he person he most often singled out for praise was himself "— 2,026 times.

  • "[H]e attacks someone or something in more than half of his tweets. ... [H]e has attacked at least 630 people and things in 5,889 tweets since taking office."

From a long list of Tweet topics:

  • 1,710: promoted conspiracies.
  • 851: attacked minority groups.
  • 36: called the news media the "enemy of the people."
  • 16: referred to himself as everyone’s "favorite" president.

How to catch Trump's eye for a retweet ... "Capital letters help. ... Mornings, East Coast time, are best," Matt Flegenheimer writes.

  • "The surest path is echoing Mr. Trump’s voice. The user @fiiibuster, whose profile boasts that he has been retweeted twice by the president, [used the words] 'security,' 'prosperity,' 'America first,' 'Pathetic,' 'bad reporter,' 'shame!'"

Read the stories. ... Behind the project.

3. Buttigieg, Warren dominate Iowa dinner

A worker gets ready for Democratic presidential candidates yesterday at the Finkenauer Fish Fry in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images

At the Iowa Democratic Party's Liberty and Justice Dinner, Pete Buttigieg brought "the largest pack of supporters to an arena filled with thousands of Democrats for a polished speech in which he offered the 'hope of an American experience defined not by exclusion, but by belonging,'" the Chicago Tribune's Bill Ruthhart reports from Des Moines.

  • Elizabeth Warren "contended the brand of moderate politics practiced by Buttigieg and Biden doesn’t go far enough to fight for working families": "We need big ideas and — here’s the critical part — we need to be willing to fight for them."

📊 A new national Washington Post-ABC News poll shows Buttigieg joining the "stable trio" of Warren, Biden and Bernie Sanders at the top of the pack, while the rest of the field polls at 2% or below.

⚖️ Bonus stat: Trump picks near 25% of appeals bench

"If the Senate confirms a batch of nominees now working their way through the approval process, a quarter of the nation’s 179 appeals court judges — those sitting just below the Supreme Court — will be appointees of Mr. Trump," the N.Y. Times Rebecca Ruiz reports.

  • Why it matters: "That number is far higher than the number of appointees to the appeals court that either George W. Bush or Barack Obama had made at this point in their presidencies."
4. 🇺🇦 2016 roots of Ukraine obsession
Document: FBI notes released by Justice Department, via BuzzFeed (p. 18).

During the 2016 campaign, Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort pushed the idea that Ukraine — not Russia — was behind the hack of DNC servers, Manafort's deputy Rick Gates told Mueller investigators, according to an AP account of documents released after lawsuits by BuzzFeed News and CNN.

  • Why it matters: The unsubstantiated theory, advanced by President Trump even after he took office, would later help trigger the impeachment inquiry.

On the campaign aircraft, Gates told the FBI, candidate Trump once said to "get the emails."

5. 🎥 Hollywood assistants in open revolt
RKO Radio Pictures Inc. studios on the corner of Gower Street and Melrose Avenue, circa 1935. Photo: Frederic Lewis/Archive Photos/Getty Images

"Being an assistant in Hollywood has long ranked among the most thankless jobs in the industry," the L.A. Times' Stacy Perman writes. "Subjected to grueling hours, low pay, few benefits or protections and the vagaries of monomaniacal bosses, assistants have largely toiled in silence because it was considered a golden ticket to advancement — but no longer."

  • "Now, emboldened by the #MeToo movement and new labor laws protecting gig workers, and galvanized by social media, they are in open revolt, taking the industry to task over its questionable labor practices."
  • "More than making noise, they are agitating for serious change during a period of digital upheaval and cost-cutting."

How it happened, per the L.A. Times: "The plight of Hollywood assistants gained currency last month after 'Chernobyl' screenwriter Craig Mazin and John August, writer of 'Aladdin,' devoted a portion of their podcast, 'Scriptnotes' to the subject."

  • "A number of prominent executives, including Endeavor chief and uber-agent Ari Emanuel, Dreamworks co-founder David Geffen and Amazon Studios head Jennifer Salke got their starts as assistants."

Keep reading.

6. 1 ⚾ thing
Photo: Cliff Owen/AP

"Baby Shark" blared over loudspeakers and a wave of red confetti washed across Pennsylvania Avenue as Washington Nationals fans rejoiced at a parade marking Washington's first World Series victory since 1924.

  • "They say good things come to those who wait. Ninety-five years is a pretty long wait," Nationals owner Ted Lerner, who is 94, told the cheering crowd, per AP. "But I'll tell you, this is worth the wait."
  • Lerner told the team: "From now on, you can call me 'Grandpa Shark.'"

Why it matters: The camaraderie among the players was a theme heard throughout the rally. "It took all 25 of us, every single day we were pulling for each other," said pitcher Stephen Strasburg, World Series MVP.

  • General manager Mike Rizzo, a cigar in his mouth, jumped off a double-decker bus to show fans the World Series trophy and slap high-fives.
General manager Mike Rizzo holds up the World Series trophy. Photo: Patrick Semansky/AP

P.S. Just hours after the Nats parade, starting pitcher Stephen Strasburg opted out of his contract and will test free agency, the WashPost reports:

  • "Strasburg could still renegotiate a deal to remain with the Nationals. But, either way, this was the first domino to fall for a team that will look different next season."
  • Why it matters: "Not even champions can sidestep the reality of baseball’s offseason."
Confetti covers the crowd. Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Getty Images
Mike Allen

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