Stories by Jim VandeHei

The deeply divided Democrats

This image is a four-way split between Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren, Pete Buttigieg, Bernie Sanders
Photos: Pat Greenhouse/The Boston Globe, Ron Adar/Echoes Wire/Barcroft Media, Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency and Alex Wroblewski via Getty Images

Democratic voters remain stubbornly divided on the top candidates in the four critical early states — and basically split in half between liberal and more centrist candidates.

Why it matters: A slew of new polls illuminates why many top Democrats think the 2020 race will be a long slog — and culminate with a fierce ideological battle between Sanders-style socialism and Biden-style tempered liberalism.

Iran's 3 catastrophic mistakes

This GIF of three video images, of Iran's shootdown of a Ukrainian plane, shows a flash at the moment of explosion (darkest image), the plane engulfed, then the crash. Images: AP

The Iranian regime has miscalculated in three disastrous ways, leaving the Supreme Leader in a weaker position than 11 days ago.

Our thought bubble: Trump is taking a lot of flak globally and from Democrats. But at this moment, the Iranian regime is doing most of the suffering.

Trump's twin war threats

Photos: Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images; Nicholas Kamm/AFP via Getty Images; Leader.ir/Pool/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

President Trump suddenly faces two global crises in North Korea and Iran — via Iraq — both with the real possibility of U.S. military action, if not war.

Why it matters: Trump has benefited from relative peace abroad and prosperity at home. But these twin challenges will truly test his diplomatic mix of bluster and buddying up to bad guys on the world stage.