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Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

Yesterday was a devastating day for President Trump as he heads into his reelection campaign and an era of divided government.

Why it matters: He blinks; he disappoints the people who still love him; he gets no credit for reopening the government, given he already took credit for the shutdown; and we’re back where we started after 35 days of pointlessness.

The big picture: The shutdown not only wasted a month of Trump's presidency, but it accelerates a months-long losing streak:

  • Trump is being outfoxed and outplayed by Speaker Pelosi:
    • He ended the shutdown without getting anything obvious in return, after caving earlier in the week to her refusal to hold the State of the Union address in the House chamber.
    • "Pelosi 2, Trump 0," a senior administration official instantly texted me.
    • Drudge's banner, with a Trump pic: "WALLED IN."
    • Swan tweeted: "A former White House official texts me, unsolicited: 'Trump looks pathetic...he just ceded his presidency to Nancy Pelosi.'"
    • Maggie Haberman tweeted: "Not only did Trump alienate moderates with a shutdown, he upset his core 35 percent by caving — and, most significantly for 2020, did it all as Democrats held together on a major issue fight."
  • Yesterday's indictment of Roger Stone references "senior Trump Campaign officials," "a senior Trump campaign official" and "a high-ranking member of the Trump Campaign":
    • A "senior Trump Campaign official was directed to contact STONE about any additional [WikiLeaks] releases and what other damaging information [WikiLeaks] had regarding the Clinton Campaign."
  • The midterm results left Trump weaker in battleground states than many people in his orbit seem to realize.
    • As Jim VandeHei and I pointed out in November: "[A]ll the big trends are working against Trump and the GOP."
  • Trump's election and Year 1 juiced the record bull run, but the stock market wobbled and dipped in Year 2:
Expand chart
Data: Money.Net, Yahoo! Finance. Chart: Harry Stevens/Axios

Be smart: An adviser to top Republicans told me this week's debacle "rendered Trump impotent."

  • "Total surrender," the adviser said. "Disorganized, disoriented and now disrespected."
  • "The Senate Rs were about to cut and run. He had no exit ramp."
  • "At least it got Stone off the top of the news."
Subscribe to Axios AM/PM for a daily rundown of what's new and why it matters, directly from Mike Allen.
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Go deeper

Senate retirements could attract GOP troublemakers

Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.). Photo: Jim Lo Scalzo/EPA/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Sen. Roy Blunt's retirement highlights the twin challenge facing Senate Republicans: finding good replacement candidates and avoiding a pathway for potential troublemakers to join their ranks.

Why it matters: While the midterm elections are supposed to be a boon to the party out of power, the recent run of retirements — which may not be over — is upending that assumption for the GOP in 2022.

Congressional diversity growing - slowly

Data: Brookings Institution and Pew Research Center; Note: No data on Native Americans in Congress before the 107th Congress; Chart: Danielle Alberti/Axios

The number of non-white senators and House members in the 535-seat Congress has been growing steadily in the past several decades — but representation largely lags behind the overall U.S. population.

Why it matters: Non-whites find it harder to break into the power system because of structural barriers such as the need to quit a job to campaign full time for office, as Axios reported in its latest Hard Truths Deep Dive.

Staff for retiring Senate Republicans a K Street prize

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

The retirements of high-profile Senate Republicans mean a lot of experienced staffers will soon be seeking new jobs, and Washington lobbying and public affairs firms are eyeing a potential glut of top-notch talent.

Why it matters: Roy Blunt is the fifth Republican dealmaker in the Senate to announce his retirement next year. Staffers left behind who can navigate the upper chamber of Congress will be gold for the city’s influence industry.