Next Stop for Democrats: 2020

Hi. Welcome to On Politics, your guide to the day in national politics. I’m Lisa Lerer, your host.

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Don’t say we didn’t warn you: The 2018 midterm isn’t even over (so many Florida recounts), but 2020 has already begun. Democratic candidates are making their ambitions known. People inside the party are fighting over its direction. There’s even been a poll.

Now, like all super-duper-early presidential polls, this one mostly gauges one thing: name recognition. But a development worth noting? Coming in third, after Joe Biden and Senator Bernie Sanders, is Beto O’Rourke, the Texas Senate candidate who lost to Senator Ted Cruz.

As my colleagues Jonathan Martin and Alex Burns detailed on Sunday, Mr. O’Rourke is at the center of much of the Democratic Party’s post-midterm debate.

The moderate wing of the party is contrasting his loss with victories from more middle-of-the-road candidates in Midwestern governors’ races and Republican House districts. That’s a sign, they say, that the party must pick a candidate who can win in those places. The liberal wing counters that Mr. O’Rourke and Stacey Abrams, in Georgia, did far better than expected with unapologetically progressive campaigns in red states.

The debate is likely to rage on for months — if not all the way until Democratic primary voters cast their ballots.

It was also a busy week for new entrants publicly testing the 2020 waters:

Richard Ojeda, who lost his 2018 House race in southern West Virginia, announced his run on Monday. Mr. Ojeda, a veteran who came to prominence during his state’s teacher strikes, says he has a unique argument against President Trump — because he voted for him in 2016.

Senator Sherrod Brown, of Ohio, said he’s hearing a “sort of crescendo” of interest in him making a White House bid. Mr. Brown, a progressive who focuses on workers’ rights, told Cleveland.com, “My message clearly appeals to Democrats, Republicans and independents.”

Julián Castro, the former housing secretary and mayor of San Antonio, convened supporters and donors to discuss a bid.

The former Starbucks C.E.O. Howard Schultz is hiring some top notch P.R. — and political — talent. He hasn’t ruled out a presidential run.

A few known potential candidates have also been making news this week:

Michael Bloomberg, former mayor of New York, told the A.P. that he planned to have some discussions about a possible bid over “Thanksgiving, Christmas and then maybe a few weeks into January.”

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, who vowed to serve her full six-year term during an October Senate debate, told ABC’s The View that she’s thinking about running, casting it as “moral question.” She said: “I believe I’ve been called to fight as hard as I possibly can to restore that moral integrity, that moral decency. So, I’m thinking about it.”

A top adviser for Senator Bernie Sanders told CNN that his wife, Jane Sanders, had been cleared in a long-running investigation into a Vermont college she ran.

Oh, and then there’s Hillary Clinton. Her advisers and ex-advisers have been stoking the idea that Mrs. Clinton will make a third White House bid. She hasn’t definitively knocked down the idea.

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President Trump’s war against unfriendly media coverage escalated last week with the revoking of a CNN reporter’s press pass. Michael M. Grynbaum, who covers media for The Times, sent us this update today, on how the president is talking about the case:

President Trump is in a fight with CNN.

So he brought The Daily Caller into the Oval Office to talk about it.

“Is it freedom of the press when somebody comes in and starts screaming questions and won’t sit down?” Mr. Trump asked reporters from the right-leaning web publication during an interview today.

The president made his remarks hours before lawyers in the case of CNN v. Donald J. Trump were due to appear in a Washington courthouse. The judge announced this evening that he would make a ruling in the case tomorrow.

The lawsuit, an effort to restore the yanked press badge of CNN’s correspondent Jim Acosta, has crystallized the tense relationship between Mr. Trump and the media. Major news outlets, including Fox News, are supporting CNN.

Mr. Trump was less impressed. “Jim Acosta is just somebody who gets up and grandstands,” he griped to the Caller.

After a rocky few days, perhaps the president was seeking some comfort. He gave a string of interviews ahead of the midterms, but has mostly shunned the press since. The Acosta case is a referendum of sorts on the president’s ability to pick and choose the journalists who cover him.

Outcome aside, Mr. Trump has seized on the kerfuffle to galvanize his base. A fund-raising email from the Trump campaign today declared, “CNN SUES! Help Trump Win.” Supporters were informed that the president “will NOT put up with the media’s liberal bias and utter disrespect.”

Read Michael’s latest story here: CNN’s White House Lawsuit Wins Support, Including From Trump Favorite Fox News

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Russian meddling, data sharing, hate speech — Facebook has faced one scandal after another. How did its leaders respond? By obscuring warnings and hiring lobbyists to deflect criticism. Read the Times investigation here.

If you’ve got The NYTimes app on your phone or tablet, you’re going to want to check out this virtual tour of the Statue of Liberty’s torch.

“Throughout history, women have been traduced and silenced. Now, it’s our time to tell our own stories in our own words.” Monica speaks.

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Riveted by this real-life scary movie. A happy family with three young kids. A dream home in a leafy suburban town. And then, a mysterious letter arrives from someone called “The Watcher.”

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