Nov 18, 2019

Axios PM

Happy Monday! It's the calm before this week's impeachment storm.

Today's PM — edited by Shane Savitsky — is 526 words ... a 2-minute read.

1 big thing: Mayor Pete's twist on college debt

Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Pete Buttigieg, who recently rocketed to the top of polls in Iowa, released a $500 billion college affordability plan today, which would make public college tuition free for households earning under $100,000 and inject $120 billion into federal Pell Grants.

  • It contrasts with more expansive proposals from Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, who want to wipe out all college tuition and debt — though nearly every 2020 contender has their own ideas.
  • The WashPost's editorial board called Buttigieg's plan "the most progressive" among 2020 Democrats "because it is more affordable and better targeted."

Why it matters: College affordability is set to be a key issue in 2020 as the American electorate undergoes a distinct shift — with millennials and Generation Zers making up 37% of eligible voters.

  • Gen Z is set to surpass the Silent Generation in voter share for the first time, a significant milestone as those new voters skew heavily liberal and are almost half non-white.
  • College students turned out to vote at double the rate in the 2018 midterms than in the 2014 cycle — a trend that seems likely to continue in 2020.

By the numbers: The class of 2018 graduated with a record average of $29,200 in loans for a bachelor's degree, but the issue of college debt affects a wider swath of the country than just current students and recent graduates.

The bottom line: Buttigieg, as a moderate millennial Midwestern mayor, seems uniquely suited to speak to the issue of college affordability, and that opportunity is arriving just as he peaks in the polls.

Bonus: Pics du jour

Photo: Dale de la Rey/AFP via Getty Images

Protesters react as police fire tear gas while they attempt to march toward Hong Kong Polytechnic University.

  • The campus "transformed into an apocalyptic scene ... as riot police armed with tear gas and rubber bullets surrounded pro-democracy protesters," writes Vox.
Photo: Ye Aung Thu/AFP via Getty Images
2. What you missed

Photo: David Dee Delgado/Getty Images

  1. The Supreme Court temporarily blocked House Democrats' subpoena for President Trump's tax returns until both sides can file the necessary legal papers. Read the filing.
  2. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced that the U.S. will no longer view Israeli settlements as "inconsistent with international law." Go deeper.
  3. The House is investigating whether Trump lied in his written answers to special counsel Robert Mueller in the wake of new revelations from Roger Stone's trial. Read more.
  4. California's attorney general announced that the state is suing Juul for allegedly targeting teenagers with its ads. The big picture.
  5. Kylie Jenner cemented her billionaire status after she sold a majority stake in her cosmetics company to Coty for $600 million. Details.
3. 1 fun thing

"The Hyper-Organized Christmas Shopper ... Conscientious millennials and bargain-seeking moms are wrapping up their holiday shopping before most people even start," reports the Wall Street Journal's Anne Marie Chaker (subscription).

  • "A shorter-than-usual period between Thanksgiving and Christmas this year is hastening the early push."
  • "Some big retailers are pushing marketing promotions earlier, hoping to coax dollars out of shoppers sooner."
  • "And a penchant among millennials for sharing extreme organizational feats on Instagram ... is spilling into holiday shopping habits too."