The Atlantic Daily: Voters vs. Politics

Politicians' public disconnect, new Nunes intrigue, Russia's anti-corruption protests, and more

Aaron Bernstein / Reuters

What We’re Following

Investigation Intrigue: House Intelligence Committee chair Devin Nunes is under fire again after it was revealed that he visited the White House the day before making his sudden announcement about possible government surveillance of Trump’s transition team. Nunes says his visit was innocent, but his story raises questions, and feeds speculation that he’s too close to Trump to carry out an independent investigation into the alleged collusion between his campaign and Russian intelligence. Meanwhile, the president himself may be vulnerable to hackers: Some of his tweets suggest he’s still using an unsecured Android phone.

Voters vs. Politics: Last week, the failure of the bill to repeal and replace Obamacare dealt a crushing blow to the GOP. But it could be an unexpected boon for Trump: Though his dealmaking reputation is damaged, he might now have a chance to reshape his agenda, pursuing the policies that help his supporters instead of those that align with the GOP establishment’s priorities. Right-wing pundits may be partly to blame for what happened: Their fear-mongering over Obamacare obscured the actual costs of repealing the law, writes Conor Friedersdorf. But the gap between people and politics is wide, and it doesn’t stop at health care. Here’s how some state legislators are working to overturn ballot initiatives passed by their own constituents.

The Presidential Brand:  A California-based clothing company is filing a lawsuit against Ivanka Trump for unfair business practices, claiming her White House connections give her a competitive advantage. But it’s unclear whether the plaintiffs in this lawsuit or any of the three complaints against Ivanka’s dad have standing to sue. Trump has been mired in myriad conflicts of interest, which are further complicated by the fact that Trump’s brand and his business interests are deeply wrapped up with his political identity. After all, it was his stint on The Apprentice that helped him sell his success to Americans. A new animated Atlantic video asks: What does it mean to have a reality-TV president?


Police detain a protester at an anti-corruption demonstration in Vladivostok, Russia, on March 26, 2017. Russia saw unauthorized rallies in more than 90 cities this weekend after a critic of the Kremlin called for people to come out and protest. See more photos from the protests here, and read more here about what they mean for Putin. (Yuri Maltsev / Reuters).

Evening Read

Teresa Mathew on India’s first school for transgender people, which was funded by Carmelite nuns:

When the school [named Sahaj] was inaugurated on December 30, 2016, media organizations reported that Sahaj had 10 students and intended to offer accredited online classes through the National Institute of Open Schooling as well as vocational training to trans dropouts in their 20s and 30s. It was the first school of its kind in India, and the first time the Catholic Church had gotten involved in such a capacity with the issue of transgender education.

But three months later, Sahaj has no teachers, no accreditation, and no students. [Activist Vijayaraja] Mallika never got around to hiring teachers, and the few students who briefly attended left, partly due to a lack of direction for the program. Sahaj is now functioning only as a shelter: The dormitory and kitchen are used by four trans people training to become workers for the forthcoming metro system. The school isn’t suffering because of a lack of need in this conservative South Indian state. Instead, various factors have impeded the school’s success: social stigma, weak direction, and a failure to anticipate the needs of the larger trans community.

Keep reading here, as Mathew tells the story of Sahaj’s founding, its challenges, and what its next steps will be.

What Do You Know?

1. America’s number of for-profit colleges nearly tripled in the first five years after the signing of the ____________.

Scroll down for the answer, or find it here.

2. About ____________ percent of Hindu Americans voted for Donald Trump.

Scroll down for the answer, or find it here.

3. Astronomers have detected a supermassive black hole 600 million light-years away that’s creating new stars up to ____________ times the mass of the sun.

Scroll down for the answer, or find it  here.

Answers: G.I. Bill, 17, 30

Look Back

On this day in 1915, “Typhoid Mary” Mallon was quarantined for the second and final time, after public health authorities found she’d spread the disease by working as a cook. In August 2014, Adrienne LaFrance explored her case:

The curious thing about Typhoid Mary’s forced isolation is that authorities went after her where several other cooks in New York, mostly men who were identified as intermittent typhoid carriers like she was, were left alone by authorities. “I think it was more about making people feel safe than making them actually safe,” reporter Sean Cole told Radiolab listeners. “She was what we needed at the time.”

Read more here on Typhoid Mary and other historic and modern quarantine cases.

America by Air

Fernando Barraza edges up to the border:

I took this picture last month while traveling from El Paso to San Diego right as we passed the farmlands of Imperial County. The image is looking southeast with the U.S.–Mexico border clearly marked running east–west, at the point where Calexico, California, and Mexicali, Baja California, meet. Hope you enjoy!

Reader Response

Last week, we asked how to incorporate solitude into a 21st-century lifestyle. Margaret has three suggestions:

Hiking, preferably on trails, if you’re lucky enough to live where you can do that almost every day, as I am.  

Silent retreats, preferably at the ocean. This takes time and money, but what accomplishes almost the same thing is frequent one-day retreats with the library as staging area.

A silent half hour in the morning, measured by a half-hour hourglass, sitting without reading. With coffee. Don’t try it without the coffee.


Soundtrack personalized, gold created, parental leave crowdfunded, SNL goes live.

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