(Ross D. Franklin / AP)

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


Today in 5 Lines

  • The Wall Street Journal reported that President Donald Trump was involved in “nearly every step” of hush-money agreements with former adult-film star Stormy Daniels and ex-Playboy model Karen McDougal. Trump has repeatedly denied any involvement.

  • A wildfire in Northern California killed at least five people in the city of Paradise, authorities said. Several thousand people have been evacuated in Southern California due to a second wildfire near Los Angeles.

  • Democrat Kyrsten Sinema gained a small lead over Republican Martha McSally in the Arizona Senate race, which is still too close to call.

  • The Florida recount for the governor and Senate races is still underway, and embroiled in lawsuits and allegations of voter suppression and voter fraud.

  • Cesar Sayoc, the man who allegedly sent at least 16 pipe bombs by mail to some of the president’s most vocal critics, was indicted on 30 counts.


Today on The Atlantic

  • The Activist Dilemma: Leftist activists are driving the Democratic Party’s agenda, writes Peter Beinart in the December issue of The Atlantic. Could they go too far?

  • It’s Too Late: With Jeff Sessions gone, many are worried that Trump might act to rein in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation. Benjamin Wittes offers 10 reasons why that probably won’t happen.

  • An Unexpected Upset: Here’s how a 27-year-old graduate student with no government experience toppled a highly respected Republican moderate in Houston. (Andrew Kragie)

  • Spaced Out: Trump needs Congress if he wants to create a Space Force. But the Democratic House will probably ground the project, reports Marina Koren.


Snapshot

A White House staff member, on the right, carries personal luggage and papers for President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump to Air Force One before Trump’s departure for Paris. A military aide follows with briefcases containing the military launch codes, known as the nuclear football. (Carlos Barria / Reuters)

What We’re Reading

Why Are Democrats So Sad?: They wanted the midterm elections to be a total rebuke of Trump, writes Amy Walter. And that didn’t happen. (The Cook Political Report)

Still No Governor in Georgia: Less than two percent of votes separate Democrat Stacey Abrams from Republican Brian Kemp—and Abrams won’t concede until every vote is counted. (Amanda Arnold, New York)

Big Money, Big Wins: Affordable-housing activists across the country were hoping to pass progressive reform policies in Tuesday’s midterm elections. But after the real estate industry got involved, many of their initiatives lost. (Jimmy Tobias, The Nation)

Not an Excuse: After every mass shooting, the National Rifle Association and its allies argue that the problem is the mental health of the perpetrators, not the guns themselves. That’s wrong, argues Elizabeth Bruenig. (The Washington Post)

On the Other Hand: Gun-control advocates argue that reasonable gun laws would prevent mass shootings. But those laws didn’t prevent the most recent massacre in California. (Jacob Sullum, Reason)


Visualized

People Showed Up: Turnout in midterm elections is usually much lower in presidential ones. However, these 13 states actually increased turnout compared to 2016. (Dan Keating and Kate Rabinowitz, The Washington Post)

Six for Six: These six first-time candidates attempted to flip their congressional districts from red to blue this year. All six won. (Diane Tsai and Charlotte Alter, Time)


We’re always looking for ways to improve The Politics & Policy Daily. Concerns, comments, questions, typos? Let us know anytime here.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to letters@theatlantic.com.