The Atlantic Daily: Who's the Boomlet Candidate Who Won't Flame Out?

Is “Mayor Pete” a rising star with staying power? Plus: the strained NATO alliance and a country that wants in, a therapist's first therapy session, and more

What We’re Following

In the thick of 2020 hopefuls, one candidate is emerging as an early dark horse. Pete Buttigieg, the 37-year-old mayor of South Bend, Indiana, has in recent weeks catapulted from a little-known presidential long shot to a social-media darling and top-tier contender. “Mayor Pete,” as he’s affectionately known, hasn’t registered above 4 percent in any poll, yet he’s garnered an eye-popping $7 million fundraising haul in the first quarter. But will Buttigieg’s star power flame out, or only continue to brighten? Early dark-horse candidates in elections past might give some insight: The bubble often pops and sends them plummeting back to Earth, with one big exception … President Donald Trump.

The head of NATO gave an address to Congress, as the strained alliance turns 70. Trump has time and time again criticized NATO over defense spending and questioned America’s commitment, but Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg mostly eschewed the president’s pugilism, instead thanking America for its contributions and echoing the president’s message for more defense spending. The Trump administration might take NATO for granted, but one country still really wants to join: Georgia, perched on Russia’s doorstep, and the top non-NATO contributor to the coalition mission in Afghanistan.


Winners of Smithsonian Magazine’s 2018 Photo Contest

(© Anuroop Krishnan. All rights reserved.)

Eight winning images were selected from 48,000 entries in Smithsonian magazine’s 16th annual photo contest, including this close encounter with a red-fronted lemur, the winner in the “Natural World” category.

→ View the full gallery

Evening Read

How I Bombed My First Therapy Session, by therapist Lori Gottlieb

While seeing one of her first-ever patients as a budding clinical therapist, Lori Gottlieb got a wake-up call on just how difficult the profession can be.

What has brought her here now, she confides, is that her work has started getting sloppy and her boss has noticed. She can’t concentrate, because trying not to cry is taking all of her focus. She looked up the symptoms of depression and ticked off all the boxes. She’s never been in therapy before but knows she needs help. Nobody, she says, looking me in the eye—not her friends, not her boyfriend, not her family — knows how depressed she is. Nobody but me.

Me. The trainee who has never done therapy before.

(If you ever want proof that what people present online is a prettier version of their lives, become a therapist and Google your patients. Later, when I Googled Michelle out of concern — I learned quickly never to do this again, to always let patients be the sole narrators of their stories—pages of hits popped up. I saw images of her receiving a prestigious award, smiling at an event standing next to a handsome guy, looking cool and confident and at peace with the world in a magazine photo spread. Online, she bore no resemblance to the person who sat across from me in that room.)

Read the rest

Programming note: Lori will be in conversation with NPR’s Scott Simon at Sixth & I in Washington, D.C., on Thursday, April 4 at 7:00 pm. Tickets are available here.

Looking for our daily mini crossword? Try your hand at it here.

Comments, questions, typos? Email newsletters editor Shan Wang at

We have many other free email newsletters on a variety of other topics. Find the full list here.