Tom Steyer at a town-hall event. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

The Democratic Party's civil war between its far-left progressives and moderates is about to get more intense. Tom Steyer's Need To Impeach organization just mailed 5,171 candidates a guide to impeachment to reference while campaigning.

"Neither the establishment nor Democratic leadership is going to be providing this type of information to federal candidates," said Kevin Mack, lead strategist at Need To Impeach. But that's the issue: Democrats increasingly believe moderate platforms and candidates — not progressives calling to remove the president — will help them take back the House of Representatives in November.

Big picture: That thinking is reflected in everything from the DCCC helping candidates fight for more than 100 GOP-held seats this cycle to the topics candidates are advised to talk about, like the economy and health care. Impeachment is not on the list of talking points, yet all Democratic, Independent, and third-party candidates running for office in 2018 will receive an impeachment guide.

"We think avoiding impeachment is a strategic mistake. It’s what fires up the Democratic base."
— Kevin Mack, lead strategist at Need To Impeach

But D.C. Democrats have privately complained about what they think is an unhelpful, out-of-touch strategy from Steyer. To add to it, Democratic leaders like Nancy Pelosi have publicly called it a distraction (though Steyer, like his team, thinks they're "dead wrong.")

What they're saying: "One of the worst things we can do for the cause of getting rid of Donald Trump is tell the American public that we've already concluded he should be impeached before the Mueller investigation shows us its findings," said a Democratic strategist.

  • Moderate Democratic candidates aren't even bringing up President Trump when talking about their campaign platform, said Kristen Hawn, who works with the Blue Dog Democrats as a political strategist.
  • "Trump is motivating people to get out and use these midterms as a proxy vote against him," she said, but that doesn't mean candidates should stray from the issues voters care about. "The national rhetoric around Trump really hasn’t become a factor in our races."

The impeachment guide is at least self-aware. "Shouldn’t we want Democrats talking about their policy priorities and how they will actually help people if we want to take back one or both houses of Congress?" it says in the FAQ section.

Steyer's group argues impeachment is one of the issues, like health care and the economy, that voters do care about, and they point to this Quinnipiac survey in which 76% of Democratic voters support impeachment.

Bottom line: It's hard to deny the significance of Steyer's impeachment campaign, which now has more than 5 million supporters. But many Democratic candidates, especially those running in Republican districts, will more than likely ignore the impeachment guide they'll find in their mailboxes in the coming weeks.

Go deeper

1 hour ago - Technology

TikTok to pull out of Hong Kong

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

TikTok said Monday night that it would pull its social video platform out of the Google and Apple app stores in Hong Kong amid a restrictive new law that went into effect last week.

Why it matters: TikTok's move comes as many large tech companies say they are still evaluating how to respond to the Hong Kong law.

4 hours ago - World

Ethiopia's Nobel Peace laureate cracks down on ethnic violence

The image of a Nobel Peace laureate in military fatigues encapsulates the moment in which Ethiopia finds itself — on the verge of a transition to democracy, a descent into violence or, perhaps, a precarious combination of the two.

Driving the news: At least 166 people were killed after an iconic musician, Haacaaluu Hundeessaa, was murdered last Monday in Addis Ababa, the capital. Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed responded to the violence by sending in troops and shutting off the internet. High-profile opposition leaders were arrested, along with some 2,300 others.

Updated 5 hours ago - Health

Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms tests positive for coronavirus

Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said on Monday that she has tested positive for the coronavirus after displaying no symptoms.

Why it matters: Bottoms, one of several Black women on the shortlist to be Joe Biden's running mate, has risen to national prominence in recent months as part of mass protests over racism and police brutality — driven in part by the killing of Rayshard Brooks by Atlanta police.