Conor Lamb reacts to winning the democratic nomination for District 18 Congressional in 2017. Photo: Jeff Swensen for The Washington Post via Getty Images

Democrats are feeling hopeful after two developments Tuesday: the redrawing of Pennsylvania's congressional map and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee's record fundraising.

Why it matters: They have a few advantages heading into this year's election, although recent polling suggests the so-called "blue wave" coming for Republicans might not be as strong as predicted. But addressing gerrymandering, especially in a state that went for Trump in 2016, and raising millions for House candidates could help the Democrats in some targeted races.

Pennsylvania's new map tips several districts in Democrats' favor. Previously, Democrats have only won 5 of the state's 18 House seats in each election since 2011 when Republicans drew the last congressional district map.

  • Why it matters: Democrats could pick up at least three seats (some predict as many as 11) given the way the new map is drawn.
  • Big picture: "This coming on the heels of some really tough GOP retirements in California is a real hit to Republicans' hopes to hold the House," Democratic pollster Zac McCrary told Axios.
  • The other side: Federal and state GOP officials are planning to sue over the new map. "The suit will highlight the state supreme court’s rushed decision that created chaos, confusion, and unnecessary expense in the 2018 election cycle," said NRCC Communications Director Matt Gorman.

The DCCC announced that they raised over $9 million in January — almost $3 million more than what they raised in January of 2016.

  • Why it matters: DCCC also announced they've added six new candidates to their "red-to-blue" program, which includes financial support from the campaign arm. Through fundraising and candidate recruitment they're expanding their presence in a handful of battleground races across the country.
  • Big picture: The group also raised nearly $3.5 million just through online donations in January. This reflects the grassroots energy we've seen fueling other Democrats' efforts, like Randy Bryce in Wisconsin.
  • The other side: The NRCC raised over $10 million in the first month of 2018, setting a record for the Republican Congressional campaign arm.

One thing Democrats need to figure out: messaging. Numerous prominent Democrats are rebuking Nancy Pelosi for her tax cuts "crumbs" comment and that's only adding to the midterm migraines they're having months before the election.

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Updated 15 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 4:30 p.m. ET: 21,295,429 — Total deaths: 767,714— Total recoveries: 13,295,750Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 4:30 p.m. ET: 5,345,610 — Total deaths: 169,146 — Total recoveries: 1,796,326 — Total tests: 65,676,624Map.
  3. Health: The coronavirus-connected heart ailment that could lead to sudden death in athletes — Patients grow more open with their health data during pandemic — FDA issues emergency use authorization for Yale's saliva coronavirus test.
  4. Education: "Historic" laptop demand leads to shortages ahead of remote school — Why learning pods aren't a panacea for remote learning — The COVID-19 learning cliff.
  5. States: New York to reopen gyms, bowling alleys, museums.
  6. Podcasts: The rise of learning podsSpecial ed under pressure — Not enough laptops — The loss of learning.

The COVID-19 learning cliff

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Perhaps the most jarring reality of the COVID-19 pandemic for families has been the sudden and dramatic disruption to all levels of education, which is expected to have deep social and economic repercussions for years — if not decades — to come.

Why it matters: As millions of students are about to start the school year virtually, at least in part, experts fear students may fall off an educational cliff — missing key academic milestones, falling behind grade level and in some cases dropping out of the educational system altogether.

Postal slowdown threatens election breakdown

In 24 hours, signs of a pre-election postal slowdown have moved from the shadows to the spotlight, with evidence emerging all over the country that this isn't a just a potential threat, but is happening before our eyes.

Why it matters: If you're the Trump administration, and you're in charge of the federal government, remember that a Pew poll published in April found the Postal Service was viewed favorably by 91% of Americans.