367 Comments

I hope Lara Trump heads the RNC and gives all of the money to Trump for his legal fees and fines leaving no money left for the presidential campaign or down ballot republicans. The party needs to burn to the ground. Bankrupting it would be a great first step.

Expand full comment

Not sure if Nikki Haley is part of the solution or problem. She's done her share of pandering to the fringe by sucking up to the Moms for Liberty, a group that would have me fired or for being "woke" (providing books critical of segregation, etc) or having me jailed for "grooming" kids with books that discuss LGBTQ issues.

The list goes on: pardoning Trump; the "whut? Slavery?" debacle; jumping on the side of Alabama in the IVF issue (yes, Alabama!); and finally, "America's never been racist."

She's clearly catering to the MAGA wing, even at the risk of turning off independents. So should we assume she has some sense of decency and would pivot away from the nonsense once she got the nomination? Or does she actually believe she can ride the MAGA to White House instead of the ditch?

Expand full comment

Yes, you also don't expand the tent by agreeing with Alabama SC that frozen embryos are "children", or agreeing to pardon Trump if you are elected.

Expand full comment

Sorry to say, but I'm totally dispirited by the Post-Sykes Morning Shots. I used to begin my mornings, awash in angst and Trumpian night terrors, with a smile at the wit and indeed snark of Charlie, along with some worldclass grousing by Jeff Tiedrich and Paul Slansky. They brought me hope. They often gave me a reason to pull on my pants again. But Bill and Andrew, decent lads that they are, with their flat style and lack of snide, make me sad. Even the old Cheap Shots section, with its snitty captions, was a pleasure. Perhaps Tim Miller should take over the column. Otherwise, I'm just reading it to see what topics are being reduced to mush.

Expand full comment

I agree! And Bill Kristol brings his "Biden should resign" shtick forward in what seems like every other day.

Expand full comment

Haley told NPR today the Biden is a bigger threat to democracy than trump. So of course she’ll endorse trump.

Expand full comment

Surely she knows better. Every time I get encouraged by her candidacy, she pulls the football away and I fall flat on my back.

Expand full comment

exactly

Expand full comment

So, she's a liar. She supposedly has brains, yet she comes out and says that. Does she believe it - not for a second. But hey, it sounds good. And she really wants to be VP - not that she's got a prayer.

Expand full comment

Haley sounds pretty good for a while, and then she goes and reminds us why she cannot be taken seriously. She cannot seem to help it. It is also impossible to know what she really thinks.

Expand full comment

“But Lara Trump herself was more noncommittal Wednesday, saying that, while she didn’t know whether chipping into Trump’s legal defense would be allowed under RNC rules, she believed their donors would want to help.

“I think that is a big interest to people, absolutely,” she told reporters at a Wednesday event in South Carolina. “They feel like it’s an attack not just on Donald Trump but on this country.””

News flash for Ms Trump: the only donors who might want to help the Fulvous Flatulence with his legal bills are the poor suckers in his cult who drank too much Kool-Aid from the (faux) crystal punchbowl with a yuge orange turd floating in it. The Repub Donor Class has been hesitant this election cycle when it comes to donating to the various scams and PACs established to raise money for the "reelection" of the Mango Malignancy. (As has been noted, he is raiding the piggy bank to pay his legal bills and some of those who's loyalty has not been questioned. I'm fairly convinced that the small-money Rubes didn't intend for their donations to pay anything towards Rudy's previous legal bills, for instance).

It's becoming more and more obvious that the plans are to turn the RNC into a wholly owned subsidiary of "Trump, Inc, and the real Repub Normies -- the few of them who still call themselves "Republican" -- aren't real happy right now.

Furthermore, Ms Trump, I'm pretty certain that the only people who are concerned about the prosecution, those seeing it more as a political persecution, of your Father-in-Law are hardcore MAGAdroids. The rest of us, imo, are looking forward to the Goldenrod Grotesqueness' filling his reservation at ADX Florence. I don't think for a minute that a majority of Americans conflate the legitimate prosecutions of him with attacks on the American way of life. In fact, it's the opposite: our laws hold that *no one* is above facing justice -- not even a disgraced and disgraceful ex-President (he's not worthy to be referred to as a former President).

Ms Trump, you, your highly intelligent husband Eric, your oh-so-perfect Bro-in-Law DJTJ and the rest of those in the Trump Crime Family should all take off your rose colored glasses and see that the stock prices (not Wall Street but personal) for you all are falling, and the bottom hasn't come into view yet. You are in a Bear market with little hope of ever regaining the losses being incurred -- and it couldn't happen to a more deserving family.

fnord

Expand full comment

"Mango Malignancy" Love it.

