Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on the day's biggest business stories

Subscribe to Axios Closer for insights into the day’s business news and trends and why they matter

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Stay on top of the latest market trends

Subscribe to Axios Markets for the latest market trends and economic insights. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sports news worthy of your time

Binge on the stats and stories that drive the sports world with Axios Sports. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tech news worthy of your time

Get our smart take on technology from the Valley and D.C. with Axios Login. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Get the inside stories

Get an insider's guide to the new White House with Axios Sneak Peek. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Denver news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Des Moines news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Twin Cities news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Tampa Bay news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Charlotte news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sign up for Axios NW Arkansas

Stay up-to-date on the most important and interesting stories affecting NW Arkansas, authored by local reporters

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

For the first time in a presidential election, 2020 could see several women running for the White House in the same primary — and that could finally break the cycle of gender-based criticism that plagued Hillary Clinton in 2016, according to conversations with several Democratic campaign veterans and political scientists.

Why it matters: We're fresh off the 2018 "Year of the Woman," Nancy Pelosi just re-claimed the gavel as House speaker, and there could be as many as four Democratic women running for president in 2020. Although female candidates will certainly face some sexist tropes this time around, the political landscape and conversation around women running for higher office has changed since '16.

"With more women in the race you’re less likely to become a caricature of ambition and more likely to have your qualities come to the fore and be examined," said Jennifer Palmieri, Clinton's former communications director and White House communications director under Barack Obama.

  • Jennifer Lawless, politics professor at the University of Virginia, said the 2020 election will not be about "one woman versus the male presidency we’ve always had." Instead, "It’s going to allow for a really serious conversation about the extent to which Americans are sexist."
  • The thinking goes that if multiple women are running and voters still throw out intangible criticisms like, "There's something about her I just don't like," then it's not just a Clinton problem.

Driving the news: The pattern hasn't changed just yet. The same day that Elizabeth Warren announced she's exploring a run for president, a debate emerged over whether she's vulnerable to the same criticisms Clinton faced — that she's cold and unlikable. Beto O'Rourke, meanwhile, has been lovingly compared to Barack Obama.

Warren has mostly dealt with the issue by ignoring questions about it, telling reporters this week that she'll "keep fighting the issues because I think that's what matters most." But she did poke fun at the criticisms by tweeting, "I hear women candidates are most likable in the quiet car!"

The big picture: Because people aren't used to seeing women in executive positions, especially as president, the challenge then becomes that female candidates have to remain likable and friendly, while demonstrating the competence to be commander-in-chief.

  • "I don't think we appreciate how deeply set our expectations of how women are meant to behave are set," said Palmieri. "As much progress as women have made, we’re pushing against all of human history here. It's still a pretty radical thing for a woman to seek to be president of the United States."
  • "The expectations are just so much higher in terms of what the public wants from a woman," said Adrienne Elrod, former director of strategic communications for Clinton's campaign in 2016. "They want someone warm, friendly, grandmother-like, and also a hard-charger who can go into a meeting with 10 male foreign leaders and crush the meeting. They want someone who has it all."

It's not that men have never had their personalities questioned (think Al Gore and John Kerry) — it just wasn't seen as a deal-breaker. And Donald Trump didn't exactly earn any "likability" awards on his way to the White House.

Between the lines: Among Iowa voters, Warren is the third most-favorable 2020 candidate, and her net favorable rating (64 percentage points) is 15 points higher than Clinton's, according to a CNN/Des Moines Register/Mediacom poll last month.

Clinton campaign operatives considered Warren one of their most effective surrogates in '16 because of her ability to get under Trump's skin. Now they say she should take a page out of his playbook when dealing with the attacks.

  • "Trump never lets anything go unanswered," said Philippe Reines, a former Clinton adviser who's worked with her since 2002. "If you don’t stand up for yourself, I'm not exactly sure why you’d expect people to vote for you thinking you’d stand up for them."

What to watch: Keep an eye on whether other female candidates likely to run — Sens. Kamala Harris, Amy Klobuchar and Kirsten Gillibrand — are compared to Clinton in any way and whether their "likability" comes into question.

Editor's note: This story has been updated to clarify that the new dynamic in 2020 will be the number of women candidates running in the same primary.

Go deeper

Biden blindsides Europe with new AUKUS alliance on China

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Melina Mara/The Washington Post via Getty Images

President Biden is constructing and deepening new alliances to strengthen the U.S. position in its showdown with China, but he risks alienating longstanding allies in the process.

Why it matters: Biden heralded a new agreement to help Australia acquire nuclear submarines as part of a trilateral security pact with the U.K. and the U.S. as an "historic step" to update U.S. alliances to face new challenges. The message from French foreign minister, Jean-Yves Le Drian, was quite different.

Trump voices support for Saturday's pro-Capitol riots rally

Photo: Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Former President Trump on Thursday expressed solidarity with people facing prosecution in connection to the Capitol insurrection.

Why it matters: The statement was issued ahead of Saturday's rally to protest the treatment of Capitol rioters. Over 600 known federal defendants face charges related to the Jan. 6 insurrection.

Clinton-linked lawyer indicted in investigation of FBI's Russia probe

Photo: Eric Baradat/AFP via Getty Images

A grand jury has returned an indictment against Michael Sussmann, a lawyer whose firm represented the 2016 Clinton campaign, for lying to the FBI about not representing "any client" when he presented them with allegations about a secret Trump Organization back-channel to a Russian bank.

Why it matters: It's the second criminal charge stemming from special counsel John Durham's review of possible misconduct by the intelligence community and prosecutors who investigated the 2016 Trump campaign's ties to Russia.