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Inside 2020

Inside 2020 (Nov 22nd, 2019)

1. Ratings for Wednesday night's Democratic debate on MSNBC were the lowest of the five thus far this primary season, garnering 6.6 million in total viewership. The figure marks a 20 percent drop from the last Democratic debate on CNN in October. However, EU ambassador Gordon Sondland testified in the impeachment hearings earlier in the day — a development that dominated the news cycle and likely played a role in the low ratings, according to Deadline. MSNBC noted that the debate garnered an additional 1.3 million live video streams. -- AJC 

2. Former President Obama cautioned Democrats at a California fundraiser that they need to "chill out" over their primary candidates. Obama panned "purity tests" and reminded attendees that the differences between the Democratic candidates pale in comparison to their contrasts with President Trump. "Everybody needs to chill out about the candidates, but gin up about the prospect of rallying behind whoever emerges from this process," the former president said. -- CNN

3. Pro-charter school protesters interrupted an Atlanta rally for Sen. Elizabeth Warren on Thursday night. The group, wearing shirts that read Powerful Parent Network, chanted "our voice, our choice." Rep. Ayanna Pressley, who attended the event after endorsing Warren earlier this month, helped to ease the tensions. "No one is here to quiet you," Pressley explained to the protesters from the stage. Warren's education plans include ending funds for charter school expansion. -- THE GUARDIAN

4. Testifying in Thursday's impeachment hearings, former National Security Council official Dr. Fiona Hill warned that Russia is preparing to attack the U.S. elections next November. "Right now, Russia’s security services and their proxies have geared up to repeat their interference in the 2020 election," Hill warned lawmakers. "We are running out of time to stop them." Hill, an expert on Russia, batted down conspiracy theories claiming it was Ukraine — not Russia — that meddled in the 2016 presidential election, while further corroborating witness testimony documented throughout the impeachment inquiry. -- MARKETWATCH

5. A new poll by Emerson College shows Sen. Bernie Sanders and former Vice President Joe Biden tied for first atop the Democratic field at 27 percent each. Sen. Elizabeth Warren came in third at 20 percent. The survey, released on Thursday, suggests Sanders has found new momentum after enduring a heart attack last month and gaining several key endorsements from progressives in Congress, including Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Ilhan Omar. -- THE HILL

6. The Emerson College poll also found independent voters are swinging away from support for impeachment. Forty-three percent of voters support impeaching President Trump — down from 48 percent in October. A 14-point drop in support from independents is largely responsible for the overall decline. Despite a number of developments illustrating what Democrats would characterize as the president's misconduct, polling averages show support for impeachment waning in recent weeks with less than a year to go before the 2020 election. -- THE HILL

7. Democrats on Thursday slammed Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg for secretly dining with President Trump at the White House in October. Sen. Elizabeth Warren called the meeting "corruption, plain and simple," while Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez condemned the private gathering: "If they’re hiding it, usually it’s for a reason." Democrats have been increasingly critical of the social media giant for what they see as cozying up to the GOP ahead of the 2020 elections in an attempt to avoid regulations. -- POLITICO   

8. Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin's stay at President Trump's D.C. hotel in 2018 may be unconstitutional, legal experts told The Washington Post. In two federal cases winding their way through the courts, plaintiffs allege Trump's refusal to separate his business interests from his presidency violates the emoluments clause. Heading into the 2020 election, the Post reports that Bevin's $686 stay at the hotel could be used as evidence that Trump is personally profiting off the presidency. -- WASHINGTON POST

9. Democratic presidential hopefuls spread out across the Atlanta area on Thursday to try to make inroads with black voters. The day after their debate in Georgia, several candidates held events to engage the critical voting block, as former Vice President Joe Biden retains his commanding lead with the constituency. Mayor Pete Buttigieg, who's surged into a frontrunner in Iowa, has the most ground to gain, as polling suggests he's earning 0 to 1 percent among black voters. -- NEW YORK TIMES

10. Several Democratic senators criticized Rep. Tulsi Gabbard after Wednesday night's debate in which she blasted the party and produced fodder for the Trump campaign. On stage, Gabbard said the Democratic Party is not the party that is of, by and for the people" — a video clip quickly shared by Trump's War Room account on Twitter. "She sort of seems to be filling a pretty strange lane," Sen. Chris Murphy of Connecticut said. "Is there a part of the party that hates the party?" -- POLITICO

Robbie Couch is a writer and reporter whose work has been published on HuffPost, GOOD magazine, Upworthy, and more. In previous roles, Robbie has written about politics, pop culture news, and social issues.

Editor: Kim Lyons, Inside Managing Editor and Pittsburgh-based freelance journalist.

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