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Trump Bragged About His Biggest Climate Failure

The painting style of Jackson Pollock is called “gestural abstraction,” but before last night’s debate, I never knew that it was also a governing philosophy. The debate featured many decisions from President Donald Trump that were puzzling, to put it mildly. The president constantly interrupted…

What If 2016 Was a Fluke?

Donald Trump, like the prophet Joshua, understands the power of blowing his own horn. And like Joshua, Trump brought a wall tumbling down in 2016: the “blue wall” of states around the Great Lakes that supposedly gave Democrats an advantage in the Electoral College. Trump…

Paging Dr. Hamblin: How Close Is Too Close While Biking?

Dear Dr. Hamblin, My partner and I are both blind. Since March, our primary means for getting anywhere has been walking. We haven’t ridden public transit and very rarely ride as a passenger in a car. However, we do have two tandem bikes. In normal…

Only About 3.5% of Americans Care About Democracy

Imagine a candidate you like. This politician has everything: the right positions on taxes, abortion, foreign policy, immigration; sound judgment; enough personal probity to be trusted with your wallet, house keys, or email password. Now imagine that that candidate does or says something antidemocratic. For…

Cancel the Debates

Pity the poor closed-caption writers. Pity the poor ASL interpreters. But most of all, pity poor us, the American electorate. Tonight was the first presidential debate of the 2020 election, and if there is any sense or mercy left in this nation, it will be…

The Bully in Chief Reemerges

President Donald Trump’s grand plan to demolish Joe Biden at tonight’s first presidential debate was shockingly simple: He merely wouldn’t let the former vice president complete a sentence. Trump talked over his Democratic challenger—and the frustrated moderator, Chris Wallace—from the opening moments of the debate,…

A Disgusting Night for Democracy

The 90-minute spectacle tonight calls into question the value of having any “debates” of this sort ever again. No one knows more about public life than he or she did before this disaster began; some people know less; and everyone feels and looks worse. Start…

Even Fast-Casual Restaurants Are Telling Me to Vote

I have recently been reminded, asked, or commanded to vote approximately 6 million times. These nudges have come from the people and places I’d expect—candidates, local officials, civic and political organizations—but also, more so than in any other election year I remember, from the places…

The Health-Care Fight Republicans Can’t Afford

There’s a reason Donald Trump has never produced a health-care plan that protects consumers with preexisting medical conditions: Ending protections for the sick is the central mechanism that all GOP health-care proposals use to try to lower costs for the healthy. Every alternative to the…

Actual Senate Confirmation Hearings Take Time

As Donald Trump and Senate Republicans try to confirm Amy Coney Barrett as a justice of the Supreme Court in the 38 days between her nomination and Election Day—with many votes already being cast—much of the criticism has focused on the hypocrisy of moving this…

The Persistence of Segregation in South Carolina

Editor’s Note: This is the fourth story in The Firsts, a five-part series about the children who desegregated America’s schools. Millicent Brown could only be honest. It was the summer of 1960, and she was standing in front of the school board in Charleston County,…

Trump Secretly Mocks His Christian Supporters

One day in 2015, Donald Trump beckoned Michael Cohen, his longtime confidant and personal attorney, into his office. Trump was brandishing a printout of an article about an Atlanta-based megachurch pastor trying to raise $60 million from his flock to buy a private jet. Trump…

A ‘Climate Corps’ of California Volunteers

Back in the early days of the pandemic, when some people imagined that changes in American life might be a matter of months rather than of years, I wrote about California Volunteers and its response to the crisis. This is a publicly sponsored organization, serving…

Judiciary Reform Is Not Revenge

Following Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death, Democrats, not surprisingly, are outraged at Republicans’ course reversal on filling a vacancy during an election year. Two proposals are gaining momentum among commentators and progressive activists: expanding the number of justices and instituting term limits. These ideas almost…

Rhode Island: Images of the Ocean State

Rhode Island is the smallest state in the U.S., but with a population of just over 1 million people, it is also the the second-most densely populated state. From Woonsocket and Pawtucket, through Providence, Bristol, and Newport, here are a few glimpses of the landscape…

Large-Scale Political Unrest Is Unlikely, But Not Impossible

When a reporter recently asked Donald Trump if he would accept a peaceful transition of power, the president wouldn’t commit. “We’ll see what happens,” he said. In an apparent reference to mail-in ballots, he went on, “We’ll want to have—get rid of the ballots and…

Hong Kongers, Don’t Idolize the U.K.

