The Atlantic Politics & Policy Daily: Why These Voters Still Love Steve King

Despite his racist and xenophobic comments over the years, some of his supporters just don’t believe that he’s said anything wrong. Plus: Is Texas becoming competitive again?

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What We’re Following Today

It’s Friday, September 6.

‣ The U.S. economy added 130,000 jobs in August.

‣ A new report today from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found 450 cases in 33 states of a “vaping illness” that affects the lungs of healthy—and mostly young—people.

Here’s what else we’re watching.


Why People Still Love Steve King: The Republican from Iowa has become a pariah for his racist and xenophobic comments in recent years, even among members of his own party. When he won his most recent reelection campaign in November (his ninth), I chalked it up to party loyalty. But it became clear during my recent trip to my home state that many of his supporters simply don’t believe that he’s said anything wrong. Here’s what they told me.

Shifting Sands in the Lone Star State: Amid a spate of GOP retirements, Democrats are mobilizing to win back several Republican-held seats in Texas. They plan to bring a formidable challenge to Senator John Cornyn, and top Democratic strategists are debating how to turn the state blue in 2020. For the first time in decades, there’s a sense that Texas is competitive once again, Ronald Brownstein reports.

‘Things Have Gotten Far Worse’: New ICE and Department of Homeland Security documents obtained by Ian Urbina illustrate what immigrant-rights advocates say is the agency’s “excessive, arbitrary, and punitive use of” solitary confinement against detained immigrants throughout both the Obama and Trump administrations. The details are horrifying.

Finally: Today is my last day at the helm of The Atlantic’s daily politics newsletter. Saahil Desai, an editor on the politics team, will be taking over for me starting on Monday—with Christian Paz’s support. The past three and a half years have been a great adventure; thanks for joining me. You can still keep up with my work on The Atlantic’s website.


(Elizabeth Frantz / Reuters)

Former Vice President Joe Biden speaks at a campaign town hall meeting in Laconia, New Hampshire.

Ideas From The Atlantic

Trump Is Winning His War on the FBI (Adam Serwer)
“The president has successfully purged bureau officials he perceives as hostile to the agency, at least one of whom is facing prosecution. The FBI’s internal investigations have focused on the president’s critics, not officials who abused their authority to aid Trump in the latter days of the 2016 campaign.” → Read on.

How Not to Run the World (John Gans)
“The national security adviser, the official charged with organizing and integrating all discussions of U.S. foreign policies, has been an essential piece of how the United States has tried to lead the world for more than 70 years, and why the world was willing to be led at all. As a result, the breakdown in the way that Washington works could prove more destabilizing than any of the crises dominating the headlines today.” → Read on.

What Else We’re Reading

Senior officials concede loss of U.S. clout as Trump prepares for U.N. summit (Colum Lynch and Robbie Gramer, Foreign Policy) (paywall)

‘It’s kind of like an addiction’: On the road with Trump’s rally diehards (Michael C. Bender, The Wall Street Journal) (paywall)

America, the gerontocracy (Timothy Noah, Politico Magazine)

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.