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House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy arrives for a Republican press conference at the Capitol on Wednesday. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

Republicans, defined by one thing and one man for four-plus years, see a new, unifying platform to run on in the 2022 elections and potentially beyond.

The blueprint: Republicans tell us the work-in-progress plan argues that Biden Democrats are soft on crime, soft and ineffective on illegal immigration, and reckless and wrong with government spending.

  • "That's how we win back the [House] majority," a top GOP aide told me. "When we talk about Republican committee chairs, we talk about 'when' not 'if.'"

The big picture: Each topic can be backed by actual policies, instead of drafting off Donald Trump’s cultural grievances and fanatical allegations of stolen elections, top officials tell us.

The hitch: Um, Trump. He’s still the Pied Piper of modern Republicanism — and fixated on litigating the past, not legislating the future.

  • Last night in Wellington, Ohio, at his first post-election rally, Trump spent 94 minutes marinating in lies of the past, and teased a 2024 run — framed as winning the White House for the "third time."

A top Democratic official told me: "The most popular policy we have is taxing rich people. Why did Biden outperform in Macomb County [Mich.] and York Pa.? Because populism works. Biden's 'buy America, tax the corporations' message moves these voters."

  • On crime, the official told me that "voters care, but there's no sign they trust the GOP more than us. Trump ran this play in 2020 and lost."

Zoom out: The Democratic messaging group Future Majority in May released a deck identifying areas where Republicans hold an advantage:

  • Of the issues polled, "defunding the police," "open borders" and "reparations for slavery" were by far the biggest turnoffs for both independents and voters in general.
  • Republicans bested Democrats on jobs and the economy, gun rights, and "keeping you and your family safe."
  • The poll, Future Majority wrote in its report on the findings, "shows voters, especially Independents, believe Democrats overspend."

The bottom line: Democrats are internally flagging their vulnerabilities on the very issues central to the GOP's strategy to retake power next year.

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Go deeper

Stephanie Grisham says it was a mistake to work for Trump

Then-White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham and John Bolton, then-national security adviser, look on as then-President Trump participates in a meeting in 2019. Photo: Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Former Trump aide Stephanie Grisham said in an interview with ABC on Monday that it was a mistake to serve in the previous administration.

The big picture: Grisham's new tell-all book about her years working in the White House is out Tuesday. Grisham served as White House press secretary and communications director for former President Trump, and also as former first lady Melania Trump's chief of staff.

Updated 5 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

  1. Health: Contact tracing fizzles across America — New clues emerge on long COVID — Omicron is finally burning out — It's very difficult to get access to antiviral COVID treatments — Axios-Ipsos poll: Omicron's big numbersAnother wave of death — FDA limits use of Regeneron and Lilly antibody treatments.
  2. Vaccines: Pfizer begins clinical trial for Omicron-specific vaccine — The shifting definition of fully vaccinated.
  3. Politics: Virginia AG says public colleges can't mandate COVID vaccines —Alaska governor joins Texas lawsuit over National Guard vaccine mandate — Navy discharges 45 sailors for refusing vaccine — Spotify to remove Neil Young's music after his Joe Rogan ultimatum — White House: 60M households have ordered free COVID-19 rapid tests.
  4. World: U.K. to lift travel testing requirement for fully vaccinated — Beijing Olympic Committee lowers testing threshold ahead of Games.
  5. Variant tracker
3 hours ago - World

Biden will move U.S. troops to Eastern Europe "in the near term"

President Biden boards Air Force One at Joint Base Andrews on Jan. 28. Photo: SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images

President Biden said on Friday he plans to move U.S. troops to Eastern European and NATO countries “in the near term.”

Driving the news: “Not too many” U.S. troops, Biden added in remarks to reporters at Joint Base Andrew upon returning from a trip to Pennsylvania.