The Note: Steyer looms over Democrats’ 2020 race

Tom Steyer may or may not crash the next debate.

The TAKE with Rick Klein

He may or may not crash the next debate -- and, in so doing, force one big stage into two smaller ones.

But whether or not Tom Steyer gets another DNC-qualifying poll by the Wednesday deadline, his candidacy is already showing signs of shaping the Democratic race for president.

Steyer needs just one more poll of 2% or more to gain the 11th invitation to the September debate on ABC and Univision, according to an analysis of publicly released information about polling and donations. That puts him in better position to qualify for the debates in September and beyond than more than 10 of his rivals, including Rep. Tulsi Gabbard and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand.

That has rankled candidates including Gov. Steve Bullock, who sees Steyer as trying to buy his way into the debates by dumping millions into early-state ads and -- irony alert --securing small-dollar donations. He has lapped the field in early spending, spreading a pro-impeachment message that may be easier to espouse for a coastal progressive than any committed moderate.

It's easy to see Steyer draw fire from the left as well. Both Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren are campaigning on core messages about wealthy individuals trying to own democratic processes.

One poll is all that stands between Steyer and a podium this time. He has the funds and a commitment to the message that virtually ensures the issues he raises will be central in the Democratic debate – at some point

The RUNDOWN with MaryAlice Parks

Three years in and President Donald Trump still shows little interest in untangling his administration from his businesses.

Trump suggested on Monday that next year, when the Group of Seven global economic leaders meet in the U.S., it might be on Trump's literal turf. The president is apparently considering hosting the international, diplomatic summit at his Miami golf course. Live on air, his reasoning sounded like a commercial for the place.

"The airport is right next door. It's a big international airport one of the biggest in the world," he said. "With Doral, we have a series of magnificent buildings -- we call them bungalows -- they each hold from 50 to 70. Very luxurious rooms, with magnificent room views. We have incredible conference rooms, incredible restaurants. It's like -- it's like -- such a natural. ... Having it at that particular place, because of the way it's set up, each country can have their own villa or their own bungalow."

The president later dismissed the idea that he was making money off of his tenure in the White House, a question currently debated in the courts and still under legal scrutiny. In fact, he claimed he has lost "billions" since taking office.

Unlike most of the other 2020 candidates, Trump has also yet to publicly release his taxes.

The TIP with Benjamin Siegel

Rep. Joe Kennedy, D-Mass., confirmed on Monday that he's mulling a primary challenge to Sen. Ed Markey in 2020, potentially setting up the latest intraparty clash between the party's old guard and its next generation of leaders in the Trump era. And unlike former New York Rep. Joe Crowley, the 73-year-old Markey won't be caught sleeping. He's been preparing for a potential primary for more than a year, and has worked to bolster his progressive bonafides, collaborating with Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who defeated Crowley in the primary, to introduce the Green New Deal in the Senate.

"Sen. Markey is running for re-election no matter who enters the race," Markey spokesperson Giselle Barry told ABC News. "He looks forward to continuing to campaign hard and to fight in the Senate for his constituents."

While Kennedy -- who will visit Newton Fire Department Headquarters on Tuesday -- might be ruffling feathers in Massachusetts political circles by taking on Markey, a primary challenge might be the path of least resistance for ambitious Bay State Democrats. In recent years, Democrats have had more luck in head-to-head match-ups against incumbents than in crowded primary contests -- just ask Rep. Ayanna Pressley, who unseated veteran Boston-area Rep. Mike Capuano last year.

Should Warren win the Democratic presidential nomination and unseat Trump, there will be no shortage of Democrats in the state with a deep blue bench jockeying to take her place through a special election. Markey's standing in the state will keep most potential challengers out of his race, which isn't until September of 2020. That gives Kennedy time to put together a campaign as the Democratic presidential field becomes settled and puts him in position to challenge Markey or become the favorite to potentially replace Warren.


ABC News' "Start Here" Podcast. Tuesday morning's episode features ABC News Chief White House correspondent Jonathan Karl, who recaps another day full of headlines regarding China, Iran and Russia at the G7. Then, ABC News Deputy Political Director MaryAlice Parks tells us where the field stands for the ABC News primary debate ahead of Wednesday's qualifying deadline.

FiveThirtyEight "Politics Podcast." In the past few weeks, Rep. Seth Moulton, Gov. Jay Inslee and former Gov. John Hickenlooper have dropped out of the presidential race, with Hickenlooper declaring that he will run for U.S. Senate. In this installment of the FiveThirtyEight Politics podcast, the crew discusses what the early dropouts teach us about the Democratic Party and how the field may winnow going forward.


  • President Trump has lunch with Vice President Mike Pence at 12:30 p.m.
  • Former Vice President Joe Biden, attends a campaign fundraiser in Richmond, Virginia.
  • Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., and former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro are each campaigning in Las Vegas.
  • Former Rep. Beto O'Rourke, campaigns at several South Carolina stops.
  • Tom Steyer campaigns in San Diego.
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