The Note: Polls split 2020 race into haves and have-nots

Half of the Democratic vote is being captured by just two leading candidates.

The TAKE with Rick Klein

The number 23 is bouncing around the heads of potential primary voters, since that's the unprecedentedly high count of major Democratic candidates for president.

But a few other numbers more fully reflect the current reality of a 2020 race that's quickly becoming stratified.

About 50% of the Democratic vote is being captured by just two leading candidates -- former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt. -- as a new CNN poll, which roughly conforms with polling averages, makes clear.

Add in the next four candidates – Sens. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., and Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg and former Rep. Beto O'Rourke, D-Texas, -- and that's fully 75% of the vote spread among just six candidates.

That leaves 17 candidates scrapping for a scant quarter of the expected primary electorate. Those candidates largely like and respect each other -- at least for now.

"This is 'The Avengers.' We're not 'The Hunger Games,'" Rep. Eric Swalwell, one of those struggling to make early debate stages, said on ABC News Live's "The Briefing Room" on Tuesday.

It's early in the race -- except it's not when it comes to qualifying for debates this month and next, and with stricter standards applying to debate qualifications starting in September. Who's in and who's out may depend on how a narrow pie is sliced up among these friends.

The RUNDOWN with MaryAlice Parks

Republicans are hoping to get clarity Wednesday on the president's threat of tariffs on Mexican goods. Administration officials will sit down with a delegation from Mexico at the White House as the pressure to reach deals on trade and immigration mounts.

"I think the president ought to be concerned about another vote on a resolution of disapproval this time to try to implement tariffs," Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., said. "Tariffs are not real popular in the Republican conference."

Congress has already passed two bipartisan resolutions disapproving of President Donald Trump's actions as commander in chief. The president has vetoed both, but on this occasion, Republicans might have the votes to override a veto.

That's just how unpopular the idea of explosive tariffs are within the president's own party.

The TIP with Adam Kelsey

For the better part of four years now, Sanders has been running presidential campaigns focused on economic inequality in the United States, with particular attention paid to the country's billionaires, their willingness to pay their "fair share," and -- often -- their treatment of their employees. On Wednesday, he takes that message straight to one of the targets of his ire when he speaks at the annual Walmart shareholders' meeting in Arkansas on behalf of workers lobbying for a seat on the company's board of directors.

Though it's not a traditional campaign event, Sanders has been using the upcoming opportunity to portray himself as the candidate of the American worker. At recent events, he's highlighted his legislative leadership on such issues, including his 2018 "Stop Walmart" and "Bezos" Acts, which sought to raise wages for their employees who receive public assistance.

"The greed at Walmart and throughout corporate America is destroying the social and economic fabric of America and it needs to stop," he said in a statement Tuesday.

But the question remains as to whether the Walton family, which still controls a near majority of votes at the meeting, will get the message, even when it's delivered by a presidential front runner.


ABC News' "Start Here" podcast. Wednesday morning's episode features ABC News Senior Washington Reporter Devin Dwyer, who decodes the rhetoric around Trump's tariff threats on Mexico. Then we hear from Missouri Farm Bureau president Blake Hurst, who says the effects of historic flooding in the Midwest will be felt by consumers in a variety of areas.

ABC News' "Powerhouse Politics" podcast. South Carolina Democrat Jaime Harrison recently announced his candidacy for the U.S. Senate. Harrison, who served as the first black chairman of the South Carolina Democrats, speaks with ABC News Political Director Rick Klein and Senior Congressional Correspondent Mary Bruce on Wednesday about his challenge to incumbent Sen. Lindsey Graham, the current chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee.


  • President Donald Trump participates in an event commemorating the 75th anniversary of D-Day at 6:15 a.m. EDT. He then participates in a D-Day veteran meet-and-greet event with Queen Elizabeth II at 7:45 a.m. and in a separate meet-and-greet event with American D-Day veterans at 8:35 a.m. He finishes his day with a meeting with the Irish Prime Minister at 12:15 p.m.
  • Washington Gov. Jay Inslee delivers a speech at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York City.
  • Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., delivers remarks at Walmart's annual shareholders' meeting in Rogers, Arkansas.
  • Former Rep. Beto O'Rourke, D-Texas, campaigns in Georgia.
  • Former Vice President Joe Biden campaigns in Massachusetts and Georgia.
  • Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., campaigns in Indiana.
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