The Atlantic Politics & Policy Daily: A Reformed White Nationalist

Decades ago, Christian Picciolini was part of a neo-Nazi movement—now he works to de-radicalize violent extremists. Plus: a rare gun-control proposal with bipartisan support.

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What We’re Following Today

It’s Tuesday, August 6.

‣ Jon Huntsman, the U.S. ambassador to Russia, announced his resignation, heightening speculation he could run for Utah governor.

‣ The FBI said it’s investigating a July 28 mass shooting at a Gilroy, California, garlic festival as domestic terrorism.

‣ President Donald Trump’s reelection campaign is suing the state of California over a law that requires presidential candidates to disclose their income-tax returns before they can appear on the state’s ballot.

People gather for a vigil to remember victims of mass shootings in Dayton and El Paso, at Grand Army Plaza in Brooklyn, New York. (Eduardo Munoz / Reuters)

Here’s what else we’re watching.

Bipartisan Gun Control: So-called red-flag laws that allow law enforcement or immediate family members to obtain a temporary court order to keep guns away from at-risk individuals are picking up support, including a nod from President Trump and a proposal from Ohio Governor Mike DeWine. A federal red-flag proposal might actually stand a chance at becoming law, Russell Berman reports.

‘Do We Have White-Nationalist Airline Pilots?’: Saturday’s mass shooting in El Paso, Texas, refocused attention on how white-nationalist ideology might metastasize into domestic terrorism. Yara Bayoumy and Kathy Gilsinan spoke with a reformed white nationalist about the mainstreaming of racism, his experiences with de-radicalization, and his fears for what’s to come.

Great Powers, Great Responsibility: Buzzy, sweeping phrases are all the rage in the nation’s capital, from War on Terror to the alphabet soup (COIN, CBRN, CVID) used to describe foreign-policy and defense concepts. But when did great-power competition slip into Washington lingo? Uri Friedman set out to understand why.


(Kevin Lamarque / Reuters)

Former President Barack Obama awards the novelist Toni Morrison a Presidential Medal of Freedom during a ceremony in the East Room of the White House on May 29, 2012, in this file photo. Morrison, a Pulitzer Prize winner and Nobel laureate, died yesterday.

Ideas From The Atlantic

Conservatives Have a White-Nationalism Problem (Adam Serwer)
“There must always be room in politics for uncivil, intemperate, even vitriolic language. But justifying or glorifying political violence is different.” → Read on.

How the Republican Majority Emerged (Dov Grohsgal and Kevin M. Kruse)
“The two parties had, with few exceptions, claimed different corners of the country for the better part of a century: Democrats in the ‘solid South’ of the former Confederacy, and Republicans in the old Union of the Northeast and Midwest. But [The Emerging Republican Majority] argued that these territorial tendencies were fading, and urged Republicans to work harder to speed their disappearance.” → Read on.

The Jeffrey Epstein–Victoria’s Secret Connection (Moira Donegan)
”Victoria’s Secret, with its catalogs and billboards depicting concave bellies, bony hips, and ballooning breasts restrained by bows and lace of cheap, scratchy polyester, depicts sexiness as a trait of underfed teenagers. Its ads … often feature close-ups of women’s open mouths, [but] many of the ads do not show them speaking. Why bother? In the fantasy that Victoria’s Secret is peddling, the only thing a woman ever has to say is yes.” → Read on.

What Else We’re Reading

How the Trump campaign used Facebook ads to amplify his ‘invasion’ claim (Thomas Kaplan, The New York Times) (🔒Paywall)

GOP politicians are much more resistant to gun control than GOP voters are (Perry Bacon Jr., FiveThirtyEight)

How Bill de Blasio went from progressive hope to punching bag (Matt Flegenheimer, The New York Times Magazine) (🔒Paywall)

‘He came to kill Hispanics’: peaceful El Paso left wounded by possible hate crime (Sam Levin, The Guardian)

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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