Expand full comment

Haley is not the savior the Republican Party needs, let alone the country.

Expand full comment

IF the Dem A-list (Obama, Schumer & Pelosi) convince Biden to step down and the Dems instead hold an open convention to select their candidate, Wittes' call is the message that should guide the process: "The political defense of America’s fundamental democratic institutions, norms, and modes of political engagement . . . is far more important than the advancement of any particular conventional political agenda by any particular faction along that spectrum."

Expand full comment

Please read this. https://www.politicususa.com/2024/02/22/lawrence-odonnell-biden-replacement.html. And like o'donnell said, NONE of the others named have any money. Money talks. And it's talking to Joe Biden "bigly".

Expand full comment

Thanks. I don't know if this is true: "Kamala Harris has a legal claim on all of that money (raised by the Biden/Harris campaign) if Joe Biden were to drop out of that race." He didn't provide any support for that claim.

As to whether Newsome, if nominated in August, would have zero dollars to fly home, he should talk to actual convention experts like Elaine Kamarck, author of “Primary Politics: Everything You Need to Know About How America Nominates Its Presidential Candidates.” She’s a senior fellow in governance studies at Brookings so she knows her stuff. On his podcast yesterday, Ezra Klein's asked her, "Biden raised a lot more money. He’s got more than $100 million on hand. Can they use that money? Can that money be transferred around?"

Kamarck replied: "Yeah, of course. Look, at the point when you come out of the convention, it really does become a party operation. It’s no longer an individual candidate operation."

And he makes an ad hominem attack on Ezra Klein who first introduced the idea of an open convention in the event that Biden can be persuaded to withdraw. That completely undermines his argument for me. Rather than note any unfounded facts or flawed reasoning in Klein's argument, he makes an attribution error, saying Klein is only making a play for his own relevance more than he has serious concern about winning in November.

That's a rationalization to protect the non-white, female progressive narrative. I'm a lifelong, center-left Dem, and I donate to Biden's campaign monthly. I believed up untill his very bad performance at the press conference a few weeks ago that he could beat Trump. But Biden's been losing IN THE SWING STATES since last November. So I have serious concern about who wins in November and I found Klein's argument persuasive.

Furthermore, MSNBC is infotainment, and it's much more biased than CNN (see https://www.businessinsider.com/most-biased-news-outlets-in-america-cnn-fox-nytimes-2018-8#5-cnn-27-5). That's why I stopped watching MSNBC long ago; I watch CNN only for breaking news. Dems are strongly divided about this right now. Rather than facilitate conversation between the two sides, which is not very entertaining, O'Donnell is promoting the views of one side of that divide, the non-white, female progressive Dems who want Harris and nobody else to succeed Biden because she's a Black female - anything other than that is pure racism. What about the best candidate to beat Trump? Isn't that more important than seeing a Black female as president? And their stand makes no sense as she's more likely to lose to Trump than Biden. That's why I quoted Ben Wittes - saving the democracy for all of us is more important than your factional, political agenda.

Expand full comment

https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/2024-election/democrats-replace-biden-nominee-rcna138125 An in depth discussion of how the D convention will/would work. Also https://www.nytimes.com/article/biden-democratic-primary-challenge.html. It basically boils down to it's too late. Most of the states' already have their ballots set. So anyone not on most of the states' ballots is essentially out. Got my ballot for CA for March 7. For president, it's Biden, Phillips and Williamson, plus 5 others no one has ever heard of. And to change anything, Biden would have to agree. And why should he? The money is being given to elect Biden, not Whitmer, not Phillips, not Newsom, etc. He's an incumbent, he's doing a hell of a job, he's getting the money from donors, and no, he is not incompetent or incoherent or demented. Read the speech he gave yesterday in Culver City - it's on the White House website and YouTube. How about we quit the nay-saying and concentrate on reelecting the most successful president in decades? (I'm tempted to wish something very dark for the Orange Snake before his convention, but I'll be nice and stay quiet.)

A BTW for Bill, et al: I'm seeing articles that the current CPAC conference is a real dud. Is Tim there?

Expand full comment

Eva, regardless of your opinion that he's doing a hell of a job and is not incompetent or incoherent or demented, with which I agree, HE'S LOSING. That's the problem. I'm not confident he can beat Trump. Pls convince me of that.

Thx for the links.

