The Atlantic Politics & Policy Daily: State of the Unions

Joe Biden wants the unions’ support—do they want him? Plus: Congressional Democrats announced a $2 trillion infrastructure deal with President Donald Trump.

Charlie Neibergall / AP

What We’re Following Today

It’s Tuesday, April 30.

Because of a technical error, the link for the story on Beto O’Rourke’s surprising new proposal to fight climate change in yesterday’s newsletter wasn’t working. Here’s the right link.

‣ After meeting with President Donald Trump, Democratic congressional leaders announced that they had come to an agreement on a $2 trillion infrastructure package.

‣ The Trump administration voiced its strong support for a coup attempt by the Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaidó against President Nicolás Maduro. Speaking at the White House, National Security Adviser John Bolton said that the United States prefers a “peaceful transfer of power,” but “all options are on the table.”

‣ The House Intelligence Committee chair Adam Schiff said that the panel will send a criminal referral for Erik Prince to the Department of Justice for allegedly lying about his 2016 meeting with a Russian banker friendly with Vladimir Putin.

Here’s what else we’re watching:

She’s Not Running (For Senate): Stacey Abrams, the 2018 Democratic candidate for governor of Georgia and a rising star within the Democratic Party, announced that she will not run for the state’s Senate seat in 2020 (she didn’t rule out a White House run). Since ending her gubernatorial campaign, Abrams has turned her focus to voting rights: In the Democratic response to the State of the Union address earlier this year, she called the fight against voter suppression “the next battle for our democracy.”

Eyes on Biden: At Joe Biden’s official campaign launch in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, he came off like a candidate who wants the best of both worlds, reports Edward-Isaac Dovere. “Biden wants voters to think that he’s earned the White House, but also that he’s working to earn it; to see him as the most electable right out of the gate, but also to give him time to build his campaign into something competitive.”

At his next live event, surrounded by laborers, Biden announced: “I am a union man, period.” But do the unions want him? Many see the 2020 primary as an opportunity to exert their maximum influence, and other Democratic candidates, such as Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, and Kamala Harris, also have policy records grounded in the labor movement, reports Russell Berman. “Biden’s strategy of courting both union members and their wealthy bosses, while traditional for a major presidential contender, may also cause him trouble this time around,” Berman writes.


The Kentucky Derby hopeful Omaha Beach gets a bath after a workout at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky. The 145th running of the Kentucky Derby is scheduled for Saturday, May 4. (Charlie Riedel / AP)

Ideas From The Atlantic

Conservatives Have a Different Definition of ‘Fair’ (Dan Meegan)
“When the Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren put forth a sweeping plan to cancel student debt last week, she also exposed the deep divide between how liberals and conservatives think—and, inadvertently, why liberals often have so much trouble getting their ideas enacted into law.” → Read on.

The Meme Terrorists (Ian Bogost)
“People are becoming more aware of the potential for malevolence in seemingly earnest or even innocuous internet content. Whether it originates from 8chan or from fake news planted by Russian operatives, the takeaway is often the same, no matter what meaning it appears to carry: Everything is potentially suspect—every post, every meme, every link, every quote. The internet has become explosive shrapnel of weaponized Milkshake Ducks, each carrying an unknown payload of hypothetical intolerance that the heat of viral transit might expand into real violence.” → Read on.

A Segregation-Era Tactic Makes a Comeback (Garrett Epps)
“The past two years have been a kind of national Walpurgisnacht, calculated to summon the worst impulses of conservative jurists. We own the courts now, an inner voice may be whispering; no need for precedent or even explanation. Doe v. Mckesson may be an anomaly, but it also may be a straw in a very chill wind.”  → Read on.

What Else We’re Reading

With Poway Synagogue Shooting, Online Hate Comes Alive Again (Jon Allsop, Columbia Journalism Review)
Indigenous Educators Fight for an Accurate History of California (Allison Herrera, High Country News)
Beto O’Rourke Won’t Demonize the Fossil Fuel Industry (Emily Atkin, The New Republic)
Schumer, Pelosi and Trump Play Nice on Infrastructure (Anita Kumar, Sarah Ferris, and Burgess Everett, Politico) 

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