The Note: Democrats’ congressional and presidential agendas collide

Presidential candidates are pushing Dems in a different direction than Congress.

The TAKE with Rick Klein

They are vying to lead the Democratic Party forward. But the presidential candidates are pushing the party in directions its congressional leadership does not necessarily want to go.

Former Rep. Beto O'Rourke's debate-line-turned-T-shirt vow -- "we're going to take your AR-15, your AK-47" -- came at a tenuous time for the gun debate on Capitol Hill. O'Rourke earned himself some push back from fellow candidates and armed Republicans with a new gun-grabbing talking point, while everyone waits on President Donald Trump.

Now, newly detailed allegations against Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh are prompting a push by 2020 candidates to endorse his impeachment. That's even less likely to become reality than impeachment of the president himself. Congressional Democrats are aware of the math and the political realities lining both of those highly unlikely paths, and House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler signaled Monday that he knows that.

A split between presidential contenders and congressional leaders isn't new or necessarily surprising. But it would be glib to ascribe it to ideological or even generational differences. Few think House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer are insufficiently progressive, and recall that the three top-polling Democratic 2020 candidates are north of 70.

The concern among some Democrats is that Hill leaders have thought through the overall politics of the Trump era more than the presidential contenders have had to. And the mere mention of "Kavanaugh" means a different set of reactions if you're thinking about Congress or the presidency.

The RUNDOWN with MaryAlice Parks

No one Democratic presidential candidate has a lock on the union vote. Both former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., will tell you they have an advantage, but several candidates are fighting for their share of crucial votes from organized labor.

One after the other, several 2020 Democratic candidates sent statements this weekend offering their support of the autoworkers' strike against General Motors.

"Auto workers deserve good wages, comprehensive benefits, and economic security. I stand with @UAW as they strike to get what they deserve, and urge GM to come to the table and negotiate in good faith," Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D- Mass., wrote. She too has been emphatically courting the labor vote.

For decades, unions were a mainstay of the Democratic base, but while union leadership has largely stayed blue, there are a lot of questions about how much political and voting influence they still command over members in their ranks. Trump and his re-elect team see overlap too.

Still, seven Democratic candidates will attend a large Philadelphia labor forum on Tuesday organized by the AFL-CIO, including Biden, Sanders, Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Ohio, Tom Steyer, Marianne Williamson and Andrew Yang.

The TIP with Sasha Pezenik

Cheering crowds swarmed the marble arch in Washington Square Park Monday night, their voices bouncing through the city at a feverish pitch.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren raised her arms in victory to a sea of more than 20,000 people, by campaign estimates -- her largest event yet.

"We’re not here today because of famous arches or famous men. In fact, we’re not here because of men at all. We’re here because of some hard-working women." said Warren, referring to the female labor leader icons who had come before her.

Warren, currently the only female candidate holding a top contending spot in the polls, held her massive rally Monday night at the same iconic New York spot where fellow progressive Bernie Sanders had a major moment last election -- his 2016 campaign's zenith.

It came on the same day Warren won a major progressive coup: netting the backing of the Working Families Party, a group that supported Sanders last cycle.

Warren, aiming to take up that mantle for the party, took her place at the podium -- as huge Warren banners billowed across the Washington arch -- and took aim at the place Sanders once called his own.


ABC News' "Start Here" podcast. Tuesday morning's episode features ABC News Chief Global Affairs correspondent Marth Raddatz, who examines the possible U.S. response to the drone attack in Saudi Arabia. We check in with ABC News' Jordana Miller in Jerusalem ahead of Tuesday's Israeli elections. And, ABC News' Cheyenne Haslett tells us why Elizabeth Warren's latest endorsement could signal wider moves among the progressives in the Democratic Party.


  • President Donald Trump travels to Mountain View, California, participates in a roundtable with supporters and speaks at a joint fundraising committee luncheon. He then travels to Beverly Hills, California, to participate in a roundtable with supporters and speaks at a fundraising committee dinner.
  • Vice President Mike Pence delivers remarks on U.S.-Canada-Mexico trade agreement at 11 a.m. He also delivers remarks at a naturalization ceremony at 3 p.m.
  • South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg holds six back-to-back campaign events across South Carolina and Kentucky, starting in the Palmetto State's Conway at 7:30 a.m.
  • Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton delivers the keynote address at "Defense of American Democracy" at 9:30 a.m. at George Washington University in Washington.
  • Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., holds a town hall with NARAL Pro-Choice America in New York City at 12:30 p.m.
  • Former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski testifies before the House Judiciary Committee at 1 p.m.
  • Beginning at 3 p.m., several Democratic candidates attend the AFL-CIO Workers' Presidential Summit in Philadelphia, including Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn.; Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Ohio; Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt.; former Rep. Joe Sestak, D-Pa.; Tom Steyer; Marianne Williamson; and Andrew Yang.
  • After the summit, Yang holds rally in Philadelphia at 6:30 p.m. and Sestak holds two campaign events in Chariton and Des Moines, Iowa, starting at 5:30 p.m. (CST).
  • Former Rep. Beto O'Rourke, D-Texas, visits Skid Row Downtown Women's Center in Los Angeles before joining an equity and justice round table at 2:50 p.m. (PST).
  • Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii, hosts a town hall in Fort Dodge, Iowa, at 6 p.m. (CST).
  • Israelis vote in the second round of general elections. Benny Gantz, a former army chief, runs against Benjamin Netanyahu, the country's longest-serving prime minister.
  • Download the ABC News app and select "The Note" as an item of interest to receive the day's sharpest political analysis.

    The Note is a daily ABC News feature that highlights the key political moments of the day ahead. Please check back tomorrow for the latest.