The feature stories, dispatches, columns, and original fiction in The Atlantic's September issue include:
"Slugfest: Obama versus Romney"
This year's presidential debates could have as decisive an effect on the election outcome as any since 1980, if not 1960. In The Atlantic's quadrennial preview of these head-to-head matchups, James Fallows takes stock of the strengths and weaknesses each candidate brings to the podium. According to Fallows, a longtime analyst of the presidency, Mitt Romney has formidable advantages over Barack Obama, but he has one big weakness the president can exploit.
Digital exclusive: Watch behind-the-scenes footage of The Atlantic's cover shoot by the British artist Alison Jackson, who put "Barack Obama" and "Mitt Romney" through their paces in a New York boxing ring. Plus, Luke Hayman, the art director on the shoot, explains how it was conceptualized and executed.
Fear of a Black President
As a candidate, Barack Obama said we needed to reckon with race and with America's original sin, slavery. But as our first black president, he has avoided mention of race almost entirely. In having to be "twice as good" and "half as black," Ta-Nehisi Coates argues, Obama reveals the false promise and double standard of integration. How will this play out in the current presidential campaign, one that reveals not the polarization of politics but its racialization?
Digital exclusive: Coates discusses race in the Obama era with Scott Stossel, The Atlantic's editor.
For more coverage of the 2012 election, visit TheAtlantic.com's new Campaign Dashboard, a one-stop resource for the latest news and opinions on the country's pivotal contests and issues facing voters in November.
Boys on the Side
The hookup culture that has largely replaced dating on college campuses has been viewed, in many quarters, as socially corrosive and ultimately toxic to women, who seemingly have little choice but to participate. Hanna Rosin, author of the forthcoming book The End of Men: And the Rise of Women, based on her blockbuster 2010 Atlantic cover story, finds that it is actually an engine of female progress--one being harnessed and driven by women themselves.
Digital exclusive: View a gallery of women, real and fictional, who have changed the way sex is viewed in popular culture.
TV news has always put a premium on appearance. But Fox News has distinguished itself by embracing the "pageant queen" look. Liza Mundy investigates why the No. 1 cable-news channel is so heavy-handed with the blue eye shadow and lip gloss.
The Myth of the Latino Vote
Why do Democrats expect Mexican Americans in Arizona to line up behind a Puerto Rican guy from Harlem? As Tom Zoellner reports, Richard Carmona, who was personally recruited by the president to run for the state's open Senate seat, is far from a shoo-in with Latino voters.
Why is Dr. Harvey Karp, America's preeminent baby shaman, screeching like a caveman? He is demonstrating "toddler-ese" to Ed Leibowitz, all part of his crusade to teach adults how to talk like--and communicate with--toddlers.