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David Weigel: MAGA v MAGA

January 24, 2023
Notes
Transcript

Republicans may have underperformed in the midterms, but the RNC chair fight is not about changing the party’s direction. For the base, it’s about out-suing the “cheating” Democrats. Plus, the free-for-all in Chicago’s mayoral race, and the Oscar noms. Dave Weigel joins Charlie Sykes.

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This transcript was generated automatically and may contain errors and omissions. Ironically, the transcription service has particular problems with the word “bulwark,” so you may see it mangled as “Bullard,” “Boulart,” or even “bull word.” Enjoy!
  • Speaker 1
    0:00:09

    Welcome to the Bulwark podcast. I’m Trevy Seg. It is January twenty fourth two thousand twenty three, and we are joined once again by one of American political journalism’s most intrepid road warriors, Dave Weigel, who is now a political reporter at Sema four previously with the Washington Post and with Slate. So first of all, greetings, Dave. How are you?
  • Speaker 2
    0:00:33

    It’s good to be here. Doing great. Thank you for having me.
  • Speaker 1
    0:00:35

    You’re in sunny Los Angeles. I know you’ve been hopscotching the country. So before we get into the Nitty gritty of politics, and I wanna talk about the RNC race, whether or not we should actually care about this. I’m also very interested in what you saw in Chicago where they have a very, very messy, complicated mayor’s race. But since you’re in Los Angeles, talk a little bit of Academy Awards?
  • Speaker 2
    0:00:59

    I’m happy to. Yeah. I I guess this is a controversial position to have really liked that everything, if we’re all at once film. And I get the people think it went on too long, so I think it did go on too long. But I I was happy to see all the recognition that got at this stage.
  • Speaker 2
    0:01:13

    The most dramatic abuse showdowns is Kate Blanchett and Michelle Yo. Right? That’s the — Mhmm. — that’s the one I think that has the most emotion involved in it. I think I’m I’m on the Michelle You team mostly for the, maybe, like, soccer dad mindset of well, the cable intro’s already had a couple of Oscars, get somebody else’s chance.
  • Speaker 1
    0:01:30

    I always go through this process every year. I think a lot of people though, you you look at the list of best pictures and you go, okay, I I haven’t seen that one. I haven’t seen that one. I haven’t seen that one. So let’s just walk through this.
  • Speaker 1
    0:01:40

    So, triangle of sadness, I have not seen you. I have seen that. That was the pound door opener. I didn’t really like
  • Speaker 2
    0:01:46

    it. I I I see the appeal. Let’s say, saintier about capitalism set first on a cruise ship. And then, I guess, I’d spoil the rest of it if I tell the plot. I thought it was fine.
  • Speaker 2
    0:01:55

    I saw it on a plane, so maybe that shouldn’t count. Nothing that achieves its full greatness on a plane. I take your point
  • Speaker 1
    0:02:01

    there. However, I actually have seen movies on a plane that that were pretty good. And I’ve and I’ve watched them afterwards again. So Okay. So I have perhaps unpopular opinion here.
  • Speaker 1
    0:02:11

    I mean, I I love good movies like everybody else, but we live in an era where think it’s very, very hard for movies to compete with the very best of the television series, which are so much longer form. And I’m I’m always struck by the depth and the nuance that you can get on some of these series, which are just absolutely out standing. And I’m talking about everything from the wire to to Game of Thrones, etcetera. Okay. So that’s just my my little casseroles here.
  • Speaker 1
    0:02:39

    So women talking,
  • Speaker 2
    0:02:40

    have you seen that one? I have not. I have not seen that. I’m not allergic to it, and I just I just haven’t cut that yet. The thing I like about LA is you do get a chance.
  • Speaker 2
    0:02:47

    If you want to see anything, you can see anything. And even more so in New York. Something can it helps just playing in two theaters around the country. It’s one of them’s gonna be not far from me. I haven’t done it yet because I also have a fiancee.
  • Speaker 2
    0:02:57

    We I sort of put up to a vote. We swooshed you vote for him. It hasn’t been her priority.
  • Speaker 1
    0:03:02

    Well, the the one movie that I wanted to see, but I really because I I read Sonny Bunch all the time, I I know I app solely must must must see it in a theater, not on a big screen. I I need to see it in the biggest theater possible with three glasses. Avatar, the way of water, was also nominated. Have you seen that? Does that live up to a type?
  • Speaker 2
    0:03:21

    I did see that one. I get it. I mean, the the movies are just such a scale and and quality and and what they were trying to do that I get what was not made. And if even if I’m not, you know, part of it, there’s a very strange online fan base for Avatar that is pruning for it out of well, respect for James Cameron and intent for other blockbusters, like the Marvel cinematic universe, and they’ve been rooting for every every time it crosses another box of threshold. And I thought, Alright.
  • Speaker 2
    0:03:48

    Well, that’s fine. I mean, my opinions are not all boring. My opinions are not that movie is pretty good. But but that one, I’m just I thought that was like a really good actually be with with, like, some wonderful imagery that I don’t think about from day to day. And some people live inside Pandora now who have much more passionate feelings.
  • Speaker 2
    0:04:04

