The Atlantic Politics & Policy Daily: This Is Not a Test

The federal government tested a new presidential alert system at 2:18 p.m. ET.

The first test of the national wireless emergency system by the Federal Emergency Management Agency is shown on a cellular phone in Detroit. (Paul Sancya / AP)

Written by Olivia Paschal (@oliviacpaschal), Elaine Godfrey (@elainejgodfrey), and Madeleine Carlisle (@maddiecarlisle2)

Today in 5 Lines

  • Republican Senators Jeff Flake, Susan Collins, and Lisa Murkowski criticized President Trump for mocking Christine Blasey Ford at a rally in Mississippi on Tuesday. Speaking at The Atlantic Festival, Senator Lindsey Graham also said he “didn’t particularly like” Trump’s comments.

  • Republican senators said the FBI’s report on its investigation into allegations of sexual assault against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh could come as early as tonight.

  • The Senate easily passed a bipartisan bill to address the growing opioids crisis, sending the legislation on to Trump to sign.

  • The federal government tested a new presidential alert system at 2:18 p.m. ET. The alert, designed to warn Americans of a threat, went out to about 225 million cellphones nationwide.

  • Secretary of State Mike Pompeo withdrew the United States from a 1955 treaty with Iran after the United Nations’ top court ordered the U.S. to lift sanctions on certain “humanitarian” goods.

Today on The Atlantic

  • She Might Be Running: California Senator Kamala Harris just gave America a preview of what could end up being her 2020 message to President Trump: “Stop being mean.” (Elaine Godfrey)

  • Trump Isn’t Texting You: Here’s why you shouldn’t worry about that presidential alert you got today. (Ian Bogost)

  • When Trump Mocks You: When President Trump mocked Christine Blasey Ford Tuesday night, he used a powerful weapon: laughter. (Megan Garber)

  • Women Who Believe Kavanaugh: These conservative women are furious with the way the allegations against Brett Kavanaugh have been handled. They don’t believe his accusers, and think they might ultimately hurt the cause of sexual assault victims. (Emma Green)

  • Who Was Watching?: Last week, it seemed like the whole country was watching Christine Blasey Ford’s and Brett Kavanaugh’s testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee. But it appears people who were most tuned in to the hearing are already avid news consumers. (Shan Wang)


First Lady Melania Trump tours Cape Coast Castle in Ghana. Carlo Allegri / Reuters

What We’re Reading

Learning to Compromise: As the Supreme Court begins its new term, the collegial mood within the building couldn’t be more different than the one outside it. (Chris Geidner, BuzzFeed News)

Their ‘Idiocy’ Might Cost Them: There’s a decent chance Democrats could take back the Senate in November, writes Ryan Cooper. But they’ll have to overcome one big problem: Senator Bob Menendez. (The Week)

#MeToo and the Kavanaugh Moment: If the #MeToo movement wants the support of conservative women, it needs to end the “partisan debate” over Kavanaugh, argues Tiana Lowe. (Politico)

Sexual Assault in Prison: For many incarcerated women, reporting sexual assault means being placed in solitary confinement. (Victoria Law, Truthout)


It’s a Hard Living: The lives of undocumented migrant farmers, in photos. (Matt Black and Diana Marcum, The California Sunday Magazine)

If He Goes Down: If Kavanaugh’s nomination fails, how long would it take for the Senate to confirm a replacement? Here’s what history tells us. (Reuben Fischer-Baum and Kevin Uhrmacher, The Washington Post)