What We’re Following Today
It’s Tuesday, January 29. The State of the Union, which would have been broadcast tonight, has been rescheduled for February 5. Democrats have tapped a familiar name—the former Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams—to deliver their rebuttal.
President Donald Trump’s longtime friend and informal adviser Roger Stone also pleaded not guilty to charges of obstruction and witness tampering brought in connection with Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe.
Trump Eyes Venezuela: Trump has threatened to use military force against a country before. But now he’s surrounded by advisers who actually believe in regime change—most notably John Bolton, who could be the deciding force in whether the Trump administration pursues military action in Venezuela.
Negotiation Station: Russian officials reportedly tried to make a deal last year with North Korea, offering the country a nuclear power plant in the midst of ongoing U.S.-North Korea nuclear negotiations. Reports of the secret proposal come shortly before a second summit between President Trump and Kim Jong Un, currently planned for next month.
Signs From the Shutdown: Though federal workers have returned to work, the shutdown underscores just how unstable many Americans are financially. Vann R. Newkirk II writes that while the shutdown might have ended, the structural inequalities it exposed—including wage stagnation, an ongoing savings crisis, and a threadbare safety net—still persist.
A 5G Cold War: As the White House prepares to host Chinese officials for trade talks on Wednesday, the Department of Justice has unsealed its indictments of the Chinese technology giant Huawei, which allege that Huawei engaged in industrial espionage against American companies like T-Mobile. The implication of the indictments?: “In 2019, you can’t separate mobile technology from national security,” writes Alexis Madrigal.
Striking Teachers: Hundreds of teachers rallied in front of the Virginia state capitol yesterday demanding higher pay, continuing an unprecedented year of labor activism for teachers.
A migrant man, part of a caravan of thousands traveling to the United States from Central America, loads his belongings on top of a van during the closing of the Barretal shelter in Tijuana, Mexico. Shannon Stapleton / Reuters
Ideas From The Atlantic
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Understands Politics Better Than Her Critics (Shadi Hamid)
“This focus on shifting the contours of the national debate is sometimes referred to as expanding the ‘Overton window.’ It is altogether possible that Ocasio-Cortez doesn’t think that a 70 percent marginal tax rate is realistic in our lifetime—she might not even think it’s the best option from a narrow, technocratic perspective of economic performance—but it doesn’t need to be.” → Read on.
Why Flying Cars Are an Impossible Dream (Derek Thompson)
“Instead of accepting defeat, the mobility-tech world is shifting its laser beam of optimism from self-driving Earth taxis to self-driving air taxis.” → Read on.
Blame Democrats for the State of the Union Circus (Daniel Foster)
“The first State of the Union address—George Washington’s in 1790—was just 1,089 words. That’s shorter than this essay … Historically, it has been Democratic presidents who have liked the sound of their own voice best.” → Read on.
Why Tom Brokaw’s Comments About Assimilation Were Wrong (Reihan Salam)
“If the yardstick for successful assimilation is whether an immigrant speaks English, has a diverse group of friends and loved ones that isn’t solely composed of co-ethnics, and is capable of supporting herself without relying on safety-net benefits or wage subsidies, there is no question that educated and affluent immigrants will be more likely to measure up than their disadvantaged counterparts. But is that because they’re working harder at assimilation, as Brokaw might have it, or because their disadvantaged peers have more to overcome?” → Read on.
What Else We’re Reading
◆ Democrats Weigh Whether Wall Street Money Is Still Allowed in 2020 (Emily Stewart, Vox)
◆ Who’s Afraid of Howard Schultz? Just About Everyone, and They’re Right to Be (Nick Gillespie, Reason)
◆ Kamala Harris’s Choices (Benjamin Wallace-Wells, The New Yorker)