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When a Pandemic Is a Political Opportunity

When a Pandemic Is a Political OpportunityWith Bernie Sanders all but defeated and Joe Biden a near lock for the Democratic presidential nomination, the American left should be inconsolable right now. But these are not normal times. Instead of despairing, leading progressives say they are invigorated, and eager to use the coronavirus crisis to convince Biden—and millions of other Americans—that major reforms are necessary.“These ideas we’ve been touting for a while are quickly coming to fruition as great policy measures to tackle [in] this moment,” Varshini Prakash, a co-founder and the executive director of Sunrise Movement, a youth-led group advocating for climate action, told me. A great many significant social reforms have been triggered by periods of intense economic upheaval. The Tea Party seized the Great Recession in 2008–09 and its aftermath, for example to reshape the trajectory of the Republican Party. Progressives argue that the next few weeks and…

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How Will Cities Avoid Bankruptcy?

How Will Cities Avoid Bankruptcy?New York City is sputtering. Bars, restaurants, hotels, and theaters have closed; tens of thousands of people have already lost their jobs; hundreds have died. The city has become the epicenter of the novel coronavirus. It needed an “economic nap” to fight it, Scott Stringer, the city’s comptroller, told me. But COVID-19 is bludgeoning the city’s coffers.According to an analysis by Stringer, New York City stands to lose $4.8 billion to $6 billion in tax revenue. The money helps the city fund schools, repair roads, and pay off debts. Back in late February, Stringer told reporters at a press conference in Manhattan that the city had not “done enough to prepare to weather a storm we cannot imagine.”Versions of this story are playing out across the country. Cities and counties are looking for ways to cut their budgets as tax revenue and economic activity decline and…

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Bye Bye Bernie

Bye Bye BernieFor two hours on Sunday night, America took a break from coronavirus news and socially distant Netflix binges to watch what may have been the last Democratic primary debate of the long presidential campaign. After close to 30 candidates, two Super Tuesdays—not to mention Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina—and 10 debates, the 11th faceoff came down to two: Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders, each of whom is almost certainly running his last campaign. But only one will get to run against President Donald Trump in November.POLITICO Magazine asked 15 experts, insiders, activists and political professionals to watch and tell us what this debate meant, in particular, for Sanders, who trails Biden in the delegate count and confronts, to put it mildly, an improbable path to the Democratic nomination. The consensus: He was the same old Bernie Sanders, the democratic socialist vaulted by voters into the top…

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Reflections on a Failed Democratic Revolution

Reflections on a Failed Democratic RevolutionBerniecrats, I know how you are feeling. I know how much that gut punch hurt. I know what it’s like to be convinced you’re about to upend the political order, only to be brutally informed on an election night that the rest of your own party doesn’t share your plans.How could I—a hack political pundit from the corporate media, who has been droning on for months about how the Democratic Party is more moderate than you think—be so empathetic to your plight?Because 16 years ago, at the spry age of 31, I was a wide-eyed liberal blogger who felt that my scribbles on were playing a small part in changing American politics, only to find my mouth agape at the shellacking that my antiwar, anti-Democratic establishment candidate, Howard Dean, took in the Iowa caucuses.The Deaniac left recovered from that disorienting night. We stayed in…

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The Atlantic Politics Daily: The Other Way American Cities Will Suffer

The Atlantic Politics Daily: The Other Way American Cities Will SufferIt’s Wednesday, April 1. Nevada and Florida announced stay-at-home guidelines today, with the White House now projecting anywhere from 100,000 to 240,000 deaths from COVID-19 in the U.S., even with social distancing and mitigation efforts.In today’s newsletter: How American cities will suffer, even with a $2-trillion dollar federal relief plan. Plus: Why everyone is confused about the effectiveness of wearing face masks outside.*« TODAY IN POLITICS »(Getty Images / The Atlantic)How will cities avoid bankruptcy?Major cities such as New Orleans, New York, and Los Angeles are already stretched thin to mitigate the COVID-19 public health catastrophe. Medical professionals continue to warn about personal protective equipment shortages, ventilator shortages, even medical workforce shortages. Large cities are redirecting financial resources to prepare for a surge of hospitalizations.The threat of a devastating economic recession—and the memory of the 2009 financial crash—looms over smaller…

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‘This Town’ Faces a Lockdown

‘This Town’ Faces a LockdownBook parties and air kisses, furrowed brows and panel discussions: Many of the rhythms of daily life in the nation’s capital are about creating, if not the reality, then at least the illusion of social intimacy.How is Washington dealing with a moment—perhaps a very long time—when the new catchphrase is social distancing?So far, the city’s biggest patterns haven’t been disrupted: Congress is still in session. The federal government has not, as of yet, told most of its employees to stop coming to the office. The White House is still conducting business as usual, despite Trump’s dramatic decision Wednesday night to block travelers from Europe.But the anxiety gripping the rest of the country is percolating through the city—touching its workers, its children, its parents. And, one VIP reception at a time, it‘s even hitting the circles of political and media elites who’ve spent their careers assuming the word “nonessential”…

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