Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios 

The leadership of roughly a quarter of the world will be decided as three of the seven largest countries by population — Nigeria, Indonesia and India — will hold general elections in the next four months. They follow Bangladesh, the eighth largest, which went to the polls last Sunday.

Why it matters: It's a big moment for global democracy.

Catch up quick:

  • Nigeria (February): Four years ago, President Muhammadu Buhari swept into power on a surge of optimism, pledging to restore security and stamp out corruption. Since then, his record has been mixed, his popularity has dwindled and his health is poor (he recently had to deny rumors he’d been replaced by a body double). The old guard is clawing at the door.
  • Indonesia (April): President Joko Widodo is a charismatic reformer, but he’s in a bitter fight fueled in part by misinformation about his faith. He has picked an influential Muslim cleric as his running mate in an attempt to undercut his strongman rival. If he loses, observers fear a rollback of democracy.
  • India (April/May): Recent setbacks in state elections were a shot across the bow for Prime Minister Narendra Modi, whose Bharatiya Janata Party may struggle to win enough seats to form the next government. It's a stunning fall for a leader who, until fairly recently, looked untouchable.

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Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Politics: Pence chief of staff Marc Short tests positive for coronavirus — COVID-19 looms over White House Halloween celebrations.
  2. Health: Fauci says maybe we should mandate masks if people don't wear them — America was sick well before it ever got COVID-19.
  3. World: Polish President Andrzej Duda tests positive for COVID-19.
What Matters 2020

The missed opportunities for 2020 and beyond

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photos: Jason Armond (Los Angeles Times), Noam Galai, Jabin Botsford (The Washington Post), Alex Wong/Getty Images

As the 2020 presidential campaign draws to a close, President Trump and Joe Biden have focused little on some of the most sweeping trends that will outlive the fights of the moment.

Why it matters: Both have engaged on some issues, like climate change and China, on their own terms, and Biden has addressed themes like economic inequality that work to his advantage. But others have gone largely unmentioned — a missed opportunity to address big shifts that are changing the country.

Pence chief of staff Marc Short tests positive for coronavirus

Marc Short with Katie Miller, Vice President Pence's communications director, in March. Photo: Doug Mills/The New York Times via Reuters

Marc Short, Vice President Mike Pence’s chief of staff, tested positive for the coronavirus Saturday and is quarantining, according to a White House statement.

Why it matters: Short is Pence's closest aide, and was one of the most powerful forces on the White House coronavirus task force.