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Citizenship Question Dropped From 2020 Census: The Politics Daily

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2020’s Catchphrase Is a Soul-Deadening Cliché: If you’re following the 2020 presidential race, you’ve likely heard many a candidate call for the country to “have a conversation” on a particular topic, from Syria to reparations to the Green New Deal. That device is a cop-out, writes McKay Coppins: “The truth is that when politicians are pleading for a national conversation, it is usually because they are trying to avoid one.”

Real or Not Real: Experts warn that so-called deepfakes—videos digitally manipulated using a technique that superimposes images or audio onto source material—will play a role in the 2020 elections. Viewers beware.

Border Visit: Weeping women. Aggressive guards. Notes from children. The freshman representative Madeleine Dean of Pennsylvania told me about her visit to two Border Patrol facilities in Texas.

Elaine Godfrey


(Matt Rourke / AP)

Protesters demonstrate against the detention of immigrants in front of Independence Hall in Philadelphia on Tuesday.

Ideas From The Atlantic

How Long Can John Bolton Take This? (Graeme Wood)

“A key to Bolton’s bureaucratic success, more than one of his colleagues told me, is his willingness to cede responsibility for policies doomed to failure. Clearly he believes the administration’s Korea policy falls into that category.”
→ Read on

For Democrats, Health Care Is Easy, but Immigration Is Hard (Peter Beinart)

“To develop a coherent approach to immigration in an era of rising asylum claims, Democrats need to explain—among other things—whom they would and wouldn’t let in. But Donald Trump has made that discussion extraordinarily difficult. In the shadow of his brutal policies and bigoted appeals, Democrats are wary of spelling out whom they would deport.”
→ Read on

The Alt-Right’s Tactical Cruelty (Conor Friedersdorf)

“As [David French] sees it, the alt-right’s core tactic is inflicting pain for political ends, ‘often in the way that is the most personal.’ Is the Republican Party influenced by the alt-right? ‘Yes,’ French said. ‘Cruelty as a tactic is now a part of the playbook on the right.’”
→ Read on

A Linguist’s Case Against Socialism (Annika Neklason)

“In general, [the linguistics professor] John McWhorter explained, words tend to take on more pejorative meanings with time. Notorious once simply meant famous, for instance, and obnoxious meant vulnerable; now both are unambiguous insults. The same has happened to socialism.”
→ Read on

What Else We’re Reading

Hillbillies need no elegy (Meredith McCarroll, Bitter Southerner)

Buttigieg tries again to woo black voters amid a race controversy in his hometown (Domenico Montanaro, NPR)

The Hickenlooper 2020 campaign is in shambles (Alex Thompson and Nolan D. McCaskill, Politico)

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

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