The Atlantic Politics & Policy Daily: Cancel Culture

Bernie Sanders’s new $1.6 trillion debt-cancellation plan is the most expansive yet among 2020 contenders. Plus: There’s trouble in South Bend.

J. Scott Applewhite / AP
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What We’re Following Today

It’s Monday, June 24.

That’s a Lotta Debt: Senator Bernie Sanders unveiled a new plan to cancel $1.6 trillion of existing student debt and make public colleges in the U.S. debt-free. The proposal is unique, writes Adam Harris, in that in cancels all student debt, with no income or other kinds of restrictions. In this way, it differs from Elizabeth Warren’s robust debt-cancellation plan, which she released with other higher-education proposals in April.

Trouble in South Bend: A white police officer’s fatal shooting of a black man in South Bend, Indiana, this month has unleashed years of pent-up racial tension in the city. And while Mayor Pete Buttigieg has charmed the country with his ability to voice eloquent answers to some of the nation’s biggest problems, the voters back home don’t seem satisfied by his response to this crisis, reports Edward-Isaac Dovere.

Meanwhile, in 2020 Land ...: Joe Sestak, a former Democratic representative from Pennsylvania who served three decades in the Navy, announced that he’s running for president in 2020. Who … is that?

There are now 24 candidates in the race (plus one GOP challenger) just two days before the first Democratic-primary debates, on Wednesday and Thursday night.

(David Williams)

+ Andrew Yang and Marianne Williamson, two political newbies, will go up against political heavyweights like Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden during those debates. But if Donald Trump’s 2016 election has taught America anything, it’s that even rookies have a shot at the White House.

Pivot on Iran: After deciding that a strike against Iran for the downing of a U.S. drone was not “proportionate,” President Donald Trump has chosen to retaliate by imposing sanctions on the office of Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and other individuals close to him.


Senator Bernie Sanders, flanked by Representative Ilhan Omar (left) and Representative Pramila Jayapal (right), calls for legislation to cancel all student debt, at the Capitol in Washington. (J. Scott Applewhite / AP)

Ideas From The Atlantic

When the President Is Accused of Assault—Again (Megan Garber)
“The numbers give way to a numbness. He said and she said and she said and so did she, and the many, many shes, rather than amounting at least to the sum of their parts, end up canceling one another out. Defeatism sets in. The women’s stories tell us what we already know, and so they fade away.” → Read on.

The Boomers Ruined Everything (Lyman Stone)
“The political ascendancy of the Boomers brought with it tightening control and stricter regulation, making it harder to succeed in America. This lack of dynamism largely hasn’t hurt Boomers, but the mistakes of the past are fast becoming a crisis for younger Americans.” → Read on.

The Question the Iran Hawks Haven’t Answered (Peter Beinart)
“If every op-ed editor and cable anchor demanded such an accounting from the columnists, officials, and legislators promoting war with Iran, I suspect the debate over whether to attack would look very different. In fact, I suspect there would be no real debate at all.” → Read on.

The Unintended Consequences of the Contraceptive Mandate (Greer Donley)
“Men and women are equally capable of preventing pregnancy by using contraception. A universal mandate would ease, not reinforce, the assumption that birth control is a woman’s problem, while still disproportionately helping women.” → Read on.

What Else We’re Reading

‘Urgent Needs From Head to Toe’: This Clinic Had Two Days to Fix a Lifetime of Needs (Eli Saslow, The Washington Post) (🔒 Paywall)
The Ivory Tower Team of Wonks Behind Warren’s Policy Agenda (Alex Thompson and Theodoric Meyer, Politico)
What the 2020 Democrats Are Like Behind the Scenes (Alexander Burns, The New York Times) (🔒 Paywall)

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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