June 13, 2024

👋 Happy Thursday! Smart Brevity™ count: 1,388 words ... 5 mins. Thanks to Noah Bressner for orchestrating. Copy edited by Bryan McBournie.

1 big thing: Trump's youth steal

A line chart in blue and red shows the vote share in presidential elections among voters aged 18 to 29 since the 1972 election. Young voters have pretty consistently voted more for Democrats since 1976, with a notable exception in 1984, when Reagan won in a landslide. The gap has been widening since 2000, peaking in 2008 with Obama's election, but a new NYT/Siena poll projects a much closer race in 2024 with 47% of young voters to vote for Biden compared to 45% expected to vote for Trump.
Data: New York Times, CNN, 2024 New York Times/Siena Poll. Chart: Axios Visuals

Former President Trump appears to be making stunning inroads with young voters as he stakes out youth-friendly positions that defy GOP orthodoxy and contradict past statements, Axios' Neal Rothschild writes.

  • Why it matters: The prospect of Trump coming within striking distance of winning young voters — which shows up in poll after poll — would have seemed unthinkable at the outset of the cycle.

The latest New York Times/Siena College polling of likely voters has President Biden with just a 2-point lead over Trump.

  • A recent Quinnipiac University survey shows Trump ahead by a point among registered voters between 18 and 34.
  • Exit polling showed Biden won the 18- to 29-year-old vote by 24 points in 2020. Hillary Clinton won it by 19 points in 2016.

🥊 Reality check: The polls could be wrong. Polling younger voters has become more difficult in recent years as answering landlines — a traditional method of polling outreach — is an archaic practice for today's youth.

🔎 Zoom in: Trump is staking out policies that cater to the preferences of younger voters, even as they don't map neatly to the conservative consensus.

1. After proposing a TikTok ban during his presidency, Trump baffled conservative China hawks by coming out against such a move earlier this year.

  • The electoral upside of that stance is clear: TikTok is popular among younger users. Support for a ban grows as the age of respondents increases.

2. Trump has hugged the cryptocurrency world, which is most frequently embraced by young men.

  • He boosted NFTs, vowed to end regulatory hostility and endorsed U.S.-mined Bitcoin to help America become "energy dominant."

3. Trump singled out a new constituency this week by vowing to get rid of tip taxation.

  • The comments, made at a Las Vegas rally, may have been targeted at career service-industry workers — and Latinos in particular. But young restaurant and bar workers nationwide might take notice.

💡 The bottom line: Any massive movement of young voters to the right could be a once-in-a-generation victory for Republicans.

  • The vote hasn't been close since Al Gore beat George W. Bush by 2 points in 2000. No Republican has won young Americans since 1988.

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2. 🗳️ Biden's debate cram

President Biden joins the "family photo" with fellow G7 leaders in Italy today. Photo: Tiziana Fabi/AFP via Getty Images
President Biden joins the "family photo" with fellow G7 leaders in Italy today. Photo: Tiziana Fabi/AFP via Getty Images

Joe Biden, busy being president, is leaving most of the prep sessions for his big debate against Donald Trump to the last minute, Axios' Hans Nichols writes.

Why it matters: Their June 27 showdown — two weeks from tonight on CNN — is one of the few opportunities either candidate will have to shake up a race that's been stubbornly static.

✈️ Zoom in: Biden's jammed June schedule is crowding out the live-fire debate prep many Democrats believe is crucial for the 81-year-old president.

  • He landed in Italy late last night, returning to Europe for the G7 summit.
  • From Italy, Biden will fly straight to L.A. — a nine-hour time change — for a Saturday night fundraiser with former President Obama and George Clooney.
  • Three days later, he'll be back on East Coast time for a big-dollar Virginia event with former President Clinton. That leaves 1½ weeks for Biden to focus on his face-off with Trump, 77, in Atlanta.

🔭 Between the lines: Incumbent presidents — across party lines — tend to do poorly in their first re-election debate. They're used to being coddled, not popped.

  • Former White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain is leading Biden's debate prep.

Keep reading.

3. 🔋 Massive Musk vote

Photo illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios. Photo: Taylor Hill/Getty Images.

Breaking overnight: Elon Musk says he's on track to win a momentous vote by Tesla shareholders on a massive pay package that threatened to upend his vast corporate universe.

  • The official results will be announced this afternoon at a meeting in Tesla's Texas headquarters.

Why it matters: Musk and Tesla board chair Robyn Denholm have suggested he could leave the EV giant — or simply focus on one of his other companies — if the vote on the $56 billion package fails.

  • There are plenty of reasons to believe Musk was bluffing. And, even if he prevails this week, a Delaware judge could still reject the pay package, Axios' Dan Primack writes.

🔭 Between the lines: Musk is Tesla's largest shareholder — giving him roughly 75 billion reasons to root for the stock's continued health.

