The Atlantic Politics & Policy Daily: Getting Heated (Again)

July 2019 is on track to be the hottest July ever recorded. Plus: To be reelected in 2020, Trump has to win over this subset of voters, but his rhetoric isn’t helping.

A girl cools off from the heat in water from an open fire hydrant in New York City amid a heat wave. (Mike Segar / Reuters)
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What We’re Following Today

It’s Friday, July 19.

‣ Iran says it seized a British oil tanker in the Strait of Hormuz.

Here’s what else we’re watching:

(Rachel Jessen)

What Trump’s Attacks Mean for 2020: New evidence provided exclusively to The Atlantic suggests that President Donald Trump might be unable to win reelection with just the set of voters currently satisfied with his performance. He also needs to earn the approval of the voters who like his economic record, but disapprove of him overall, writes Ronald Brownstein. And the racist comments he made this week aren’t helping his cause.

+ The “Send her back!” chants—similar to the “Lock her up” chants made about Hillary Clinton—prompt serious questions about the kind of attacks a potential female Democratic nominee might face.

It’s the Bad Season: Americans from Oklahoma to Maine are bracing for a massive, potentially deadly heat wave this weekend, with “feels-like” temperatures hitting as high as 110 degrees Fahrenheit. Record temperatures aren’t just limited to this weekend: July 2019 is on track to be the hottest July ever recorded, Robinson Meyer reports, just like last month.

Fly Me to the Moon (Maybe): Saturday marks 50 years since astronauts aboard the Apollo 11 lander became the first humans on the moon. The Trump administration says it wants to return to the lunar surface in five years—but NASA does not have the money to make that happen.

Practicing vs. Preaching: This week, the State Department convened its largest-ever gathering dedicated to human rights. But the event was “haunted,” Emma Green writes, “by the same contradictions that have always defined America, a nation perpetually falling short of its aspiration to be a shining city on a hill.”


(Gabriella N. Baez / Reuters)

Demonstrators chant, sing, and wave Puerto Rican flags during the sixth day of protest calling for the resignation of Governor Ricardo Rossello in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Ideas From The Atlantic

The First Month of Trump’s Campaign Has Been a Doozy (David A. Graham)
“If the past month has shown anything, it’s that Trump, instead of campaigning on his administration’s signature accomplishments—cutting regulation, appointing conservative judges, presiding over steady economic growth—seems intent on reprising his 2016 run, a campaign largely built on fear, resentment, and division.” → Read on

The Squad and the Speaker (Norm Ornstein)
“For now, the tensions between the squad and the leaders has been submerged, as Democrats, starting with the speaker, have come to their defense and closed ranks to condemn Trump’s racist and ignorant remarks. But the tensions over tactics, strategies, and outcomes are still there, and will inevitably reemerge.” → Read on

By Republican Standards, Almost Nothing Is Racist (Peter Beinart)
“When Democrats are accused of prejudice against Jews, Republicans can find it easy to discern ugly coded language. But when Trump and others in his party are accused of hostility to black people, Muslims, and Latinos, prominent conservatives set the standard for what constitutes bigotry so high that it’s almost impossible to meet.” → Read on

What Else We’re Reading

Inside the power struggle at Planned Parenthood (Tessa Stuart, Rolling Stone)

Tulsi Gabbard raised negative $20 for her House campaign (Sam Stein, Daily Beast)

Trump’s Electoral College edge could grow in 2020, rewarding polarizing campaign (Nate Cohn, The New York Times)   (paywall)

How the Ilhan Omar marriage smear went from fever swamp to Trump (Will Sommer, Daily Beast)

About us: This newsletter is a daily effort from The Atlantic’s politics writer Elaine Godfrey, with help from Christian Paz. It’s edited by Shan Wang.

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