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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

Biden to sign executive orders focused on women's rights

President Biden. Photo by Samuel Corum/Getty Images

President Biden will sign executive orders Monday establishing a Gender Policy Council and directing the Department of Education to review the federal law Title IX, according to administration officials.

Why it matters: The Biden administration is signaling its priorities to advance gender equity and equality as women, particularly women of color, have been disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a letter outlining a plan to accelerate peace talks with the Taliban that the U.S. is "considering" a full troop withdrawal from Afghanistan, Afghan outlet TOLOnews first reported Sunday.

Why it matters: In the letter to Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, also obtained by Western news outlets, Blinken expresses concern that the Taliban "could make rapid territorial gain" after an American military withdrawal, even with the continuation of U.S. financial aid, as he urges him to embrace his proposal.

Harry and Meghan accuse British royal family of racism

Photo: Joe Pugliese/Harpo Productions via Reuters

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle delivered a devastating indictment of the U.K. royal family in their conversation with Oprah Winfrey: Both said unnamed relatives had expressed concern about what the skin tone of their baby would be. And they accused "the firm" of character assassination and "perpetuating falsehoods."

Why it matters: An institution that thrives on myth now faces harsh reality. The explosive two-hour interview gave an unprecedented, unsparing window into the monarchy: Harry said his father and brother "are trapped," and Markle revealed that the the misery of being a working royal drove her to thoughts of suicide.