The Atlantic Daily: Biden’s Plan to Get His Party Out of This Mess

Democrats, still nursing a hangover from last week, enter a tense moment.

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The Atlantic

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Democrats are at a turning point. For months, the party has been plagued by fears that it is squandering its control in Washington. Last week’s loss in Virginia brought those fears to a fever pitch.

Congress did finally get stuff done late Friday night, passing the infrastructure bill that’s been in the works for months now. But that marks just one policy vehicle freed from the gridlock. The party’s central anxiety remains: Will it be able to accomplish enough to win over voters and avert disaster in the 2022 midterms?

  • The party is losing the “vibes war.” Derek Thompson explains: “Despite many positive economic trends, Americans are feeling rotten about the state of things—and, understandably, they’re blaming the party in power.”

  • Where does President Joe Biden go from here? “Catastrophe has a way of clarifying things,” Peter Nicholas, who covers the White House, writes of the Virginia result, “and now Biden seems on the verge of a reset. An immediate course correction may be his last, best shot at salvaging both his presidency and his party’s prospects next year.”

  • Should the party be recruiting more celebrity candidates? After all, it worked for Donald Trump. But Democrats remain wary of going all in on famous names. Olga Khazan explores why.

The news in three sentences:

(1) The United States reopened its borders to many (vaccinated) international travelers. (2) The House’s January 6 committee subpoenaed six Trump advisers. (3) Former President Barack Obama spoke at the COP26 summit on climate change, criticizing former President Donald Trump.

One question, answered: Do parents of girls have any reason to be concerned about COVID-19 vaccines affecting the start of puberty?

Our staff writer Katherine J. Wu reports:

Experts assured me that there’s no plausible way a vaccine could affect the start of puberty. But it’s understandable that some of these fears have cropped up. For months, misinformation about the COVID-19 vaccines negatively impacting fertility have been circulating. Those ideas are totally false, according to Tina Tan, a pediatrician and infectious-disease specialist at Northwestern University. “There is absolutely no connection between getting a vaccine and an effect on fertility,” she told me.

Another set of reports may be playing a role here too. Many women have noted that their vaccine temporarily put their menstrual cycle in flux. This one’s real, but no cause for alarm. Menstrual cycles are fickle and can be impacted by a lot of factors, including stress or the immune system getting really riled up, as it tends to do—in a good way!—after vaccination. Researchers say the effects seem to be mostly short-lived.

Today’s Atlantic-approved activity:

Moving to a sunny clime probably won’t make you happy. Learn to love your local seasons instead.

A break from the news:

The mass slaughter of whales in the 20th century left a gargantuan hole in the ocean’s ecosystems.


Every weekday evening, our editors guide you through the biggest stories of the day, help you discover new ideas, and surprise you with moments of delight. Subscribe to get this delivered to your inbox.