The Atlantic Politics & Policy Daily: Grounded

The U.S. will now join multiple other countries in temporarily grounding all Boeing 737 Max aircraft. Plus: Paul Manafort is sentenced—and indicted again.

The logo for Boeing appears above its trading post on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. President Donald Trump says the U.S. is issuing an emergency order grounding all Boeing 737 Max 8 and Max 9 aircraft. (Richard Drew / AP)

What We’re Following Today

It’s Wednesday, March 13.

‣ The Senate is expected to vote tomorrow on a resolution to block President Donald Trump’s national-emergency declaration. Ahead of the vote, a group of senators, led by the Utah Republican Mike Lee, is attempting to reach a last-minute agreement with the White House to limit the president’s power to declare future national emergencies in exchange for its support on the most recent declaration. The White House has so far declined to commit.

Here’s what else we’re watching:

Bad to Worse: A federal judge sentenced Paul Manafort, Trump’s former campaign manager, to 43 months in prison, bringing his total jail time to roughly six and a half years. But less than an hour after the judge’s ruling, the Manhattan district attorney indicted him on charges of mortgage fraud and other crimes for which he would be ineligible for a presidential pardon. Both defense attorneys and the judge seemed to have messages for the president.

+ Here are four important takeaways from the sentencing, according to Paul Rosenzweig, who two decades earlier served as senior counsel in the investigation of President Bill Clinton.

Grounded: Trump ordered the grounding of all Boeing 737 Max aircraft, reversing the Federal Aviation Administration’s decision from earlier in the week. The U.S. joins many other countries in grounding the jets after one crashed in Ethiopia on Sunday.

The Myth About Joe Biden: Every conversation about the former vice president running for president has involved how he might appeal to working-class Americans. But there’s no proof he can do it: Besides two failed presidential campaigns, Biden has never run a race outside his home state of Delaware.

Beto’s Privilege: The Texas Democrat Beto O’Rourke appears poised to jump into the 2020 presidential race any day now. He’s reportedly kicking off a multiday Iowa tour on Friday, and brought on former Barack Obama staffers like David Plouffe and Paul Tewes. But as he flirts with a potential bid, Megan Garber argues that O’Rourke is demonstrating the privileges that come with being white, male, and handsome in politics.

Admission Impossible: Dozens of wealthy parents were indicted on Tuesday for engaging in a massive elite-college bribery scandal. Of course, one option to prevent this kind of cheating in the future is to simply let more students in. “If you keep something as an extra-scarce commodity, then you will encourage behaviors by certain people, including crimes and bribery and all sorts of bad things,” one college president told Adam Harris.


Democratic leaders including Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, left, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi cheer as they gather to announce the introduction of the Equality Act. (Leah Millis / Reuters)

Ideas From The Atlantic

The Supreme Court Resuscitates the Eighth Amendment (Scott Bullock and Nick Sibilla)
“If a city is short on cash, it can pressure law enforcement to vigorously crack down on conduct—like traffic infractions, code violations, or drug offenses—that is punished with fines. One study of North Carolina found that a 10 percent drop in a county’s revenue resulted in officers writing 6 percent more traffic tickets.” → Read on.

The Moral Center of Meritocracy Collapses (Matthew Stewart)
“The rest of America’s families haven’t got the time or money for the helicopter bills, they are much more likely to find themselves in single-parenting situations, and they have longer commutes from neighborhoods with less desirable schools … And they are the ones that this system, and the 9.9 percent, is shafting on an epic scale.” → Read on.

What Immigration Restrictionists Can’t Foresee (Elizabeth F. Cohen)
“In the past, when the government has tried to control demographics with immigration policy, it hasn’t gotten what it wished for.” → Read on.

How Bigotry Made a Dove Out of Tucker Carlson (Peter Beinart)
“[Carlson] expresses no concern for the Iraqis America killed. In fact, he doesn’t question America’s right to conquer and occupy other countries at all. What he concludes is that the war was a mistake because Iraq is too uncivilized to subjugate.” → Read on.

Trump’s Budget Harms National Security (Kori Schake)
“This defense budget fails the two most basic tests of success: implementing the National Defense Strategy that established Department of Defense priorities, and providing a sustainable spending path for the department.” → Read on.

What Else We’re Reading

Obama’s Fentanyl Failure (Scott Higham, Sari Horwitz, and Katie Zezima, The Washington Post) (🔒 Paywall)
Jared Kushner Shows There’s a Shady-Yet-Legal Way to Get Rich Kids Into College (Adam K. Raymond, New York) (🔒 Paywall)

We’re always looking for ways to improve The Politics & Policy Daily. Comments, questions, typos, grievances and groans related to our puns? Let us know anytime here.

Were you forwarded this newsletter? Sign up for our daily politics email here. We have many other free email newsletters on a variety of other topics. Find the full list here.