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Joe Biden offers himself to Americans as an "ally of the light"

In last night's acceptance speech, Joe Biden never said President Trump's name. The former vice president used the biggest stage of his 50 years in politics to humanize himself, with the intended subtext: "I am you. You are me."

If you didn’t know anything about Biden before last night, you’d remember four things: He conquered a childhood stutter, he lost his wife and daughter, found redemption and joy in Jill, then encountered grief again when Beau died.


Why it matters: A country burying its dead is being offered a chance to hire someone who knows how to grieve.

  • The Biden campaign thinks the election will hinge on the coronavirus response.

Biden set his priorities — as well as expectations — by saying he would do on the coronavirus "what we should have done from the very beginning."

  • "We'll put the politics aside and take the muzzle off our experts so the public gets the information they need and deserve. The honest, unvarnished truth. They can deal with that."
  • "We'll have a national mandate to wear a mask — not as a burden, but to protect each other. It's a patriotic duty."

Between the lines: From the perspective of Trump aides, Biden did everything they wish he wouldn't.

  • He didn’t stumble or jumble, making it more difficult for Republicans to attack him as unfit.
  • "Morning" Joe Scarborough called Biden's tone "Reaganesque."

Biden said he "will be an ally of the light":

The current president has cloaked America in darkness for much too long. Too much anger. Too much fear. Too much division. ...
May history be able to say that the end of this chapter of American darkness began here tonight as love and hope and light joined in the battle for the soul of the nation.

Grace note ... Setting the fireworks after the speech to a song by Beau's favorite band, Coldplay, was a way for Biden to share the milestone with a child he had hoped might ascend to the presidency himself.

Go deeper: Video and more quotes from Biden's speech

  • Axios' David Nather and Alexi McCammond contributed reporting.

Supreme Court backs religious groups on New York coronavirus restrictions

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled late Wednesday that restrictions imposed on New York places of worship by Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) during the coronavirus pandemic violated the First Amendment, per Bloomberg.

Why it matters: The decision in a 5-4 vote heralds one of the first significant actions by the new President Trump-appointed conservative Justice Amy Coney Barrett, who cast the deciding vote in favor of the Catholic Church and Orthodox Jewish synagogues.

Editor's note: This a breaking news story. Please check back for updates.

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Why it matters: It is the first of multiple pardons expected in the coming weeks, as Axios scooped last night.

This is a breaking story and will be updated with more details.

The emerging cybersecurity headaches awaiting Biden

The incoming administration will face a slew of cybersecurity-related challenges, as Joe Biden takes office under a very different environment than existed when he was last in the White House as vice president.

The big picture: President-elect Biden's top cybersecurity and national security advisers will have to wrestle with the ascendancy of new adversaries and cyberpowers, as well as figure out whether to continue the more aggressive stance the Trump administration has taken in cyberspace.

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Why it matters: The U.S. needs its NATO ally Turkey for its efforts to contain Russia, counter Iran and deal with other crises in the Middle East. But relations between Biden and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan are expected to be strained.

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Data: FactSet; Chart: Axios Visuals

Tesla's market capitalization blew past $500 billion for the first time Tuesday.

Why it matters: It's just a number, but kind of a wild one. Consider, via CNN: "Tesla is now worth more than the combined market value of most of the world's major automakers: Toyota, Volkswagen, GM, Ford, Fiat Chrysler and its merger partner PSA Group."

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