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1. AND NOW FOR THE MORE DIVERSE STATES, WITHOUT DIVERSE CANDIDATES

Nevada and South Carolina vote this month on an all-white field of top contenders.

Adam Harris is a staff writer at The Atlantic, where he covers the 2020 campaign.

At a Democratic-debate watch party in Manchester, New Hampshire, earlier this month, a voter (who was leaning toward Elizabeth Warren) confided in me that he wished Cory Booker—who, cash-strapped, dropped out before the Iowa caucus—was still in the race. In the same sorry category is Kamala Harris, whose once-promising campaign ended in December. Deval Patrick ended his (brief) candidacy after the New Hampshire primary; so did Andrew Yang.

Now, as a more diverse crop of voters in Nevada and South Carolina prepare to decide whom they want as the Democratic nominee, a lily-white field of viable candidates will need to make explicit appeals to black and Latino voters.

Following a strong debate performance in Nevada and an endorsement from prominent black activists, Elizabeth Warren is hoping her race-conscious, policy-heavy approach will make a difference with voters. Joe Biden’s strongest base of support, black voters, has taken a second look at other candidates (he needs a strong showing in both states to have any path to the nomination). Notably, Bernie Sanders and Tom Steyer have seen increases in black support in South Carolina.

But waiting in the wings of Super Tuesday states is a billion-dollar bogeyman who has shot up in the polls to become the front-runner in several states, and the shadow of a contested convention.

LARS POYANSKY / SHUTTERSTOCK / ARSH RAZIUDDIN / THE ATLANTIC

2. A POTENTIAL CURE FOR THE SUNDAY SCARIES

The four-day workweek is a grand idea—but it still hasn’t caught on.

Joe Pinsker is a staff writer at The Atlantic, where he has lately also written about generational labels and the complexity of the term old.

I recently wrote about the Sunday scaries—the anxiety and dread that many people feel on Sunday evenings, before a workweek, or school week, begins. One person I interviewed, the journalist Anne Helen Petersen, prescribed a structural fix for this minor malaise: a four-day workweek.

Coincidentally, I had a three-day weekend the week after the article was published, and it seemed to help: Returning to work on Tuesday was noticeably less unpleasant, because I entered the workweek with an extra day’s worth of chore-doing, socializing, and relaxing behind me.

A small number of companies have experimented with the four-day workweek as a way to increase efficiency and employee retention. “You get all day Friday off, instead of pretending like you’re working when you’re not,” one tech-company CEO said in 2015. But, as I explained then, the four-day workweek is, sadly, probably little more than “a quirk and a perk—a way for small, forward-thinking companies in knowledge industries to compete with their more powerful rivals for talented employees.” Five years later, I’d say not much has changed.

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3. POLICY PIES IN THE 2020 SKY

Expenses have skyrocketed. Wages haven’t. So what now?

Annie Lowrey is a staff writer at The Atlantic, where she covers economic policy.

Sky-high rents, expensive student-debt repayment plans, obscene day-care costs, hefty out-of-pocket medical bills: These are all part of the Great Affordability Crisis sapping the American middle class. Such costs have risen faster than wages just about everywhere, leaving families financially fragile.

These are systemic problems that Republicans and Democrats alike have proposed numerous plans to tackle. On child care, President Donald Trump has proposed investing $1 billion in expanding the country’s day-care capacity, while Bernie Sanders has pushed to create a universal, public child-care and prekindergarten program. On health insurance, Medicare for All would eliminate many out-of-pocket costs and private premiums. And many Democrats are now pushing to cancel federal student debt and make college free.

These ideas might sound pie-in-the-sky, but they are all common, workable policies in the United States’ rich-country peers.


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