🏖️ Good Tuesday morning. My thanks to Jim VandeHei and Justin Green for letting me drop off the grid in Miami for a couple of days. Feel great, and am excited to be back.
D.C. readers: You're invited! HHS Secretary Alex Azar will join me tomorrow at 8 a.m. for a conversation about the future of health care that includes Senate health committee chairman Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) and Rep. Seth Moulton (D-Mass.). RSVP here.
Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios
Last week's stunning court filings detonated what one official calls a "reality tremor" that has White House officials and key allies increasingly aware of President Trump’s rising legal and political vulnerability.
One Trump loyalist said after a day of conversation with "hardcore MAGA [Make America Great Again] online influencers": "These are the people most predisposed to believing the 'witch hunt' rhetoric, but they are now expressing real concerns."
This new recognition has made outside political savvy one of the top criteria in the frenetic search for the next White House chief of staff after the rejection over the weekend by Nick Ayers.
That's why David Bossie, deputy campaign manager in 2016, is making a new push for the job.
Republican lawmakers in the Trump era are talking about climate change far less than they used to, while Democratic mentions have spiked to new highs, according to an analysis by public affairs software company Quorum.
Why it matters, from Axios' Neal Rothschild: The chasm — measured by the number of floor statements, press releases and social media posts that mention climate change — is growing.
Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios
As rural America gets left behind by the rise of coastal superstar cities and the chasm between the richest and the rest widens, one entity is heavily profiting from the blight: the dollar store, Axios' Erica Pandey writes.
In the early 1960s, the bottom 90% of American households by income had the same wealth as the top 1% — 33% of the total. Today the bottom 90% has dropped to only 20% of the wealth, while the top 1% has raised its share to 40%, according to a paper by Edward Wolff, an economics professor at New York University.
The rise of dollar stores goes hand-in-hand with the decline of American malls:
Today, there are more than 30,000 dollar stores in the U.S., up from around 18,000 a decade ago, according to the Institute for Local Self-Reliance.
The stakes: Those who rely on dollar stores for food are exposed to overwhelmingly unhealthy diets, with choices that rarely go beyond processed and packaged snacks.
U.S. Border Patrol agents stand guard in San Diego yesterday as they prepare for the arrival of hundreds of pro-migration protestors, as seen through the border fence from Tijuana, Mexico.
Bill Gates, who’s in D.C. this week to meet with administration officials and members of Congress, told Axios' Caitlin Owens that he's anxious to keep U.S. fights with Europe and China from hurting long-term health and climate goals.
Gates says his meetings in D.C. are meant to update officials on the foreign aid partnership between the Gates Foundation and the U.S. government.
In a letter on the op-ed page of today's WashPost, 44 former U.S. senators (mostly Democrats), warn of "an inflection point in which the foundational principles of our democracy and our national security interests are at stake":
CFR President Richard Haass writes in the forthcoming issue of Foreign Affairs that the world order can’t be revived by a new president: Washington must accept that fate and put its efforts into managing its deterioration.
"But the more illuminating parallel to the present is the Concert of Europe in the nineteenth century, the most important and successful effort to build and sustain world order until our own time."
Harvard's endowment manager, Harvard Management Co., has stealthily built a sizable grape-growing business on California's Central Coast, The Wall Street Journal's Russell Gold reports (subscription):
"The wager has also earned backlash from some farmers and other locals who fear Harvard eventually will use up groundwater and unduly influence water-use regulations."
The Golden State Warriors are Sports Illustrated's 2018 Sportsperson of the Year:
"For all the individual brilliance of Steph Curry — a selection whom few would have protested — the Warriors have always been most delightfully viewed through a collective prism."
"There have been superteams that have forced us to reimagine how the game is played, but none perhaps in a generation, maybe two, are so beautifully choreographed as the Warriors."
"[T]heir movements and pieces seamlessly blur into each other to the point where it impossible to distinguish the magic of one player from another, even magic so singular as that of Curry."