    Than me. You do watch a three d? I did watch it in three d. And I heard the first Avatar. The three d glasses, the scene where Jake Solly is floating in space before he’s brought down to Pandora.
  • Speaker 2
    0:04:14

    Seeing that in the theater. Oh, this is this technology is gonna change everything. I didn’t think the three b was just mind blowing here. But, you know, I’m not gonna second guest James Cameron.
  • Speaker 1
    0:04:23

    Now, I definitely have on my watch list. I don’t know why I have not yet seen it all quiet on the western front, which looks outstanding and has been nominated for best picture. So I’m I’m definitely going to be watching that soonest. You’ve seen that one? I
  • Speaker 2
    0:04:36

    have not. I I know it’s on Netflix, right, seeing to see you guys play it in. I have the thought like, oh, well, there already are movies based on that, then I realized, well, they’re American based. I guess it’s only fair that the Germans get to make a movie out of the great German war novel, so I’m sure it’s good. I haven’t seen it.
  • Speaker 1
    0:04:50

    Thought it would probably be good. I didn’t realize it was gonna be this good. Okay. So I have not seen Elvis, which is also on streaming. I will see that I have not seen TAR.
  • Speaker 1
    0:04:59

    I have seen everything, everywhere all at once. I have seen the fablements, which I enjoyed. I have not seen the banshees of Inisheran although I have acquaintances, colleagues, and friends who have said that they really like it. Although I I’m guessing that that is one of those movies that people line up on on different sides depending on on your particular taste. So I I want to see that.
  • Speaker 1
    0:05:21

    Have you
  • Speaker 2
    0:05:21

    seen the banshees of Yeah. I did. I saw that before lots of the plot was known. Not like the first week. It was just it was kind of a slow building.
  • Speaker 2
    0:05:29

    This is, like, reliable director. I didn’t like his last movie that three billboards outside of Missouri. I didn’t like that at all. Really? Yeah.
  • Speaker 2
    0:05:35

    I it just missed me. I just thought it was it was hand handed and ever everyone. And he does this. He took he is Mark McDonough, who has a very dramatic theater mindset where characters make rash decisions that you’re you’re shocked by that are much more dramatic than, like, what we’re used to with a lot of serial stuff where the characters are gonna have to deal with each other for a long time. It’s it’s this interesting who didn’t call it a morality.
  • Speaker 2
    0:06:00

    It’s just this meditation on friendship and one of two friends contemplating the end of his life. Without having achieved everything you want to achieve. It’s a really rich text. I really I really did like it. I found people kinda went into it.
  • Speaker 2
    0:06:12

    The people who went into it thinking it would be a wacky Irish island comedy, of which that’s a genre. Right? I mean, there’s a whole genre of films where there’s a small Irish town, small Irish island, and people learn things. It’s a lot more like Ryan’s daughter where the setting of a Irish town early in the twentieth century is used to tell a very dark human story. And I liked it.
  • Speaker 2
    0:06:33

    Everything we mentioned except for triangle sinus if it won the war, I’d I’d say that’s fine. So
  • Speaker 1
    0:06:37

    I’m I’m gonna tell on myself a little bit, and I may be knocked off of Sunny’s Christmas card list for this, but I really enjoyed Top Gun Maverick. Wow. As did a lot of people, which means there’s no way that that’s going to end
  • Speaker 2
    0:06:48

    up based
  • Speaker 1
    0:06:48

    on you know, the the track record of the Academy Awards, which seems to have an active bias against the the most popular films It’s one of those movies. We kinda let it wash over you and go. This is what it is. It is pure entertainment. It is pure escapism.
  • Speaker 1
    0:07:03

    And I have to admit, I thoroughly thoroughly enjoyed it, although I do not wanna be put in a position of defending Tom Cruise. I’m not I’m not doing that. Right. That’s what movies still do. And I understand that a lot of people go in Charlie, you’re wrong.
  • Speaker 1
    0:07:18

    You know, we you need to have these very deep and dark indie movies that twenty people have watched. Those are the best pictures, not these big freaking blockbusters about, you know, men in their giant airplanes. Well, okay. This is me. I I like Top Gun Maverick, so Sumi.
  • Speaker 1
    0:07:35

    Well, I
  • Speaker 2
    0:07:35

    think this the subtle interpretation of it is that most of the film is a end of life dream by Tom Cruise who dies in the Fertech. There’s a couple of these movies. I think Tara’s got some of this too where people have have attacked it as saying, like, everyone’s reading this wrong. There’s a very subtle magical realism or dream sequence logic in this part movie knowing about it. I’m seeing movie that way, I saw it as a straightforward actually.
  • Speaker 2
    0:07:58

    I thought it was as good as that Regency. It’s also I was mentioning people online to get too meta textural about this, but that that’s benefited from people’s frustration at CGI Goop recipes. There is some CGI Goop to make the top gun look better, but there are real people in planes acting and and you really just feel the difference when people are acting in that and shouting at their lines in that environment. You just compare any clip of the pilots talking to each other in Tuck on Maverick to some movies where it’s it’s people on a set. I have a green screen talking to each other.
  • Speaker 2
    0:08:30

