The Atlantic Daily: Let’s Talk About Policy

Political speeches may be mostly performance, but the issues discussed touch many. Plus New York cracks down on restaurants serving food and drink containing CBD.


What We’re Following

From the travel ban to the border wall, immigration has played an outsize role in Donald Trump’s presidency—and Tuesday night’s State of the Union address was no exception. He mentioned more immigration-related words than his predecessors, linking immigrants with higher crime:

Chart of immigration-related words in State of the Union speeches

Study after study does not support that claim. At one point, Trump diverted from his usual talking points on the subject, indicating that he’s open to accepting more high-skilled legal immigrants. If it wasn’t a spontaneous wink of Trumpian hyperbole, argues Reihan Salam, it could be a promising sign of a pivot in the immigration debate.

In his speech, Trump also took up the mantle of eradicating AIDS in the U.S. It’s a laudable goal that is far from impossible—but it would require an upheaval of his policies and rhetoric as president. Putting an end to the AIDS epidemic would be elusive without outreach to racial minorities and LGBTQ people who are most at risk of getting HIV, but these people disproportionately lack health insurance—a problem the president has exacerbated—and are skeptical of the president in the wake of his ban on transgender military service.

Trump made a ploy to lambaste late-term abortions, in response to recent bills in New York and Virginia that would expand women’s options for ending their pregnancies in the third trimester. The Virginia legislation ultimately failed, and Trump’s invocation of it during the State of the Union looked to be an attempt to shore up support among his anti-abortion base. The partisan brawl over the two pieces of legislation could presage more fights over abortion rights, as the Supreme Court’s lurch to the right puts the future of abortion on unsteady footing.

Evening Reads

The CBD Crackdown Has Begun

New York City announced on Tuesday that it’s cracking down on restaurants that sell food and drinks containing cannabidiol (CBD), a compound that can be derived from cannabis.

“CBD has shown real promise as a treatment for things like epilepsy and anxiety in early research, but as a consumer product, it’s largely unproven and unregulated, which makes it difficult for people to understand what they’re buying or what effect it will have on them. Even in its simplest forms, CBD has no labeling standards or regulated dosage guidelines, and businesses often don’t disclose exactly how much they’ve put in a brownie or latte.”

Read the rest

Why Swedes Are Chiller Parents Than Americans

(Ilya Naymushin / Reuters)

It’s no surprise that typical parenting styles vary wildly across the world. But one surprising factor may play a role: a society’s level of income inequality.

“Parents want their children to do well in life, to be successful. And in a society that is very unequal—where there are lots of opportunities if one does well and very negative outcomes if one is less successful—parents will be more worried that their children won’t become high achievers in school. But if you go to a country where there is less inequality, parents may be less worried about that, not because they care less about their children, but because the negative outcomes aren’t as bad.”

Read the rest

Looking for our daily mini crossword? Try your hand at it here—the puzzle gets more difficult through the week.

Concerns, comments, questions, typos? Email Shan Wang at

Did you get this newsletter from a friend? Sign yourself up.