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- The Most Exciting Senate Race in AmericaA drum line taps out a charging beat: clip clap boppa BOOM. Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, and Amy Klobuchar lock arms. They’re leading a packed procession down Washington Avenue toward the Columbia, South Carolina, statehouse to commemorate Martin Luther King Jr. Day. At the end of the chain of Democratic household names is a less familiar face. Jaime Harrison is bundled up in a black overcoat and matching scarf. Hundreds of people pile onto the grass in front of the capitol steps, huddling together for warmth. Various A-list politicians take the stage, but it’s Harrison who gets the applause of a headliner.“In a country that has never had two black senators from the same state serve at the same time, hope is right here standing before you,” he says with an Obama-esque flourish. “We need you. We need you to knock on doors. We need you to register… ..... Read More.7 days ago
- The Conspiracy Theories That Fueled the Civil WarIn the months leading up to the Civil War, fear festered in southern living rooms and legislative chambers. Newspapers reported that the newly elected president, Abraham Lincoln, held a “hatred of the South and its institutions [that would] cause him to use all the power at hand to destroy our country” and that his vice president, Hannibal Hamlin, was not only sympathetic to the plight of black Americans but was himself part black—“what we call,” the editor of one Charleston, South Carolina, paper stated, “a mulatto.” Warnings circulated in pamphlets and the press that an antislavery federal government would inspire a wave of violent slave revolts and then allow the South to burn, rather than stepping in to quell resistance. Texas’s declaration of secession asserted that northern abolitionists had for decades been sending “emissaries” to “bring blood and carnage to our firesides.” Georgia’s insisted that the “avowed purpose” of Republican… ..... Read More.1 week ago
- It’s Time to Listen to the Doomsday PlannersFor a moment earlier this month, the West Wing seemed like a vector of disease. First came the news that Donald Trump’s personal valet had tested positive for the coronavirus. Then the vice president’s spokeswoman, who is married to another senior White House staffer, fell ill with COVID-19. Through it all, the president downplayed the risk of his exposure, openly flouting his top health agencies’ social-distancing guidelines. Trump is fine, but these brushes with the virus raise the question: What’s the plan if the whole White House becomes infected?The answer typically lies with the government’s so-called doomsday planners—the officials at every major agency who are tasked with preparing and rehearsing the nation’s classified continuity-of-government plans. For decades, doomsday planners’ presence has been tolerated, their recommendations have been stashed in policy documents, and their warnings about dark tidings have been for the most part unheeded. The Trump administration has taken an… ..... Read More.1 week ago
- Where Fears of Deportation Made the Pandemic WorsePhotographs by Tony LuongOn a Friday afternoon in mid-April, Gladys Vega received a disturbing message: A woman hospitalized with COVID-19 needed food for the 11-year-old daughter she’d left at home. Worried that the girl would go hungry, Vega rushed out of her office and into the tangle of downtown Chelsea, Massachusetts, a 1.8-square-mile city across the Mystic River from Boston. The 52-year-old Vega, wearing a black tracksuit, a highlighter-yellow T-shirt, and a little bit of matching eye glitter, jumped out of the car so quickly, I could barely keep up. She approached a narrow brick apartment building and asked the people on the stoop to open the front door. “You don’t have to worry; I’m not immigration,” Vega said in Spanish. “Let me in.”Vega was accustomed to convincing fearful Chelsea residents to trust her. More and more restrictive federal immigration measures had motivated some locals—day laborers, food-factory workers, janitors, and… ..... Read More.1 week ago