    It’s just not they you can’t nail it. No offense to all actors who try this, but it’s It’s a combination, but just a solid movie and it and it shot such care and attention to, like, realism as far as you can get in in this story like that,
  • Speaker 1
    0:08:43

    that I
  • Speaker 2
    0:08:43

    really loved it. I mean, I I again not offended if that if that way. This is a pretty good year for movies that would not irritate me if they’d walk away with it. Yeah.
  • Speaker 1
    0:08:51

    That’s that’s kind of the way I feel about it as well. Okay. So shall we get down to business now? Sure. This was much more fun than what we’re gonna talk about.
  • Speaker 1
    0:08:59

    I think we have to talk about the battle for control of the Republican National Committee, which you you have done a a deep dive on you and your colleague, Shelby, Talcott. Okay. I guess the the meta question here is, why should anyone give a shit who the chairman of the Republican national committee is? I mean, does it actually matter, Dave? I have
  • Speaker 2
    0:09:18

    confirmed that question too. So two there’s two. I think there one is material really in trouble too. Should we care about this? And McDaniel tried early on.
  • Speaker 2
    0:09:26

    I think she had a boost actually from Lee’s Eldon. When she, early on, put out a letter from a hundred members of the RNC, backing her for reelection. There’s only a hundred and sixty eight members to do the math that she had it locked up. Zelden is exploring a bit currency chair at the end of last year and says, well, there’s no point she hasn’t locked up. And so it’s possible at the end of this that there’s lots of words like this.
  • Speaker 2
    0:09:47

    I always looked at at Ohio Senate campaign last year and thought, I’m going to assume JD Vance wins, but some stuff might happen that’s interesting. I think that that held up. It was it was safe to assume that he would win that win that Senate seat, but did did everyone who went there to write a story waste their time? It’s a very existential question in media. Like, what’s the point of writing about this campaign that looks like it’s gonna win that wins?
  • Speaker 2
    0:10:08

    I think what’s been interesting is that, Harvey Dillon, who is challenging, Ronald McDaniel, who she’s been a chair of the party in San Francisco. She’s been a RNC member from California. She is not somebody like reinscribas twelve years ago who comes in saying, look at the scoreboard. I know how to run a party. She’s got that.
  • Speaker 2
    0:10:25

    She is a a Republican activist her firm actually works for a lot of Republicans challenging election law court or law fair as she refers to it. I not just her. But she is not a sort of previous super effective. Here’s my model running the party figure. She is more of a protest figure and she was embraced immediately by turning point USA and other extra R and C organizations that believe they know where the party should be going.
  • Speaker 2
    0:10:53

    That’s what’s been interesting to me is just how this race has not played out in public forums as the previous race did. It has Sometimes I’ve been clear exactly which policies Dylan would change compared to McDaniel. But the taste makers on this and the forums have been. They both go on Steve Bannon’s podcast. Dylan went to the TP USA Conference.
  • Speaker 2
    0:11:14

    Dylan goes on fairly far right shows. So does McDaniel, you’re seeing the power of the mega media universe in shaping this. Because it
  • Speaker 1
    0:11:24

    is Magna versus Magna. I mean, we’re talking about It is. Ronald McDaniel, Ronna, Ronald, Romney McDaniel. Has been a Trump loyalist. She miss so far as to drop her mommy name.
  • Speaker 1
    0:11:35

    She’s done just about everything for Donald Trump. She paid his legal bills, etcetera, etcetera. All of those things But Hamid Dillon is running as the Super Maga non loser candidate. Right? And she has tapped into what I’ve described as the id of the right, you know, the TP USA folks.
  • Speaker 1
    0:11:53

    And Ronald McDaniel is trying very hard not to be outflanked by this grassroots aid, and that’s why they both go on Steve Bannon’s show. So it’s really a choice to go with, you know, pure maga or super maga. Now Trump seemed to kind of throw Lana under the bus last week. Where is that a misreading of it? When he said that he’s not really making an endorsement, which had to be kind of disappointing for Rana who is I mean, you know, talk about I mean, kissing every conceivable ring, etcetera, there, but wasn’t enough to get her the the Trump blessing.
  • Speaker 1
    0:12:28

    That’s right.
  • Speaker 2
    0:12:29

    He stayed out of this process. So he’s just kinda let this unfold these that. Really, I’m glad you made the distinction because she is the meg Trump candidate. She is the chair. She is running in because the she’s so close to Trump.
  • Speaker 2
    0:12:42

    But you have a a conservative face that was never a huge family. It’s hard to get them excited about the R and C. But are are convinced that you need an outsider in that job. They see her as one and the fact that Trump is not saying anything, that’s how they interpret it as Trump saying pleasing about for somebody else. That’s one of the effective things.
  • Speaker 2
    0:13:01

    It looks effective from from people I talk to at least that the Dylan support has done is encourage a lot of rank and file, conservative activists to email, R and C members, and some of them told me, it’s irritating. They’re tired of getting it. They’re tired of not just reporters talking, but the target of getting hundreds of emails that they think are sound like form emails, especially I was Jeff Kaufman. There was one thing he told Shelby, was the can recognize them all. They sound like spam, but they’ve also gotten these state parties when they have free meetings before they go to the winter meeting to have a vote on whether Ronald deserves another term, and they’ve been voting no with no pressure from Trump.
  • Speaker 2
    0:13:35

