The Atlantic Politics Daily: Bellwethers

Will Tucson become a “sanctuary” city? How close will the Mississippi governor’s race be? Will Virginia flip entirely blue? Plus, an argument about too much democracy

It’s Tuesday, November 5. We’re still combing through newly released testimonies from key characters in the Ukraine affair.

In today’s newsletter: People. Gordon Sondland. ¶ Places. Arizona, Kentucky, Mississippi, Virginia. ¶ Things. Fossil fuels.


(Mark Makela / Reuters)

It’s Election Day in America (the off-year one, for some states).

Voters from Kentucky to Mississippi to Virginia will provide new signals of how strong Republican support for President Trump remains, and where suburban communities are leaning since the 2018 midterms.

Voters will also be deciding key state and local-level questions with national resonance.

In Tucson, Arizona, for instance, voters could elect Democrat Regina Romero as the city’s first Latina mayor (she’s favored to win). And they’ll also decide whether the municipality should become a “sanctuary city” for undocumented immigrants—Tucson is 60 miles from the U.S.-Mexico border, and would become the first sanctuary city in Arizona.

As tonight’s results roll in, also watch for:

¶ Whether the Virginia state legislature flips entirely blue.

¶ Will Kentucky’s governor, Matt Bevin, be the first Republican to be reeelected to that office? Bevin, unpopular in his state, has aligned himself with President Trump.

¶ How close will the Mississippi governor’s race be? A Republican lieutenant governor is in a competitive contest with an anti-abortion, pro-gun Democratic attorney general. Both candidates are white, in a state where well over a third of the voting-age population is black.

—Christian Paz



The president cannot fail—he can only be failed, Adam Serwer argues.

As with Trump’s obstruction of the Mueller investigation, Republicans set red lines they believed Trump would never be so stupid and corrupt as to cross. But now that they’ve learned he did, most Republicans are fine with it. This dynamic persists because Republican officials no longer feel any obligation toward American citizens who are not Trump supporters.

Read the full essay.

Calling Trump a climate-change denier implies that he has a coherent ideology about it, but he actively believes in the virtue of fossil fuels, Robinson Meyer writes.

No, when Trump pulls America out of the Paris Agreement, he is responding to a different ideology: carbonism.

Read the full story.



Is there … too much democracy? Jonathan Rauch and Ray La Raja make a nuanced case about the primaries:

No other major democracy routinely uses primaries to choose its political candidates, nor did the Founders of this country intend for primaries to play a role in the republican system they devised. Abraham Lincoln did not win his party’s nomination because he ran a good ground game in New Hampshire.

Read their full argument.


Today’s edition of our daily newsletter of political ideas and arguments was written by Christian Paz and edited by Shan Wang.

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