Mar 18, 2019

Axios PM

Good afternoon ...

1 big thing: Elizabeth Warren's slow start

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Elizabeth Warren used to be a rising star among Democratic Party liberals, but her presidential campaign is struggling to get off the ground, Axios' Alexi McCammond reports.

Why it matters: If she can't recapture the excitement she created among progressive voters in 2016, when she was considered one of Hillary Clinton's best campaign surrogates, she risks being overshadowed by other progressive candidates (Bernie Sanders) and newer rising stars (Beto O'Rourke).

By the numbers:

  • We still don't know how much she raised in the first 24 hours of the campaign. (The Washington Post notes "she pulled in at least $300,000" according to Act Blue.)
  • By contrast, O'Rourke just announced he raised $6.1 million in the first day. And Sanders raised nearly $6 million his first day of the race, while Kamala Harris took in about $1.5 million, according to AP.
  • She's been polling in the single digits nationally and among likely caucus goers in Iowa.
  • Some Wisconsin swing voters only know her because of President Trump, mentioning during an Engagious/FPG focus group last week that they know "she's not Indian." Others didn't even know what state she represents.

That's despite her busy campaign strategy: Instead of viral Facebook livestreams or TV-worthy rallies, Warren and her team are focusing on retail politics with voters who want to "nerd out" over policy.

  • Warren has proposed some of the most sweeping policy ideas of the entire Democratic field. She's called for breaking up Big Tech, unveiled a universal child care plan, and outlined a plan for implementing a wealth tax.
  • She's the first presidential candidate this cycle to launch a tour of the Deep South, the Boston Globe reports. After that's finished, she'll have traveled to 12 states, plus Puerto Rico, since announcing in December.
  • So far this cycle, Warren has held 33 campaign events, a majority of which were in early voting states.

The big picture: "Her success or failure will help determine the direction of the Democratic Party in 2020," per the AP. It'll also signal to other 2020 Democrats whether primary voters are craving a candidate whose campaign is built on ambitious (but very specific) policy proposals.

  • There are more women and people of color running in a Democratic presidential primary than ever before, but so far the white men are winning. O'Rourke and Sanders raised more money than all of their challengers in the first 48 hours of their campaigns, and Joe Biden is consistently leading 2020 polls.
  • Yes, but: "She's winning the policy race," said former Clinton adviser Philippe Reines.

The bottom line: It's still early, but this isn't the kind of launch Warren needed.

2. What you missed
  1. The Speaker of the House of Commons blocked another vote on British Prime Minister Theresa May's Brexit plan, throwing her strategy into chaos. Details.
  2. Warner Bros. CEO Kevin Tsujihara was forced out after after an investigation into allegations of sexual misconduct, WarnerMedia CEO John Stankey announced today. The backstory.
  3. Facebook says there aren't enough local news outlets across the U.S. to allow it to deliver more local news. The numbers.
  4. More than two-thirds of white evangelicals continue to support President Trump, according to the Pew Research Center. The breakdown.
  5. The first "exascale" computer system in the U.S. will be built under an agreement between the Energy Department, Intel and subcontractor Cray Inc. Details.
  6. In today's podcast, Axios' Dan Primack talks with chief financial correspondent Felix Salmon about the college admissions scandal and the hypocrisy of social impact investing.
3. 1 ancient thing: The last Blockbuster

The good old days … of 2004. Photo: Craig Mitchelldyer/Getty Images

The Associated Press found a store in a strip mall in Bend, Oregon that's about to become the last Blockbuster Video on the planet, after one in Australia closes for good on March 31.

  • "The computer system must be rebooted using floppy disks that only the general manager — a solid member of Gen X — knows how to use. The dot-matrix printer broke, so employees write out membership cards by hand."
  • "And the store’s business transactions are backed up on a reel-to-reel tape that can’t be replaced because Radio Shack went out of business."
  • "'It’s pure stubbornness, for one. We didn’t want to give in,' said general manager Sandi Harding ... 'We did everything we could to cut costs and keep ourselves relevant.'"

Don't forget to rewind.