    I mean, I think Trump could, if not stop all that, at least ameliorate it by I mean, he could he could end this. At the endoyster, and he’s not. Trump is allowing there to be a fight inside the party between people who are as they go on, these conservative media we’re talking about, just talking about their loyalty to the Magna agenda and how they’re gonna create a campaign that can win in twenty twenty four with Trump style politics. Although, they’re not saying it’s gonna be Trump. They like, neither of them is have they’re both interested in having a a biology primary assuming that Ron DeSantis is running.
  • Speaker 2
    0:14:05

    And I think that explains why Trump is staying out of this. Like, he could run a win. If you said, I’m not gonna let their kid primary, and I’m just gonna support Donald Trump. I’m like, I’m not sure. But she said she’s not saying that, and then Trump’s responses are, I’ll stay away.
  • Speaker 2
    0:14:17

    I
  • Speaker 1
    0:14:17

    mean, that’s an interesting question because, of course, she went out of her way to block any sort of a primary back in twenty twenty. I mean, she shut down any sort of of opposition to Donald Trump. So — Yeah. — her role really in twenty twenty was to be a protector of of Trump to be a shield. By the way, we have been remiss in not pointing out that this is a race between Ronald McDaniel, Harmit, Dillon, and Oh, Mike.
  • Speaker 1
    0:14:41

    Hello. Yes. Mike Linnell. Okay. So Mike Linnell is seeking the job.
  • Speaker 1
    0:14:46

    What’s his role in all of this other than
  • Speaker 2
    0:14:48

    Just to add just to add a little dollop of crazy. He has no stated support. Now the only support that we know he has is that there’s gonna be a forum this week this is mostly closed press, by the way. I mean, I’m I’ll be I’ll be at the site in Orange County where their r and c meeting is happening, but a lot of the stuff is gonna they’re gonna shut the doors to the press. They’re gonna find out what’s happening through just reporting, which is by which is by job.
  • Speaker 2
    0:15:08

    So fine. But yeah. Lindell had enough I was vouch for from at least one member so he can participate in a forum that they’re going to have that the media has not left to watch. He has not had any members campaigning for him or saying outright that they support him. He’s played this function of I’d say, extenduating Dylan’s criticism by going on a lot of the same shows and making the same critique.
  • Speaker 2
    0:15:32

    But, of course, saying that if he was chair that party’d be devoted to overturning election laws and overturning the twenty twenty election, get to the bottom of twenty twenty. And he is more interested unsurprisingly in re litigating twenty twenty forever. Than Dylan is. Where Dylan is, we’re saying, alright, we’ve we’ve lost them. We have a party that’s that’s terrible at figuring out the trick’s democrats are gonna use against us.
  • Speaker 2
    0:15:51

    Put me in there because I know how to sue I know how to pursue law fair. I know what to sue over. I know how to beat the Democrats on the rules even before we get going. And then on top of that, I’m going to one of her ideas is moving it from DC to somewhere in the middle of America. So a lot of it is just though I’m the person who did not lead our party when we lost.
  • Speaker 2
    0:16:10

    Amid. That and whereas the Lindell argument is much more hardcore. Well, I’m that person also, you know you know what I think about the election. I think it was stolen. Some of Dylan’s biggest supporters though are RNC members who are on that page, especially Tyler Fowler in Arizona who is a turning point USA guy and RNC member retweet and Carrie Lake stuff, and he’s syndication this fight here.
  • Speaker 2
    0:16:31

    The hardcore Mike Lyondell mindset is represented in this race, he didn’t learn how about it from Mike
  • Speaker 1
    0:16:37

    Lyondell. Well, I mean, as you point out, I mean, this is a party that’s underperformed in the last three election cycles. And, obviously, anytime this happens, you have people who want to assign blame. You need to have a scapegoat. And of course, it is not tenable for them to blame the Orange God King in exile down at Mar a Lago.
  • Speaker 1
    0:16:55

    So know, they’ve they’ve they’ve focused on on Ronald McDaniel. And I really do get the sense that there is this we have to change something we cannot keep doing what we are doing. And yet, that’s what the Daniel’s reelection will symbolize. Right, is that they’ve really fundamentally learned nothing from the midterm, and they’re going to keep doing what they have done since two thousand sixteen. Yeah.
  • Speaker 1
    0:17:19

    And there’s also going to
  • Speaker 2
    0:17:19

    be, at some point, a this is one concession McDaniel made that you did on make up twenty twenty, which is this got some members who won or lost their elections, Republicans, from Blake Masters, who lost to Katy Britt, Alabama who won. And they’re producing some document about what the party needs to improve. So she’s doing that too. She didn’t do that for twenty twenty. She didn’t I mean, the position do you remember this position that Daniel was in twenty twenty was Sereal or she was going to Georgia to try to get people to turn out for the runoff and getting heckled by people who were angry.
  • Speaker 2
    0:17:48

    The DNC wasn’t fighting to overthrow the election. I watched the discourse in this race, and I think, like, why does she want a fourth she wants eight years of this. She wants eight years of this job. Like, there must be some nice nice aspects of this because every every cycle that they don’t win, you estimate more concessions to people who say, we don’t wanna change anything about how we’re running. We’re not wanna you know, because this was a thing that steeled it with, I think, not much success, but PREBESS is more focused on on the nuts and bolts of of what the party need to do and how how you need to out compete the democrats.
  • Speaker 2
    0:18:18

