The Atlantic Politics & Policy Daily: Get Ready to Gravel

Meet the 2020 candidate who doesn’t want your vote and has a 17-year-old campaign manager. Plus: Kirstjen Nielsen’s job prospects.

Jim Cole / AP

What We’re Following Today

It’s Wednesday, April 10.

‣ President Donald Trump held a campaign fundraiser in San Antonio, Texas, where he once again argued for a southern border wall.

‣ The Texas Tech Health Sciences Center medical school signed an agreement with the Trump administration to no longer factor race into admissions decisions, resolving a 2004 complaint against the school’s use of affirmative action.

Testifying before a Senate subcommittee, Attorney General Bill Barr said that Robert Mueller did not ask the Department of Justice or Congress to rule on whether Trump obstructed justice, but “that’s generally how the Department of Justice works.”

Here’s what else we’re watching:

A Long, Gravelly Road: Former Senator Mike Gravel is running for president, but only because a bunch of teenagers asked him to, and he really doesn’t want you to vote for him. David A. Graham catches up with his unlikely campaign.

+ Gravel is the oldest candidate in the race, more than 50 years Pete Buttigieg’s senior. Confused about who else is running? You can always consult David Graham’s cheat sheet.

Who’s Hiring?: As Kirstjen Nielsen exits the Trump administration, she faces a dilemma: Is there room in the job market for someone so associated with one of the volatile president’s most controversial policies? She’s not the first to navigate the post-Trump job market, reports Elaina Plott. “The catch-22 that some ex-Trump officials face: Not only do they feel as if they are toxic to potential employers, but they feel blackballed by their former boss and all of his allies, too.”


What the life of Richard Holbrooke tells us about the decay of Pax Americana

(Bernard Bisson / Sygma / Getty; Luca Bruno; David Brauchli; AP)

In the 1990s, Richard Holbrooke, a career diplomat and a former assistant secretary of state, tried to broker peace in the midst of a humanitarian crisis in Bosnia. His effort was the last gasp of the American idea, George Packer writes in The Atlantic’s May cover story.

“Now the American century is over, and even Bosnia, which would not exist without the United States, is slipping away. Maybe it was always too small and profoundly messed up to matter. Maybe it was never possible for outsiders to make a change there. All that foreigners could ever do was secure conditions in which Bosnians might make a change themselves. But now we’re becoming more like Bosnia than Bosnia is like us.” → Read on.


The first-ever photo of a black hole, taken using a global network of telescopes overseen by the Event Horizon Telescope project, which aims to gain insight into celestial objects with gravitational fields so strong that no matter or light can escape, is shown in this handout photo. (Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) / National Science Foundation / Handout via Reuters)

Ideas From The Atlantic

There’s No Substitute for Print (Andrew Ferguson)
“The fetching is only the first of the little rituals that attend the reading of a real newspaper. There is the steaming cup of coffee, as essential as a chalice to the Eucharist or a hand-thrown bowl to the tea ceremony, and then the plumping of the reading chair—the quick scan of the front page to get your bearings and then the plunge inside.” → Read on.

Trump’s Border Obsession Is Courting Disaster (David A. Graham)
“The danger of treating DHS as a single-issue agency was dramatically illustrated during the George W. Bush administration, when an excessive focus on its counterterror role helped produce the federal government’s botched handling of Hurricane Katrina in 2005.” → Read on.

Pete Buttigieg’s Very Public Faith Is Challenging Assumptions (Peter Wehner)
“To say that Christianity points you in a progressive direction is in effect to say that Christianity and progressivism are synonymous. They aren’t. Neither are Christianity and conservatism. Christianity stands apart from and in judgment of all political ideologies; it doesn’t lend itself to being put in neat and tidy political categories.” → Read on.

Trump Goes Beyond Cronyism—To Something Far Worse (Tom Nichols)
“We are now experiencing the kind of politicization of senior positions normally only seen in authoritarian states, where appointments are kept within tight circles of people whose commitment (or family connection) to the leader is more important than experience or knowledge.” → Read on.

What Else We’re Reading

How Abortion Became a Partisan Issue in America (Anna North, Vox)
When Local Newspapers Shrink, Fewer People Bother to Run for Mayor (Joshua Benton, Nieman Lab)
Listen: Trans National Migration (Reveal, PRX)
What I’ve Learned From Collecting Stories of People Whose Loved Ones Were Transformed by Fox News (Luke O’Neil, New York) (🔒 Paywall)

And One More Thing …

Valar Morghulis: The 2020 Democrats aren’t the only ones vying for power this spring—the final season of Game of Thrones premieres on Sunday. Forgot what happened last season? Christopher Orr wrote you a refresher.

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