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J. Scott Applewhite / AP

Democrats' embarrassing special-election loss in Georgia, after the vocal left fanned unrealistic expectations, provokes a wave of bitter post-gaming that targets House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi. It's part of a generational argument that's also driving the party's 2020 conversation.

Be smart: With a wobbly start for Trump and his agenda, Dems we talk to as we travel the country have gotten the idea that of course the House will flip in midterms next year. In fact, this year's special elections showed that vulnerability by the other side doesn't necessarily translate into raw votes for you. Republicans are more reliable voters in midterms, and reversing that will be a massive task for Dems.

  • Front page of Silicon Valley's paper, The Mercury News of San Jose, "THE PELOSI PROBLEM: Some fault minority leader for losses," by Casey Tolan: "Some of the toughest ads against the 30-year-old [Georgia Dem candidate Jon] Ossoff were those tying him to Pelosi, whose approval ratings are underwater outside California."
  • The N.Y. Times' lead print story, "Democrats Fume As Georgia Loss Deepens Discord," by Alex Burns and Jonathan Martin, carries this memorable online headline: "Democrats Seethe After Georgia Loss: 'Our Brand Is Worse Than Trump.'"
  • The money quote: "Representative Tim Ryan of Ohio, who tried to unseat Ms. Pelosi as House minority leader late last fall, said she remained a political millstone for Democrats. But Mr. Ryan said the Democratic brand had also become 'toxic' in much of the country because voters saw Democrats as 'not being able to connect with the issues they care about.' 'Our brand is worse than Trump.'"
  • NBC's Alex Seitz-Wald: "At a closed-door meeting with colleagues, there were no challenges to the Democratic leadership or any obvious signs of dissent ... But for every Democratic official or operative publicly calling for new leadership, there are others who privately express the same sentiment."
  • A morning-after memo from the head of the House Democrats' campaign arm, DCCC Chair Ben Ray Luján of New Mexico, tries to buck up the troops by declaring: "THE HOUSE IS IN PLAY," partly because of "the nationwide collapse of support for President Trump."

Go deeper

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
52 mins ago - Economy & Business

Trump blocks banks from limiting loans to gun and oil companies

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Big banks are no longer allowed to reject business loan applicants because of the industry in which they operate, according to a new rule finalized on Thursday by the Trump administration.

Why it matters: Wall Street has curtailed its exposure to industries like guns, oil and private prisons, driven by both public and shareholder pressures. This new rule could reverse that trend.

Former FDA commissioner: "Reliable drug supply is absolutely critical"

Axios' Caitlin Owens and former FDA commissioner Mark McClellan. Photo courtesy of Axios Events

Having a reliable supply of pharmaceutical drugs throughout America will be "absolutely critical" to boosting affordability in health care during the Biden administration, former Food and Drug Administration (FDA) commissioner Mark McClellan said at a virtual Axios Event on Friday.

The big picture: McClellan, who served under President George W. Bush, says drugs having limited supply and limited competition leads to elevated pricing. He considers drug supply to be a national security and public health issue.

Felix Salmon, author of Capital
4 hours ago - Economy & Business

Americans are still spending money

Source: Census Bureau; Chart: Axios Visuals

Americans spent more money at stores and restaurants in 2020 than they did in 2019 — even in the face of a devastating global pandemic that shut down broad sectors of the economy.

Why it matters: The monthly retail sales report this morning came in well below expectations, and showed consumer spending falling on a seasonally-adjusted basis. Total expenditures were still higher in December 2020 than they were a year previously, however.