Jul 7, 2020

Axios AM

By Mike Allen
Mike Allen

🗳️ Situational awareness: Citing the virus, Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa, 86, said he won't attend this year's Republican National Convention, marking the first time he has sat out a convention in 40 years, the Des Moines Register reports.

  • The office of Senate Health Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), 80, told "The Rachel Maddow Show" that he isn't going "because he believes the delegate spots should be reserved for those who have not had that privilege."

🎓 Host Niala Boodhoo and our "Axios Today" podcast colleagues kept the Zoom on all night, and are ready for you (complete with my rant about colleges this fall). Hear it here.

1 big thing: Wall Street dumps Trump

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Betting markets have turned decisively toward Joe Biden — and asset managers at major investment banks are preparing for a Democratic sweep of the White House, Senate and House, Axios Markets editor Dion Rabouin writes.

  • Why it matters: Wall Street had its chips on Trump until recently — even in the midst of the coronavirus-induced recession and Biden's rise in the polls.
  • The shift shows how quickly the political and business worlds have aligned in the view that Trump is unlikely to win a second term, as COVID-19 infections surge and the economy looks to be stalling.

By the numbers: A Citigroup poll of 140 fund managers released last week found 62% expect a Biden win, compared to 70% who expected a Trump victory in the same survey in December.

  • "Talk of a Democratic sweep [is] now common" among investors, Kace Capital Advisors managing director Kenny Polcari said.

Biden's proposed policy reversals from Trump, combined with a Democrat-led House and Senate, could impact every corner of financial markets — from tech, chemical and health care companies' stock prices, to oil futures, private equity investments and the value of the U.S. dollar.

  • "We’re looking for higher taxes," Stephen Gallagher, U.S. chief economist at Société Générale, tells Axios, noting that a Biden win now looks "more and more certain."

The context: Since 2016, Trump's lower taxes for corporations have facilitated record stock buybacks and high dividend payments — a boon for stock prices as the Federal Reserve has kept U.S. interest rates close to 0%.

  • Biden's proposed tax hikes on individuals, corporations and financial market gains would be the biggest since Bill Clinton.

Share this story.

  • Sign up for Dion Rabouin's weekday newsletter, Axios Markets.
2. Axios-Ipsos poll: Parties split further on virus
Data: Axios/Ipsos poll. Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

The longer the pandemic lasts, the further we move apart, Axios White House editor Margaret Talev writes from four months of the Axios-Ipsos Coronavirus Index.

  • Why it matters: Partisanship remains the main driver of behavior when it comes to concern about the virus, or use of face masks to contain the spread.

Race and ethnicity are major predictors both of employment status and whether you know someone who's tested positive — or died.

  • Younger, working-class Republican men take the pandemic least seriously, the data shows.
  • Women and 65+ Americans take the threat more seriously than men and younger people.

Since March, the overall share of Americans feeling extremely or very concerned about coronavirus climbed, peaked, fell, rose again and settled at 58%.

  • Democrats who were extremely or very concerned grew from 72% to a peak of 81%, settling in at 77%.
  • Republicans never shared that intensity, and the share of those extremely or very concerned has only declined: from 49% in March, and a 54% peak in April, to 36% by the end of last month.

Between the lines ... Ipsos Public Affairs SVP Chris Jackson spotted a jarring pattern that has become clearer over time: The people least likely to wear masks are the most likely to be interacting with others.

3. Suing for virus truth
Graphic: The New York Times. Used by permission.

"Early numbers had shown that Black and Latino people were being harmed by the virus at higher rates. But ... new federal data — made available after the New York Times sued the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — reveals a clearer and more complete picture," the N.Y. Times reports.

  • "Black and Latino people have been disproportionately affected ... in a widespread manner that spans the country, throughout hundreds of counties in urban, suburban and rural areas, and across all age groups."
Via Twitter

🧼 The Atlanta mayor told MSNBC: "I think it really speaks to how contagious this virus is — and we've taken all of the precautions that you can possibly take. ... I have no idea when and where we were exposed."

4. WNBA jerseys to salute Breonna Taylor

The WNBA, which plans to begin play the weekend of July 24, announced that the season will be dedicated to social justice:

  • During opening weekend, "teams will wear special uniforms to seek justice for the women and girls — including Sandra Bland, Breonna Taylor, Vanessa Guillen and many more — who have been the forgotten victims of police brutality and racial violence."

"Throughout the season, players will wear Nike-branded warm-up shirts that display 'Black Lives Matter' on the front," the league said.

  • The back: "Say Her Name."
5. China tries to extend law beyond border

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

The draconian security law that Beijing forced on Hong Kong last week contains an article making it illegal for anyone in the world to promote democratic reform for Hong Kong, Axios China author Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian reports.