    Yeah, the discourse this time is much more we need to just figure out why Democrats are are cheating and sue Bettery and not change anything You need to be the mega party, the working class mega party, run on that agenda, but also make us win. And that is a tough order. For a party chairman, like, look at the state’s Republicans underperform, where they tried that, and where they had all the R and C resources. It didn’t work. But they’re not really allowed to have that discussion.
  • Speaker 2
    0:18:41

    They’re not allowed to say, Alright. Well, maybe let’s abandon some of these ideas that that no one likes. Let’s maybe talk slightly less about critical race theory or something. Not not really. It’s who is going to be a more efficient manager of the MAGA Trump strategy, which often is just come what’s coming off Donald Trump’s doing?
  • Speaker 2
    0:18:59

    Let’s run all that.
  • Speaker 1
    0:19:00

    You and Shelby sat down with Hamid Dillon. Mhmm. She she talked about how she did had this, you know, burst of support after she went on Tucker Carlson, which of course is, you know, the beating heart of the conservative bid. She launched her
  • Speaker 2
    0:19:09

    campaign on Tucker Carlson, which is a key part of Yeah. And I
  • Speaker 1
    0:19:12

    I think her critique is exactly what you described it. You know, if things aren’t going well, she said, we are not winning elections. It is insufficient to say you’re knocking on more doors or you’re turning out more voters if those voters are not voting Republican or you’re knocking on doors and not connecting with or persuading voters. That’s just numbers on a piece of paper. And interesting, she told you that she did not think the five oat majority in the house countered as a win.
  • Speaker 1
    0:19:35

    Now that’s interesting because, I mean, You do have some Republican saying, look, we did win the House of Representatives. We won the popular vote. We do control the gavel. We do control the subpoenas. But she’s leaning hard on the, no, we were promised to red wave and what we got was this.
  • Speaker 1
    0:19:51

    We shouldn’t be satisfied. Yes.
  • Speaker 2
    0:19:53

    That’s her argument. And it’s not unconvincing that being, like, for a lot of Republicans, like that, every week Republicans have another kind of round of irritation. Okay? We have a house majority. We’re all we’re talking about George Santos.
  • Speaker 2
    0:20:04

    We have a house majority, but we had to concede and put Marjorie Grant on oversight, and Tom Massey on rules. Like, the the idea that the party underperformed is potent. Actually, one thing Ron is doing today. She’s in California already, and she’s going to one of the Asian American communities in Orange County. I think that probably after after this week and the shooting says it’s taking on different salient.
  • Speaker 2
    0:20:25

    But saying, like, look, this is one of the things we did very well. The party has actually been performing really well in finding new voters, Hispanic voters, Asian voters. Like, she’s just trying to emphasize they did make some of these these interroads. But Dylan’s point is, yes, you promised us the move. I mean, you and and she you can’t run against Kevin McCarthy.
  • Speaker 2
    0:20:43

    You can’t run against Rick Scott. They were promising the same thing. They were promising a Red tsunami that was going to wipe Democrats out completely. Then you’re right, Dylan does not go through every single thing the party could have done better. She was using that example to emphasize that’s not enough that you managed to win the house despite everything going your direction.
  • Speaker 2
    0:21:02

    But the came in West States where they really wanted to have governors and secretary of state in place ahead of the twenty twenty four election. That was a wipeout. And the only person you can get get accountability from and blame for that loss is McDaniel. I think that is to a lot of people more important. That’s okay.
  • Speaker 2
    0:21:19

    Well, the house majority whether it was winning it all is gonna be good for us. It’s gonna let us wage investigations. But we needed to tee things up to to win the presidency again, and she didn’t do that. She gave us a house majority that is very easy to flip back on paper in twenty
  • Speaker 1
    0:21:33

    twenty four. So what was the point? Okay. So this is very interesting because let’s flash back to two thousand twelve, after Republicans lost the presidential race that year, Ryan’s previous was head of the R and Z, and they engaged in this infamous famous autopsy, you know, thinking about what the Republican party needed to do. And, of course, they came up with a series of recommendations and they did exactly the opposite over time.
  • Speaker 1
    0:21:58

    But this is interesting that after the midterms in twenty eighteen, after the loss of the presidency in twenty twenty, after the midterms in twenty twenty two, there is no discussion of, you know, fundamentally, you know, looking in the mirror and saying, hey, you know, maybe we had to rethink our position on abortion, maybe we had to rethink our position on climate change. Maybe we ought to find a way to appeal to younger voters, particularly younger women. Maybe we ought to rethink our position on they are not talking about fundamentally rethinking their position on any of these things from diversity or why they are losing this demographic. None of that seems to be happening this time. Is it David?
  • Speaker 1
    0:22:39

