The 2024 U.S. Presidential Race: A Cheat Sheet
In the past, I’ve leaned on the great Arab proto-sociologist Ibn Khaldun to explain modern life.
In the past, I’ve leaned on the great Arab proto-sociologist Ibn Khaldun to explain modern life.
Donald Trump is back—or at least, the 2016 version of Donald Trump is back on the campaign trail, just hours after he was arrested and arraigned in a New York court earlier today.The former president has become no more honest and no less irritable since leaving office in disgrace in 2021, but the man who has been campaigning for president these past few months has been a diminished version of himself.
Donald Trump, the 45th president of the United States, became the first former president to be arraigned today. After surrendering to authorities in Manhattan early this afternoon, Trump pleaded not guilty to 34 felonies during a closed-door hearing.The day provided a series of striking images. The New York–born mogul slowly traveled from Trump Tower in Midtown to a courthouse in Lower Manhattan via motorcade.
This is an edition of The Atlantic Daily, a newsletter that guides you through the biggest stories of the day, helps you discover new ideas, and recommends the best in culture. Sign up for it here.If you’re finding it hard to keep track of all of former President Donald Trump’s legal woes, don’t feel bad: He can’t get it straight, either. Last weekend, he announced that he’d be arrested in Manhattan on Tuesday.
“This is not normal,” Donald Trump’s opponents warned as he took office and began enacting his agenda. He gave them so many chances to use the phrase that it became first a cliché and then a sorry joke.But the warning was not wrong: Trump acclimated Americans to many egregious actions by exposure therapy. What was once novel and frightening became familiar; familiarity bred contempt, but also enough acceptance to let Trump get away with a lot.
In a move that is disappointing to technocratic never-Trumpers and headline writers who love ’60s sitcoms, former Maryland Governor Larry Hogan announced yesterday that he will not run for the Republican nomination for president in 2024.“To once again be a successful governing party, we must move on from” Donald Trump, Hogan wrote in an op-ed in The New York Times, a placement that showed his seriousness about reaching out to Republican primary voters.
This is an edition of The Atlantic Daily, a newsletter that guides you through the biggest stories of the day, helps you discover new ideas, and recommends the best in culture. Sign up for it here.Many critics of Donald Trump concluded long ago that Attorney General Merrick Garland was not equal to the challenge of holding the former president accountable. It might be time for them to reassess.
In a 2014 interview, the saxophonist Wayne Shorter was asked how often his working quartet rehearsed. His reply was evasive and illuminating: “How do you rehearse the future?”This was classic Shorter—gnomic, gnostic, mischievous, wise. It was a bit of a humblebrag too. For more than six decades, he conjured the future of music into being, with or without the benefit of rehearsal.
This is an edition of The Atlantic Daily, a newsletter that guides you through the biggest stories of the day, helps you discover new ideas, and recommends the best in culture. Sign up for it here.Pity the poor mayors. Or don’t—most voters clearly don’t. On Tuesday, Chicagoans unceremoniously kicked Lori Lightfoot to the curb, depriving her of the chance to win a second term in an April 4 runoff election.
After a train derailed in East Palestine, Ohio, on February 3, national attention was slow to turn to the crash. That has now changed decisively. In the past 10 days, EPA Administrator Michael Regan, former President Donald Trump, and Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg have all visited the town. A lively national political debate has also emerged, but it’s one that, like the burning rail cars, has produced a lot of heat, but not a great deal of light.
Americans hate—or claim to hate—their politicians, but even by those standards, the early shape of the 2024 presidential race is a little bizarre. More than 20 months out from the election, Americans consistently say they don’t want to see a rematch of Joe Biden and Donald Trump. And yet the most likely outcome today is a rematch of Joe Biden and Donald Trump.
Even before the city of Memphis released video Friday evening of the fatal beating of Tyre Nichols, it seemed the footage would be horrifying. Defense attorneys compared it to the Rodney King beating in 1991, a comparison that now rings true, but the Memphis police chief and head of the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation similarly said they were appalled by what they saw.
Even before the city of Memphis released video Friday evening of the fatal beating of Tyre Nichols, it seemed the footage would be horrifying. Defense attorneys compared it to the Rodney King beating in 1991, a comparison that now rings true, but the Memphis police chief and the head of the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation similarly said they were appalled by what they’d seen.
Kevin McCarthy’s humiliation, and that of Donald Trump alongside him, offers a tall draft of schadenfreude. At the end of that, though, the nation is left with an empty glass and a bitter taste.For many reasons, McCarthy is unfit for the speakership: He undermined the 2020 election, he is dishonest, he is (as we see) unable to marshal his caucus. But his defectors aren’t really interested in a speaker who is able to keep the House organized or functional.
High-level politics is fundamentally about dealmaking. You can’t succeed as anything more than a back-bencher if you aren’t willing to make a deal with almost anyone on almost anything. In Faust, a deal with the devil is fatal; on Capitol Hill, it’s how you survive.But those “almosts” are essential, a lesson Kevin McCarthy is demonstrating this week.
