I think this is a situation that is hard for you to understand Charlie… you are a long time Republican and were very prominent in my home state of Wisconsin’s conservative political scene… I know you’ve been called out before for your past and I am certain there are things you would do or say differently now that you aren’t on the radio every day needing to entertain the Republican mob who grew up on Rush and love to see libs, black and brown, gay, and women folk put in their place. Still, there is a real anger and resentment by the non powerful people in this country towards the concerted effort by White Conservatives (mostly) to negate the voting power of minorities mainly… the force of state legislatures and courts have been used to consistently minimize black and brown voting power and Wisconsin is a prime example. NC and Georgia and on and on and on… the common refrain is well Dems should do it too or do, do it in places like NY… why wouldn’t the answer be nobody should do it? We are rightfully concerned about 2024 being the last election and pissed that Trump tried to subvert the will of the voters in 2020 but it wouldn’t even be an issue if Republicans had not gerrymandered up a storm and got a bunch of Congress seats they wouldn’t have had… these issues go hand in hand. For Liz and Adam to vote for Trump in 2020 after all he did the prior 4 years and said up to the election was insane and just typical got to be part of the team thought processing… I’m glad they finally saw a Red line they wouldn’t cross and are radically vocal critics of Trump and their old colleagues now but it smacks a bit of people who only care about an issue when it finally negatively impacts them while a similar issue has been affecting millions for years. I ageee Marc should go after the others more but quite frankly we have the Bulwark for that! You all do plenty to call out Lauren and MTG and Gaetz. Bottom line is, I understand why someone like Marc, who has had to deal with the button up and suited types trying to subvert voters for years, wants people to remember Liz and Adam have contributed to our voting problems in this country.

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Elias has become blinded by his need for continued relevance. According to Carl Jung, people can have a dark "shadow" side that is prone to psychological projection. Elias' own darkly perceived personal inferiority is recognized as a perceived moral deficiency in someone else.

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Just in time there arrived in my inbox today some sorely-needed proof from info@protectthevotePAC.com that not all Democrats are self-destructively crazy:


Senator Lisa Murkowski and Congresswoman Liz Cheney have proven themselves to be critical allies to Democrats during tough legislative fights.

Because of their support they now find themselves in tough re-election fights against well-funded Trump-backed Primary opponents.

The former president holds a serious grudge against the Alaska senator and Wyoming congresswoman for their critical votes to convict him on the impeachment charge of inciting an insurrection on January 6.

He will do anything to see them lose in 2022.

That is why we need to step in. We may not agree on every issue, but Democrats need their commonsense leadership in Washington.

Click here to donate to our Ally Protection Fund. We need to protect these 2 Republican allies. They've proven Democrats can count on them during tough legislative fights. Your leadership contribution will go towards providing these candidates with early television ads, digital ads, billboards, mailers, and boots on the ground. The help we provide over the coming weeks and months will be the difference between saving or losing 2 critical allies on Capitol Hill.


... How could I say no?

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IOW, perfect is the implacable enemy of good.

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Perhaps Mr. Elias will remember the friend/enemy equation and get real; depends on who's bought him.

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If they are voting against anti-voter suppression/election security laws then how are they friends in that fight?

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The point wasn't that they're always friends, but that they're more friends for having voted to support the Jan 6 investigation and oppose the failed insurrectionist than the other members of the Republican clique who've done neither.

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The case of Marc Elias is not strange, though I can understand how it might be viewed as unproductive. The explanation lies in the difference between a moderate and a progressive, or between a pragmatist and an idealist.

The average elected Repub would rather the neediest starve & die than have able-bodied abuse of social programs. The average elected Dem allows that in order to reach the neediest, some of the less needy will abuse the benefit. The moderates will target spending & programs that minimize abuse and address a "good" portion of the hungry. A moderate understands that compromise is required, and helping some people is better than helping no one. A progressive knows that allowing anyone to starve is immoral, and no amount of spin/publicity/etc will change that basic fact.