    It’s just simply how do we use the RNC to be a more of effective bullhorn for whatever the Maga agenda of the week happens to be. I mean, that that’s really the bottom line here is that there is no real introspection or change of direction that’s at stake in this election. That’s pretty
  • Speaker 2
    0:22:57

    fair, and I would compare this to Democrats after twenty sixteen. They lost, but the energy in the party was with the Sanders wing and their argument was there were things we could have done that would have excited more people, more left wing ideas that were popular. And we didn’t tap into them. We ran as establishment candidate. So this is not the first time that after a loss, the the idea is let’s let’s actually move more towards the base and get them more excited.
  • Speaker 2
    0:23:24

    Yeah, factually, it’s it’s harder for them to prove that that is the problem in twenty twenty than it was for Democrats. There were, you know, millions of people who voted green party or libertarian or stayed home because they’re they just like Hillary Clinton in particular, and Hillary Clinton was gone. Man, this is as if the Hillary people stuck around, in twenty seventeen and say, alright. Well, our bad. But, you know, exactly trust us.
  • Speaker 2
    0:23:45

    Just keep running exactly exactly the campaign that we ran towards its team. Keep doing that. Keep identifying with that. Keep circling the party around a figure who is not very popular. And that they have not had much of a discussion.
  • Speaker 2
    0:23:56

    Now, everything that’s happening is the first race since the end of Rovi Wade. And that is a topic that clearly caused problems for Republicans even. Donald Trump says, cause problems for Republicans because there’s not in different places. It plays very differently. It’s very easy for Democrats to accused her home because they’re trying to ban abortion everywhere.
  • Speaker 2
    0:24:13

    And that’s not really part of the discussion either. It is it is really just okay. We’ll figure that stuff out later, but we need somebody who is closer to the grassroots and closer to the conservative activists who are out at the doors and getting them excited. So it’s the same sort of idea that we basically are not going to change what we’re running on. We’re not gonna debate things that lost us votes.
  • Speaker 2
    0:24:35

    We can’t really debate them at the side of the R and C. We’re just going to have a more efficient leadership trying to outsmart the democrats. And you’re really I mean, I’m not to be repetitive on it, but, like, the idea that just the elections are not lost, that they are stolen by democrats. And all you need to do is I’ll sue them. Democrats did not have that twenty seventeen.
  • Speaker 2
    0:24:52

    There were some voices, you know, talking about Russia conspiracies, but they did not say, okay, we just need to get better at, like, suing in advance to keep polls open on election day. This idea here that this Republican Party under McDaniel has now given away two elections by being incompetent letting Democrats steal it. That is a different element in the mix. Implicit in that is don’t change anything. The party is on the right track.
  • Speaker 2
    0:25:13

    It’s just getting
  • Speaker 1
    0:25:14

    robbed. Yeah. We drilled the first half of this podcast to nives out among the Republicans. Let’s talk about nives out among Democrats. And you’re seeing this in a variety of places, including like San Francisco.
  • Speaker 1
    0:25:26

    But now we have an election in Chicago, where we have an incumbent Democrat, Lori Lightfoot, who is Well, based on your reporting, Dave, sounds like she’s in a lot of trouble. Okay? This is very, very complicated. And I and I wish I could hand everybody kind of, you know, a scorecard everybody in this scenario is is really is is effectively a Democrat. How many major candidates are there right now in Chicago?
  • Speaker 1
    0:25:51

    And what is it about? Why is Lori Lightfoot in so much trouble for real action?
  • Speaker 2
    0:25:57

    Yeah. I’ll I’ll try to run it down because it’s a runoff system. But it’s not that complicated. There are nine candidates who made the ballot, four of whom are raising enough money to be serious. A fifth, Willie Wilson, who’s kinda self made multimillionaire who runs a medical supply company and has run from air three times.
  • Speaker 2
    0:26:13

    He’s actually self funded more than anyone who’s donated these candidates. So there’s five people that are kinda fighting for one of these top two run off slots. Very different depending on who gets to the slot. So Lightfoot is in terrible trouble she has absorbed blame for everything that’s gone wrong in the city, and she is and and this is a you you wanna be careful when you’re talking about, like, a female mayor. They’re female politicians of both parties are used to being accused of being uncompromising.
  • Speaker 2
    0:26:37

    Sure. They’re
  • Speaker 1
    0:26:38

    not being
  • Speaker 2
    0:26:38

    right. But it comes up with everyone. I mean, you talk to Labor unions, you talk to the police, you talk to her opponents. She is a very combative by nature person who had never been an executive before she became married, she ran. In twenty nineteen as a pure outsider or former prosecutor who was gonna clean up corruption and did not have relationships with the elder man.
  • Speaker 2
    0:26:58

    I mean, did news people in the business community was not all north and did not have good relationships with the teachers union who just striked multiple times since she’s become mayor. And she presided over both COVID and this increase in crime that was partly a result of COVID. So everything there’s actually not many mayors presided over COVID and then had to run for reelection. You know, Delta Blasio was turned out. Eric Garcia said he was turned out.
  • Speaker 2
    0:27:18

    She is
  • Speaker 1
    0:27:18

    running on
  • Speaker 2
    0:27:19

    the entirety of what happened over the last four years. And saying, well, alright. It was awful. I fought for the city. I did what I could.
  • Speaker 2
    0:27:27

