The Big Stories This Week: Trump Psychology, the Worst Congress Ever, and More

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Editor’s Note: This article previously appeared in a different format as part of The Atlantic’s Notes section, retired in 2021.

“A Psychological Portrait of the Man”

What drives the Donald? Our latest magazine cover story offers a look into the mind of the Republican front-runner. “Who is he, really?” asks psychologist Dan P. McAdams. “How might he go about making decisions in office, were he to become president?”

This week, Trump offered some clues as to the answer: After the disappearance of EgyptAir 804, he took to Twitter to speculate the incident was “yet another terrorist attack.” David analyzed the tweet as “at once totally irresponsible and politically wily.

Who Wins “Worst Congress Ever?”

Norm Ornstein awards the crown to the current crop of congressional yaysayers and naysayers: “It can’t pass a budget, can’t confirm appointments, and now it can’t even scrounge up funding to address public-health crises.” Congrats!

But don’t get too comfortable. Conor pushed back: “To find a Congress unambiguously worse than the ones that Ornstein dubs the very worst,” he writes, “we only need to go back a little more than a decade, to the 107th Congress, when legislators joined in lots of bipartisan cooperation that proved catastrophic.” That Congress, which served in the early 2000s, oversaw the passage of the Patriot Act and authorized the use of military forces in Iraq. Hmm.

The Politics of the North Carolina Bathroom Bill

North Carolina continues to be embroiled in a battle over a controversial bill, which requires citizens in state facilities to use the restroom that corresponds to the gender on their birth certificate. (Earlier this month, Loretta Lynch announced the Department of Justice is suing the state over the law.)

“While protecting the rights of transgender Americans is a cause I support—from cradle to grave, including public toilets—much of the outrage strikes me as being manufactured by politicians who’d rather create a wedge issue than solve a problem,” Ron argued.

Meanwhile, Olga reported on a study of over 2,000 transgender college graduates, which found that “those who had been denied access to bathrooms were 45 percent more likely to have tried to kill themselves, even when controlling for other types of victimization.”

Who Ya Gonna Call?

This July, Ghostbusters is back with a remake—this time, with all female leads. Fans aren’t so thrilled: As David points out, the trailer “is currently the most “disliked” movie preview on YouTube” which seems to “indicat[e] an organized campaign against the film.”

Ghostbusters ... has become a rallying cause for a swathe of fans who are beginning to resemble a movement not unlike the Gamergate nightmare that continues to plague the world of video games,” he writes. Yikes. Back in 2011, Hampton Stevens wrote an open-letter in The Atlantic to Bill Murray pleading for a Ghostbusters 3.

Already have that theme song in your head? Well, now you do.

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