So Elias is a progressive on voting rights. If we are all equal, then it should not be harder for some people to cast their vote than others. People already have their own hurdles to jump in order to cast their vote - disability, work schedule, childcare, don't have 8 hours to wait in line, etc. It is simply wrong for law & policies to make it harder for some to vote.

And the GOP's views are not simply an alternate view that attempts to weigh election security versus voting access. You yourself have said Dems are here to govern, Repubs are here to obstruct. And because they don't have opposing views on how to accomplish governance, they choose to rely on messaging, emotion, misdirection, gerrymandering and so much more that has nothing to do with solving a problem or accomplishing a goal that means something to citizens.

Democrats are far from perfect, but as a party, they try to accomplish things for the good of citizens. Repubs obstruct and look for ways to reward the richest. No messaging, lying, inciting is too low for them.

And so back to Elias, who does not want us to think there are "good" Repubs. If the party platform and the most viewed messaging represent all Republicans in office, then a good case can be made that there are, in fact, no "good" Republicans. And so instead of watching and wondering how bad the Repubs will get, how much lying they will stand, he is saying that we as a society need to write off the entire Repub party as anti-truth, anti-citizen, anti-worker, anti-little people, anti-letter of the law, anti-plan-for-the-future, etc. We need to "grow up" and move on with getting the real work done without expecting any help from Repubs in office.

I do feel regard for the traditional conservatives that no longer have a home or a way to influence our political world without getting in bed with the McCarthys and McConnells, or worse. I also feel for the "good" Republicans in office held hostage by the insanity river flowing all over this country & around DC. I enjoy reading you & the other Bulwark writers & hope you all stick around. Thank you!

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First, props to Elias for what he has done to date. That said, if this guy's so busy being the tip of the spear defending democracy in our courts, running a website project ostensibly for the same purpose and perhaps a few other worthwhile things, where does he find the time for other much less worthwhile things, like, uhhh...Twitter, for instance?

Everybody needs a hobby, I guess.

Just another example of a high profile somebody-who-gets-it-right on the big thing, only to get it completely wrong on many of the less-big ones. Oh, wait. Isn't that sort of like the people he's excoriating in the course of pursuing his hobby?

You know, there's that old saying about one Aw, Shit! wiping out a hundred Atta' Boys. But sometimes one really big Atta' Boy proffered at a critical moment can go a ways toward making up for a goodly number of slightly less-big Aw,S!'s

Given what we're facing in this country at the moment, we should take the Atta Boys where we can find 'em, and worry about the other some other time.

If being the tip of the spear is Mr. Elias's talent and calling, he should stick to that.

He should also find a new hobby.

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Would love to hear Marc Elias on the Bulwark Podcast....

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That would be a good conversation.

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While I tend to believe that the enemy of my enemy is my friend, there's one major problem with this idea in this time period: you actually have to be willing to do the things that will be helpful. Democrats are, at this point, reflexively against Trumpism, if only for tribal reasons. But the issue with people like Cheney is that they seem to be entirely unaware of their position.

Politically, there are two paths forward. You can be a Trumpist, or you can be a Democrat. This isn't about forcing people to take sides from the top down, this is just a practical matter. R voters want the craziest person in the race. And democratic voters won't support someone who holds every R position just because they have a D next to their name.

But let's zoom out from that for a moment. The issue with Cheney is that she's voting against all the things that, supposedly, she's for. Voting rights bills? She opposes them. The bill for limiting presidential pardon power so it can't be abused? She voted against it. Shutting down the government? She was for it. Defaulting on the debt causing a recession? She was for it.

The point that Elias is making is that you shouldn't lionize someone just because they're against someone you hate. Cheney is just as destructive as MTG when it comes to how she votes, she just isn't making you mad in tweets.

