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Democrat Conor Lamb beat a Trump-backed incumbent in a Pennsylvania special election. Photo: Drew Angerer / Getty Images

"A new Democratic Party is emerging in congressional primaries across the country, united over the most liberal policies in decades but sharply divided over which candidates to run against President Trump and Republicans in the midterms," the WashPost reports on A1 ("In 2018 races, ‘D’ is for divided").

The big picture: "The party taking shape will challenge the GOP with a distinct populist tilt, marking a departure from the centrist views that had dominated during the era of Bill Clinton and Barack Obama."

  • The issues: "This year’s candidates have largely endorsed universal health care, a $15 minimum wage, easing the financial burden for college students and tougher gun control."
  • The conflict: "[T]here is sharp disagreement as more than 1,100 candidates have filed, with disputes over tactics — how to criticize Trump or how best to talk about issues — and sparring over who should be the standard-bearers, either first-time hopefuls or experienced politicians."

P.S. N.Y. Times' Trip Gabriel says Pennsylvania is the one state to watch in midterms:

  • "Two developments are converging to give Pennsylvania its outsize role: New congressional districts drawn by the State Supreme Court make the map more of an equal playing field; and a special-election upset by a Democrat in one of the reddest parts of the state signaled an incipient blue wave."

Go deeper

45 million Americans under winter storm watches near New England

Computer model projection showing the winds moving around the powerful East Coast storm on Saturday Jan. 29, 2022. Image: https://earth.nullschool.net

Nearly 45 million Americans are under winter weather alerts and warnings from North Carolina to northeastern Maine, as a major winter storm threatens the region.

Why it matters: It is predicted to be the biggest blizzard since 2018 to strike the Northeast with more than 2 feet of snow possible in parts of eastern Massachusetts, according to the National Weather Service.

2 hours ago - World

Australian PM pledges $700M for climate change-threatened Great Barrier reef

A green sea turtle is flourishing among the corals at Lady Elliot island in Australia's Great Barrier Reef. Photo: Jonas Gratzer/LightRocket via Getty Images

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced Friday a AU$1 billion ($703 million) investment plan for the Great Barrier Reef.

Why it matters: The nine-year plan for projects including water quality improvement, reef conservation and supporting some 64,000 tourism jobs comes months ahead of this year's federal election. It has been criticized by scientists and environmental groups for failing to tackle climate change.

Judge nixes Gulf of Mexico oil leases in climate-focused ruling

Tug boats prepare to tow the semi-submersible drilling platform Noble Danny Adkins through the Port Aransas Channel into the Gulf of Mexico on December 12, 2020 in Port Aransas, Texas. Photo: Tom Pennington/Getty Images

A federal judge on Thursday canceled the Biden administration's late 2021 sale of new oil-and-gas drilling leases in the Gulf of Mexico.

Why it matters: The ruling that the greenhouse gas emissions analysis by the Interior's Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) was insufficient is a win for green groups that challenged the decision, as they seek to curb fossil fuel production.