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Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

For President Trump's first term, the domestic agenda appears to be all but over. Congress has little chance of doing anything notable before the election, beyond confirming judges.

Why it matters: Whichever party ekes out a House win in November, the margin will likely be narrow. When we game out 2019 scenarios with administration officials, a number of them assume Republicans will lose the House. So Washington is gridlocked until at least January 2021 — meaning that this is it for signature legislation in Trump's first term.

  • The idea of Trump shifting into bipartisan mode post-election seems unimaginable. He has chosen a strategy of hot partisan warfare that looks impossible to cool. 
  • If Democrats win the House, it’s two years of subpoenas and impeachment talk.

The biggest domestic accomplishment, tax reform, is behind him.

  • So Trump — frustrated with a hopelessly dysfunctional Congress and unable to understand why Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) doesn’t get rid of the legislative filibuster — is turning away from Capitol Hill and towards unilateral actions and foreign affairs.
  • He has grown obsessed with executive orders, constantly hounding staff for ways to fix things like the border crisis without Congress. But there are strict limits on what any president can do alone. 
  • Most of his attention is going to North Korea, China, Iran, a multi-front trade war, the tense relationship with European allies and the looming presence of Russia.

Be smart: Trump wants to make his mark on world affairs — and he’s doing so, unbound by history or basic rules of diplomacy. At home, it'll likely be all talk for years to come.

Go deeper

Updated 7 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: The good and bad news about antibody therapies — Fauci: Hotspots have materialized across "the entire country."
  2. World: Belgium imposes lockdown, citing "health emergency" due to influx of cases.
  3. Economy: Conference Board predicts economy won’t fully recover until late 2021.
  4. Education: Surge threatens to shut classrooms down again.
  5. Technology: The pandemic isn't slowing tech.
  6. Travel: CDC replaces COVID-19 cruise ban with less restrictive "conditional sailing order."
  7. Sports: High school football's pandemic struggles.
  8. 🎧Podcast: The vaccine race turns toward nationalism.
Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
Updated 8 hours ago - Economy & Business

Dunkin' Brands agrees to $11B Inspire Brands sale

Photo: Alexi Rosenfeld/Getty Images

Dunkin' Brands, operator of both Dunkin' Donuts and Baskin-Robbins, agreed on Friday to be taken private for nearly $11.3 billion, including debt, by Inspire Brands, a restaurant platform sponsored by private equity firm Roark Capital.

Why it matters: Buying Dunkin’ will more than double Inspire’s footprint, making it one of the biggest restaurant deals in the past 10 years. This could ultimately set up an IPO for Inspire, which already owns Arby's, Jimmy John's and Buffalo Wild Wings.

Ina Fried, author of Login
10 hours ago - Technology

Federal judge halts Trump administration limit on TikTok

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

A federal judge on Friday issued an injunction preventing the Trump administration from imposing limits on the distribution of TikTok, Bloomberg reports. The injunction request came as part of a suit brought by creators who make a living on the video service.

Why it matters: The administration has been seeking to force a sale of, or block, the Chinese-owned service. It also moved to ban the service from operating in the U.S. as of Nov. 12, a move which was put on hold by Friday's injunction.