The Books Briefing: Sally Rooney, Stacey Abrams, Barbara Kingsolver

Sally Rooney’s novels have long been criticized as insufficiently political, but reconciling ideology and storytelling has always been a thorny issue for writers.

Erik Voake / Getty; Bettmann / Getty; The Atlantic

In Sally Rooney’s novels, idealistic college students espouse Marxism despite never having read any of the ideology’s foundational texts; they advocate for radicalism while keeping up their grades and wrestling with deeply traditional romantic desires. They are startlingly realistic—but their role as political actors is much fuzzier. Indeed Rooney has long been criticized as insufficiently political. Mentions of leftist politics suffuse her works (Conversations With Friends

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Opinion | Quiz: If America Had Six Parties, Which Would You Belong To?

Illustration by Claire Merchlinsky

This essay is part of a series exploring bold ideas to revitalize and renew the American experiment. Read more about this project in a note from Ezekiel Kweku, Opinion’s politics editor.

America’s two-party system is broken. Democrats and Republicans are locked in an increasingly destructive partisan struggle that has produced gridlock and stagnation on too many critical issues — most urgently, the pandemic and climate change.

There is no reasonable or timely way to fix this broken system. But there is an alternative: more parties.

It is not so hard to imagine a six-party system —

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Tito Ortiz confirms political career is ‘100 percent over’

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Tito Ortiz’s run in politics has hit the last stop.

The former UFC light heavyweight champion and mayor pro tem of Huntington Beach has confirmed he’s done with politics and back to what he knows best – fighting.

Ortiz returns to action this Saturday at Triller Fight Club Legends II, as he’s set to take on fellow ex-UFC titleholder Anderson Silva in a 195-pound bout in the co-main event of the card. This marks Ortiz’s first fight back since getting elected and then resigning from his position as mayor pro tem.

“One-hundred percent my political

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With Biden Vaccine Plan, Politics Is Fully in Charge

It’s impossible for politics not to be paramount in a time like Covid, when voters are steeped in anxiety, when politicians know their career survival is at risk with every decision.

Often, we want politicians to be concerned with the effect of their words, not just their scientific accuracy, because their words can cause things to happen in the world.

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Andrew Yang to launch a third party

But the book’s publisher, Crown, did give some clues about the type of platform Yang may pursue. It writes that the book is an indictment of America’s “era of institutional failure” and will introduce “us to the various ‘priests of the decline’ of America, including politicians whose incentives have become divorced from the people they supposedly serve.”

The book is blurbed by businessperson Mark Cuban (“a vitally important book”) and The New York Times’ Kara Swisher (“Can there be another political party in the U.S.?…In Forward, Yang does not just give us a laundry list of intractable problems, but shows

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The inescapable overlap of pandemic and politics

It’s also important to note that the pandemic is not unfolding the way it did last summer. If we take the difference between each state’s per-capita cases and deaths relative and the national figure and average it by 2020 vote, we see that red states are doing much worse relative to the country on the whole than are blue states. The vertical dashed lines below indicate Sept. 9, 2020, and Sept. 9, 2021 — that is, now and one year ago. Not only are cases and deaths now higher relative to the country overall than they were then, but the

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Trump’s political operation paid more than $4.3 million to Jan. 6 organizers but questions remain about the full extent of its involvement

(Photo by Samuel Corum/Getty Images)

Former President Donald Trump’s political operation reported paying more than $4.3 million to people and firms that organized the Jan. 6 rally since the start of the 2020 election. However, questions remain about the full extent of the Trump campaign’s involvement in the “Save America” rally on the day of the Capitol attack as a House select committee’s sweeping requests attempt to shine some light on that day’s events.

On Friday, the U.S. House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol sent letters requesting information from 15 social

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Illinois Democrats set to OK new legislative maps over criticism

CHICAGO — Illinois Democrats on Tuesday are expected to approve new legislative boundaries over objections from Republicans and some community groups that the process was unnecessarily rushed and maps drawn behind closed doors to keep Democrats in power.

Tuesday’s vote is a do-over of maps that majority Democrats approved and Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed earlier this year. Those maps prompted lawsuits from top Illinois Republicans and the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, a Latino civil rights organization, who argued they were flawed and unconstitutional because they were based on population estimates from the American Community Survey rather

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Zelenskyy heads to White House after featuring in US politics | Joe Biden News

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy will have his first visit to the White House on Wednesday, in a meeting Kyiv hopes will bolster security ties between the two countries, increase Ukraine’s position to join NATO and provide a platform to voice discontent about the Russia-to-Germany Nord Stream 2 pipeline.

The visit, for both Zelenskyy and US President Joe Biden, will also likely serve as a palate cleanser after the recently elected Ukrainian president found himself in a starring role in the 2019 impeachment investigation into former US President Donald Trump.

Trump was accused of conditioning military aid to Ukraine – and

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Voter ID: Why Doesn’t America Have a National ID Card?

Democrats in Congress are considering a policy that was long unthinkable: a federal requirement that every American show identification before casting a ballot. But as the party tries to pass voting-rights legislation before the next election, it is ignoring a companion proposal that could ensure that a voter-ID law leaves no one behind—an idea that is as obvious as it is historically controversial. What if the government simply gave an ID card to every voting-age citizen in the country?

Voter-ID requirements are the norm in many countries, as Republicans are fond of pointing out. But so are national ID

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