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Some of Trump’s most committed Catholic supporters have leveled dark charges against Biden as they battle to sway the vote in crucial swing states. And wait until you hear what they think of the pope.

Stained glass window with an orange and red cross surrounded by Trump and Biden with pieces missing out of their faces.
Stained glass window with an orange and red cross surrounded by Trump and Biden with pieces missing out of their faces.
Photo illustration: The Atlantic; source: Shutterstock

By Tish Durbin

Joe Biden or Donald Trump: Who’s the better Catholic? If this seems like an odd question to raise in the context of a race for the highest secular office in America — and a race in which one of the two candidates is Protestant — never mind. Both campaigns, and their surrogates, are hotly contesting the answer.

The ex–Notre Dame football coach Lou Holtz slammed Biden as a “Catholic in name only” in his appearance at the Republican National Convention.

“President Trump is ignoring Catholic teachings on care for the Earth, feeding the hungry, welcoming the immigrant,” Sister Simone Campbell, a social-justice activist who led a prayer at the Democratic convention, fired back in an interview with me not long after. …


Many screens with staticky scanlines assembled into one big screen. A big red Q is imposed on the middle of it.
Many screens with staticky scanlines assembled into one big screen. A big red Q is imposed on the middle of it.
Photo illustration: The Atlantic

QAnon has become a linchpin of far-right media — and the effort to preemptively delegitimize the election.

By Renée DiResta

Whether president Donald Trump wins or loses, some version of QAnon is going to survive the election. On the day of the vice-presidential debate between Mike Pence and Kamala Harris, the individual or group known as “Q” sent out a flurry of posts. “ONLY THE ILLUSION OF DEMOCRACY,” began one. “Joe 30330 — Arbitrary? — What is 2020 [current year] divided by 30330? …


Grit plus luck was sufficient to break open the SARS story. I doubt the same will be true for COVID-19.

A gray book with a ribbon bookmark, on its side with a pen on it. Multi-tipped star-shaped bites have been taken out of it.
A gray book with a ribbon bookmark, on its side with a pen on it. Multi-tipped star-shaped bites have been taken out of it.
Photo illustration: The Atlantic

By Karl Taro Greenfeld

Journalism, even practiced at its highest levels, has an element of chance. Reporters spend hours riding in taxis or trains or airplanes, or on the telephone or online, hoping to land that meeting that might yield a quote or secreted document resulting in a story. And if the story is particularly noteworthy, that’s a scoop. A big scoop for a reporter is like hitting your number at a roulette table.

In 2003, when SARS was threatening to become a global calamity, those of us covering China had to work long hours and put our chips down. SARS barely registered in the United States. The invasion of Iraq was looming, and the resources of big news operations were devoted to the Middle East. But for those of us in East Asia — I was the editor of Time Asia — SARS was what mattered. I never had a big scoop. …

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