Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

President Trump is entering a new phase of his presidency: He's now dealing in real-time with the consequences of his policy decisions.

The big picture: For 30 years, Trump told America what it'd be like if he were in charge. Better deals, richer, safer, smarter. All rhetorical and theoretical. He could make all sorts of hyperbolic promises with no fear of being disproven. He could eliminate the national debt by eliminating a few agencies and cracking down on "waste, fraud and abuse." He could prevent terrorism by banning all Muslims from entering the country. He could build a big, beautiful wall and get Mexico to pay for it. He could deliver the best health care system anyone had ever dreamed of. 

  • For the first 12 months of his presidency, Trump made announcements, signed executive orders and some legislation too.
  • Now, Trump is living through the effects — and images — of his decisions. A booming economy at full employment. (Trump's tax cuts poured rocket fuel over what was already a hot economy.) Fractured alliances with Europe and Canada. Heartbreaking images and stories of parents separated from their children at the border. Ever higher health care premiums. And, potentially the most economically important: a multi-front trade war that Trump seems committed to following through on.

Overlaying all of this are three trends:

  1. Trump is trusting his instincts more every day. He feels emboldened, like he's finally in the swing of the job. I wonder whether he would make the same decision to stay in Afghanistan if he were making it today. Would he go against his instincts again and listen to his generals? (Compare that to the breezy, improvised way he’s handled North Korea announcements: deciding in the room with the South Koreans that he’ll take Kim Jong-un up on his offer to meet. And announcing, to the shock of much of official Washington, that he’d be ending joint U.S.-South Korean “war games” on the Korean Peninsula.)
  2. Fewer strictures: The brief interlude of Chief of Staff John Kelly whipping the West Wing into military discipline is over. Trump doesn't think he needs a chief, and is navigating Kelly's dayside guardrails in a way that has left POTUS largely uninhibited.
  3. An agenda that is — largely due to Congress’ dysfunction and Trump’s inability to tame it — moving from domestic to international. And the agenda faces growing groups of critics — abroad, in the media and at home.

Be smart, from a well-wired Republican: "Trump's biggest crisis will come if the trade wars cause a slowdown in the economy. The boom is giving him a cushion against the impact of his policies, personal behavior and impetuous decision making. No boom, no cushion. Political collapse."

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Updated 7 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.
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  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.

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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.