1) The white man wave

So far, the Democratic 2020 presidential field has been historically diverse. But the next round of candidates to jump in could be decidedly less so.
This week, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and Washington state Gov. Jay Inslee jumped into the race, and with others nearing a decision — Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown, former Rep. Beto O’Rourke, and former Vice President Joe Biden, to name a few — a primary that has thus far been driven by women and minorities could be joined by a wave of white male candidates.
As The New York Times’ Lisa Lerer notes, many of those waiting in the wings have more moderate track records than the candidates already in the race. They see that as an asset in the general election, which could lead to a new dynamic out on the campaign trail as Democrats wrestle with what they want their message to be.
“We’re going to see a more robust debate over what the Democrats want to be in the Trump era,” Lerer said.

2) Warren warning signs

From CNN chief national correspondent John King:
The first voting is still nearly a year away, so it is way, way, way too early to declare a candidacy in crisis.
But Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren does have a significant early problem, close to home.
In New Hampshire, to be precise, which holds the first-in-the-nation presidential primary and where candidates from neighboring Massachusetts are expected to do well.
The latest Granite State Poll, conducted by the University of New Hampshire, shows Warren with weak early numbers in the state, despite her aggressive early campaigning and her effort to set the policy pace in the Democratic field by releasing detailed plans on taxes, child care and more.
One issue for Warren is a face familiar to New Hampshire Democrats: Sen. Bernie Sanders is from neighboring Vermont and won the Granite State primary in 2016.
Plus, to be fair, the most significant number in the new poll, released Thursday, is this: only 5% of New Hampshire Democrats say they have definitely settled on a candidate.
So there is plenty of room to grow, for Warren and the others in the crowded Democratic field. But at the moment, her numbers are heading in the wrong direction.
When provided a list of Democrats who are candidates or likely to be candidates for the 2020 nomination, Warren placed fourth in the latest New Hampshire survey, trailing Sanders, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. She ran third in the same poll in August.
Here’s the wrong direction part: Warren was the choice of 7% of New Hampshire Democrats in the latest poll; in August she garnered 17% support.
Other warning signs: only 3% of Granite State Democrats named Warren as the most likeable Democratic candidate. Joe Biden was cited most on that question — by 31% of Democrats. Warren placed sixth.
Plus, in a race where many Democrats list electability as a top concern, only 2% of New Hampshire Democratic voters named Warren as the candidate with the best chance to win the general election.
Warren did lead the field on one question: 13% of New Hampshire Democrats said they would not vote for Warren under any circumstances. Sanders was next on that question, at 8%.

3) Decision time for Senate Republicans

President Trump’s decision to declare a national emergency on the border is already facing a wave of legal challenges and opposition from Democrats, but it’s causing unease within the Republican Party as well.
Three Republicans in the Senate have already broken ranks and will vote for a Democrat-backed bill to block Trump’s declaration, and several others have expressed concern over the President’s move. If one more Republican votes with the Democrats, it would force Trump’s first-ever veto.
Speaking at CPAC, the President suggested that Republicans who break with him could face blowback, and as The Washington Post’s Toluse Olorunnipa reports, many are torn over how to proceed.
“This is something that’s splitting the party right before several Republican Senate members are likely to focus on their re-election campaigns,” Olorunnipa said, “and several of them are considering whether or not to stick with the President and potentially vote with him, or potentially break ranks” and risk a primary challenge.

4) The future of Democrats’ gun control agenda

This past week, Democrats in Congress passed the most substantive gun control legislation in decades. The two bills — which won some Republican backing — expanded federal background checks and extended the waiting period for gun purchases from three days to 10 days.
As CNN’s Phil Mattingly reports, Democrats saw those issues as “low-hanging fruit” that had the potential to get bipartisan support. But even those who want to push for even bigger changes say that might be it for the near future.
Democrats recognize that gun control is a hot button issue, with deep divides on both sides of the aisle over how to proceed, so Democratic leadership wants to take it slow as they move forward.
“They don’t want to do anything that’s going to lead to a loss,” Mattingly said. “So it will be a step-by-step process, something they want to keep on the front burner” even if no new action is taken in the near future.

5) Democrats’ unusual 2020 target: the filibuster

Democrats’ ambitious agenda in Congress could be stymied by that age-old Senate spoiler: the filibuster.
Staunch Republican opposition makes it unlikely that most of the major proposals put forth by House Democrats and 2020 hopefuls will be able to to surpass the 60-vote threshold needed in the Senate.
As a result, the AP’s Julie Pace reports, Democrats are increasingly looking at doing away with the filibuster if they retake the Senate — and in the meantime, pushing to make it an issue in the party’s 2020 primary.
“They don’t think these are proposals that could pass with a simple majority,” Pace said, “and so they’re really going to be trying to push throughout this primary for candidates to commit to at least considering doing away with the filibuster if they were to become president.”