Jan 29, 2019

Women take the lead in 2019

Sens. Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris, Kirsten Gillibrand, and Rep. Tulsi Gabbard. Photos: Scott Eisen, Mason Trinca, Drew Angerer and Cindy Ord via Getty Images.

If the future is female, as the slogan dating back to the '70s suggests, the current state of the Democratic Party is well on its way.

Why it matters: This is the first time in history that being a woman, particularly for Democrats running in 2020, "is probably more a political asset than a liability," per the LA Times.

Driving the news:

  • House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is the most powerful Democrat in America, emerging as President Trump's main foil during the shutdown.
  • Sens. Kamala Harris, Elizabeth Warren, Kirsten Gillibrand and Tulsi Gabbard are running for the Democratic presidential nomination.
  • Georgia politician Stacey Abrams will be giving the State of the Union response to Trump next week.
  • Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is the fastest-rising new member on Capitol Hill, using online authenticity to instantly gain an audience with her Democratic Socialist policy agenda.

Be smart: The 2018 midterms were an overwhelming sign of success and momentum behind female candidates and among female voters (59% supported Democrats), which could propel women in 2020.

  • Harris is the latest woman to enter the race, and she's made the clear and early case that she'll differentiate herself by focusing on her time as an attorney general and highlighting her connection with the black community.
  • Warren prefers "nerding out" on policy and hammering an economic message of class inequities by recalling her childhood.
  • Gillibrand separates herself "as a young mom," often "emphasizing her record on protecting women from sexual assault and her support for female candidates," per the LA Times. Don't forget her role in removing Al Franken from the Senate after his past instances of sexual misconduct were revealed.
  • Gabbard has focused on being a military veteran, telling CNN: "There is one main issue that is central to the rest, and that is the issue of war and peace."

P.S. Former Starbucks CEO and potential 2020 presidential contender Howard Schultz called Harris' support for eliminating private health insurance "not American" and Warren's "wealth tax" proposal "ridiculous."

  • Warren responds: "What's 'ridiculous' is billionaires who think they can buy the presidency to keep the system rigged for themselves while opportunity slips away for everyone else. The top 0.1%, who'd pay my #UltraMillionaireTax, own about the same wealth as 90% of America."

Go deeper

Clyburn: Sanders' "socialist" label will be "extra burden" in House races

Clyburn with Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.) said on ABC's "This Week" Sunday that Sen. Bernie Sanders' identification as a democratic socialist may be an "extra burden" in down-ballot House races if he were to win the Democratic nomination.

Why it matters: Clyburn's comments echo fears from many establishment Democrats, who worry the House majority they won in 2018 by taking moderate seats carried by President Trump could be at risk with Sanders at the top of the ticket.

O'Brien rejects intelligence report of Russia effort to re-elect Trump

National Security Adviser Robert O'Brien. Photo: Chris Usher/CBS via Getty Images

White House national security adviser Robert O'Brien repeatedly rejected on ABC's "This Week" an assessment from a congressional briefing led by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence that Russia is interfering in the 2020 election to help President Trump get re-elected.

Why it matters: The report put the Trump administration under fresh scrutiny in regard to steps it has been taking to combat the kind of interference that the U.S. encountered in 2016.

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Italy becomes site of largest coronavirus outbreak outside of Asia

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens.

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The big picture: COVID-19 has killed at least 2,462 people and infected almost 79,000 others, mostly in mainland China. South Korea increased the infectious disease alert to red, the highest possible, as its case numbers jumped to 602 and the death toll to five. Italy's government announced emergency measures as it confirmed a spike from three to 132 cases in matter of days, making it the largest outbreak outside of Asia.

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