Expand full comment

Nope, he's not losing. https://www.msnbc.com/way-too-early/watch/biden-leading-trump-49-to-45-percent-in-new-general-election-polling-204696133589. Obama in February 2016 was at 48% per Gallup poll. The more The Orange Snake talks, the more insane he gets and appears. People are finally figuring it out. The MAGAs are a lost cause. CPAC has people like Lindell showing up. Bannon is calling for open war with the rest of the country. The fact that Biden is beating Trump on the money front means people are listening to both men and deciding that Biden is better after all. Even the media is finally starting to showcase his lies and his insanity, and calling him out on it. The more people unite around Biden, the more his support grows. And he NEEDS to win.

I'm getting deja vu bad. I lived through the fiasco of 1968 where the party split instead of uniting after LBJ decided not to run. Ultra left vs moderates vs conservatives and it didn't get better - the convention was open warfare, literally. And we got Nixon. 1980 was almost as bad with the party splitting into Teddy Kennedy and John Anderson. And the bloodbath left us with Ronald Reagan - the person many of us see as the beginning of the rise of ultra RW Rs. The country CANNOT afford a battle. The only choice is between Biden, warts and all, or the man that will end the United States as we know it and turn us into Putin's vassal state.

Expand full comment

One more thing about this poll. The margin of error is plus or minus 2.6 percentage points. So, rather than being a 4-pt margin for Biden, the worst case is it's a 1.4 margin. That's not enough to win the EC.

Expand full comment

OK, Eva, but it's one poll, and it's a national poll. Swing state polling is a better measure of who would win if the election were held now. However, Biden needs to be up by 4 pts in the popular vote to win the EC, so that is a good national margin.

I lived through the '68 convention too. I was there volunteering in the Muskie camp's hotel, not on the floor or in Grant Park. It's a very different time for the Democrats in 2024 compared to '68. Lots of reasons an open convention in 2024 won't be a repeat of 1968.

Expand full comment

And who should that candidate be? Have any of them actually polled better than Biden? Do any of them have a presidential war chest? You want Chicago 1968 all over again?

Expand full comment

What world are you living in?

Expand full comment

The post started with an all-caps "IF." I read this as a comment on this possibility.

Expand full comment

The same one that Bill Kristol and Ben Wittes (and Ezra Klein) live in.

Expand full comment

I'm completely off the Haley Train. Her comments in support of Alabama's ridiculous ruling that's already paused IVF treatments in one facility that I know of and is a stark and imminent threat to the very humanity of American women was my breaking point. The idea that Haley is some force for democracy is hard to stomach. If even frozen embryos are "babies" whose interests will be represented by the State, and the State is clearly willing to use those interests to override the rights of women, then the State can do anything to women. It's farcical and dangerous. This is end-goal stuff for anti-abortion extremists. If the State can strip women's rights away, it can strip yours. Everyone should be freaking out about this.

I'm sorry guys, it's not just Trump. The entire Republican party has gone into full subjugation mode.

Expand full comment

This is embarrassing to admit in 2024, but I seriously thought the Alabama decision was a spoof. I have no words other than that I guess the merger of the pro·life and incel movements is nearing completion.

Expand full comment

My first response was to laugh at the absurdity of the details of the case. A patient just... wandered in, grabbed a cryo-frozen tray of embryos, freeze-burned their hand, and dropped it. The ruling never addresses this. One of the bonkers theocratic judges literally quoted the BIBLE in his assent. It's just all... very insane, breathtakingly stupid, and incredibly terrifying.

Expand full comment

While I sympathize with the strategy of voting for Haley in primaries and voting for Biden in the general, Haley is only slightly better than Trump as she shows on a regular basis like today when se said that Biden is a bigger threat to democracy than Trump. Yep, if she doesn't get the nomination she will kiss the ring.

Expand full comment

No, no, no. A thousand times no. You have objections to Haley's policies. Donald Trump is a threat to the survival of American democracy. There is a HUGE difference between the two candidates.

Expand full comment

My point is that I do not find her trustworthy. Remember she told NPR today that Biden is a bigger threat to democracy than Trump. If she were to be elected we might find out that the difference between Haley and Trump will turn out to be the same as the difference between that famous moderate Stefanik and Trump: 91 criminal charges.

Expand full comment

Exactly! I get that people are afraid and want to do something (I'm afraid and want to do something!), but I feel like all of this energy could just go towards campaigning directly for Biden. Propping up Haley is dangerous when she keeps stabbing Democrats right in our faces, lol. Also, I'll be honest, meddling in the Republican primary this openly feels icky and it's not actually helping Republicans like her. At all.

