Feb 3, 2020

Axios PM

By Mike Allen
Mike Allen

PM readers: Axios China — helmed by China expert Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian — will be relaunching this Wednesday.

🚨Rush Limbaugh told listeners he has been diagnosed with advanced lung cancer and said he may miss some upcoming shows. Go deeper.

1 big thing: How to watch Iowa

Photos: AP

Everyone can be a winner in tonight's Iowa caucuses, where the main event starts at 8 pm ET and the conclusive results might not trickle in till the late hours.

Why it matters: There's a real chance that different campaigns walk away with the "wins" of...

  1. Most raw votes in the first round of voting
  2. Most raw votes after the second round of voting
  3. Most delegates overall

Between the lines: The current Iowa polling top four are Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders at 22%, Pete Buttigieg at 18%, and Elizabeth Warren at 15%.

  • One potential surprise could be whether Amy Klobuchar (currently at 8%) can clear the 15% threshold in a number of precincts.

The big picture: 2020 is the first year that the caucuses will release the raw vote totals, allowing voters in other states to get a sense of how the middle tier candidates are doing.

  • In tonight's caucuses, supporters of candidates who fail to secure 15% after the first round will be able to swap sides.
  • This will give campaigns and voters alike a tangible example of how candidates in the top tier perform among second-choice voters.

On the ground: The "buzz going around" is that this might be the "craziest — it seems the busiest" caucus in a long time, Phil Chia of Des Moines told Axios' Alexi McCammond and Margaret Talev when they dropped by Lincoln High School, where Chia is the activities director, just after lunchtime.

  • Multiple precincts will be caucusing in various rooms at his school tonight — Chia counted off two gymnasiums, the library, three classrooms, the cafeteria, the band room and the choir room.
  • While caucus organizers were asked not to start setting up until late afternoon after the students had left for the day, Chia said he got several drop-bys starting around 9 am just to check things out. 

The bottom line: Spot-on quote from Todd Dorman of The (Cedar Rapids) Gazette in a column titled, "Goodbye media. You'll miss the ranch dressing":

  • "Iowans don’t always pick winners, but the fear of picking a loser this time is palpable."
Bonus: Pic du jour

Photo: Anthony Kwan/Getty Images

Hong Kong medical workers hold a strike to demand the government shut the city's border with China to reduce the spread of the coronavirus.

  • Hong Kong has 15 confirmed cases.
2. What you missed
  1. Tesla shares gained 19.89% today, or over $129 per share, increasing the automaker's market cap by a whopping $23.33 billion. Chart.
  2. Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) claimed in his closing arguments during the Senate trial that President Trump cannot be trusted to shun further foreign interference in the election and that voting to remove him from office is the only solution. Go deeper.
  3. Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu met with the leader of Sudan's governing council, Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, and discussed the possibility of normalizing relations. Go deeper.
  4. Veterans Affairs deputy secretary James Byrne was fired this morning. Go deeper.
3. 1 fun thing: "Hamilton" on the silver screen

Photo: Evan Agostini/Invision/AP

Disney will release a film version of "Hamilton" featuring the original Broadway cast and filmed onstage at the Richard Rodgers Theatre in New York City.

  • Why it matters: Obtaining the rights to the movie, set for release in 2021, is a huge coup for Disney — which topped $10 billion in box office sales last year — and allows a stage show that still fetches eye-watering ticket prices to be seen around the world.
Mike Allen