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The Democratic 2020 candidates drew more social media attention than ever in October — but were still swamped by President Trump’s ever-present dominance of what we share and debate, according to data from NewsWhip exclusively provided to Axios.

Expand chart
Data: NewsWhip; Chart: Chris Canipe/Axios

Why it matters: Trump attracted three times the attention of all the Democratic candidates combined, underscoring how he consumes the social media conversation. 

By the numbers: The 2020 Democratic candidates picked up a combined 58 million social media interactions (likes, comments, shares) on stories about them. But that's dwarfed by Trump's 181 million, the NewsWhip data shows. 

The big picture: As has been the case since he entered the Republican field in 2015, much of the online attention on Trump has been negative.

  • But the net effect of higher interactions means many more Americans learning about Trump's comments, actions and policies and making determinations about them, rather than doing so for his Democratic challengers.
  • This reality extends beyond these measures: The same dynamic plays out on cable news, and Trump's Twitter account is a bigger amplifier than any of his competitors.

Between the lines: That Trump has this much share of attention is not just a consequence of holding the presidency.

  • In the month before the 2016 election, Trump had more than 7 times the interactions of President Obama, according to NewsWhip data.

The bottom line: A major reason for Trump's success in 2016 was his ability to get Republicans to care about issues that had taken on life only at the fringes of the party: immigration, economic nationalism and racial resentment.

  • His personality, style and knack for getting attention were key ingredients.
  • Democrats will have to fight against the current of Trump attention in order to get their ideas front and center.

Our 2020 attention tracker is based on data from NewsWhip exclusively provided to Axios as part of a project that will regularly update throughout the 2020 campaign.

Go deeper: See all past editions of the tracker here.

Go deeper

Cuomo scandal snares Dems on #MeToo

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios. Photo: Ray Tamarra/Getty Images   

The searing sexual harassment allegations made against Gov. Andrew Cuomo are trouble for Democrats far beyond Albany and New York.

Why it matters: They hammered Donald Trump after the "Access Hollywood" tape. Pilloried Brett Kavanaugh over Christine Blasey Ford. Defended President Biden when he was accused of inappropriate touching. Now, Democrats have to show whether they walk the "#MeToo" talk.

CPAC Republicans choose conservatism over constituents

Rep. Matt Gaetz. Photo: Elijah Nouvelage/Bloomberg via Getty Images

CPAC proved such a draw, conservative Republicans chose the conference over their constituents.

Why it matters: More than a dozen House Republicans voted by proxy on the $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill in Washington so they could speak at the Conservative Political Action Conference, known as CPAC. And Sen. Ted Cruz skipped an Air Force One flight as President Biden flew to Cruz's hometown of Houston to survey storm damage.

Border Democrat warns Biden about immigrant fallout

Henry Cuellar (right). Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call Inc. via Getty Images

A Democratic lawmaker representing a border district warned the Biden administration against easing up too much on unauthorized immigrants, citing their impact on his constituents, local hospitals and their potential to spread the coronavirus.

Why it matters: Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Texas) told Axios he supports President Biden. But the moderate said he sees the downsides of efforts to placate pro-immigrant groups, an effort that threatens to blow up on the administration.