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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…

The Election Is Already Under Way in America’s Courts

Although the election is not technically until November 3, election season is already well under way—most significantly in the dozens of election-litigation cases that are determining how people can vote, whether they can vote, and whether their votes will be counted. In the many cases…

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…

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…

Don’t Make the Election About the Court

I know that Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s empty Supreme Court seat has provoked an epic, long-awaited clash between Democrats and Republicans, that the very principle of judicial independence hangs dangerously in the balance. I realize that the social-media wave cannot be stopped, that the talking heads…

The Immigrants Who Created New Possibilities

Of the many questions at stake in this fall’s election, one of the less obvious is this: Will the United States remain a country where someone like Barack Obama or Kamala Harris—a person of color with immigrant parents—is likely to be born? The answer depends,…

Four Reasons to Doubt Mitch McConnell’s Power

To use power, you must have it. On the night of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced that a Trump nominee to replace Ginsburg would receive a vote on the floor of the Senate. That announcement promised a use of…

Howie Hawkins Is No Kanye West

Howie Hawkins may be the Green Party’s presidential nominee, but he isn’t Jill Stein—or at least, he can’t be, because he’s not on the ballot in as many swing states as Stein was in 2016. Courts in Wisconsin and Pennsylvania decided this week to keep…

What Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s Death Means for America

A furious battle over a Supreme Court vacancy is arguably the last thing the United States needed right now. The death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg today represents a devastating loss for feminists who held up the 87-year-old as an icon of women’s rights, and…

How Jimi Hendrix’s London Years Changed Music

“It’s so lovely now,” Jimi Hendrix said in his muzzy mumble, his topplingly elegant, close-to-gibberish, discreetly space-traveling undertone, onstage one night in 1967 at the Bag O’Nails in London. “I kissed the fairest soul brother of England, Eric Clapton—kissed him right on the lips.” This…

The Big Ten Just Followed the Money

The coronavirus pandemic is still ravaging America, just as it was in August, when the college presidents and chancellors of the Big Ten Conference decided against playing football in the fall. The only thing that’s changed is that the same leaders now feel far more…

The Fall’s Best Movies Are About American Soul-Searching

David Byrne has long been a master of perfectly designed worlds. The 1984 concert film Stop Making Sense, with his band Talking Heads, captured how carefully he stages his shows, bringing in band members one by one to emphasize how each contributes to the harmonies…

An Experiment in Wisconsin Might Reveal the Key to Defeating Trump

No state has haunted the Democratic Party’s imagination for the past four years like Wisconsin. While it was not the only state that killed Hillary Clinton’s presidential hopes in 2016, it was the one where the knife plunged deepest. Clinton was so confident about Wisconsin…

The Slow-Fingered President

President Donald Trump has warned his Twitter followers three times as often about the threat from mail-in ballots as he has urged them to protect themselves from the threat of COVID-19. Since March, when the stay-at-home orders started, he has written a little over a…

The American Government Gave Up on Reality

Alexander Hamilton and his colleagues wrote 85 separate essays to make their case that Americans should take a risk and ratify the 1787 Constitution. Three sentences into the very first of those Federalist Papers, Hamilton made clear that he knew full well the stakes of…

There Won’t Be a Clear End to the Pandemic

(Gueorgui Pinkhassov / Magnum) The pandemic has rendered many activities unsafe, but thankfully it can’t stop us from fantasizing about them. A common balm that people reach for is the sentence construction “When this is over, I’m going to ____.” It seems to help, if…

Even the Coronavirus Can’t Kill the SAT and ACT

Over the summer, more than 400 colleges decided to stop requiring the SAT or the ACT for admissions, because the pandemic had made taking the tests (or even finding a location to take them) so difficult. Some institutions, such as Harvard, Princeton, and Yale, said…

Why Isn’t Trump Trying to Win?

The fate of an incumbent president is exquisitely sensitive to economic conditions. Incumbents tend to lose elections when the economy is weak (e.g., George H. W. Bush’s defeat in 1992) and win when it’s strong (e.g., Bill Clinton’s romp four years later). The 2020 economy…

The Most Important Number for the West’s Hideous Fire Season

To understand the ravenous wildfire season in the American West this year, boil some ravioli. Put the heat on high. After about 10 minutes, the pasta will go limp and start to break apart. Keep boiling. When the pot holds a shallow puddle of water…

Released Today: The Atlantic’s THE AMERICAN CRISIS from Simon & Schuster

The past four years have been among the most turbulent in U.S. history—and would have been so even without a global pandemic and waves of nationwide protest against police violence. How did we get here? Today The Atlantic and Simon & Schuster release The American…

The Great British Humbling

“The cretinous stupidity of it!” snaps the tragic hero in Joseph Roth’s The Radetzky March as he faces up to his likely death in a duel over his wife’s honor. He did not want the fight and no longer loves his wife anyway, but the…

The Tenet Experiment Didn’t Work

Christopher Nolan’s Tenet was supposed to be a boon for movie theaters, a light in the darkness after the coronavirus pandemic shut down cinemas for months. Here was an original film from a beloved director, one of the biggest titles of our postponed summer-movie season—surely…

Alexander Vindman: Trump Is Putin’s ‘Useful Idiot’

Shortly after midnight on June 17, 1972, an unusually attentive security guard named Frank Wills discovered an unlocked door in the garage of the Watergate office complex. A piece of tape had been placed over the latch. Wills removed the tape and continued on his…

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