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President Trump stands behind the Resolute Desk in the Oval Office. Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

"If Trump were a less divisive figure, we might ... consider that what looks like incompetence or impertinence on the part of the officeholder could also be evidence that the office itself is broken," John Dickerson, co-anchor of "CBS This Morning," writes in the cover story of the May issue of The Atlantic.

Why it matters: "Even the most above-it-all president is continuously tempted to privilege the small over the big and the now over the future."

  • "A president must now be able to jolt the economy like Franklin Roosevelt, tame Congress like Lyndon Johnson, comfort the nation like Ronald Reagan."
  • "The president must ... console the widow of a soldier he sent into combat one moment, and welcome a championship-winning NCAA volleyball team to the White House the next."
  • "He must live with the paradox that he is the most powerful man in the world, yet is powerless to achieve many of his goals — thwarted by Congress, the courts, or the enormous bureaucracy he sometimes only nominally controls."
  • Mitch Daniels, former Reagan aide and Indiana governor: “The next successful president is likely to be somebody who concentrates relentlessly on a few well-chosen goals."

Go deeper

Kendall Baker, author of Sports
9 mins ago - Sports

College basketball is back

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

A new season of college basketball begins Wednesday, and the goal is clear: March Madness must be played.

Why it matters: On March 12, 2020, the lights went out on college basketball, depriving teams like Baylor (who won our tournament simulation), Dayton, San Diego State and Florida State of perhaps their best chance to win a national championship.

15 mins ago - World

Scoop: Israeli military prepares for possibility Trump will strike Iran

Defense Minister Benny Gantz attends a cabinet meeting. Photo: Abir Sultan/POOL/AFP via Getty

The Israel Defense Forces have in recent weeks been instructed to prepare for the possibility that the U.S. will conduct a military strike against Iran before President Trump leaves office, senior Israeli officials tell me.

Why it matters: The Israeli government instructed the IDF to undertake the preparations not because of any intelligence or assessment that Trump will order such a strike, but because senior Israeli officials anticipate “a very sensitive period” ahead of Biden's inauguration on Jan. 20.

Wall Street bets it all on a vaccine

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

It's the time of year when Wall Street shops are rolling out predictions for where they see the stock market headed in the coming year. There's one common theme: Widespread distribution of a vaccine is the reason to be bullish.

Why it matters: Analysts say vaccines will help the economy heal, corporate profits rebound and stock market continue its upward trajectory.