    You know where I stand and things are improving is is kind of the argument. And you mentioned San Francisco, yes, one of those things were things on papers and things are improving, but people don’t feel like they are. So, I
  • Speaker 1
    0:27:36

    mean, the the wrap on her is that she doesn’t work play well with others. What is really driving it? You mentioned COVID, the crime seems to be top of mind. It seems like that that is what most of the ads are directed to a lot of the debate is, is she perceived to be soft on crime? Is she a progressive on crime?
  • Speaker 1
    0:27:54

    Is she being challenged from the left or from the right on this crime issue? That’s a
  • Speaker 2
    0:27:58

    great question because she’s doing whatever incumbent in this position is trying to do. It’s just it’s it’s a Goldilot strategy that has not been working so far, which is that she’s got two opponents. And I mentioned there’s nine people, there’s fewer Sears. So Will Williston exists, but her most credible opponents have been Paul Valas, who is a former school’s commissioner twenty five years ago, has moved around the country, been a school’s commissioner in different cities. Ran for governor and he’s got he’s got this funny trait which we are gonna talk a little about where he he’s run for two elections and both times people had buyer remorse about who won.
  • Speaker 2
    0:28:29

    So he ran for governor against Rob Delgoevich as a Democrat, and people don’t really miss Rob Delgoevich. He ran for Mary in twenty nineteen and and just never got traction and light foot one. So he’s kind of a buyer’s remorse candidate, but he’s also he’s a, you know, white Greek American who is pledging to and not just hire back police, but, you know, the city lost by fifteen hundred police over the last four years, build back to that level, put work up on the CTA on the loop.
  • Speaker 1
    0:28:55

    Okay. He
  • Speaker 2
    0:28:55

    is running as the I am the pro police candidate who’s going to crack down on crime finally. And then you have two progressives. You have two Egarcia, He’s a longtime Latino politician, started his career during Harold Washington’s Marlty. Now I’m getting a little bit in the weeds. But basically, He’s running as the guy says, I am from the sort of rainbow coalition that when it takes power in the city and it hasn’t been allowed to.
  • Speaker 2
    0:29:16

    It’s a terrible Washington leads with equity, you know, like, redistribute resources, refrief jobs. He’s running more as the eye can be the conciliatory mayor who will pursue progressive policies but not make everybody furious. And then you have Brandon Johnson who is a former teacher, a lobbyist for the teacher’s union, and they endorsed him. And he’s more of the new generation Bernie Wayne candidate. Now chewie was the Bernie candidate last time, and the knock on him from the Johnson people is He’s made too many compromises.
  • Speaker 2
    0:29:44

    He’s he’s too tied into the party establishment after a chance not to be. Brandon’s movement is the fresh aggressive movement that’s gonna rethink policing. And and that’s the more defund is the word that that every opponent has used what I talked and asked about Johnson. But, yeah, that idea that we just need more resources in the city. And so you have these light foot has tried to punch from the right against Johnson at Garcia saying that they’re just not credible.
  • Speaker 2
    0:30:08

    The the city would get less safe businesses would leave if they win. And she’s punch left against Dallas saying, he’s ever public in disguise. He’s so interested. Among other things that the fact that Dallas did not say anything after Roe versus Wade was overturned, and he was, like, not a candidate. He didn’t have role, but she’ll say, Where was he?
  • Speaker 2
    0:30:25

    During those eight months, we were fighting on rogue. Because she, like, a lot of Democratic mayors, has made Chicago, like, a a sanctuary for people who live in a red state were forced band. In Illinois’ case, this is Indiana, basically. And, you know, there’s funds that people can use and come to the city and get abortions. She’s trying to hit that and say, look, you might be unhappy with me, but this guy is a crypto republican.
  • Speaker 2
    0:30:46

    He’s backed by the FOP. I mean, when I was with the the mayor this week, she she referred to the John Contincera, the the president of the Fraternal Order Police as a monster. He reads this homophobic monster. That is her strategy is I am you might not be happy with what happened in the last four years, but I am the person you know, the devil you know who is not as extreme as the cop candidate or the, you know, to fund the police candidate. That is kind of her strategy.
  • Speaker 2
    0:31:13

    And according to the polling loop release her campaign, you know, that’s got her twenty five percent as an incumbent. Okay. This is how messy this race is. Yeah. Because
  • Speaker 1
    0:31:20

    you just
  • Speaker 2
    0:31:21

    you had
  • Speaker 1
    0:31:21

    mentioned this this new poll that was released, and this was by her campaign. This is her own campaign released a poll showing that she is at twenty five percent of the vote. The former school’s guy Valice is at twenty two percent, Chuy Garcia is at eighteen percent, Wilson is at eleven percent, Johnson is at nine percent. I mean, this is this is a free for all at this point. So the way that it works — Yes.
  • Speaker 1
    0:31:46

    — the top two will go on to a a runoff. So, I mean, clearly, All she needs to do is finish in the top two to have a shot. But it is interesting that the the the Dallas who is, you know, the guy talking about crime you know, a an older white male, is the guy closest or only, you know, three points back that’s within the margin of error. Isn’t and this is her own
  • Speaker 2
    0:32:10

    poll? Yeah. And he’s really been kind of resurrected from the political dead. Like, he ran for Mary in two thousand nineteen and came in ninth place. He may and I talked about about this.
  • Speaker 2
    0:32:17