  • Why it matters: This may force people and companies around the world to choose between speaking freely, and ever stepping foot in Hong Kong.
  • "It literally applies to every single person on the planet," said Wang Minyao, a Chinese-American lawyer based in New York. "If I appear at a congressional committee in D.C. and say something critical, that literally would be a violation of this law."
  • Share this story.

Breaking: TikTok said last night that it will pull out of the Google and Apple app stores in Hong Kong, Axios' Ina Fried reports from S.F.

  • Why it matters: Many large tech companies say they're evaluating how to respond to the Hong Kong law.
6. Georgia deploys National Guard after holiday violence

In Chicago, this poster salutes 7-year-old Natalie Wallace, who was shot and killed as her family celebrated the Fourth. Photo: Erin Hooley/Chicago Tribune via AP

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp "will deploy as many as 1,000 Georgia National Guard troops to protect state buildings in Atlanta ... following a burst of violence across the city that left four dead, including an 8-year-old girl, and saw the ransacking of the headquarters of the Georgia State Patrol." Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Chicago Tribune

In Chicago, Mayor Lori Lightfoot outlined an "all hands on deck" strategy that includes street outreach groups, after "a four-day weekend of 87 Chicagoans shot, 17 Chicagoans killed ... two of them children." Chicago Tribune

7. Facebook to meet virtually with boycott groups

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg, facing an ad boycott by more than 500 brands, today will hold virtual meetings with civil rights groups who have been key organizers of the #StopHateforProfit campaign.

  • Sandberg will say in a post later today that she, Zuckerberg and other execs "are meeting with the organizers of the Stop Hate for Profit campaign followed by a meeting with other civil rights leaders ... including Vanita Gupta from the Leadership Conference on Civil & Human Rights [and] Sherrilyn Ifill from the NAACP Legal Defense Fund."

What's next: Facebook tomorrow will release an independent civil rights audit, "a two-year review of our policies and practices."

  • Sandberg writes: "We are never going to be perfect, but we care about this deeply."

Boycott organizers' demands, sources tell Axios' Sara Fischer: 1. Stop hate speech. ... 2. Stop misinformation. ... 3. Stop harassment on Facebook of Black and minority communities.

8. Central Park "Karen" charged
Amy Cooper confronts Christian Cooper in Central Park on May 25. Photo: Christian Cooper via AP

A white woman who called the police during a videotaped dispute with a Black man over her walking her dog without a leash in Central Park in May was charged with filing a false police report, per AP.

  • Amy Cooper lit up social media and was fired from her job after frantically calling 911 to claim she was being threatened by "an African American man," bird watcher Christian Cooper.
  • On the video he recorded, he sounds calm and appears to keep a safe distance from her.

Why it matters: Amy Cooper's 911 call was seen by many as a stark example of everyday racism.

9. Sports media racial reckoning

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Sports media companies are being forced to address shortcomings in coverage of race, and in their own internal diversity, Axios' Sara Fischer and Kendall Baker write.

  • Disney announced yesterday that ESPN Films will produce an exclusive docuseries on political activist and former NFL player Colin Kaepernick, as part of a larger deal with Kaepernick’s production arm, RA Vision Media.
  • The Ringer, owned by Spotify and run by former ESPN personality Bill Simmons, has found itself on defense for its lack of diversity: 85% of the speakers on Ringer podcasts last year were white, per The Ringer Union.

By the numbers: The vast majority of sports journalists are white and male, per the "Associated Press Sports Editors Racial and Gender Report Card" (2018), which evaluated over 75 newspapers and websites.

  • Sports editors: 85% white, 90% male.
  • Sports reporters: 82% white, 89% male.
  • Sports columnists: 80% white, 83% male.

Share this story.

🌎 Bonus: From 2 offices to 18

The Glover Park Group, the D.C.-based public affairs firm founded by former Clinton-Gore aides in 2001, is merging with two other global advisory firms, Axios' Sara Fischer reports.

  • Finsbury is based in the U.K.; Hering Schuppener is based in Germany.
  • The combined firm, launching in 2021, will be Finsbury Glover Hering (FGH).

Why it matters: The new strategy firm brings political DNA to regulatory and legislative disruptions, with wiring in D.C., Brussels and beyond.

All three firms used to be fully owned by WPP, the world's largest ad holding group.

  • Finsbury founder Roland Rudd and GPG founder Carter Eskew will co-chair the new firm. Winnie Lerner of Finsbury and Michael Feldman of GPG will be co-CEOs of the North America practice.

Keep reading.

  • Sign up for Sara Fischer's weekly newsletter, Media Trends, out later this morning.
10. "Hamilton" is streaming hit
Data: Google Trends. Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

The debut of "Hamilton" on Disney+ on Friday sent downloads of the app soaring over the weekend, Axios' Sara Fischer and Neal Rothschild write.

  • "Hamilton" joined ESPN's "The Last Dance" documentary series in capturing audience demand with an early release.

Share this graphic.

Mike Allen

📱 Thanks for reading Axios AM. Please invite your friends to sign up here.