The Atlantic Politics & Policy Daily: The Kids Aren’t Alright

Sixty-eight chapters of the College Democrats are protesting their party over a new policy to protect incumbents from primary challenges. Plus: Serious threats from Iran?

Alex Brandon / AP

What We’re Following Today

It’s Monday, May 6.

‣ More than 370 former federal prosecutors signed a statement asserting that, if he weren’t the president, Donald Trump would have been charged with obstruction based on Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s findings.

‣ Over the weekend, Trump reversed himself to say that Mueller should not testify before Congress. (Trump said last week that it was up to Attorney General William Barr whether Mueller testified, but Barr said he had no issue with Mueller testifying.)

Here’s what else we’re watching:

(Robyn Beck / AFP / Getty Images)

Young Dems Are Mad at Their Party: Sixty-eight chapters of the College Democrats are protesting the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee after it instituted a new policy to protect incumbents from primary challenges. Their outrage is notable not just because they’re the younger voters in the electorate—but because they’re some of the party’s key organizers.

Iran’s Murky Intentions: In a Sunday-night statement, National Security Adviser John Bolton announced that U.S. warships were headed to the Middle East, and invoked unspecified Iranian threats to the U.S. and its regional allies. But he also hinted at a more serious step: the threat of violence. “The United States is not seeking war with the Iranian regime,” Bolton said, but “any attack on United States interests or those of our allies will be met with unrelenting force.”

The Problem With Social-Media Protests: It took 10 years for the civil-rights movement to culminate in the March on Washington in 1963. Modern online protests have greatly sped up the growth of social movements. But that isn’t necessarily a good thing.

How Many Pinocchios?: Technological advances in fact-checking could help make politics more honest, writes Jonathan Rauch in the June issue of The Atlantic.


A car carrying Michael Cohen, President Trump’s former personal attorney, arrives at the Federal Correctional Institution in Otisville, New York. Cohen is reporting to the prison to begin serving a three-year sentence for campaign-finance violations, tax evasion, bank fraud, and lying to Congress. (Seth Wenig / AP)

Ideas From The Atlantic

The Coming Generation War (Niall Ferguson and Eyck Freymann)
“By the mid 2020s, if a preponderance of young voters support an issue, the Democratic Party will probably have no choice but to make it central to the platform. Today, 43 percent of self-identified Democrats are either Gen Zers or Millennials. By 2024, by our calculations, this figure might rise to 50 percent. If the Democrats are not already the party of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, they will be soon.” → Read on.

The Economy Question Voters Should Ask Themselves (Edward Kleinbard)
“We are not a nation of political theorists or economists; we are ahistorical and poorly read. We can no more discuss the views of Karl Marx and their continued relevance today than we can chat about quantum mechanics with a kangaroo.” → Read on.

Trump Attacks Facebook on Behalf of Racists and Grifters (David Frum)
“One thing at least will follow from the president’s Twitter campaign: It will become even more difficult than before for the shamefaced remains of what used to be mainstream conservatism to separate themselves from these grifters, racists, and liars.” → Read on.

What Else We’re Reading

The Flood Next Time (Gus Bova, The Texas Observer)
Humanity Is About to Kill 1 Million Species in a Globe-Spanning Murder-Suicide (Eric Levitz, New York)  (🔒 Paywall)
What Happened After My 13-Year-Old Son Joined the Alt-Right (Washingtonian)
Republicans Think They Know How to Win Back Congress in 2020. Races Like This One Could Screw It Up. (Alexis Levinson, BuzzFeed News)

About us: This newsletter is a daily effort from The Atlantic’s politics writers: Elaine Godfrey, Madeleine Carlisle, and Olivia Paschal. It’s edited by Shan Wang.

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