The Atlantic Politics & Policy Daily: McCain’t Gonna Happen

The Arizona senator announced that he could not “in good conscience” support the Graham-Cassidy health-care bill.

Cliff Owen / AP

Today in 5 Lines

In a move that could sink the latest Obamacare-repeal effort, Arizona Senator John McCain announced that he could not “in good conscience” support the Graham-Cassidy health-care bill. Two other Republicans, Senators Rand Paul and Susan Collins, have also signaled their opposition to the bill. The Department of Education rescinded the Obama administration’s guidelines on college sexual assault. Rescue operations continued in Mexico, four days after a powerful earthquake struck the country and killed at least 286 people. Trump will head to Alabama to campaign alongside Senator Luther Strange ahead of the state’s Republican primary runoff for the seat previously occupied by Jeff Sessions.

Today on The Atlantic

  • A Moral Dilemma: This week, Patrik Hermansson, a 25-year-old Swedish man, released footage he’d gathered while secretly recording white supremacists, raising the question: Is it ethical to pose as a member of the alt-right? (Graeme Wood)

  • ‘Unlivable’: On Thursday, North Korea’s foreign minister hinted that the country might detonate a hydrogen bomb as a countermeasure to an attack from the United States. Here’s what a test like that would do to the Pacific Ocean. (Marina Koren)

  • What Happened?: Conservative provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos organized a jam-packed Free Speech Week in Berkeley, California, full of high-profile speakers like Ann Coulter and Steve Bannon. But things didn’t work out as planned. (Rosie Gray)

  • What Are Public Schools For?: The idea that public schools are failing is one of the most commonly heard complaints in American society. But what are they failing to do? In this episode of Radio Atlantic, The Atlantic’s education editor Alia Wong joins Jeff, Matt, and Alex for a conversation about how we define and measure success in public education.

    We’d like to hear your stories about education: public, private, school-of-hard-knocks, you name it. Call us up at (202)266-7600 and leave us a voicemail with your story and your answer to the question, “What is public education for?” Don’t forget to leave your contact info.

Follow stories throughout the day with our Politics & Policy portal.


Algeria, left, and Jacinto, rest at a temporary home in Mexico City on Friday, after fleeing Tuesday’s powerful earthquake with their owners. Natacha Pisarenko / AP

What We’re Reading

‘I Pray That God’s Will Be Done’: No one has promised to disrupt Washington like Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore, whose central campaign platform is bringing God into government. (Michael Scherer, The Washington Post)

New Travel Restrictions: President Trump’s travel ban could reportedly be replaced as early as Sunday with a new set of targeted restrictions on visits to the United States. (Michael D. Shear and Ron Nixon, The New York Times)

More of the Same: Donald Trump’s critics prove that old habits die hard, argues Jim Geraghty, as they double down on the arguments and philosophies that helped him win in 2016. (National Review)

Find the Nearest Exit: Many staffers in the Trump administration reportedly want out. “There will be an exodus from this administration in January,” said one Republican lobbyist. (Nancy Cook, Politico)

Rough Start: Former FBI Director James Comey’s address at Howard University Friday was interrupted by protesters chanting “no justice, no peace.” Comey is teaching at Howard this year as the Gwendolyn S. And Colbert I. King Endowed Chair in Public Policy. (Adam Goldman, The New York Times)

Unpopular Opinion: Three congressional committees and Special Counsel Robert Mueller are investigating Russia’s interference in the presidential election. So why is President Trump still referring to it as a “hoax?” (Brian Stelter, CNN)


The Aftermath: On Thursday, President Trump said Puerto Rico was “absolutely obliterated” after being struck by Hurricane Maria. See photos of the U.S. territory in the wake of the storm. (Alan Taylor)

Question of the Week

This week at the United Nations General Assembly, world leaders addressed a host of issues, including the Paris climate accord, the Iran nuclear deal, and North Korea’s intensifying nuclear threats. We asked what you’d like to see President Trump focus on achieving at the gathering. Here’s what you said:

Susan Peeples hoped he would make some big changes in rhetoric and focus on “reducing conflict with North Korea but not with threats. There have to be ways to invite and make it possible for North Korea to adopt a less combative world view as a way if making itself safe, and providing a better life for the people.”

Sharon Scafuri thought Trump should set his sights on getting out of the Iran deal: “Our foreign policy has been one of appeasement. It hasn't worked historically and it won't work now. We need to get tough.”

Finally, Kathleen Nussbaum suggested that the world’s leaders should focus their efforts on “getting adequate aid to victims of Somalia, South Sudan, Nigeria, Yemen and several other places.”

Thanks to everyone who submitted responses, and stay tuned for next week’s Question of the Week.

-Written by Elaine Godfrey (@elainejgodfrey)