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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

If you've been watching the 2020 Democratic debates so far — which has a record number of women running in a primary — it's easy to forget that #MeToo ever happened.

Why it matters: It's the first presidential election since the rise of the movement, which the Democrats embraced. Yet the only presidential candidate who's making these issues a staple of her campaign is Kirsten Gillibrand, who's struggling to clear 1% in the polls — and the issues have barely registered in the debates so far.

The big picture: The 2018 midterms were a sign of the political power women harnessed after #MeToo. Women helped the Democratic Party take back the House in 2018 by running in red and purple districts and showing up in droves as voters.

Yet women's issues have so far taken a back seat to others, from health care to climate change and immigration, and to the candidates' fights with each other.

  • For the most part, the debate moderators haven't even been asking about these issues, from sexual harassment policies to paid family leave.

Gillibrand is the only 2020 Democrat who has made her campaign explicitly about women and women's place in this country. She just hosted a reproductive rights town hall, days before an 8-week abortion ban is set to take place in Missouri.

  • But it only got covered by local St. Louis media. Everyone else was focused on Elizabeth Warren's Minnesota rally because of the crowd size.
  • And Gillibrand is still struggling to qualify for the next debate in September. "If I'm on that stage ... I'll bring the necessary attention to the all-out assault we've seen on women's reproductive rights — even if the moderators continue to ignore it," she wrote in an email to supporters Tuesday. 

Meanwhile, Joe Biden, who faced allegations of inappropriate touching or invading women's personal space, is still polling at the top.

  • And none of the top-tier candidates have made women's issues a defining theme. They've saved that distinction for their plans for the wealth tax, Medicare for All and climate change — and, of course, for Trump.

The bottom line: Democrats made themselves the standard bearers on #MeToo issues — practically shoving Al Franken out of the Senate — but you wouldn't know it from the way their campaign to defeat Trump has played out so far.

Go deeper

Updated 11 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: Ipsos poll: COVID trick-or-treat — Study: Trump campaign rallies likely led to over 700 COVID-related deaths.
  2. World: Boris Johnson announces month-long lockdown in England — Greece tightens coronavirus restrictions as Europe cases spike — Austria reimposes coronavirus lockdowns amid surge of infections.
  3. Technology: Fully at-home rapid COVID test to move forward.
  4. States: New York rolls out new testing requirements for visitors.

North Carolina police pepper-spray protesters marching to the polls

Officers in North Carolina used pepper spray on protesters and arrested eight people at a get-out-the-vote rally at Alamance County’s courthouse Saturday during the final day of early voting, the City of Graham Police Department confirmed.

Driving the news: The peaceful "I Am Change" march to the polls was organized by Rev. Greg Drumwright, from the Citadel Church in Greensboro, N.C., and included a minute's silence for George Floyd. Melanie Mitchell told the News & Observer her daughters, age 5 and 11, were among those pepper-sprayed by police soon after.

6 hours ago - Health

Boris Johnson announces month-long COVID-19 lockdown in England

Prime Minsiter Boris Johnson. Photo: NurPhoto / Getty Images

A new national lockdown will be imposed in England, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced Saturday, as the number of COVID-19 cases in the country topped 1 million.

Details: Starting Thursday, people in England must stay at home, and bars and restaurants will close, except for takeout and deliveries. All non-essential retail will also be shuttered. Different households will be banned from mixing indoors. International travel, unless for business purposes, will be banned. The new measures will last through at least December 2.