Jan 25, 2019

2. The rise of the 99% voter: Eat the rich

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The “wealth tax” reportedly being considered by Sen. Elizabeth Warren reflects the fact that income inequality has become an early battleground of the 2020 campaign.

Why it matters: This is new in American politics, pushed by rising awareness of — and efforts to weaponize — the top 1%. At the same time, the left has more of a platform than ever, with liberal ideas dominating the primary so far, and Democrats now in control of the House.

Driving the news: The Washington Post, citing an economist advising Warren, reports that she will propose a new annual “wealth tax” on Americans with more than $50 million in assets:

  • "Emmanuel Saez and Gabriel Zucman, two left-leaning economists at the University of California, Berkeley, have been advising Warren on a proposal to levy a 2 percent wealth tax on Americans with assets above $50 million, as well as a 3 percent wealth tax on those who have more than $1 billion."

The backdrop: The economy is technically as strong today as it has been in years, particularly the labor market.

  • But that's perhaps the problem: Many people see all these good numbers and wonder why they're still struggling so much economically, and what will happen when things turn south: "If this is the best case scenario ... uh-oh!”
  • So this is a way for Democrats to harness economic anxiety, as Trump did on the other side in 2016.

Be smart: 2020 could be the first presidential campaign in our lifetimes in which "the rich” genuinely have something to fear from one of the final candidates. 

Go deeper

Tanker truck appears to plow into Minneapolis protesters

A tanker truck appears to have driven toward thousands of protesters during a demonstration in Minneapolis, video from the scene shows.

Details: Minnesota Department of Public Safety tweeted, "Very disturbing actions by a truck driver on I-35W, inciting a crowd of peaceful demonstrators. The truck driver was injured & taken to a hospital with non-life threatening injuries. He is under arrest. It doesn’t appear any protesters were hit by the truck."

  • The incident happened as protesters gathered at the Interstate 35W Bridge across the Mississippi River just before 6 p.m. on Sunday, per CBS Minnesota.
  • Gov. Tim Walz had "ordered highways and interstates to start closing at 5 p.m.," according to the Star Tribune.

Editor's note: This is a developing news story. Please check back for updates.

Inside Trump's antifa tweet

President Trump at Cape Canaveral on May 30. Photo: Paul Hennessy/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

As recently as Saturday night, senior administration officials told me that the designation of a violent cohort of far-left activists, antifa, as a terrorist organization was not being seriously discussed at the White House. But that was Saturday.

Behind the scenes: The situation changed dramatically a few hours later, after prominent conservative allies of the president, such as his friend media commentator Dan Bongino, publicly urged a tough response against people associated with antifa (short for "anti-fascist").

U.S. enters 6th day of nationwide protests over George Floyd's killing

A protest in Philadelphia on May 31. Photo: Mark Makela/Getty Images

Protests continued across the country for the sixth day in a row on Sunday, as demonstrators called for justice in response to the deaths of George Floyd, EMT Breonna Taylor, jogger Ahmaud Arbery and countless other black Americans who have suffered at the hands of racism and police brutality.

What's happening: Protestors in D.C. broke one police barricade outside the White House on Sunday evening after reportedly demonstrating for several hours. The atmosphere was still largely peaceful as of 6pm ET.