4. 🚘 Charted: America's driving capitals

Bar chart of average daily weekday miles traveled per adult by private vehicle in Fall 2023. Cities with the most miles traveled tended to be in the South while cities with the fewest miles tended to be in the Northeast or West Coast. Nationally, the average was 30.1 miles per adult.
Data: Replica (includes cabs and rideshares). Chart: Alice Feng/Axios

People in Raleigh, N.C., are doing the most daily driving by mileage among major U.S. metro areas, Axios' Alex Fitzpatrick writes.

  • The other side: San Francisco, Philadelphia and New York City came up last — which makes sense, given their relatively well-developed public transit networks, walkability and density.

Keep reading ... Get Axios What's Next.

5. 🤖 Apple's AI boom

The line chart shows the market value of Apple and Nvidia from 9:30 a.m. on June 6, 2024, to 4 p.m. on June 12, 2024. During this period, both companies experienced fluctuations in their market values, with Apple surpassing Nvidia by the end of the period.
Data: YCharts. Chart: Axios Visuals

Apple's market value has spiked by $312 billion over the past two days after its AI announcement — causing it to overtake Nvidia as the second most valuable company in the world (just behind Microsoft), Axios' Felix Salmon writes.

  • Why it matters: That increase, in dollar terms, dwarfs the value of OpenAI ($80 billion), Elon Musk's xAI ($24 billion), Anthropic ($18 billion), and all other AI startups combined.

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6. ✏️ Remembering Howard Fineman, 75

Howard Fineman rests head in hand
Howard Fineman in Washington in 2000. Photo: David Hume Kennerly. Used with David's kind permission.

Howard Fineman — legendary to one generation as Newsweek's chief political correspondent, and to the next as one of the first famous TV pundits — liked to say former MSNBC "Hardball" host Chris Matthews reminded him of his dad:

  • He both asked and answered the questions.

Chris, insisting that he's actually a great listener, told me that story as we commiserated yesterday about the death of Fineman, 75, who had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer two years ago.

  • Howard thought he had months to live. He talked boldly, clinically about his death sentence, and relished reminiscing about his cinematic career, starting as a reporter for the Louisville (Ky.) Courier-Journal.
  • Former President George W. Bush phoned to cheer him up. President Biden wrote and called.

Amy Nathan — Howard's wife, who's a lawyer and former Washington Post reporter, and his proud gatekeeper for the "This Is Your Life" parade to their porch in recent months, announced yesterday:

"I am heartbroken to share my brilliant and extraordinary husband passed away late last night surrounded by those he loved most, his family. He valiantly battled pancreatic cancer for 2 years. He couldn't have been adored more. The world was a better place because he lived in it and wrote about it."

I was privileged to be among the old friends who recently sat on the Fineman porch in Chevy Chase, D.C., to gossip and pay homage to Howard and Amy.

  • Politico's Jonathan "JMart" Martin and I did as Howard instructed: We picked up sandwiches from Jetties. Then we all gorged on our shared love of the game.
  • In November, Howard and Amy filled their home — lined with iconic news magazine photos — for one last time with political and journalistic bold-face names for Howard's 75th. The theme: "Round Up the Usual Suspects!"

Jon Meacham, former editor of Newsweek, told me: "It's tempting to say that Howard was a figure out of another age — 'The Front Page,' maybe, or at least a Ward Just novel. But he wasn't, precisely — he was vitally in the present, a great reporter and literary craftsman who put his gifts to work in whatever genre came along."

7. ⚓ Russian warships in Cuba

A driver parks a vintage car as a Russian nuclear submarine Kazan enters Havana Harbor in Cuba.
A driver parks a vintage car as a Russian submarine Kazan enters Havana Bay in Cuba. Photo: Alexandre Meneghini/Reuters

A small fleet of Russian warships — including a nuclear-powered submarine and a frigate — arrived for a stopover in Cuba yesterday.

  • Why it matters: It's seen as a show of force after the Biden administration authorized Ukraine to strike inside Russia using U.S.-provided weapons, Reuters notes.

U.S. officials say they're monitoring the ships but believe the visit poses no threat.

8. ⚾ Pic to go: Congressional baseball

Rep. Jake Ellzey (R-Texas) scores during the Congressional Baseball Game at Nationals Park yesterday.
Rep. Jake Ellzey (R-Texas) scores during the Congressional Baseball Game at Nationals Park yesterday. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call via Getty Images

Republicans routed Democrats for their fourth consecutive win at the annual Congressional Baseball Game, which raises money for charity.

  • The (mostly) House members and (a few) senators practice together, and take it very seriously. Some are actually good, dusting off those high school and college glory days.

Final score: 31-11 ... Rosters.

FOX News Senior Congressional Correspondent Chad Pergram is on the call for FS1
Screenshot via Fox News

House Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries (center) was interviewed in the booth during FS1's coverage of the game.

  • On the call: Fox News senior congressional correspondent Chad Pergram (left), with play-by-play by John Walton (right), radio voice of the Washington Capitals.

History of the game.

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