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Good morning, it’s Monday, Jan. 18, 2021. Over the weekend, the human race hit a grim milestone: The novel coronavirus that spread rapidly out of central China a year ago has now claimed 2 million lives. That’s the official tally compiled by Johns Hopkins University. When you think that China’s government still admits to only 4,800 deaths -- in the world’s most populous nation and where this contagion originated -- the true number is almost certainly significantly higher.

In two days, when Joseph R. Biden Jr. takes the oath of office as the 46th U.S. president, the number of Americans felled by this pandemic will have surged past 400,000. Biden has vowed to vastly bolster the government’s vaccination efforts. I pray that he follows through on that promise.

With that, I’d point you to RCP’s front page, which presents our poll averages, videos, breaking news stories, and aggregated opinion pieces spanning the political spectrum. Today’s lineup includes Martin Luther King III (New York Times), Alveda King (Fox News), Kaitlyn Tiffany (The Atlantic), and Olivia Nuzzi (New York magazine). We also offer original material from our own reporters, columnists, and contributors, including the following:

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After Siege, Will GOP Fight Scandal-Tainted Biden Nominee? Susan Crabtree explores whether Alejandro Mayorkas, named to lead the Department of Homeland Security, will face a tough confirmation fight in the aftermath of the Capitol riot. 

Might Trump’s Final Revenge Be a Third Party? Bill Scher outlines the history behind such a move. 

RCP Takeaway Podcast. On the latest episode, Tom Bevan, Phil Wegmann, Andy Walworth and I discuss impeachment, Biden’s inauguration, and other news. 

Senate Shift Could Mean More Aid to States and Cities. Lou Cannon has this assessment of the prospects. 

Slight Relief From Illinois’s Predatory Government. Richard Porter spotlights a hint of common sense found deep in a 764-page bill on policing and related matters passed last week. 

Leaving the GOP: Why I’m Now Politically Homeless. Linda Chavez writes that she remains a conservative but no longer wants anything to do with the party that enabled Donald Trump’s nativist-driven populism. 

Big Tech, Big Brother and the End of Free Speech. Frank Miele asserts that we’re witnessing a real-life sequel to Orwell’s “Nineteen Eighty-Four.” 

Build Back Better Can Be Biden’s American-Made Legacy. Scott Paul notes that the incoming president’s goals line up well with those of American manufacturers.  

Conservatives Should Learn From the Left. Heather R. Higgins argues that organizations protesting for liberal issues are adept at deflecting blame for their bad actors. 

How Art Offers Refuge From -- and a Reframing of – Unrest. Sabrina L. Schaeffer advocates an avenue for healing in troubled times, one helpful to both children and adults. 

SCOTUS Can Prevent Balkanization of Climate Lawsuits. At RealClearPolicy, Thomas Fisher examines a case in which a U.S. city has sued BP for “a rise in sea level… as well as an increase in storms, floods, heatwaves, drought, extreme precipitation.” 

Polluting a River in the Name of Public Health. RealClearScience editor Ross Pomeroy revisits the era of London cesspits, cesspools and ill-considered sewage disposal. 

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Carl M. Cannon
Washington Bureau chief, RealClearPolitics
@CarlCannon (Twitter)

Carl M. Cannon is the Washington bureau chief for RealClearPolitics. Reach him on Twitter @CarlCannon.

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