The Note: Trump reframes 2020 race, with higher stakes

PHOTO: From left, Reps. Rashida Tlaib, Ilhan Omar, Ayanna Pressley and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, respond to remarks by President Donald Trump at the Capitol in Washington, July 15, 2019.PlayJ. Scott Applewhite/AP
WATCH House adopts resolution condemning president after racist attacks

The TAKE with Rick Klein

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President Donald Trump campaigns Wednesday night in North Carolina having chosen new opponents for himself.

He did so by elevating four female House Democrats, who collectively showed the potential power of the new Democratic Party -- and exposed some potential political weaknesses.

Even Tuesday's chaotic scenes on the House floor didn't change the fact that Democrats are finding unity and fresh rallying cries in response to the president's gambit.

PHOTO: From left, Reps. Rashida Tlaib, Ilhan Omar, Ayanna Pressley and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, respond to remarks by President Donald Trump at the Capitol in Washington, July 15, 2019. J. Scott Applewhite/AP
From left, Reps. Rashida Tlaib, Ilhan Omar, Ayanna Pressley and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, respond to remarks by President Donald Trump at the Capitol in Washington, July 15, 2019.

Sen. Kamala Harris, who launched an attack on former Vice President Joe Biden's record of race issues less than three weeks ago, turned Trump's line around: "He needs to go back to where he came from," she said to applause in Iowa.

But, as Wednesday's campaign event might demonstrate, Trump is in something of a comfort zone himself. He's already fashioning his initial tweet into a broader attack on socialism and even communism.

Trump also has a long history of being called a racist in the context of campaigns he has won. This time, he can even count on a mostly unified Republican Party to back him up.

If pettiness will define the 2020 race, the campaign at least won't be about small things. Trump has again made sure of that -- intentionally or not.

The RUNDOWN with MaryAlice Parks

Former Rep. Beto O'Rourke qualified on Tuesday for the third Democratic primary debate in September, when the thresholds for entry increase dramatically. Unlike these first two rounds of debates, candidates will have to show they have received 2% in early state or national polls, as well as 130,000 donors to their campaigns, to take the stage in the fall.

On Tuesday, the window closed for qualifying for the second debates in Detroit at the end of this month.

O'Rourke hit the mark in a poll from New Hampshire, a crucial early state that will hold the nation's first state primary next year. By contrast, in national polls of late, he has struggled to register.

PHOTO: Beto ORourke participates in the first Democratic primary debate hosted by NBC News at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts in Miami, Florida, June 26, 2019. Wilfredo Lee/AP
Beto O'Rourke participates in the first Democratic primary debate hosted by NBC News at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts in Miami, Florida, June 26, 2019.

Big picture, there's increasing evidence that his campaign has sputtered. After tangling with fellow Texan Julian Castro onstage in Miami, he seemed to begin a backwards slide.

Late on Monday night, O'Rourke's team announced he had brought in $3.6 million in the second quarter. That's more than others, for sure, but a far cry from the over $6 million he raised in just the first 24 hours of launching his campaign.

It's too early to talk about a Beto bust, of course. Anything can still happen. But he has a had a tough time breaking through, though there has been so much national attention on his home state, and his fundraising and polling numbers are tracking in the wrong direction.

The TIP with Beatrice Peterson

She may not be running for president, or even old enough to be the next person to occupy the White House, but the star power of rapper Cardi B has brought new attention to several politicians.

On Monday, Cardi B posted an altered cover of Rolling Stone Magazine on Instagram. The unaltered image featured House Speaker Nancy Pelosi with Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar and Jahana Hayes. However, the image Cardi B posted replaced Pelosi with fellow millennial Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, who's running for president.

Gabbard drew attention in 2016 when she stepped down from her role as a Democratic National Committee vice chair in order to endorse Sen. Bernie Sanders.

PHOTO: Cardi B performs on stage during the Wireless Festival on July 05, 2019 in London. Lorne Thomson/Redferns via Getty Images
Cardi B performs on stage during the Wireless Festival on July 05, 2019 in London.

The next day, Cardi B would post on Twitter about Sanders, saying, "I been reading about Bernie Sanders and I'm really sad how we let him down in 2016." Expressing interest in Sanders isn't new to Cardi B. Back in April, she said on a red carpet, "Imma always be with Bernie…Bernie don't say things to be cool. There's pictures of him being an activist from a very, very, very long time."

In the coming months, expect to see more candidates and entertainers interact on the campaign trail and on social media. For Gabbard, Cardi B's remarks introduced her to a new audience that may have been unfamiliar with her in the crowded field of Democratic contenders. And for Sanders, Cardi B's tweet energized his base in a week where other 2020 contenders dominated the headlines.

ONE MORE THING

Retired Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens died on Tuesday night at the age of 99. Stevens was nominated to the High Court by Republican President Gerald Ford in 1975 and retired in 2010 after serving more than 34 years. Despite being put on the bench by a Republican, Stevens became a hero to liberals voting to limit the use of the death penalty, uphold affirmative action, broaden the core holding of Roe v. Wade and argue for a strict separation of church and state.

THE PLAYLIST

ABC News' "Start Here" podcast. Wednesday morning's episode features ABC News' Mary Bruce and Terry Moran, who walk us through the vote in the House to condemn President Donald Trump's tweets, and how similar rhetoric has taken hold in Europe in recent years. And ABC News' Joshua Hoyos explains the controversy unfolding within Puerto Rico's government. http://apple.co/2HPocUL

ABC News' "Powerhouse Politics" podcast. Former Rep. Mark Sanford, R-S.C., speaks with ABC News Political Director Rick Klein and Senior Congressional Correspondent Mary Bruce. Klein also interviews Tim Alberta, author of "American Carnage" and chief political correspondent for Politico Magazine. https://bit.ly/2FA0CIm

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW TODAY

  • President Donald Trump hosts a Keep America Great rally in Greenville, North Carolina, beginning at 7 p.m.
  • Mayor of South Bend, Indiana, Pete Buttigieg joins former Missouri secretary of state and veteran Jason Kander for a Veterans Community Project tour in Kansas City, Missouri, at 9:30 a.m. CT and then attends a Grassroots event for country singer Brooke Eden in Nashville, Tennessee, that evening.
  • Former Vice President Joe Biden will have a community event in Council Bluffs, Iowa, at 11 a.m. CT.
  • Former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper hosts two meet-and-greets in Hanover and Laconia, New Hampshire, beginning at 1 p.m.
  • Four candidates participate in the AARP and Des Moines Register presidential candidate forum in Cedar Rapids Wednesday, including Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Ohio, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii, former Rep. John Delaney, D-Md., and Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo., beginning at 2 p.m. CT.
  • Before heading to the forum, Ryan travels to Oak Park, Illinois, for the Social-Emotional Learning in Schools Summit at 9 a.m. CT; Delaney hosts a meet and greet in Mount Vernon, Iowa, at 12 p.m. CT, and Bennet also holds a meet and greet with Emerge Iowa in Cedar Rapids at 1 p.m. CT.
  • Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., is set to deliver a "major address" on Medicare for All, according to his campaign, in Washington, D.C., at 4 p.m.
  • Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., hosts a grassroots happy hour at the Pearl Street Warehouse in Washington, D.C., at 5:30 p.m.
  • Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., appears on ABC's "Jimmy Kimmel Live!"
  • Download the ABC News app and select "The Note" as an item of interest to receive the day's sharpest political analysis every weekday.

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