Expand full comment

But, but, she said this morning she really didn't mean all that! As if anybody believes her on either side of the issue.

If she had any chance of winning, I would not encourage her in any way.

Expand full comment

Omg, I was just reading about her flailing attempts to walk it back. I just want to quote her directly:

“I didn’t say that I agreed with the Alabama ruling. What the question that I was asked is, ‘Do I believe an embryo is a baby?’ I do think that if you look in the definition an embryo is considered an unborn baby,” she said in an interview on CNN’s “King Charles.”

And on why she's not a raging hypocrite:

“I had artificial insemination. That’s how I had my son. So, when you look at, one thing is to save sperm or to save eggs. But when you talk about an embryo, you are talking about, to me, that’s a life. So, I do see where that’s coming from when they talk about that,” she added.

....... I could say a lot about all that, but instead I'll say this. Republican voters are not the only ones who crave authenticity (or perceived authenticity). Most voters do. It's actually really important. Being "good at politics" isn't about being able to duck and weave and just confuse everyone. Politics is about *persuasion*. You take what you believe and you sell it. Convince other people to go along. Nikki Haley's campaign has been a morass of confusion and contradictions, but I understand two things: Women like me would lose our rights under a Trump presidency. Women like me would lose our rights under a Haley presidency.

When it comes right down to it, I'd actually listen to some MAGA chud scream insults in my face than have some kind-faced bitch pat my shoulder and tell me I'm being tortured for my own good. I know this from experience. That's why Nikki is so fucking exhausting for me.

Expand full comment

Thank you for this.

Expand full comment

<3

Expand full comment

Bill Kristol left out perhaps the most important point to remember if one wants to expand a "big tent" opposition to Trump. Haley, who has finally let out her inner Chris Christie, might be able to do some damage to Trump. But she cannot stop him. Only Joe Biden can beat Trump. So everyone who cares about America's and the world's future must be helped to understand the necessity of voting for Joe Biden. And if Biden is resoundingly re-elected and Democrats make major gains in Congressional and other races; saner people may be able to transform the GOP into a functioning party with a will and the ability to govern.

Expand full comment

Fearing Trump is logical but America may dodge the lethal bullet of a second Trump term come November. However, his base of misinformed voters will remain, constantly fed BS by the disinformation industry, and they will simply throw their support to another autocrat wannabe (Tucker, Don, Jr., J.D. Vance?) who will humiliate the libtards, femnazis and woke elites on their behalf. The First Amendment is now a poison pill that is slowly euthanizing the Republic. Lincoln predicted America's failure would come from within. Irony can be terrifying.

Expand full comment

Only 354m to go!

Expand full comment

I am going to point one thing out that Bill did not mention in this piece. In the last 2 presidential elections(2016 and 2020), the Democrat has consistently outspent Donald Trump.

In 2016 it was 2 to one Hillary vs Trump. In the case of Joe Biden, Biden was the first to amass one billion from donors. Trump only managed to raise 774 billion. A lot of the money Trump received was from small dollar donors. Money alone is not enough.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2017/04/14/somebody-just-put-a-price-tag-on-the-2016-election-its-a-doozy/

https://www.opensecrets.org/news/2021/02/2020-cycle-cost-14p4-billion-doubling-16#:~:text=Biden's%20campaign%20became%20the%20first,Trump's%20campaign%20raised%20%24774%20million.

Trump's supporters are to use the term - Devout. I would say that many see him as a religious figure.

I know people like to mock it, but this type of political figure implies different rules. To me this is not a statement of hyperbole, this is just obvious fact. Money alone cannot defeat a religious figure.

I agree that anything that can force this conflict longer and stretch Trumps resources thinner is important. More stress and more forced errors can possibly shake some of Trump's followers out of their spell.

Expand full comment

I just don’t understand this need to get democrats to vote in republican primaries to save republicans from themselves? Even if every democrat in SC voted for Nikki, she would still lose by 15 points.

I guess what I am trying to say is this: it’s a pointless ask. It won’t change the results and democrats can’t save republicans from themselves. Many dems are pissed that we are still doing this 10 years after the orange god king came down the golden escalator. Focus on the real goal: vote Biden in the general and bury Donald.

