Mar 26, 2019

Report: Districts most affected by automation lean Republican

Mercedes plant in Vance, Alabama. Photo: Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP/Getty

Job automation has become a key factor in economic anxiety in recent years. As 2020 campaigns begin, Republicans are far more likely than Democrats to live and work in regions with highly automatable jobs, according to a new analysis from Brookings.

Driving the news: Brookings' Mark Muro, Jacob Whiton and Robert Maxim find a correlation between susceptibility to automation and red congressional districts. In the 2018 midterms, they found that 46 of the 50 congressional districts most exposed to automation elected Republicans. Similarly, all 50 of the least-exposed districts are represented by Democrats.

  • The analysis builds on a paper published a year ago by Carl Frey and two Oxford colleagues about the impact of robots on the 2016 election.
  • They found that President Trump's support was far higher in local labor markets with higher exposure to robot automation.

Kyle Kondik, managing editor of Sabato’s Crystal Ball at the University of Virginia, tells Axios that he sees no opening for Democrats to exploit worker anxiety caused by layoffs and the threat of more.

  • Trump's get-tough platform on trade has resonated in these Republican-held districts, Kondik said.
  • "Democrats did hold versions of some of these districts prior to 2010, but they have become so Republican now that they do not seem like viable targets in 2020."

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South Korea and Italy step up emergency measures as coronavirus cases jump

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens.

The novel coronavirus has spread to more nations as South Korea and Italy step up emergency measures in their countries amid rising case numbers on Sunday.

The big picture: COVID-19 has killed at least 2,462 people and infected almost 79,000 others, mostly in mainland China. South Korea increased the infectious disease alert to red, the highest possible, as its case numbers jumped to 602 and the death toll to five. Italy's government announced emergency measures, with several towns in the north effectively placed in lockdown, as it confirmed two deaths and infections rose to 79.

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Bernie Sanders wins Nevada caucus

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders waves to supporters at a campaign rally on Friday in Las Vegas. Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

Sen. Bernie Sanders is projected to handily win the Nevada Democratic primary caucus, becoming the clear frontrunner among 2020 Democratic presidential primary election candidates.

Why it matters: Nevada is the first state with a diverse population to hold a nominating contest, highlighting candidates' abilities to connect with voters of color — particularly Latino voters.

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Heat wave melts 20% of snow cover from Antarctic island in days

The effects of February's record heat wave on Eagle Island in Antarctica. Photo: NASA

Antarctica's Eagle Island now has a side that's almost ice-free following this month's searing heat wave in the region, images released by NASA show.

Why it maters: "The warm spell caused widespread melting on nearby glaciers," NASA said in its report. It's the third major melt event of the 2019-2020 Southern Hemisphere summer, following warm spells in January and last November, according to the United Nation's World Meteorological Organization (WMO).