What We’re Following
Democratic Hopes: Republican Karen Handel and Democrat Jon Ossoff are facing off today in a high-stakes special election in Georgia’s sixth district—a conservative stronghold where a liberal victory could send a significant message about the trajectory of U.S. politics. If Democrats want to reclaim control of Congress in 2018, Bruce Reed and Rahm Emanuel argue, they need to be strategic about which candidates and causes they choose to back in which districts. And as Franklin Foer writes, that may mean working harder to appeal to the white working class.
Republicans’ Message: The White House has been scaling down its press briefings in recent weeks, so that they’re now shorter, rarer, and often take place off camera. They’re also often thin on information—today, for example, Press Secretary Sean Spicer said he didn’t know Trump’s views on Russian interference with the 2016 election, one of many evasions that have prompted observers to question Spicer’s role as the president’s spokesman. Despite the criticism, these minimal disclosures seem to be helping both Trump and his party’s leaders in Congress to move their agenda forward.
Syrian Conflict: Over the weekend, the U.S. shot down a Syrian warplane that had targeted U.S.-backed rebels, prompting the government’s Russian allies to declare they would treat American aircraft as targets in Syria. During his campaign, President Trump had promised to avoid an intervention in Syria. But now, the tangled international conflict surrounding the long civil war is escalating, increasing the U.S.’s risk of a direct clash with Iran.