Expand full comment

As long as Haley is in the race, Trump and the RNC have to spend money. She gets under his skin and brings out the worst in him—like after the NH primary when he looked like a lunatic. The more she amps up the heat, the nuttier Trump looks. Meanwhile, Biden’s just doing his job, being Presidential. Haley is a pesky diversion that keeps Trump from focusing 100% of his money and energy on his real target, Biden. Every day that she’s still in it is a good day for the Biden campaign.

Expand full comment

Sure. I’m not saying she shouldn’t keep running but if the decision is based on losing SC by 30 or 15 we are already screwed.

She should stay in the game as long as she has cash. Dems should continue to vote for Biden and Nikki should maybe find a strategy to win over republicans.

Expand full comment

A reality check for those who think Biden should drop out and campaign money: https://www.politicususa.com/2024/02/22/lawrence-odonnell-biden-replacement.html. Money talks. And it's talking to Joe Biden "bigly".

Expand full comment

I sometimes wonder if The Bulwark audience is actually a coalition of the center-left and center-right, or if we're all just Dems who like seeing conservatives beat up on other conservatives and the MAGA GOP. Personally, I'm a former Republican, but became a Dem during the Clinton administration, which now seems so long ago it might as well have happened during the Peloponnesian Wars.

Expand full comment

I’m an independent. And I know there are others here. I’m here at the Bulwark because I feel very, very comfortable.

Expand full comment

A recurring theme in the comments section has been: "See, we Democrats were always right, and Republicans have always been wrong, evil, racist, greedy, ignorant, etc.," with some scolding of Charlie or Mona or Bill for failing to come around completely to a leftish way of viewing things. I do think that the joy of seeing conservatives beat up on other conservatives is a big part of the draw for some.

Expand full comment

I really loathe comments like you mentioned. As I see it, we are Democrats being hosted by Conservatives. This is their house and graciousness on our part is in order. We have a common cause—beating Trump. Partisan bickering is counterproductive.

Expand full comment

Agreed (although I'm a lifelong independent rather than a Democrat). I appreciate those whose positions I might not have agreed with in the Before Times and might not agree with in the future if we are fortunate enough to have one, so anyone who sees the imperative to do the right thing now is a-okay by me.

Expand full comment

Yeah, I don't like it when one of the Bulwark pundits get chastised for showing any signs of being an actual conservative, but for now we're strange bedfellows with them and we share a common goal. If and when Trump is defeated for good we can all go back to arguing about taxes and how they're spent. Not sure what happens to The Bulwark then. Does it say "mission accomplished" and folds the tent?

Expand full comment

I think of it as the "Overton Window" effect. Trump is so far to...whatever it is... that old school conservatism/republican thought is much more palatable. I discovered the Bulwark through Charlie's podcast by accident the first year he started not realizing that he was/is(?) a republican. Maybe I've changed and not republicans because of trump. I even enjoy reading Jonah Goldberg now!

Expand full comment

"a lot of Trump's appeal is that he is a vehicle for rural and working class people's grievance" -- this is something I really don't understand. The man has a golden toilet. He's supposed to be a billionaire. He's the kind of guy that the rural and working class should be having grievances against. Why is it hard to get into the middle class? Guys like him. I grew up among people who went for Trump by 30+ points in both 2016 and 2020. They are pretty sensible people. Until Trump comes along and then they lose all capability of reason where he's concerned. This isn't or shouldn't be normal. Which is why I say that they're the ones with TDS.

Expand full comment

I have been listening to Tim Alberta lately, he has an interesting answer, at least from the evangelical POV, to explain the contradictions. Not being in the faith, I didn't realize how key the idea of persecution is embedded into the core beliefs. So if you belief that Christians would be prosecuted by the state, the Covid shut downs were used as proof of that. The fact that the government was tied to people dying and their being no cure/vaccine at the time was very much over looked.

Expand full comment

They are if nothing else, low information voters. They will swallow pretty much whatever Trump feeds them particularly if it feeds into their own prejudices. Your definition of sensible is not like mine.

Expand full comment

I definitely blame neoliberalism's poisoning our democracy with 50 years of "Govt is the Problem", and then when it would have been good for Govt to step in for the average citizen, say, the 2008 financial meltdown, it goes and bails out the financial institutions that brought us this mess of unregulated crapola. I think Trump's tapped into that anger, even if it's misdirected i.e. corporations who have captured and neutered our regulatory system. Biden can't reasonably fix that in the time he has as President, but I wish he'd be more vocal about the positive role of government overall.

Expand full comment
deletedFeb 22
Comment deleted
Expand full comment

It's a cult that welcomes them and only them.

Expand full comment