The Atlantic Politics & Policy Daily: Catching Steyer

The billionaire climate-change activist has nearly clinched a spot on the debate stage. Plus, Trump delays the rollout of Chinese tariffs and John Hickenlooper mulls dropping out.

Tom Steyer makes a funny face while taking a selfie with a woman at the Iowa State Fair.
Tom Steyer takes a picture with a woman at the Iowa State Fair. ((Eric Thayer / Reuters))
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What We’re Following Today

It’s Tuesday, August 13.

‣ Former Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper is considering ending his 2020 presidential bid and running for the Senate instead, according to The New York Times.

‣ The White House said it will delay levying tariffs on some Chinese-made electronics, such as cellphones and laptops, until December 15, leading stocks to jump on Tuesday. Those tariffs were scheduled to go into effect September 1.

‣ The House Judiciary Committee will open a bipartisan investigation into the death of the financier Jeffrey Epstein, looking into how he was monitored in prison and if there is any surveillance video of his jail cell.

Here’s what else we’re watching.


(Eric Thayer / Reuters)

Two women watch as Senator Kamala Harris speaks at a rally in Davenport, Iowa.

Ideas From The Atlantic

Jeffrey Epstein’s Final Act of Impunity (David A. Graham)
“No matter what sort of elites you hated—Democratic, Republican, financial, academic, technological, coastal—they were all connected to Epstein. Not only that, but his connections offered the tantalizing possibility that his trial could bring down many others. Accordingly, his apparent suicide represents one final act of impunity, depriving his victims of a chance to hold him to account.” → Read on.

The New Servant Class (Derek Thompson)
“Relationships between the classes, once mediated through the household, are now managed through an app that serves a large metro area. The workers of the new servant economy don’t live with their employers, but rather sleep many miles away where they can afford a bedroom.” → Read on.

Jeffrey Epstein’s Death, in Context (Ken White)
“These stories don’t mention Jeffrey Epstein, but they are about him. Epstein was incarcerated in the United States of America, and this is how the United States of America, the mightiest and richest nation there is or ever has been, treats incarcerated people. When you say, ‘There is no way that guards could be so reckless, so indifferent, so malicious as to just let someone as important as Epstein die,’ this is how 32 Americans respond.” → Read on.

What Else We’re Reading

North Carolina redo election is the last race of 2018—and the first of 2020 (Simone Pathé, Roll Call)

Washington Post editor responds to Bernie Sanders: Your ‘conspiracy theory’ is wrong (Oliver Darcy, Annie Grayer, and Greg Krieg, CNN)

Wall Street sees risk of recession rising (Ben White, Politico)

These 3 cities are key for 2020 Democrats. They’re not in Iowa (Nick Corasaniti, The New York Times) (🔒Paywall)

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 Saahil Desai.

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