J. Scott Applewhite / AP

Joe Manchin, the moderate West Virginia Democrat, became the first Senate Dem to announce he'll vote in favor of Neil Gorsuch on Thursday. Shortly thereafter, Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota followed suit.

The context: Minority Leader Chuck Schumer plans to launch a filibuster, meaning Republicans need eight Dems to break ranks to avoid having to "go nuclear" and force Gorsuch through with a simple majority. Other Dems are skeptical of the filibuster plan, but Manchin and Heitkamp have gone a step further in saying they'll vote to confirm Gorsuch.

Why it matters: We said earlier that Manchin's move could provide an opening for other Dems who don't want to battle the GOP over Gorsuch. With two now having jumped ship, this is turning into a major test of the Dems' resolve.

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Trump's 2 chilling debate warnings

Photo: Morry Gash/Pool via Getty Images

One of the few groups in America with anything to celebrate after last night's loud, ugly, rowdy presidential "debate" was the violent, far-right Proud Boys, after President Trump pointedly refused to condemn white supremacist groups.

Why it matters: This was a for-the-history-books moment in a debate that was mostly headache-inducing noise. Trump failed to condemn racist groups after four months when millions marched for racial justice in the country's largest wave of activism in half a century.

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While President Trump and Joe Biden fought to be heard in a rowdy debate Tuesday, both campaigns sought to draw digital battle lines and occupy online turf they could have all to themselves.

The big picture: Trump's impulsive Twitter style made a shambles of the debate format, but online the candidates were able to find niches where they couldn't be interrupted — and could motivate their supporters to donate, organize and turn out to vote.

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Shell plans up to 9,000 job cuts by 2022

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Royal Dutch Shell will shed up to 9,000 jobs as it undergoes a long-term restructuring around climate-friendly energy sources and continues to grapple with the coronavirus pandemic that has battered the oil industry.

Why it matters: The cuts could amount to over 10% of the company's global workforce, which was 83,000 at the end of 2019.