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"Biden finds himself in landslide territory. ... Trump’s flailing has made a Democratic Senate majority possible," The Economist writes:

"That opens up the chances of a highly productive presidency which once seemed inconceivable. Before COVID-19 and widespread social unrest, Mr Biden’s candidacy was about restoration — the idea that he could return America and the world to the prelapsarian days of 2016. It transpires that he could have the opportunity to do something big instead."
"[T]o make lasting change through the federal government you need to win the Senate. And that cannot be done with a candidate at the top of the ticket who frightens the voters. ... [B]ecause he comes across as the grandfather he is, he is viewed with suspicion on the left."
"Yet that is precisely what makes him reassuring ... to voters in states like Montana and Georgia where Democrats must win to gain a majority in the Senate. It is Mr Biden’s caution that opens up the possibility of more change than a real radical would."

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Cleanup on aisle Biden

Photo: Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP via Getty Images

After two gaffes and a low blow from President Trump questioning his faith, Joe Biden spent Thursday evening off his own message — clarifying comments and responding to attacks.

Why it matters: Biden’s responses reflect what we could see a lot more of in the next few months — cringeworthy comments and Trump smears, smacking into each other and pulling the Democrat off course.

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Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

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  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 2. p.m. ET: 4,968,413 — Total deaths: 161,858 — Total recoveries: 1,623,870 — Total tests: 60,415,558Map.
  3. Public health: Fauci says chances are "not great" that COVID-19 vaccine will be 98% effective.
  4. Science: Indoor air is the next coronavirus frontline.
  5. Schools: How back-to-school is playing out in the South as coronavirus rages on — Princeton, Johns Hopkins, Howard to hold fall classes online.
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What's next for Lebanon after the Beirut explosion

Photo: Houssam Shbaro/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Beirut residents are still clearing rubble from streets that appear war-torn, days after a blast that shocked the country and horrified the world.

Why it matters: The explosion is likely to accelerate a painful cycle Lebanon was already living through — discontent, economic distress, and emigration.