Illustration: Sarah Grillo / Axios

The creditors that opted to liquidate Toys "R" Us, despite having takeover offers on the table, now say that they might try to revive the brand — including the possible opening of new retail locations. This comes after calling off an auction for the retailer's brand name and other IP assets.

The big picture: If you're a fired Toys "R" Us worker right now, this development must make you want to scream. Almost everyone, including company management and Toys' previous private equity sponsors, told the creditors that liquidation was the wrong move, both financially and morally. No clue why it took them so long to reach the same conclusion.

Bain Capital and KKR have reached a preliminary agreement to contribute a combined $20 million to a fund for fired Toys "R" Us workers. There are still lots of details to be worked out, including distribution protocols. It will still be months before workers see any cash.

  • Per Carrie Gleason, policy director for a group representing the workers: "The Toys R Us employee fund is a huge step forward and thousands of struggling families who counted these jobs will benefit. That's why Toys R Us workers are fighting for the $75 million they were counting before the liquidation. Now is the time for Vornado and creditors like Solus, Angelo Gordon and others to join and contribute."
  • She adds that some former Toys workers testified at a New Jersey state pension fund meeting last Thursday, urging divestment from Solus.

The bottom line: Other private equity firms might not like to hear it, but this is creating industry precedent. Not for bankrupt portfolio companies, but for ones that also get liquidated.

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2020 election strategy: Hire all the lawyers

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

The coronavirus has sent overall U.S. unemployment into the double digits — but it's a sort of full-employment act for election law attorneys.

The big picture: The prospect of extended court fights over COVID-19-related voting changes, an absentee ballot avalanche, foreign interference and contested presidential results has prompted a hire-all-the-lawyers binge by candidates and campaigns — not just in swing states but around the country.

Right-wing media defanged by dissolving anti-Biden storylines

Data: NewsWhip; Chart: Naema Ahmed/Axios

The three biggest anti-Joe Biden storylines in right-wing media over the last year have either fizzled or are getting less online traction than they used to, according to data from NewsWhip provided exclusively to Axios.

Why it matters: This dynamic has rendered a formidable media ecosystem less effective in boosting President Trump as we move into the heart of the 2020 campaign.

A coronavirus alarm bell is going off in the Midwest

Data: The COVID Tracking Project; Note: Positive rate shown is the 7-day average from June 1 to Aug. 6, 2020; Cartogram: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

A cluster of states in the Midwest are seeing more of their coronavirus tests coming back positive — potentially an early indicator of a growing outbreak.

The state of play: A high positive rate means that a higher share of those getting tested are sick. That could be because there are more sick people, or because a state isn't doing enough testing.