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Photo Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Robyn Beck/AFP via Getty Images

Bernie Sanders has opened up leads in both Iowa and New Hampshire, according to most recent polls.

The big picture: Private equity might be hyperventilating into a paper bag, but it should be breathing a sigh of relief. At least temporarily.

The state of play: Buyout firms face an existential threat from either a Sanders or Warren presidency, but much more of a rhetorical threat from Warren's campaign.

  • Sanders wants to largely dismantle modern capitalism, which would include private equity. In short, burn down the house and rebuild from scratch.
  • Warren wants to "fix" modern capitalism, believing private equity is one of its most broken pieces. A remodel with private equity in the driveway dumpster.

Between the lines: If Sanders were to win the nomination, or remain a contender until the final primaries, it's unlikely that he'll mention private equity very often (outside of generalist broadsides against Wall Street and the 1%).

  • Warren, on the other hand, would keep hammering private equity hard, particularly if and when we get the next brand-name bankruptcy or Taylor Swift tweet.
  • Industry-specific rhetoric matters because, no matter the president, it can filter down into legislative perceptions and policies (including at the state and local levels).

The bottom line: Again, my needle-threading argument isn't about the ultimate White House winner. Private equity should fear both Sanders and Warren in the Oval. But if only one of them can remain viable for longer before falling, then buyout barons should hope for the self-described Democratic socialist.

Go deeper: Private equity firms fear a Democrat topping Trump in 2020

Go deeper

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
50 mins ago - Economy & Business

Biden's inflation danger

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

President-elect Joe Biden's $1.9 trillion stimulus proposal has economists and bullish market analysts revising their U.S. growth expectations higher, predicting a reflation of the economy in 2021 and possibly more booming returns for risk assets.

Yes, but: Others are warning that what's expected to be reflation could actually show up as inflation, a much less welcome phenomenon.

Ina Fried, author of Login
3 hours ago - Technology

CES was largely irrelevant this year

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Forced online by the pandemic and overshadowed by the attack on the Capitol, the 2021 edition of CES was mostly an afterthought as media's attention focused elsewhere.

Why it matters: The consumer electronics trade show is the cornerstone event for the Consumer Technology Association and Las Vegas has been the traditional early-January gathering place for the tech industry.

The FBI is tracing a digital trail to Capitol rioters

Illustration: Sarah Grillo

Capitol rioters, eager to share proof of their efforts with other extremists online, have so far left a digital footprint of at least 140,000 images that is making it easier for federal law enforcement officials to capture and arrest them.

The big picture: Law enforcement's use of digital tracing isn't new, and has long been at the center of fierce battles over privacy and civil liberties. The Capitol siege is opening a fresh front in that debate.

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