🌹 Good Thursday morning. It's Valentine's Eve.
There is a growing sense among top Republicans and Democrats that President Trump is stronger than ever and very hard to beat this fall. But, several data points suggest otherwise.
The data points:
Between the lines: Don’t forget 2018. Democrats enjoyed record turnout and won back the House.
The bottom line: Trump is no doubt strong and getting stronger, despite impeachment. But Democrats are so traumatized by Trump’s 2016 win that they're overlooking real signs of his vulnerability.
Rashaan Ayesh contributed reporting.
In a mirror image of the queasiness among establishment Republicans as Donald Trump gained momentum in 2016, Democratic insiders see an increasing possibility that Bernie Sanders — a democratic socialist who tied Pete Buttigieg in Iowa and edged him in New Hampshire — will be their nominee.
Sanders' robust start is triggering alarm among congressional Democrats, with many warning that a ticket headed by a self-declared democratic socialist could devastate chances of winning the Senate and holding the House, AP reports:
Streaming accounts for nearly 20% of TV consumption for most Americans, almost doubling since 2018, Axios' Sara Fischer writes from a new Nielsen report.
Between the lines: Nearly half of U.S. viewers subscribe to three or more steaming services — a number likely to increase as options grow.
📱 Sign up for Sara Fischer's weekly newsletter, Axios Media Trends.
President Trump had an armada of "Keep America Great" campaign hats at his side as he met in the Oval Office yesterday with Ecuadorean President Lenin Moreno, along with First Lady Melania Trump.
Marie Yovanovitch, pushed out as President Trump's ambassador to Ukraine, got thunderous applause yesterday when she accepted the Trainor Award for Excellence in the Conduct of Diplomacy at Georgetown University.
In her first public remarks since her impeachment testimony in November, Yovanovitch said: "Right now, the State Department is in trouble ... Senior leaders lack policy vision, moral clarity and leadership," per the N.Y. Times.
🥊 Yovanovitch pointed to one bright note: "With all the focus on Ukraine, it has meant that there is continued bipartisan support for a strong Ukraine policy."
For decades during the Cold War, Crypto AG — which supplied encryption devices to governments around the world — was secretly owned by the CIA in a highly classified partnership with West German intelligence, the Washington Post's Greg Miller reports in this true-life spy tale.
Why it matters: "Its reach and duration help to explain how the United States developed an insatiable appetite for global surveillance that was exposed in 2013 by Edward Snowden."
"Mike Bloomberg has contracted some of the biggest meme-makers on the internet to post sponsored content on Instagram promoting his presidential campaign," the N.Y. Times' Taylor Lorenz reports.
Passes Trump in Facebook spend ... Bloomberg spent an average of more than $1 million a day on Facebook over the past two weeks, per NBC's David Ingram.
"BP has pledged to cut its greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050 or sooner, as new chief executive Bernard Looney warned that the oil company must 'reinvent' itself as the world shifts to cleaner energy," the Financial Times reports on its front page (subscription).
"Slay the Dragon," which traces the real world impact of partisan gerrymandering for everyday Americans, will hit theaters in New York City, D.C. and L.A. on March 13.
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos purchased the 9-acre Warner Estate in Beverly Hills from David Geffen for $165 million, a residential record for the Los Angeles area, report the Wall Street Journal's Katy McLaughlin and Katherine Clarke.
📬 Thanks for starting your day with us. Please tell a friend about AM/PM.