Aug 20, 2019

Axios AM

By Mike Allen
Mike Allen

🌞 Happy Tuesday! Today's Smart Brevity count: 1,277 words ... 5 minutes.

🎬 "Apple has committed more than $6bn for original shows and movies ahead of the launch of its new video streaming service ... aimed at catching up with the likes of Netflix, Disney and AT&T-owned HBO." (Financial Times)

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1 big thing: Trump's fragile policy legacy

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Much of President Trump's policy record — from health care to energy to immigration — would need a second term to take root, and could be easily reversed if he loses, Axios health care editor Sam Baker writes.

  • Why it matters: Trump has few big legislative wins, and heads into 2020 with a policy record largely from executive action — regulations and rollbacks.

Trump's economic policies are the most likely to outlast a one-term presidency, Axios' Dion Rabouin reports:

  • Undoing the 2017 tax cuts would take another act of Congress.

But on many other domestic policy issues, Trump's impact has been lighter:

  • On health care, the administration is falling short of its original ambitions. The Affordable Care Act is still standing. Several big regulatory ideas have fallen by the wayside or are meeting resistance in the courts.
  • On energy, big-picture promises of bringing back the coal industry have fallen flat, according to Axios’ Amy Harder. Many efforts to roll back Obama's rules and regulatory changes are caught up in legal challenges.
  • On trade, a Democratic president could unwind Trump's trade war, although it’s not clear that a President Sanders or President Warren would want to.

The big picture: Trump's impact on politics, and his reshaping of the federal judiciary, will leave a bigger footprint than he has secured for himself.

  • Similarly, on immigration, experts tell Axios' Stef Kight that Trump's successor can easily reverse Trump's policies — but not the hardened politics in an area where compromise once seemed possible.

Many of Trump's social policies aren't particularly durable on their own, but could be with an assist from the courts.

  • Trump has reversed or modified Obama-era rules on abortion and LGBTQ non-discrimination. But in some of those cases, Obama had reversed Bush-era rules — and a Democratic president could change them back.
  • Trump's ability to reshape the courts, however, will likely lead to a significant narrowing of abortion rights.

What's next: Trump has more time, especially on drug prices and trade, where the White House is working hard to strike one more legislative deal.

2. The looooong game: A new threat
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Data: "Statistics on World Population, GDP and Per Capita GDP, 1-2008 AD," by Angus Maddison. Chart: Axios Visuals

I always tell my Axios Visuals colleagues that I love long horizons, but check out this x-axis: It starts in 1500!

Axios Future editor Steve LeVine points to a new threat, based on the chart's message that GDP rises with population.

  • What's new: Population growth has stalled in many major economies. By 2050, a quarter of the world will be 60 or older.
  • Why it matters: Fewer people mean less buying; older people buy less than younger people.
3. First look: McCain family promotes #ActsOfCivility
Sen. John McCain on his Straight Talk Express bus in Columbia, S.C., on Jan. 7, 2000. Photo: David Hume Kennerly/Getty Images

Beginning tomorrow, Sen. John McCain's family and the McCain Institute will mark the first anniversary of his passing (Sunday) by promoting acts of civility.

  • Friends and former colleagues will post their plans with #ActsOfCivility.

Examples from organizers:

  • Open a dialogue with a competitor.
  • Commit to working with a colleague or peer with a different perspective.
  • Call a family member you disagree with — and pledge to listen.
4. Trail pics du jour
Photo: Joshua Lott/Getty Images

Above, Sen. Elizabeth Warren is escorted onstage in Sioux City, Iowa, by Marcella LeBeau at a forum on Native American issues.

  • Warren apologized for her past claim to tribal heritage: "Like anyone who has been honest with themselves, I know I have made mistakes."

Below, Sen. Bernie Sanders warms up before a softball game hosted by his campaign at the Field of Dreams in Dyersville, Iowa.

Photo: Joshua Lott/Getty Images
5. Scoop: Inside Facebook's new plan for news

Facebook executives tell me they're hiring seasoned journalists to help curate a forthcoming "News Tab" that they hope will change how millions get news.

