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Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

After the 2020 election, Republicans need to rebrand their party as the champions of working-class voters and steer away from its traditional embrace of big business, Sen. Marco Rubio said in an interview with Axios.

Why it matters: Rubio told me he is leaving the door open for a 2024 presidential run — so his comments are some of the earliest signals of how the GOP contenders may try to acknowledge President Trump's successes while finding their own path.

  • "The future of the party is based on a multiethnic, multiracial working class coalition," said Rubio.

The big picture: The election wasn't the full-scale repudiation of Trump that many people expected. He got 70 million votes — the second most of all time — and the party made gains in the House.

  • And Trump's 2016 win wasn't just a rejection of Hillary Clinton. It was also a vote of no confidence in the Republican establishment and traditional party orthodoxy.

Rubio said Republicans have long believed in and supported the free market, "but the free market exists to serve our people. Our people don't exist to serve the free market."

  • He added that working class Americans are now largely against big businesses “that only care about how their shares are performing, even if it's based on moving production overseas for cheaper labor."
  • "They're very suspicious, quite frankly, dismissive of elites at every level. And obviously that's a powerful sentiment."

Democrats, who are beginning to analyze their failure to connect with Hispanic and Latino voters, have also begun dissecting this new schism.

  • Andrew Yang, speaking on CNN Thursday, said working class Americans would "flinch" on the trail when he told them he was a Democrat. "There is something deeply wrong when working class Americans have that response to a major party that theoretically is supposed to be fighting for them," he said.
  • "In their minds, the Democratic Party unfortunately has taken on this role of the coastal urban elites who are more concerned about policing various cultural issues than improving their way of life ... This to me is a fundamental problem for the party."

The bottom line: "We still have a very strong base in the party of donors and think tanks and intelligentsia from the right who are market fundamentalists, who accuse anyone who's not a market fundamentalist of being a socialist to some degree," Rubio said.

  • "If the takeaway from all of them is now is the time to go back to sort of the traditional party of of unfettered free trade, I think we're gonna lose the [Trump] base as quickly as we got it. ... We can't just go back to being that," he added.

Go deeper

Jaime Harrison: "We have to transform the Democratic Party"

Jaime Harrison, who lost his bid to unseat Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C) after raising record-breaking amounts of money, told CNN on Tuesday that he is open to working with the Biden administration in any capacity, including chairing the Democratic National Committee.

Why it matters: Harrison, who has the support of the influential House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.), has said that he would consider the role of DNC chair if offered. On Tuesday, Harrison launched a new PAC focused on long-term investments in areas seen as Democratic reaches, according to AP.

13 mins ago - Sports

The end of COVID’s grip on sports may be in sight

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Packed stadiums and a more normal fan experience could return by late 2021, NIAID director Anthony Fauci said yesterday.

Why it matters: If Fauci's prediction comes true, it could save countless programs from going extinct next year.

Trump's 2024 begins

Trump speaking to reporters in the White House on Thanksgiving. Photo: Erin Schaff - Pool/Getty Images

President Trump is likely to announce he'll run again in 2024, perhaps before this term even ends, sources tell Axios.

Why it matters: Trump has already set in motion two important strategies to stay relevant and freeze out other Republican rivals. 

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