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‘Our boyfriends, our significant others, and our husbands are supposed to be Number 1. Our worlds are backward.’

Vintage photo of two women in bathing costumes holding hands hip-deep in a body of water, overlaid with sold colored fragment
Vintage photo of two women in bathing costumes holding hands hip-deep in a body of water, overlaid with sold colored fragment
Photo illustration: Arsh Raziuddin / The Atlantic, Kirn Vintage Stock/Getty Images

By Rhaina Cohen

Kami West had been dating her current boyfriend for a few weeks when she told him that he was outranked by her best friend. …


The bumbling provocateur who stormed the United States in 2006 has become an unlikely voice of reason.

Borat undercover as “Country Steve” on a stage with musicians behind him at a March for Our Rights rally.
Borat undercover as “Country Steve” on a stage with musicians behind him at a March for Our Rights rally.
In 2020, Borat has become the peacekeeper rather than the agitator. Photos: Amazon Studios

By now, you’ve probably heard about the already infamous climax of Borat Subsequent Moviefilm, the Amazon sequel that heralds the return of the titular Kazakh journalist and agent of chaos played by Sacha Baron Cohen. …


Cases are rising in all but nine states. Unlike the past two waves, this one has no epicenter.

A plastic oral thermometer covered with “I voted” stickers.
A plastic oral thermometer covered with “I voted” stickers.
Photo illustration: The Atlantic

The United States is sleepwalking into what could become the largest coronavirus outbreak of the pandemic so far. In the past week alone, as voters prepare to go to the ballot box, about one in every 1,000 Americans has tested positive for the virus, and about two in every 100,000 Americans have died of it.

This third surge is far more geographically dispersed than what the country saw in the spring or summer: The coronavirus is at risk of careening out of control, and it can be found in every kind of American community, from tiny farm towns to affluent suburbs to bustling border cities. …


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. …


Paging Dr. Hamblin

I’m young and healthy, so what’s the point?

Silhouette of a person’s chest, torso, and abdomen. Blue dots cover its chest, and a skinny triangle is coming out of one
Silhouette of a person’s chest, torso, and abdomen. Blue dots cover its chest, and a skinny triangle is coming out of one
Illustration: Julian Montague

Dear Dr. Hamblin,

I’m perfectly healthy. I’m 42 and I exercise routinely, eat a whole-food, plant-based diet, and have excellent biomarkers. If I get the flu, chances are it will be mild and run its course. So why risk any potential negative side effects of a vaccine? To protect me against something that I might still get even with the shot? Even though I’m sure the risk is low, why should I potentially jeopardize my health? I guess I see only downsides and no upside.

Todd Kelly
Philadelphia, Pa.

Your concerns are widely shared, and your question is important. The answer is especially worth considering because the same logic that guides your decision will apply to the coronavirus vaccines in coming years. …


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. …


Since 2018, I’ve conducted roughly 50 focus groups with Trump voters to understand the shifting dynamics within the Republican Party.

A black-and-white photo of Trump’s face, overlaid with part of a ballot with Trump and Pence checked off in red.
A black-and-white photo of Trump’s face, overlaid with part of a ballot with Trump and Pence checked off in red.
Credit: The Atlantic

By Sarah Longwell

President Donald Trump is losing to former Vice President Joe Biden by more than 10 percentage points in both the Real Clear Politics and FiveThirtyEight national polling averages. This historically large margin suggests that something amazing has happened: Even in our hyperpolarized political environment, a meaningful number of voters have changed their minds about Trump.

Equally amazing: The majority of 2016 Trump voters — despite a mismanaged pandemic, widespread economic fallout, a racial crisis exacerbated by divisive rhetoric, and a debate meltdown — plan to back Trump a second time.

What makes one voter who supported Trump in 2016 decide to support Biden? And what makes another voter — even one who thinks things are going badly — stick around? …


In some multiracial movements, unity means ignoring Black suffering.

People of different races raising their fists.
People of different races raising their fists.
Photo: Giuseppe Manfra/Moment/Getty Images

By Alicia Garza

This piece was adapted from Garza’s recent book.

In 2014, I was part of an activist organization that worked across various social issues — education equity, economic justice, labor rights, and environmental racism. We were hungry for a deeper structural understanding of relationships of power, and a strategy to transform those relationships. One afternoon, we met to discuss topics for future political education; we were holding webinars to, in part, encourage people to join the organization. …


America survived one Trump term. It wouldn’t survive a second.

A road that leads off a cliff. A stop sign is right at the edge of the cliff, and the sky is gray and cloudy.
A road that leads off a cliff. A stop sign is right at the edge of the cliff, and the sky is gray and cloudy.
Photo rendering: Patrick White

The most important ballot question in 2020 is not Joe Biden versus Donald Trump, or Democrat versus Republican. The most important question is: Will Trump get away with his corruption — will his crooked and authoritarian tactics succeed?

If the answer is yes, be ready for more. Much more.

Americans have lavished enormous powers on the presidency. They have also sought to bind those powers by law. Yet the Founders of the republic understood that law alone could never eliminate the risks inherent in the power of the presidency. They worried ceaselessly about the prospect of a truly bad man in the office — a Caesar or a Cromwell, as Alexander Hamilton fretted in “Federalist №21.”

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