  • Why it matters: News Tab is an effort by Facebook to restore the sanity and credibility that's lost in the chaos of our main feeds.
  • Facebook will personalize the News Tab, so it will need a massive amount of content, from the New York Jets to gardening.

News Tab, a personal passion of CEO Mark Zuckerberg, is also an effort by Facebook to develop a healthier relationship with publishers, many of whom have had their business models destroyed by social platforms.

  • Facebook will pay dozens of publishers to license content for News Tab, and news from many more will be included.
  • The Wall Street Journal reported that the largest partners will be paid millions of dollars a year.
  • News Tab will try to give credit to the outlet that broke a story, rather than an aggregator.

Campbell Brown, Facebook's head of news partnerships, said: "Our goal with the News tab is to provide a personalized, highly relevant experience ... The majority of stories people will see will appear in the tab via algorithmic selection."

  • A small team of journalists will pick stories for a Top News section.

Last year, Facebook killed Trending Topics, populated by contractors, after being accused of bias.

  • "We learned a lot from Trending," a Facebook executive told me. "This is a completely different product."

What's next: A News Tab test for 200,000 users will begin in October, with a rollout to all U.S. users early next year.

6. 17 days after El Paso, momentum fades on guns

"President Trump appears to be backing away from potential support for gun background check legislation, according to White House aides, congressional leaders and gun advocates," per the WashPost.

  • Trump on Aug. 7, as he headed to Dayton and El Paso: "There’s a great appetite — and I mean a very strong appetite — for background checks."
  • Trump on Sunday: "People don’t realize we have very strong background checks right now."

Meanwhile ... "Suburban voters are pressuring Republicans to act on guns." (AP)

💰 P.S. The WashPost also reports that White House officials are discussing "a temporary payroll tax cut as a way to arrest an economic slowdown."

  • But a former Trump official points out to me: "Congressional Dems would never go for anything (especially temporary) that the WH would accept."
Bonus: Biden's first TV ad
Screenshot via YouTube

The Biden campaign today airs its first TV ad of the cycle, with a six-figure buy in the Iowa markets of Des Moines, Cedar Rapids, Quad Cities and Sioux City.

  • The minute-long ad, "Bones," shows the flaming torches of Charlottesville.
  • Over a photo of President Trump, the male narrator says the nation has been "battered by an erratic, vicious, bullying president."

See the ad.

7. States also taking on tech

What's new: Twenty or more states plan to begin a joint antitrust investigation of Big Tech as soon as next month, The Wall Street Journal reports (subscription).

  • Why it matters: "[T]he states are likely to issue civil investigative demands, similar to subpoenas, to tech companies and other businesses."
8. 🏈 College football preseason Top 25
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Ranking: Associated Press. Graphic: Axios Visuals

Clemson is the first first-timer in the preseason No. 1 slot since Georgia in 2008.

9. Living life better: Kids need recess

Kim Brooks, author of "Small Animals: Parenthood in the Age of Fear," writes in the N.Y. Times ("We Have Ruined Childhood"):

According to the psychologist Peter Gray, children today are more depressed than they were during the Great Depression and more anxious than they were at the height of the Cold War. ...
[F]or many children, ... the hours outside school are more like school than ever. ... Free play and childhood independence have become relics ...
[S]imply taking away or limiting screens is not enough. Children turn to screens because opportunities for real-life human interaction have vanished; the public places and spaces where kids used to learn to be people have been decimated or deemed too dangerous for those under 18. ...
Kids need recess. They need longer lunches. They need free play, family time, meal time. They need less homework, fewer tests, a greater emphasis on social-emotional learning.
10. 1 fun thing: "3-2-1, Dodgeball!"

"'Adult Recess' Is Booming," with people reliving schoolyard memories with tetherball, hopscotch and Lincoln Logs, despite sore muscles and tweaked knees, The Wall Street Journal's Jim Carlton reports (subscription):

  • "In Seattle's Cal Anderson Park, about 1,000 men and women turned out for an adult recess ... that included kickball, hopscotch and tetherball, along with chicken nuggets and grilled cheese."
  • "In Greensboro, N.C., the city decided to put on an adult recess [that] included Twister, four square and tetherball."

Afterward, many head to a bar.

Mike Allen

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