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Harris, Biden Spar at the Democratic Debates: The Politics Daily

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+ Lifetime Achievement Award goes to … Sanders, who, writes Elaine Godfrey, has moved the Democrats’ Overton window more than any other candidate on the stage. (But how do real voters actually view democratic socialism? Here’s what DSA members in Iowa think.)

‣ The She-Really-Did-Her-Homework Award: Kamala Harris stood out like the healthiest thumb you’ve ever seen, with a polished rebuke of her counterparts’ cross talk and a pivot to substantive criticism of the president, writes Russell Berman. However, she did have a stumble, saying after the debate that she misinterpreted a question and didn’t mean to raise her hand in support of eliminating private insurance.

(Wilfredo Lee / AP)

‣ The Big-Dad-Energy Award of Men Having It All: Multiple male candidates played the “dad card,” while none of the female candidates mentioned being mothers. Imagine how this particular joke would’ve landed if a woman had tried it, writes Ashley Fetters.

‣ The Strongest Invocation of Religion Beyond “God Bless America”: Pete Buttigieg went after Republicans for religious hypocrisy: “For a party that associates itself with Christianity, to say that … God would condone putting children in cages, has lost all claim to ever use religious language again.”

‣ A Green New Deal Cameo: Harris became the first candidate of either night to endorse the reportedly-more-popular-than-a-carbon-tax Green New Deal onstage (but when it came to policy specifics, something something, the threat of Donald Trump).

+ Runner-up: Buttigieg gave “cogent explanations” of his “carbon-tax proposal,” writes Robinson Meyer.

The Atlantic Politics & Policy Award for Cheesiest Catchphrases: You know we love a good play on words, and Eric Swalwell, the long-shot representative from California, brought his best (worst) ones. Besides his Washington-is-smellier-than-a-diaper joke, when asked about his approach to foreign policy, he said: “We’re breaking up with Russia and making up with NATO.” Forget TV, everyone just wants to be memed now.


📚WEEKEND READS

On the 50th Anniversary of Stonewall: Cruising in the Age of Consent (Spencer Kornhaber)

“In truth, gay male spaces—physical, digital, cultural—reflect a long and imperfect process of managing what happens when masculinity, homosexuality, and an often hostile wider society intersect. They deserve scrutiny both on their own terms and for what they reveal about the problems that gave rise to #MeToo.” → Read on.

Megan Rapinoe Makes Resistance Look Effortless (Franklin Foer)

“Gather your children in front of the flatscreen and instruct them to fix their eyes on No. 15, the winger with lavender hair. Have them watch as she gallivants down the left flank and flummoxes a defender with a stutter step. Have them listen to her unguarded pregame disquisitions on tactics, Donald Trump, haute couture, and well, every facet of human existence. Tell them that Megan Rapinoe is her generation’s Muhammad Ali.”  → Read on.

Christ in the Camps (Caitlin Flanagan)

“We know exactly where Christ is, because he told us. He’s with the sick and the jailed and the hungry. He’s in those camps with those suffering children. And we need to be there, too.” → Read on.


About us: This newsletter is a daily effort from The Atlantic’s politics writers: Elaine Godfrey, Madeleine Carlisle, and Olivia Paschal. It’s edited by Shan Wang.


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