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The blue wave threatening to crush Trump's re-election chances is growing

With 102 days until Election Day, the blue wave threatening to swamp President Trump's re-election chances keeps getting bigger and bigger.

Why it matters: We all know that anything can happen. But right now, every measurable trend is going against Trump — and with each day that passes, it gets increasingly harder for him to claw his way back.


The Cook Political Report on Friday flipped Florida from "toss-up" to "leans Democratic," citing the state's spiraling coronavirus outbreak.

  • That follows a Quinnipiac poll on Thursday that showed Joe Biden leading by 13 points in the Sunshine State. For context, Trump led Hillary Clinton by 3 points in the same poll in mid-July 2016.

Our thought bubble, from Axios White House editor Margaret Talev: Trump's re-election path has to go through Florida.

  • Without it, he's done.

The tsunami flows down-ballot: Charlie Cook and his team now like Democrats' chances to reclaim the Senate, shifting races in Arizona, Georgia and Iowa in their favor this week.

  • Cook also moved 20 House races toward Democrats.
  • Dave Wasserman, its House editor, said he couldn't recall a similarly sized shift for one party.

The big picture: Trump's net approval rating (-15) has remained remarkably consistent throughout his presidency, highlighting the difficulty he faces in trying to quickly turn around public opinion.

  • 538's Harry Enten noted on CNN this morning that, since 1940, incumbent presidents who were re-elected had an average net approval rating of +23.
  • Those who lost had an average net approval rating of -14.

The bottom line: The pandemic isn't going anywhere. And no matter what the president wants, it's going to define everything from here on out.

  • 102 days ago, the U.S. had 860,000 confirmed coronavirus cases (now 4 million), and Trump claimed "total" authority over ordering states to reopen.
  • Think of everything that's happened since.

COVID-19 shows a bright future for vaccines

Promising results from COVID-19 vaccine trials offer hope not just that the pandemic could be ended sooner than expected, but that medicine itself may have a powerful new weapon.

Why it matters: Vaccines are, in the words of one expert, "the single most life-saving innovation ever," but progress had slowed in recent years. New gene-based technology that sped the arrival of the COVID vaccine will boost the overall field, and could even extend to mass killers like cancer.

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Beware a Thanksgiving mirage

Don't be surprised if COVID metrics plunge over the next few days, only to spike next week.

Why it matters: The COVID Tracking Project warns of a "double-weekend pattern" on Thanksgiving — where the usual weekend backlog of data is tacked on to a holiday.

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Trump pardons Michael Flynn

President Trump on Wednesday pardoned his former national security adviser Michael Flynn, who pleaded guilty in December 2017 to lying to the FBI about his Russian contacts.

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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Past friction between Biden and Erdoğan foreshadows future tensions

Ankara — The incoming Biden administration's foreign policy priorities and worldview will collide with those of the Turkish government on several issues.

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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Tesla's wild rise and European plan

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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China's Xi Jinping congratulates Biden on election win

Chinese President Xi Jinping sent a message to President-elect Biden on Wednesday to congratulate him on his election victory, according to the Xinhua state news agency.

Why it matters: China's foreign ministry offered Biden a belated, and tentative, congratulations on Nov. 13, but Xi had not personally acknowledged Biden's win. The leaders of Brazil, Mexico and Russia are among the very few leaders still declining to congratulate Biden.

This story is breaking news. Please check back for updates.

College basketball is back

A new season of college basketball begins Wednesday, and the goal is clear: March Madness must be played.

Why it matters: On March 12, 2020, the lights went out on college basketball, depriving teams like Baylor (who won our tournament simulation), Dayton, San Diego State and Florida State of perhaps their best chance to win a national championship.

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