Trump's trade war, Bullock enters race & Russia's ghost villages: The Morning Rundown

Montana Gov. Steve Bullock, a Democrat and red state winner, announced his 2020 presidential bid in a video Tuesday.
Image: Farmer Mark Catterton harvests soybeans in Owings, Maryland, on Oct. 19, 2018.
"Farmers are really reeling from the realization of where they’re at today," one economist said about the escalating trade war. Mark Wilson / Getty Images file

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By Petra Cahill

Good morning, NBC News readers.

Another Democrat has entered the crowded 2020 presidential race — and he’s got a compelling argument for his electability.

Montana's Gov. Steve Bullock is a Democrat who's been elected twice in a red state.

Here's what else we're watching today.

'Farmers live and die on trade'

As the trade war with China intensifies, American farmers have been left scrambling.

Beijing announced yesterday that it would impose tariffs on $60 billion of U.S. goods. That caused stock markets in the U.S. to tumble, and left farmers facing a future that looks financially bleak.

"We just keep hunkering down and doing what we can to reduce costs as much as possible, and digging into reserves, and borrowing more money and using up equity," Tim Bardole, an Iowa farmer, told NBC News.

"We really need some sort of resolution," he added. "Farmers live and die on trade."

So what is China targeting with its 25 percent tariff? Everything from tequila to TV cameras. Check out some of the products on the Chinese Finance Ministry's list.

President Donald Trump is taking a big gamble by escalating the trade war and is betting his political future and the country's economy, NBC News' Jonathan Allen writes in a news analysis.

Montana Gov. Steve Bullock joins 2020 race

Montana Gov. Steve Bullock announced his bid for the Democratic presidential nomination in a video this morning.

He enters the contest as a long shot, with little money, minimal name-recognition and a late start.

As he enters the fray, he'll have to grapple with a question the other candidates have been faced with: What exactly does "Medicare for All" mean?

The issue of what exactly single-payer means has become a flashpoint in the race for the White House.

Core to Bullock's case to voters is that he was elected governor of Montana twice, including his reelection in 2016 on the same night Donald Trump won the state in a landslide. William Campbell / Corbis via Getty Images file

Carbon dioxide in Earth's atmosphere has hit a level not seen in more than 3 million years

In the latest bit of bad news for a planet beset by climate change, the concentration of carbon dioxide in Earth’s atmosphere has climbed to a level last seen more than 3 million years ago, according to sensors at the Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii.

"Earth was a very different place," said Rob Jackson, a professor of earth system science at Stanford University. "You would hardly recognize the land surface, and my gosh, we don’t want to go there."

The last time levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide were this high came during the Pliocene Epoch, which extended from about 5.3 million to 2.6 million years ago. Robert Nickelsberg / Getty Images file

Bringing the ghosts of Russia's dying villages to life

Years of economic and social malaise have devastated Russia’s rural communities.

Around 20,000 villages are now entirely abandoned, according to official figures. Around 36,000 others have fewer than 10 residents each.

The phenomenon of these dying villages has inspired artist Alisa Gorshenina.

Her ghostly portraits capturing the decline of Russia's rural heartland have earned her recognition as one of the rising stars of Russia’s art scene.

Alisa Gorshenina poses with a cardboard boar she found in an abandoned school in Yakshina, Russia.Denis Sinyakov / for NBC News

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In Memoriam

Doris Day, who used her girl-next-door good looks to charm American audiences during a decades-long acting and singing career, died Monday. She was 97.

See her life in pictures here and a video below.

We apologize, this video has expired.

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Thanks, Petra