The Atlantic Daily: The Midterms Are Closing In on the Democrats

The election is 300 days away. What will the party in power get done before then?

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A photo illustration of a shattered light bulb; its glass is made up of segments of the American flag.
Getty; The Atlantic

We are exactly 300 days out from the 2022 midterm elections—not much time at all, if you factor in the congressional calendar and campaign season, for Democrats to pass both their Build Back Better Act (or, as we’re calling it, the Big Bill) and comprehensive national voting reform. (Although things seem to be looking up for the latter, the spending package remains stalled.)

If history is any guide, the party is likely to lose seats in Congress come November. That means its window for passing an agenda is quickly closing. Three Atlantic writers weigh in on where things stand and what the future may hold.

  • This is a now-or-never moment for climate legislation. “Every day that goes by, the party takes another step toward political catastrophe and planetary misgovernance,” Robinson Meyer warns. (Joe Manchin isn’t the only Democrat gambling with Earth’s future, he says.)
  • But there’s one bold economic move Joe Biden doesn’t need Congress for. The president could cancel student-loan debt unilaterally, but he says he won’t, Russell Berman reports.
  • And looking forward, America needs an abundance agenda. The country’s deficits go far beyond a lack of COVID tests—other essential goods such as housing and health care remain in short supply. Scarcity is “the story of America today,” Derek Thompson argues. The solution would draw on several ideologies to usher in an era where time, power, and comfort are in abundance for all Americans.
A collage of money, a person looking through binoculars, a compass, and a stock-market arrow
Getty; The Atlantic

The news in three sentences:

(1) Inflation rose again to 7 percent in December, new data reveal.

(2) Daily reported coronavirus cases continued to top 700,000 nationally.

(3) The January 6 congressional committee wants House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy to testify.

Today’s Atlantic-approved activity:

Leslie Marmon Silko’s Ceremony, published in 1977, “remains a stunningly eerie meditation on a country full of ghosts.”

Find that and more on our list of eight ghost stories that have stood the test of time.

A break from the news:

Stop fetishizing old homes. New construction is better, M. Nolan Gray argues.