The Atlantic Daily: Vows and Disavowals

Twitter suspended some alt-right accounts, Trump pledged to decline a presidential salary, Americans love a political outsider, and more.

Lucas Jackson / Reuters

What We’re Following

Suspension of Beliefs: Twitter has suspended at least six accounts associated with the alt-right movement, including those of National Policy Institute’s Richard Spencer, his organization, and his magazine. The alt-right is known for promoting white nationalism, and Twitter has been one of its most important platforms. But silencing racist views by suspending accounts isn’t a very meaningful way of addressing them; in fact, such censorship could make the problem worse.

Bucking Tradition: President-elect Donald Trump announced in an interview this week that he planned to decline the $400,000 presidential salary, accepting only $1 per year as payment. From a candidate who made much of self-funding his campaign (and of his own wealth), this decision—preceded by John F. Kennedy and Herbert Hoover—can seem like another noble act of self-denial. But the point of paying the president to do his job is to ensure he isn’t tempted toward corrupt means of moneymaking, so critics already concerned by Trump’s deep involvement in the private sector are more worried. In terms of policy, though, Trump’s relationship with big business remains uncertain—and how he chooses to approach anti-trust law may be one of the most important decisions to come from his administration.

But Who Cares About Policy? A new poll says only 30 percent of Americans think Trump has a mandate to carry out his campaign agenda. That’s striking, but not surprising; Trump didn’t run on detailed and specific policies. Rather, to hear some of his supporters tell it, the biggest part of his appeal came from his identity as someone completely removed from politics. And as America’s pop-culture representations of politics show, that outsider status is part of an enduring and powerful narrative.


A worker restores the rotunda of the U.S. Capitol Dome in Washington, D.C., in June 2016. The finished dome was unveiled today after a restoration project that cost $59.5 million and took three years to complete. More photos here. (Architect of the Capitol)


Eric Heisserer, the screenwriter behind the sci-fi film Arrival, shares how this story of creating an alien language can leave viewers with an extraordinarily hopeful message.

Liz Ryan, the president and CEO of Youth First Initiative, explains how youth incarceration can cause more harm than good. (If your sibling spend time in prison and you’d like to talk about the experience, please send us a note:

Jeni Strand, a human resources executive, talks about why going to HR managers makes some people uncomfortable. “If one of us from HR goes out to visit a branch, and just say hi to folks, the instantaneous response is, ‘Oh my god, what are you doing here? Who's in trouble?’” says Strand. “Why do people think that? We’re here to say hi. We're here to have fun. We’re here to buy lunch.”

Evening Read

Kaveh Waddell on the alphabet that will save a people from disappearing:

“Why do Fulani people not have their own writing system?” Abdoulaye Barry remembers asking his father one day in elementary school. The variety of writing styles made it difficult for families and friends who lived in different countries to communicate easily. Abdoulaye’s father, who learned Arabic in Koranic schools, often helped friends and family in Nzérékoré—Guinea’s second-largest city—decipher letters they received, reading aloud the idiosyncratically modified Arabic scripts. As they grew older, Abdoulaye and his brother Ibrahima began to translate letters, too.

“Those letters were very difficult to read even if you were educated in Arabic,” Abdoulaye said. “You could hardly make out what was written.”

So, in 1990, the brothers started coming up with an alternative. Abdoulaye was 10 years old; Ibrahima was 14.

Keep reading here to see how the brothers created what would later become Adlam and how they began their quest to add the language to smartphone keyboards.

What Do You Know?

1. The government of ____________ has blocked searches of a popular nickname in an effort to stop its citizens from calling North Korea’s leader “Kim Jong Fatty the Third.”

Scroll down for the answer, or find it here.

2. Honey is one of the sweetest substances found in nature, second only to ____________.

Scroll down for the answer, or find it here.

3. ____________ pharmacies control 99 percent of the pharmacy market.

Scroll down for the answer, or find it here. ​​​​

Answers: China, Dates, Three

Reader Response

Laura shares her frustration with voters who kept their support for Hillary Clinton private:

I am 63. As a young woman, I worked with Planned Parenthood to ensure abortion rights, and then for the Equal Rights Amendment, and then organized secretaries’ unions to improve wages and working conditions. Throughout my working life, the right of women to live as equals with men has been a driving force—an inheritance from my immigrant Spanish grandmother, who knew she was equal to men and made sure her daughters knew it as well, even if it only meant she ruled her kitchen.

So when my even slightly younger friends—who are the beneficiaries of all those decades of work—reluctantly, sheepishly, apologetically, expressed their support (or worse, their hatred) for Hillary Clinton, it was all I could do not to slap them with my grandmother’s bony hand—her hard-working hand—and say, “You fool, we’ve worked too hard for this. Be proud, have some pride.”

Read more from Laura and other regretful Clinton supporters here. If you’re still grieving her loss, there’s a soundtrack for protest and mourning on A Tribe Called Quest’s latest album—and an example to heed in the experience of the U.K. voters disappointed after Brexit.


Funds raised, solidarity sought, Nobelist unobliging.

The Atlantic Daily is written by Yasmeen Serhan and Rosa Inocencio Smith. To contact us, email