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Steven Senne / AP

A flurry in The Wilderness is triggering a new wave of angst for Dems. This week, we had: the announcement of the first public event by former President Obama (speaking to students Monday at University of Chicago) ... the publication of "Shattered," the juicy autopsy of Hillary's campaign ... the launch of Elizabeth Warren's book tour ... Bernie's road show ... and more GOP weakness in special elections.

All this has done is highlight Democratic rifts and the prayers for a new The One to lead the party, or for guidance from the old One: Obama. But dreams of Obama returning frequently to the public stage are unlikely to be satisfied.

A speed read:

  • The key point, from The Atlantic's Clare Foran: "[I]deological divides within the party [including abortion and economic populism] continue to cause division even after the 2016 presidential election, and that Trump alone will not be enough of a unifying force to paper over those rifts."
  • The problem: "The same debates that divided Democrats throughout the 2016 presidential primary ... threaten to make it more difficult for Democrats to rally around the very candidates who could help the party make inroads in conservative parts of the country."
  • "Very raw": It may have been inevitable, the N.Y. Times' Jonathan Martin points out, that there would be a collision when the biggest star on the left (Bernie) is a class warrior at a time when Democrats are increasingly defined by cultural issues. JMart's front-page dispatch, about a DNC "Unity Tour" stop in Omaha this week, "At a 'Unity' Stop in Nebraska, Democrats Find Anything But."
  • And for those who want hope ... Top of WashPost column 1, "Democratic newcomers gear up for 2018 fight," by Ed O'Keefe and Mike DeBonis: "At least 15 declared [House] candidates or contenders on the verge of announcing have emerged in districts that Democrats must win ... [T]he key ingredient this year is the grass-roots urgency, but the hope is to combine that with organizing heft."
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Go deeper

4 hours ago - Health

Fauci: Omicron variant will "inevitably" be found in U.S.

Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, cautioned on Sunday that the COVID-19 Omicron variant will "inevitably" be found in the United States.

Driving the news: Fauci, Biden's chief medical adviser, told ABC's George Stephanopoulos on "This Week" that U.S. officials will meet with colleagues from South Africa later on Sunday to try to determine the severity of the cases, as countries scramble to learn more about the variant.

Updated 6 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Dems fear supply-chain blame

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

As supply-chain kinks drive up prices and disrupt holiday shopping, Democrats are scrambling to show action and deflect blame.

Why it matters: With their party controlling both the White House and Capitol, vulnerable Democrats worry supply-chain snafus will hurt them in next year's midterms.

6 hours ago - World

Scoop: Germany urges Congress not to sanction Putin’s pipeline

Photo: Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images

The German government has urged members of Congress not to sanction the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, arguing that doing so will "weaken" U.S. credibility and "ultimately damage transatlantic unity," according to documents obtained by Axios.

Why it matters: At a time when roughly 100,000 Russian troops are massing at its border, Ukraine views Nord Stream 2 as an existential threat to its security. The pipeline would circumvent Ukrainian transit infrastructure and deliver Russian gas directly to Germany, eliminating one of the last deterrents Ukraine has against an invasion.