What We’re Following
1. Negotiations to end the U.S.-government shutdown are still stalled as President Donald Trump remains steadfast in his demand for money to build a southern-border wall—a major campaign promise. Even if a physical wall is built, it might not achieve the president’s desired effect. For one, a border is much more than just a membrane separating one location from another, and “it’s the largely invisible electronic system that forms the real battleground of migration into the country.” Meanwhile, Trump might think the wall is a winning issue for him, but polling data shows that it’s repelling some of his more ambivalent 2016 supporters whose votes he needs come 2020.
“My husband is a senior federal corrections officer at United States Penitentiary, Hazelton, in West Virginia. He has been working up to 18-hour days,” the Atlantic reader Tanya Louise Allen of Morgantown, West Virginia, told us. “We are terrified about what the future may hold. We are a one-income household.” Have you or others you know been impacted by the shutdown? We want to hear from you. Reply directly to this newsletter, or send us an email with your full name, city, and state to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line The Daily: Shutdown Impacts.
2. Even as R. Kelly is engulfed in accusations of decades-long sexual predation, some fans still stand by the singer. Kelly’s recording contract remains in place, streams of his songs on Spotify have spiked, and die-hard fans continue to justify their support: “I am an R. Kelly fan. I’m here for the music and nothing else,” one woman is quoted saying in the new six-part documentary series Surviving R. Kelly.
Can art be considered apart from the artist? In the second year of the post–Harvey Weinstein reckoning, celebrities such as Kevin Spacey have tried to lean on their talent and fame to salvage their career following sexual-misconduct allegations. “Art, it seems, can survive allegations,” wrote Spencer Kornhaber last month. “What’s more unnerving is the suspicion, now, that artists can weather them, too—by relying on the goodwill engendered by their work.”