Barack Obama and Donald Trump at Trump's inauguration. Photo: J. Scott Applewhite / Pool / AP/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

There are 21 "Obama-Trump" districts in play in the 2018 midterms, and FiveThirtyEight's breakdown of who's leading in these competitive races shows Republicans could make gains in Minnesota and keep key seats in New York.

Why it matters: These races are less favorable to Democrats than "Romney-Clinton" districts, per FiveThirtyEight, but picking up some of them is crucial to controlling the House after November.

Of the 21, nine are held by Democrats and 12 by Republicans. Only five of them favor Republicans, 10 favor Democrats, and six are considered toss-ups.

  • The GOP has a shot at snatching two of those Democratic-held districts, per FiveThirtyEight's model. Both are in Minnesota (the 1st and 8th districts), which are open seats that Trump won by 15+ points in the 2016 election.
  • Four GOP-held districts, all in New York, look like favorable Republican territory according to this week's model. A combination of out-raising their Democratic challengers, winning their 2016 elections by double digits, and running in "some of the state’s Trumpiest corners," as FiveThirtyEight writes, puts them in a good position seven weeks out from the midterms.
  • Three are now "likely Democratic" — Minnesota's 2nd, Iowa's 1st, and New Jersey's 11th districts. FiveThirtyEight notes internal polling, House Ethics Committee investigations, and lousy fundraising gives Democrats the advantage in these races.

One more thing: FiveThirtyEight gives Democrats a four in five chance of taking the House.

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Pelosi, Schumer demand postmaster general reverse USPS cuts ahead of election

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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer sent a letter to Postmaster General Louis DeJoy on Thursday calling for the recent Trump appointee to reverse operational changes to the U.S. Postal Service that "threaten the timely delivery of mail" ahead of the 2020 election.

Why it matters: U.S. mail and election infrastructure are facing a test like no other this November, with a record-breaking number of mail-in ballots expected as Americans attempt to vote in the midst of a pandemic.

CRISPR co-discoverer on the gene editor's pandemic push

Photo illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios. Photos: Brian Ach/Getty Images for Wired and BSIP/UIG via Getty Images

The coronavirus pandemic is accelerating the development of CRISPR-based tests for detecting disease — and highlighting how gene-editing tools might one day fight pandemics, one of its discoverers, Jennifer Doudna, tells Axios.

Why it matters: Testing shortages and backlogs underscore a need for improved mass testing for COVID-19. Diagnostic tests based on CRISPR — which Doudna and colleagues identified in 2012, ushering in the "CRISPR revolution" in genome editing — are being developed for dengue, Zika and other diseases, but a global pandemic is a proving ground for these tools that hold promise for speed and lower costs.

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 5 p.m. ET: 18,912,947 — Total deaths: 710,318— Total recoveries — 11,403,473Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 5 p.m. ET: 4,867,916 — Total deaths: 159,841 — Total recoveries: 1,577,851 — Total tests: 58,920,975Map.
  3. Politics: Pelosi rips GOP over stimulus negotiations: "Perhaps you mistook them for somebody who gives a damn" — Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine tests positive.
  4. Public health: Majority of Americans say states reopened too quicklyFauci says task force will examine aerosolized spread.
  5. Business: The health care sector imploded in Q2More farmers are declaring bankruptcyJuly's jobs report could be an inflection point for the recovery.
  6. Sports: Where college football's biggest conferences stand on playing.