I think what you're missing Charlie, is that you're doing the equivalent of 'but Gorsuch.' You're ignoring the real harm that Cheney and Kissinger are actively doing, because 'but anti trump!' Like being anti most things, anti-trump doesn't mean pro-democracy. And it's unclear that Cheney or Kissinger or any of the others are willing to actually do more than be anti-Trump.

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Fair points all, Charlie. The political point about not burning to the ground any R who stands up against Trump, Trumpism and the wholly anti-democratic Trumpist agenda, even if not for the voting rights bills is fair and important. Your closing nails it: we need these people if we’re going to have any chance of holding Trump and his allies in the attempted coup to any kind of accounting. At the same time, Elias is the best chance we have of restoring equal, fair and unrestricted access to the ballot box.

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His tweets are foolish and counterproductive. But he is the only one that is actively engaged in the fights. What are we doing? Hollering on the sidelines?

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There are no Republicans that oppose voting rights. There are a lot of Republicans and also some Democrat that oppose Democrat interest to change election laws and rules that would open up elections for more fraud... and thus destroy public trust in elections.

80% of OECD countries disallow open mail-in ballots. Like Republicans, these countries understand the need for the public to have faith in the election system and to eliminate the potential for fraud.

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Wrong targets of course. Can't see the forest when you focus on a tree. He's off the rails...

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There isn't much evidence that "voter suppression" as currently practiced actually affects turnout. https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.vox.com/platform/amp/policy-and-politics/2019/2/21/18230009/voter-id-laws-fraud-turnout-study-research. Maybe Elias hasn't Googled the issue.

Personally I have mixed feelings about that question, since I suspect that the enormous rural margins Glenn Youngkin rolled up in Virginia correlated with that state having just made it easier to vote. https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.nytimes.com/2021/04/02/us/politics/virginia-voting-rights-northam.amp.html


Which may be a reminder to be careful what you wish for.

As for Cheney and Kinzinger, they are of course fair game for criticism like any other politicians. If Elias is on a one man crusade to purge them from The Resistance, that's obviously his prerogative. However, it's also worth quoting De Gaulle in this context: "No policy is worth anything outside of reality."

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This seems to be a variation on what rigid Democrats have been known for: to eat our own and set up circular firing squads. If we need a reformed Republican or new Conservative party we could only hope for opponents who put country above political party and build their opinions on true facts even if we disagree with them.

We need to rebuild our squabbling American family where we are united by belief in self-government by of and for the people. Today Democrats and conservatives, former Republicans are under siege by anti-democratic US citizens calling for violence, threatening election workers, and believing lies and baseless propaganda.

I hope a new political party might emerge from truth-tellling conservatives in the Bulwark, Lincoln Project, and truth-telling Republicans like Cheney, Kinzinger and others in the 10 who dared vote for country over corrupt party leader and other conservatives - people who can see through the Putinesque lies and manipulations of Trump and his acolytes. We may argue over how to use taxes and which group is vulnerable and needs protective regulations or none. But Americans' attempts to turn the words of the Declaration and Constitution into realities for all citizens are fine to revert back to racism, voting restriction and rule by guns.

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These people are not any better than most of their compatriots in the GoP. They get a lot fo attention paid to them and a lot of criticism thrown at them because of that reality (despite their largely ineffectual an meaningless actions and words against Trump).

In other words, they seem to want to be recognized and rewarded for being these staunch Democracy advocates, but they refuse to do much beyond words. As Kevin S says below, if Democracy is under existential threat should yo not be doing more? I will throw the same thing in the face of many members of the Democratic party.

I don't waste my time doing so against many of the other members of the GoP, because that would be (on the basis of evidence) useless effort. One of the reasons that Cheney, et al come in for so much heat is that pretty much everyone with a function brain KNOWS there is not going to be a Saul on the road to Damascus moment with the vast majority of GoP politicians. You MIGHT get onw with Cheney and the other few--but that is also doubtful.

The reality is that people berating this people SHOULD STFU... because it isn't going to do any good in the end (probably the reverse) and if you need to work off your angst, maybe there are better and more product ways than Tweets?

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