During this uncertain and unstable year, I’ve learned not to take Hong Kong’s freedom for granted. Prodemocracy protests consumed the city for months starting in early 2019, but the political climate changed abruptly in the spring, when Beijing passed a wide-ranging security law that many…

What the Supreme Court Fight Means for the Senate Majority

The struggle over Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s replacement on the Supreme Court could help propel Democrats to the brink of a Senate majority in November’s election. But whether it lifts them over that threshold could turn on the terms of the confirmation fight. Given the nature…

A Defense of Court Packing

It was only a matter of time, really. Ever since Senate Republicans refused to hold a vote on Merrick Garland four years ago, progressives have argued that Democrats need to wrest back control of the Supreme Court by packing it full of liberal justices. By…

Reddit Squashed QAnon by Accident

Two years ago, most Americans knew nothing about QAnon, the ever-growing, diffuse, and violent movement devoted to a loosely connected set of conspiracy theories, most of which tie back to the idea that Donald Trump is leading a holy war against a high-powered cabal of…

The Office of Internet Freedom Reborn at the U.S. Agency for Global Media

News Analysis The U.S. Agency for Global Media (USAGM), which oversees U.S. government broadcasters such as Voice of America and Radio Free Asia, has re-opened its Office of Internet Freedom (OIF). OIF, which began operations in 2016, had then been closed by leadership then in…

Is This Really the End of Abortion?

Friday was a perfect early-autumn evening in Washington, D.C., less than 50 days away from the election. Marjorie Dannenfelser, the head of the Susan B. Anthony List, arguably the most powerful anti-abortion group in Washington, had wrapped up her day on Capitol Hill. She and…

Can Democrats Stop the Nomination?

Anyone confidently predicting one way or another whether Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell can seat a new justice on the Supreme Court is blustering. Here is the only thing that’s certain: The coming fight will not be resolved by principle—no matter how senators talk or…

The Pandemic Is Defeating Hollywood Blockbusters

Data gathered this weekend appeared to hold seismic news for Hollywood—specifically Disney. A report from Yahoo suggested that a shocking 9 million Disney+ users had streamed the studio’s Mulan remake in its first 12 days of release, translating into a gross of $261 million. That’s…

Trump Is a Feudal Lord

The Trump administration named New York City, Seattle, and Portland, Oregon, “anarchist jurisdictions” on Sunday, threatening to slash federal funding due to protests against police brutality and property damage. The announcement built on an earlier order that accused several cities of “permitting anarchy, violence, and…

RBG’s Greatest Insight

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s time on the Court was often characterized as a pitched battle between the principles of equality and individual liberty. Conservative majorities have tended to elevate individual autonomy rights over equal treatment and equal opportunity in our politics, our workplaces, and our…

Is This How Biden Blows It?

Last weekend, Philippe Reines walked over to Ron Klain’s house in Washington, D.C., to hand off his Donald Trump outfit: the suit, the shoes with the lifts, the shirt, the long red tie, the cufflinks. Just in case. When the former Hillary Clinton aide stored…

The Core Lesson of the COVID-19 Heart Debate

Editor’s Note: The Atlantic is making vital coverage of the coronavirus available to all readers. Find the collection here. Last Monday, when I called the cardiologist Amy Kontorovich in the late morning, she apologized for sounding tired. “I’ve been in my lab infecting heart cells…

A Dangerous Moment for the Court

The Supreme Court seems strangely immune to the bitterness that plagues our politics. Even now, when Americans can no longer agree on basic facts, the Court’s relative popularity has endured. Following Donald Trump’s 2016 election, the Court has what may be its most conservative majority…

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