Jul 16, 2019

Axios PM

By Mike Allen
Mike Allen

Good afternoon: Today's PM — edited by Justin Green — is 419 words, a 2 minute read.

Situational awareness: Planned Parenthood "removed its president after less than a year in the job, seeking new leadership at a time when abortion rights have come under increasing attack from statehouses and Republicans in Washington." [NYT]

1 big thing: The first 5

There's no such thing as a "front-runner" until Iowa Democrats caucus in January, but it's increasingly clear that 5 campaigns have a structural advantage entering the fall.

The big picture: Bernie Sanders, Pete Buttigieg, Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren and Kamala Harris have built campaigns that can raise piles of cash — which they can use to build donor lists to raise even bigger piles of cash.

Expand chart
Data: FEC; Chart: Harry Stevens/Axios (See the interactive version)

Why it matters: The September debates require candidates to meet both a higher polling threshold and have twice as many donors as the first two rounds.

  • As of today, only the top 5 have qualified.
  • Watch at the next debate for candidates outside the top 5 — such as Julián Castro, who earned rave reviews after Debate 1 — to make a ploy for another big round of earned media.
  • Go deeper: FiveThirtyEight's breakdown of the September race

The bottom line: Expect the field of 20+ to winnow significantly in the next few months.

Go deeper: Keeping up with all this fundraising can be tough. Fortunately Axios' Harry Stevens built a nifty tool that automatically tracks fundraising totals.

Bonus: Pic du jour
Photo: Alastair Pike/AFP/Getty Images

Visitors look at Neil Armstrong's Apollo 11 spacesuit after it was unveiled for the first time in 13 years at the Smithsonian.

  • 50 years ago today, Apollo 11 took off from Earth.
2. What you missed
  1. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer will support legislation to study reparations for slavery. Go deeper.
  2. The first female president of the European Commission: Ursula von der Leyen, the outgoing German defense minister and an ally of Chancellor Angela Merkel, won a closely contested vote in the European Parliament.
  3. Trump tweeted that his administration "will take a look" at Peter Thiel's statement on Google and China. A few questions.
  4. Interest in the 2020 Democratic primary plunged last week as articles about the candidates generated just 6.5 million combined social media interactions, while articles about Trump generated 23.2 million interactions. Chart.
3. 1 fun thing

Photo: NASA/JPL-Caltech

🚀Speaking of space: Future space explorers might be able to use a silica aerogel — a porous, extremely light solid material — to insulate greenhouses and other structures on Mars, Axios' Miriam Kramer notes.

  • Why it matters: Most schemes to allow people to live on Mars include some kind of extreme attempt to make the planet itself livable though terraforming, but the new aerogel could prove a simple and low-tech solution for habitability.
  • But, but, but: There's a way to go before the material is ready for the Red Planet.
Mike Allen