March 10, 2016 6:13 AM EST


“I have to express my joy at seeing TIME stand up to this bully,” wrote Margaret Eilrich of Sonora, Calif., of our March 14 cover package on the GOP front runner and his often divisive rhetoric. But the story could have gone further, said Anthony Plumer of Portland, Ore., who suggested that much of Trump’s momentum “masks itself in patriotism but really is a form of racial hatred for anyone who is not white.” Others, like Rachel Godfrey of Henderson, N.C., focused on the political hatred at play, calling the candidate a by-product of years of anti-Obama obstructionism in Congress. Trump supporters, however, suggested other reasons for his popularity. “I live in a once great country where the air and water are poisoned … and poor children can’t have decent education,” wrote Linda Smith of Salem, N.J. “I support Trump because he makes other politicians feel the way they make me feel: angry, frustrated and hopeless.”


Readers praised Sean Gregory’s profile of U.S. fencer Ibtihaj Muhammad, who will become the first American Olympic competitor to sport a hijab when she competes in Brazil this summer. “YASSS! QUEEN!!! @IbtihajMuhammad,” wrote @Kinzaposts on Twitter, while @opalfly wished that Muhammad had been the cover story instead of Donald Trump. “Boom—glass ceiling shattered!!!” added @shehzad013. And Marlene Lopin of Boca Raton, Fla., wrote, “What a wonderful story of a brave American girl … who brings diversity to our roster of sports heroes.”


In his native Iran, where homosexuality is illegal, gay poet Payam Feili rarely left his house. But since he fled to Israel–despite its lack of relations with his homeland–he has become a media darling. Read his story at


What’s it like to have 700,000 Instagram followers? A TIME video finds out, with a day in the life of Margaret Zhang–model, photographer and social-media star. View it at


A special-edition companion to TIME’s coverage of astronaut Scott Kelly’s year in space–which continues on page 32 of this issue–chronicles the historic mission and features many photographs taken by Kelly himself. Order it now at, or buy it in stores April 1.

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This appears in the March 21, 2016 issue of TIME.

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