The Atlantic Politics & Policy Daily: Relationship Status: It’s Complicated

Trump loves pomp, but not under these circumstances. Plus: the centennial of women's right to vote.

Victoria Jones / Pool via AP

What We’re Following Today

It’s Tuesday, June 4.

‣ The White House reportedly directed the former administration officials Hope Hicks and Annie Donaldson to not turn over requested documents to the House Judiciary Committee.

‣ The upcoming 2020 census could feature the worst undercount of black and Latino people since 1990, according to the nonpartisan think tank the Urban Institute. The census faces a range of hurdles, including the possible inclusion of the controversial “citizenship question.”

‣ A $19 billion disaster-relief bill passed the House on the fourth try, after three previous attempts to pass the legislation the week prior were blocked by Republican legislators. It now heads to President Donald Trump’s desk for his signature.

Here’s what else we’re watching:

Clodagh Kilcoyne / Reuters

London Calling: So far, President Donald Trump’s state visit to the United Kingdom has involved dodging (and denying the size of) protests, meeting with Prime Minister Theresa May, and attending a banquet with Queen Elizabeth II. While British officials have accommodated him at every turn, both the Queen and May also gave Trump these gifts, emblems of the U.S. and Britain working together to defeat fascism.

Trump’s Security Blanket: Last week, President Donald Trump unexpectedly announced a tariff on Mexican goods, surprising even his White House advisers. Just days before, former Special Counsel Robert Mueller publicly said that his report did not totally exonerate the president, and Democrats’s calls for impeachment promptly increased. The episode exemplified Trump’s preferred coping method, Elaina Plott reports: “When Trump feels he has lost control of the narrative, he grasps at two issues: border security and trade.

The China Problem: Europe and the United States agree that the rise of China will likely be the biggest geopolitical challenge of the 21st century—but they diverge on how to respond. European officials believe that the White House’s zero-sum approach to China is misguided, and refuse to box out the economic giant as the State Department wants. Trump’s trade war has only increased tensions, but even once he’s left office these divides will remain, reports Noah Barkin.

Votes for Women

Congress voted on this day a century ago to pass the Nineteenth Amendment, which gave women the right to vote. It took 14 more months to get two-thirds of the states to ratify the amendment and put it in the Constitution. On the amendment’s centennial, The Atlantic reflects on the fight for suffrage, beginning with the ways in which we sold the movement short in the pages of our own publication.

The ‘Undesirable Militants’ Behind the Nineteenth Amendment (Adrienne LaFrance)
“A century later, Americans are only just beginning to reckon in earnest with the complexities of the suffrage movement’s victory. Many of the white women who are widely remembered as its heroines refused to fight for the black women who risked their lives for the cause. Some of those same white women had fought vocally against the Fifteenth Amendment, which gave black men the right to vote in 1870, saying that white women deserved to vote instead. ” → Read on.

The Epic Political Battle Over the Legacy of the Suffragettes (Emma Green)
“A century after suffrage, the women’s movement is still fighting a battle over inheritance. Progressive feminists widely claim the mantle of suffrage activists, drawing on their imagery and channeling their energy in fights against Trump-era policies. But a range of conservative activists, especially in the anti-abortion movement, also identify with the early women’s movement.” → Read on.


A man lifts up a baby next to the “Trump baby” blimp as people start to gather in Parliament Square in central London to demonstrate against Trump’s state visit. (Matt Dunham / AP)

Ideas From The Atlantic

A White Man’s Republic, If They Can Keep It (Adam Serwer)
“The census case is not ultimately about administrative procedure; it is, more fundamentally, about whether the Trump administration can use the federal government for the explicit purpose of increasing white political power.” → Read on.

Democrats Are Suddenly Obsessed With the Supreme Court (David A. Graham)
“The appointments of two young, very conservative justices ([Brett] Kavanaugh and Neil Gorsuch) in Trump’s first two years, and especially the messy fight over Kavanaugh’s confirmation, energized progressives. By September 2018, 81 percent of Democrats named the Court as a very important voting issue, an amazing 19 percent rise from two years earlier.” → Read on.

Too Many People Want to Travel (Annie Lowrey)
“Crowds of Instagrammers caused a public-safety debacle during a California poppy super bloom. An “extreme environmental crisis” fomented a “summer of action” against visitors to the Spanish island of Mallorca. Barcelona and Venice and Reykjavik and Dubrovnik, inundated. Beaches in Thailand and Mexico and the Philippines, destroyed. Natural wonders from the Sierra Nevadas to the Andes, jeopardized. Religious sites from Cambodia to India to Rome, damaged.” → Read on.

What Else We’re Reading

Botched Family Reunifications Left Migrant Children Waiting in Vans Overnight (Jacob Soboroff and Julia Ainsley, NBC News)
A Better Way to Fix the Supreme Court (Matt Ford, The New Republic)
Interior Department Border Deployments Are Mired in Secrecy (Jessica Kutz, High Country News)
What Are Conservatives Actually Debating? (Ross Douthat, 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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