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Beto O'Rourke. Photo: Paul Ratje/AFP/Getty Images

The Cook Political Report just moved the Texas Senate race from "likely" Republican to "lean" Republican — another sign that things are shifting blue ahead of November.

What's happening: President Trump's disapproval rating is at 52% in Texas, and a new poll from the left-leaning Public Policy Polling shows Democratic candidate Beto O'Rourke trailing Republican Sen. Ted Cruz by just four points.

Fundraising is a big part of it, too. Cook's Jennifer Duffy writes that O'Rourke had $10.2 million in Q2, compared to Cruz's $4.1 million.

The other side: Duffy writes, "There are some observers who believe that there simply aren’t enough Democratic and Democratic-leaning independents voters to push O’Rourke across the line."

The bottom line: Just because the race has shifted to "lean Republican" doesn't mean it's Democrats' to win. Texas hasn't had a Democratic senator since 1993.

Go deeper

Kendall Baker, author of Sports
51 mins ago - Sports

College basketball is back

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

A new season of college basketball begins Wednesday, and the goal is clear: March Madness must be played.

Why it matters: On March 12, 2020, the lights went out on college basketball, depriving teams like Baylor (who won our tournament simulation), Dayton, San Diego State and Florida State of perhaps their best chance to win a national championship.

58 mins ago - World

Scoop: Israeli military prepares for possibility Trump will strike Iran

Defense Minister Benny Gantz attends a cabinet meeting. Photo: Abir Sultan/POOL/AFP via Getty

The Israel Defense Forces have in recent weeks been instructed to prepare for the possibility that the U.S. will conduct a military strike against Iran before President Trump leaves office, senior Israeli officials tell me.

Why it matters: The Israeli government instructed the IDF to undertake the preparations not because of any intelligence or assessment that Trump will order such a strike, but because senior Israeli officials anticipate “a very sensitive period” ahead of Biden's inauguration on Jan. 20.

Wall Street bets it all on a vaccine

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

It's the time of year when Wall Street shops are rolling out predictions for where they see the stock market headed in the coming year. There's one common theme: Widespread distribution of a vaccine is the reason to be bullish.

Why it matters: Analysts say vaccines will help the economy heal, corporate profits rebound and stock market continue its upward trajectory.