The Atlantic Politics & Policy Daily: Kirsten’s Best-Laid Plans

The New York Senator and 2020 candidate isn’t where she thought she’d be at this point in the campaign. Plus: The Supreme Court weighs in on racial gerrymandering.

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand holding a cup of coffee
Charles Krupa / AP

What We’re Following Today

It’s Monday, June 17.

‣ In what will likely be an advantage for Virginia Democrats, the Supreme Court today dismissed the Republican-controlled state legislature’s appeal of a lower-court ruling striking down parts of the state’s legislative map because of racial gerrymandering.

Here’s what else we’re watching:

Iran Responds: Today, Iran announced plans to start breaking from the U.S.-Iran nuclear deal, unless certain conditions were met. The Donald Trump administration’s “maximum pressure campaign” to force Tehran to back down hasn’t worked, reports Kathy Gilsinan. In fact, it’s done the opposite. “For almost a year, Iran looked set to hunker down and take the Trump administration’s repeated punches,” she writes. “But now Iran is punching back.”

Closing the Gates: Harvard rescinded its offer of admission to the Parkland school-shooting survivor and conservative activist Kyle Kashuv, apparently in response to years-old racist messages from Kashuv, which surfaced earlier this year. Withdrawing an admission offer, while uncommon, isn’t unprecedented—especially in cases of bad behavior, reports Adam Harris.

Rewind It Back: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has been around long enough to remember what happened to the Republican Party when it impeached President Bill Clinton—and that’s informing her approach to the impeachment conversation surrounding Trump, former staffers and colleagues told Todd S. Purdum. “I know Nancy, and I know that she’s thinking to herself and saying, Goal No. 1 here is beating this guy,” said former Representative Tom Downey of New York, who has been close to Pelosi for years.

2020 Check-In: Senator Kirsten Gillibrand isn’t where she thought she’d be at this point in the Democratic presidential primary. Usually a vigorous fundraiser, she’s lagging behind the pack in fundraising, she has yet to break 2 percent in the polls, and she reached the donor threshold to participate in the Democratic debates weeks after the self-help guru Marianne Williamson and the Internet sensation Andrew Yang, reports Edward-Isaac Dovere. Her campaign says it’s not worried—but many of her supporters are.

What Really Happened to Malaysia’s Missing Airplane

(Mendelsund & Munday / The Atlantic)

Five years ago, Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 vanished into the Indian Ocean, and we still don’t know why. The answer lies with officials in Malaysia, who know more than they’re letting on, William Langewiesche reports in The Atlantic’s July cover story:

In truth, a lot can now be known with certainty about the fate of MH370. First, the disappearance was an intentional act. It is inconceivable that the known flight path, accompanied by radio and electronic silence, was caused by any combination of system failure and human error.

→ Read on.


The Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden speaks at the Poor People’s Moral Action Congress presidential forum. (Susan Walsh / AP)

Ideas From The Atlantic

Debunking the Court’s Latest Death-Penalty Obsession (Garrett Epps)
“There’s no doubt that death sentences usually lead to long delays. Are death-penalty lawyers really the reason for them? From my own reporting about capital punishment, the problem seems more diffuse. At very best, the recent spleen emanating from the Court’s right wing is bad manners.” → Read on.

Tyranny of the 70-Somethings (Andrew Ferguson)
“Sanders and Biden have made themselves the equivalent of the old dude cruising the pool at Club Med in his sagging Speedo, capped teeth gleaming, knobby shoulders and fallen pecs bronzed and shiny with tanning oil, gold chains twinkling through the chest hair. I’m not saying one of them won’t succeed in his quest—though I have my doubts about both—but in a saner world, it would be obvious that the quest itself is unseemly.” → Read on.

An Abandoned Weapon in the Fight Against Hate Speech (James Loeffler)
“Today, as American society grapples with a deadly resurgence of anti-Semitism, it is well worth recovering the lost history of Jewish civil rights. For just as the roots of contemporary hatred stretch far back into the American past, so too does the forgotten record of the law’s struggle against it.” → Read on.

What Else We’re Reading

‣  Elizabeth Warren Is Completely Serious (Emily Bazelon, The New York Times Magazine) (🔒 Paywall)
Where Does Your Plastic Go? A Global Investigation Reveals America’s Dirty Secret (The Guardian)
The Nonwhite Working Class of Youngstown (Henry Grabar, Slate)
‣  Emanuel AME Church Shooting Survivors Form Bonds With Other Traumatized Houses of Worship (Jennifer Berry Hawes, The Post and Courier) (🔒 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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