The Atlantic Daily: Trumpism Is on the Ballot

Election Day 2021 is a relatively small one, but that doesn’t mean you should write it off.

A read background with a white  envelope and a red Atlantic "A"
The Atlantic

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.


Now that it’s November, Americans can partake in their favorite seasonal activities, such as baking pies and casting ballots. Tomorrow, voters will decide the governor’s races in Virginia and New Jersey, which can serve as important signals of the political mood one year into a presidential term. Right now, pollsters have New Jersey leaning Democratic (as it tends to), and Virginia as very, very close.

The outcomes of these two races may hint at how next year’s midterms will go down. And the Virginia contest, in particular, is a test of how the parties will fare among suburban voters without the polarizing force of Donald Trump on the ballot.

  • Democrats want to tie their opponents to Trump. The party’s nominees in Virginia and New Jersey keep talking about Trump, betting that “any mention of the former president in connection with Republican candidates repels many moderates from voting red,” Edward-Isaac Dovere reports.

  • Virginia will test Democrats’ new post-Trump coalition. My colleague Elaine Godfrey summarizes the big question of the day: “Was the dramatic leftward shift of suburban voters in recent elections merely a Trump-era phenomenon, or did it represent a more permanent change?”


The news in three sentences:

(1) The worldwide death toll from COVID-19 passed 5 million. (2) The Supreme Court hinted that it could allow a challenge to Texas’s controversial abortion law. (3) President Joe Biden apologized for that whole U.S. Paris Agreement withdrawal at the COP26 climate conference.

One question, answered: The real nail-biter tomorrow is the Virginia governor’s race. Will election results be ready on Election Night, or will counting ballots take a few days, as we saw in the 2020 presidential election?

I asked David A. Graham, who covered the blue shift last year:

If you’ve got to get up early on Wednesday, don’t plan on knowing who won when you go to bed. It’s possible that we will know the winner on Election Night, but if the race is as close as recent polls show, it could take a few days to determine the victor—especially because Virginia allows mailed ballots to count if they arrive as late as Friday. In a close-enough election, every vote could matter.

Today’s Atlantic-approved activity:

Cook smarter, not harder. “I think we need to stop obsessing over what counts as cooking,” the food journalist Priya Krishna explains.

A break from the news:

“Cancer celebrities” can offer comfort to cancer patients—or piss them off. Our staff writer Caitlin Flanagan explains why she loves Farrah Fawcett and hates Sheryl Crow.


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.