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Photo: Mark Makela/Getty Images

Former President Barack Obama hit the campaign trail Monday with Democratic Senate candidate Jacky Rosen to urge Nevadans to vote this November and fight the Republicans' stronghold.

Why it matters: Obama has stepped back into the limelight recently to help boost Democratic turnout for the midterms, particularly by campaigning for candidates in tight races. Getting voters out to the polls is more crucial than ever, given recent polls show Republicans have narrowed the enthusiasm gap.

  • “I want this to be the capital of voting," Obama told the crowd. "I’m here just to get one thing from you — this is for you to vote. This November’s elections are more important than any in my lifetime, and that includes when I was on the ballot.”
  • “The consequences of you staying home would be profoundly dangerous for our country, for this democracy."
  • "The powerful, the privileged, they fight hard to keep what they got, and they fight hard to divide us … because that helps them keep power and their privileges. And we’re in one of those moments right now."
  • "Ultimately there is only one real check on abuses of power … and that is you and your vote."

Note: Former Vice President Joe Biden also hit the trail Monday, appearing in Tampa for a rally with the Democratic candidates for governor and U.S. Senate.

Go deeper

The modern way to hire a big-city police chief

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

When it comes to picking a city's top cop, closed-door selection processes have been replaced by highly public exercises where everyone gets to vet the candidates — who must have better community-relations skills than ever.

Why it matters: In the post-George-Floyd era, with policing under utmost scrutiny, the choosing of a police chief has become something akin to an election, with the need to build consensus around a candidate. And the candidate pool has gotten smaller.

Felix Salmon, author of Capital
57 mins ago - Economy & Business

Speculative crypto art market takes off

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Move over, GameStop. The newest speculative game in town is NFTs — digital files that can be owned and traded on a plethora of new online platforms.

Why it matters: Most NFTs include some kind of still or moving image, which makes them similar to many physical art objects. Some of them, including a gif of Nyan Cat flying through the sky with a pop-tart body and rainbow trail, can be worth more than your house.

New coronavirus cases fall by 20%

Expand chart
Data: The COVID Tracking Project, state health departments; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

New coronavirus infections continued their sharp decline over the past week, and are now back down to pre-Thanksgiving levels.

The big picture: Given the U.S.’ experience over the past year, it can be hard to trust anything that looks like good news, without fearing that another shoe is about to drop. But the U.S. really is doing something right lately. Cases are way down, vaccinations are way up, and that’s going to save a lot of lives.