The Atlantic Politics & Policy Daily: The Great Winnowing Begins

Kirsten Gillibrand drops out after failing to qualify for the next Democratic primary debate. Plus: the case of the nurse allegedly forced to assist with an abortion against her will

Construction of a new part of a border wall between the U.S. and Mexico near Tijuana.
Workers weld sections of a newly replaced border wall with Tijuana, Mexico, near the the Otay Mesa border crossing in San Diego, California, in May. (Mike Blake / Reuters)
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What We’re Following Today

It’s Wednesday, August 28.

‣ Republican Senator Johnny Isakson of Georgia announced that he plans to resign at the end of the year, citing his declining health.

‣ Tropical Storm Dorian strengthened into a hurricane over Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, and could hit Florida as a Category 3 hurricane.

Here’s what else we’re watching.

She’s Out: Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of New York announced that she’s dropping out of the presidential race, after she failed to qualify for the next Democratic primary debate on September 12.

+ Here’s who you can expect on stage that night: Joe Biden, Cory Booker, Pete Buttigieg, Julian Castro, Kamala Harris, Amy Klobuchar, Beto O’Rourke, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, and Andrew Yang.

A Violation of Conscience?: The Department of Health and Human Services is pursuing action against the University of Vermont Medical Center for allegedly forcing at least one nurse to assist with an abortion against her will, Emma Green reports. The case highlights the administration’s religious-freedom agenda.

‘Take the Land’: President Donald Trump is reportedly urging his aides to move forward with the construction of the border wall, because he believes it’s necessary for his reelection in 2020. He’s also reportedly told subordinates that he will pardon them of any lawbreaking they must do to make it happen. It is, David A. Graham argues, “one of the biggest scandals of the Trump administration.”


(Mike Segar / Reuters)

The 16-year-old Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg sails underneath the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge on the Malizia II racing yacht in New York Harbor on her way to a United Nations summit on climate change in New York, the end of a two-week transatlantic journey.

Ideas From The Atlantic

The Boss Can Tell You to Show Up for a Trump Rally (Charlotte Garden)
“Federal law has very little to say about employers who exert these kinds of pressures at work; for example, no federal law prohibits private-sector employment discrimination based on political viewpoints. Some state and local laws pick up part of the slack, but they tend to be limited to the most coercive employment practices.” → Read on.

Cheering the Constitution’s Demise (Andrew Ferguson)
“Nobody, as far as I know, has been able to give a satisfactory account of what [the Ninth Amendment] means, especially since it’s tagged vaguely onto a document that is otherwise pretty specific and targeted … [Heidi] Schreck has no patience for legalistic jibber-jabber. While she calls the Ninth Amendment “magical and mysterious,” … in practice she is quite sure she knows its meaning. Specifically, it means whatever she wants it to mean, depending on circumstance.” → Read on.

What Else We’re Reading

Hong Kong officials met with U.S. lawmakers about punishing China (Erin Banco, The Daily Beast)

Report: 70 percent of ransomware attacks in 2019 hit state and local governments (Benjamin Freed, StateScoop)

Stephanie Grisham is Trump’s communications czar. Only most people wouldn’t know it. (Paul Farhi, The Washington Post) (Paywall)

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

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