The Atlantic Politics & Policy Daily: The Norms They Are a-Changin’

Former Vice President Joe Biden promises to “be more mindful about respecting personal space.” Plus: Can Mayor Pete Buttigieg sustain his 2020 momentum?

Joe Biden climbing stairs
Andrew Harnik / AP

What We’re Following Today

It’s Wednesday, April 3.

‣The House Judiciary Committee approved the authorization of a subpoena for the full Mueller report. Chairman Jerry Nadler said that the committee would not immediately issue the subpoena, but would instead give Attorney General William Barr “time to change his mind.”

‣Lori Lightfoot was elected as the first African American woman and openly gay mayor of Chicago.

Here’s what else we’re watching:

NATO’s 70th Anniversary: Addressing a joint session of Congress, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg outlined arguments over spending and a list of other issues, but assured the audience that “open discussions and different views is not a sign of weakness.” The visit demonstrated that Donald Trump, who has been critical of NATO, is now learning to live with it. One country, though, still wants in: Georgia, a neighbor to Russia, has been pushing to be part of the alliance since at least 2003.

The Never-Ending Campaign: Normally, a president enters the White House ready to govern and eager to unite the country. Not Donald Trump. Instead, the 45th president’s rallies have gotten angrier—and more unhinged from reality, writes Peter Nicholas.

via Twitter

Does Pete Buttigieg Have Staying Power?: The South Bend, Indiana, mayor has captivated the internet and raised an impressive amount of money. But is his momentum sustainable, or is it merely a blip, like the boomlets (think Herman Cain’s, in 2012) of past elections? David Graham explores how Buttigieg compares.

+ Meanwhile, another potential 2020 candidate has emerged: the Michigan Republican Justin Amash, who says he’s considering being the Libertarian Party’s standard-bearer.

‘Social Norms Are Changing’: In response to recent accusations from women who say he has made them uncomfortable with unwanted contact, former Vice President Joe Biden promised to “be more mindful about respecting personal space.” More than anything else, writes Alex Wagner, Biden’s inclination toward physical contact “is his radiocarbon date: the thing that fixes his age most precisely, that tags him as a creature from another era.”


Chicago Mayor-elect Lori Lightfoot smiles during a press conference at the Rainbow PUSH organization in Chicago. (Nuccio DiNuzzo / AP)

Ideas From The Atlantic

A Predictable Coda to the Waco Biker Gunfight (Conor Friedersdorf)
“Roughly 200 bikers were arrested on May 17, 2015, according to the Waco Tribune-Herald; 155 were charged with engaging in organized criminal activity; many were held on $1 million bond. But prosecutors announced yesterday that they were dismissing all remaining cases. In the end, just one biker was brought to trial.” → Read on.

Nothing Trump Said Was True (David Dayen)
“Trump’s prepresidential game-playing, then, should be properly understood as on the spectrum of normal in a financial netherworld that the U.S. government does too little to regulate.” → Read on.

The Democratic Party Is Radicalizing (Peter Wehner)
“If you want to understand just how radicalized the Democratic Party has become in recent years, look at the ascent of Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont. A self-proclaimed socialist, Sanders served as mayor of Burlington, Vermont, and was then elected to the House in 1990 and the Senate in 2006. It’s hard to overstate just how left-wing Sanders’s views have been, at least by the standards of American politics.” → Read on.

What Else We’re Reading

She Survived a Slave Ship, the Civil War, and the Depression. Her Name Was Redoshi. (Sandra E. Garcia, The New York Times)  (🔒 Paywall)
How the Pentagon Budget Is a Threat to the Middle Class (Jonathan Askonas, The American Conservative)
Mayor Pete Buttigieg’s Countercultural Approach to Christianity Is What America Needs Now (Kirsten Powers, USA Today)
Pork Industry Soon Will Have More Power Over Meat Inspections (Kimberly Kindy, The Washington Post) (🔒 Paywall)

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