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Trump ramps up culture war attacks with new sports targets

President Trump's attacks are spreading to sports that are cornerstones of rural, conservative white American life.

Why it matters: The culture war that engulfed the NBA and NFL is reaching other major leagues, with teams that stonewalled activists for years suddenly showing a willingness to listen.


Among Trump's targets Monday:

  1. Bubba Wallace, NASCAR's only Black driver at its top level, who Trump tweeted should apologize after a "hoax" noose was found in his garage. Wallace neither found the noose nor reported it to NASCAR — and while the noose had been hanging prior to Wallace's team using the garage, NASCAR took it seriously and called it "real."
  2. NASCAR itself, who Trump said shouldn't have banned the "Flag," a reference to the organization forbidding the display of the Confederate battle flag that was flown by men who killed U.S. Army soldiers.
  3. The Washington Redskins and Cleveland Indians, who Trump said would be weak and "politically correct" to change their name. He tossed in a dig at Sen. Elizabeth Warren for good measure.

Between the lines: Sen. Lindsey Graham disagreed with Trump.

  • "I don’t think Bubba Wallace has anything to apologize for," Graham said on Fox News host Brian Kilmeade's radio show, per Mediaite.
  • "I’ve lived in South Carolina all my life and if you’re in business, the Confederate flag is not a good way to grow your business," he told CNN.

The bottom line: Trump is "pitting himself against the Black Lives Matter racial justice movement. It's really that simple. He is going to say that he is for law and order. That he is for defending the streets," Axios' Jonathan Swan said on this morning's Axios Today podcast.

  • The "ugly reality of this election is that in some instances it's going to look like a race war."

Go deeper: Trump's Tucker Carlson mind-meld

Israel and Sudan begin normalization process after call with Trump

Sudan and Israel announced today that they will “end the state of belligerence” between them and start the process of normalizing ties.

Driving the news: The announcement came after a phone call hosted by President Trump with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Sudanese Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok, and the head of Sudan's governing council, Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Burhan.

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We're all guinea pigs for Tesla's latest self-driving tech

Tesla is beta-testing its latest self-driving technology with a small group of early adopters, a move that alarms experts and makes every road user — including other motorists, pedestrians and cyclists — unwitting subjects in its ongoing safety experiment.

Why it matters: Tesla hailed the limited rollout of its "full self-driving" beta software as a key milestone, but the warnings on the car's touchscreen underscore the risk in using its own customers — rather than trained safety drivers — to validate the technology.

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Trump removes Sudan from state sponsors of terrorism list

President Trump signed Friday an order to remove Sudan from the State Department’s state sponsors of terrorism list, senior U.S. officials tell me.

Why it matters: Trump’s signature paves the way for the U.S. and Sudan to move forward on a larger deal — which will also include a Sudanese announcement on normalizing its relations with Israel.

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Big Ten football is back

The Big Ten football season kicks off tonight after months of a "will they, won't they" narrative.

The state of play: Each team will play eight regular season games, culminating in a ninth, cross-divisional matchup on Dec. 19 (i.e. the Big Ten Championship, but also No. 2 East vs. No. 2 West, etc.).

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Child care crisis is denting the labor market

Reproduced from Pew Research Center; Chart: Axios Visuals

New data from the Pew Research Center shows that parents are being hit especially hard by the coronavirus pandemic, and as far as job losses go, mothers and fathers are faring equally poorly.

Why it matters: Economists have been warning for months that the pandemic could do long-term damage to the economy as people remain unemployed for longer stretches of time.

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"This guy": Trump-Biden personal venom was on full display during final debate

Joe Biden twice referred to President Trump as "this guy," and Trump called the former vice president's family "like a vacuum cleaner" for foreign money.

Why it matters: The personal venom — during Thursday's final presidential debate, in Nashville — was a reminder that even during a more normal debate, nothing this year is normal.

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Trump's hopes of nuclear deal with Putin come down to the wire

A surprise offer from Vladimir Putin has the U.S. and Russia once again circling a potential pre-election nuclear deal.

The big picture: The last treaty constraining the U.S. and Russia, New START, is due to expire on Feb. 5, 2021, two weeks after the next U.S. presidential inauguration. For the first time since the height of the Cold War, the nuclear guardrails could come off.

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The cliffhanger could be ... Georgia

It hasn't backed a Democrat for president since 1992, but Georgia's changing demographics may prove pivotal this year — not only to Trump v. Biden, but also to whether Democrats take control of the Senate.

Why it matters: If the fate of the Senate did hinge on Georgia, it might be January before we know the outcome. Meanwhile, voters' understanding of this power in the final days of the election could juice turnout enough to impact presidential results.

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