The defeat of prominent election deniers around the country in last month’s midterm elections is cause for relief and maybe even tempered celebration, but not complacency about the dangers to democracy.Unexpectedly bad results for Republican candidates were, I have written, the result of an anti-MAGA majority that has turned out in three consecutive elections to rebuke Donald Trump and his coalition.
A fashionable critique of much political punditry is that it’s theater criticism, too focused on personality and superficial action, not focused enough on the real stuff of policy.But we’re talking about Kyrsten Sinema today, the senator from Arizona who loves to create drama. And that’s the best way to understand her announcement this morning that she has changed her affiliation from Democrat to independent.
Donald Trump’s call over the weekend for terminating the Constitution was, though appalling, also a long time coming.Trump, the once and aspirationally future Republican president, has long praised the Constitution and touted his own defense of it in heroic terms.
The critical consensus on Donald Trump’s 2024 campaign launch is that it was boring in both delivery—uninspired and listless—and content, mostly rehashing themes he’s played since he started running for president in 2015.But underneath the weird ad libs and overwritten Stephen Miller rhetoric, the speech revealed a new and important challenge for his comeback attempt.
Rupert Murdoch, Rich Lowry, Mike Pompeo, and company: Welcome to the resistance!These conservative luminaries are among the many credentialed members of the right who have criticized former President Donald Trump in the aftermath of the Republican Party’s historically underwhelming performance in the midterm elections. They are right to do so: Voters rejected not only many of Trump’s handpicked candidates but also his attacks on democracy and claims about stolen elections.
If you’ve come to enjoy the bare-knuckled, closely divided, and high-anxiety American politics of the last few years then the 2022 election brings good news for you.The final balance of power in the U.S. Congress and state houses won’t be clear for days or in some cases possibly weeks, but early results suggest that Republicans will likely retake control of the House, while the balance in the Senate remains too early to predict.
From 2017 to 2021, a string of businessmen with long, lucrative careers entered government service and left with their reputations tarnished. Rex Tillerson was a world-bestriding CEO who found himself hated by both his new boss and his new employees. Steven Mnuchin, a successful though largely anonymous moneyman, developed an image as a sloppy supervillain.
On January 6, 2021, a mob of Donald Trump supporters ransacked the U.S. Capitol. They sought to prevent Congress from certifying his loss in the presidential election, but a few of them had even scarier ideas.
Given all the attention that Elon Musk’s takeover of Twitter has drawn, one might forget how little it will affect most people. Although Musk fancies the platform “a common digital town square,” Twitter reports just 238 million daily active users in a world of nearly 8 billion. It just so happens, though, that there is a strong overlap among people who report the news, people who use Twitter, and people who are interested in Elon Musk.
No one knows quite how the stroke that Pennsylvania’s John Fetterman suffered in May might affect his performance as a U.S. senator if he wins an election next month. But his halting, sometimes painful performance last night in the sole debate in his race against Republican Mehmet Oz last night showed that he’s not outwardly the candidate who won the Democratic nomination earlier this year.The answers here are simply unavailable.
The famously logorrheic Steve Bannon finally found a reason to shut up, and it’s going to get him locked up.Bannon, the former éminence grise (and grease) to Donald Trump, was sentenced today to four months in prison for contempt of Congress, stemming from his refusal to testify to the House committee investigating the January 6 insurrection and Trump’s attempts to steal the 2020 presidential election. He’ll also be fined $6,500.
The epicenter of corruption in the Trump administration was not at the White House, but at the Old Post Office, a dramatic Romanesque landmark a few blocks down Pennsylvania Avenue from the presidential residence.The building, which operated for several years as the Trump International Hotel, became a hot place to see and be seen for a certain set, especially Trump hangers-on (Rudy Giuliani was a regular) and foreign diplomats eager to curry favor—a clear ethical problem.
The House Select Committee on January 6 ended what may be its final public hearing today with what is almost certainly a futile gesture: The members voted unanimously to subpoena former President Donald Trump for testimony and documents about his effort to subvert the 2020 presidential election and his incitement of a mob that attacked the Capitol.The odds that they will get their way are effectively zero.
Joe Biden is an unlikely stoner hero. Three of his four Baby Boomer predecessors in the Oval Office had explored marijuana in their youth, but by the time they became president, they all disdained the stuff. But Biden, like Donald Trump, was a straight-edge who says he never touched marijuana and was skeptical of any liberalization of drug laws throughout his long career in politics.
Southern Democrats, Rockefeller Republicans, campaign-ending disasters: Some things that used to be staples of American politics don’t really exist anymore. That’s the result of an era in which nothing means as much as the letter next to a candidate’s name. With voters viewing the other party as an existential threat to their lives or the republic, they seem willing to overlook nearly any personal failing in the name of partisanship.