    He just said, yeah. There was no money because in twenty nineteen, the issue was Ron and Manuel have been here him here for eight years. Everyone left hated him. Mike Madigan was was start to go down. Like, all of the corruption in Springfield, which is the Democratic majority in Springfield and the state government is driven by Chicago area politicians.
  • Speaker 2
    0:32:35

    There was corruption of the word. So she ran as the anti corruption candidate, and he is the let’s get back to basics candidate just didn’t get any traction. That has changed this time. As the Old Han who knows how to fix the schools and fix crime. It’ll, you know, battle the teachers union.
  • Speaker 2
    0:32:49

    That is a much better position for him to be in this time. So the the life of a campaign takes him very seriously, and it’s happened before. I mean, there are there are people who run the first time go nowhere and then and then take fire. But this is a guy you know, late sixties into his career, like a ton of energy when you see him on the trail. And I was I was with him, and he was he’s visiting every single word.
  • Speaker 2
    0:33:07

    I was with him and black and and Latino words that everyone assumes other candidates are gonna win. And he’s not getting enormous crowds, but he’s just very blunt. He’s like, yeah. I the city’s gonna fall apart if she if she gets reelected or if one of these left wingers wins. This is the the really dangerous leaky thing.
  • Speaker 2
    0:33:22

    It’s like, I’m trying to imagine the run house serious. You can have a runoff between the mayor and him where she’d be running as the progressive Democrat trying to say the city for right wing takeover. You can have her versus one of the left wing candidates where it should be responsible, progressive, or you can have Validus versus one of these these left wing candidates in just a huge variance. Now they they would see the job. You’d have just like an existential discussion of, do we need to get policing back to two thousand nineteen levels?
  • Speaker 2
    0:33:48

    Or should we be funding more mental health as deharsening people? In addition to that, you know, who who can work with the the state’s attorney with so Cook County contains Chicago and it has its own quote of the d a, the state’s attorney. He was one of these original who elected twenty sixteen, the Broad Soros campaign to elect progressive prosecutors. She was part of that wave and O’Thales and the mayor blame her for letting too many people out of prison say that police don’t don’t wanna even give testimony anymore because they know the case is gonna be reversed at the county level. It’d be them versus people who say, yeah, Kim Fox is on the right track.
  • Speaker 2
    0:34:23

    Let’s keep it going. It is you set it up as the Democrats in this senate fighting by the secretary. It really is. I mean, this is every idea and fact that the Democratic party is represented in this, and you have a mayor who is trying to be in the middle of that. It’s only successful in fact that in in so far as as an incumbent, she has a chance of making the runoff.
  • Speaker 2
    0:34:41

    She’s in a very weak position. This is why this
  • Speaker 1
    0:34:44

    is worth watching. Well, it is worth watching because it it is Chicago and, you know, the mayor’s race in Chicago is always worth watching. But there is that through line of these progressive prosecutors who have become these flashpoints in places like Philadelphia, San Francisco, and now in Chicago where there appears to be a significant backlash among fellow Democrats against some of these policies that sounded pretty good, I suppose, in the seminar rooms But, you know, facing reality and what and how it’s playing out on the streets have been very different. We saw the the recall of progressive prosecutor in San Francisco. We see, you know, efforts to oust the the progressive prosecutor in Philadelphia, and, of course, now the progressive prosecutor in in the Chicago area is has become a major campaign issue.
  • Speaker 1
    0:35:27

    And so this is gonna keep popping up, and it’s going to be interesting to see how Democratic primary voters resolve this. It will
  • Speaker 2
    0:35:35

    be because it’s an all party election. So it’s not Democratic primary. This is Chicago got rid of partisan primaries about twenty four years ago, and it’s always been a runoff. But there are a lot of Republicans who can vote, not many. If you look at the Yeah.
  • Speaker 2
    0:35:48

    No. No. No. No.
  • Speaker 1
    0:35:48

    It’s a small Dallas
  • Speaker 2
    0:35:48

    could not win the election just with that. But the same thing in that recall in San Francisco very similar is Once you go to the large pool, there are people who might represent a tiny section of voters in this in the city of tiny group of conservatives. They need to be supplemented by Liberals who’ve had enough, and that that is the valid strategy. Everyone in the race too is very aware of Chicago’s reputation, just how much it’s attacked. I I talked to lightfoot about just how she’s covered on Fox News.
  • Speaker 2
    0:36:14

    And she says, yeah, she goes around the country and people hear she’s mayor of Chicago and they hear our stories about it. Everyone is aware. That the city is is the icon of, like, there’s a
  • Speaker 1
    0:36:24

    mass shooting every weekend in Chicago. Yeah. That
  • Speaker 2
    0:36:27

    that predated lakefoot, and she’s not saying, it’s an un fixable problem. She’s saying just I inherited this, and then the pandemic happened, and I’m trying to get this all through it. A response or, like, yes, you inherited it and everything got worse. So we need to replace you. But everyone’s kind of within the boundaries of the Democratic Party.
  • Speaker 2
    0:36:44

    And as much as they’re trying to portray Alice as a as a Republican, when he ran for governor to Democrat. He is a Democrat. But he is one of those sort of London breed Brook Jenkins. I’m I’m in progressive. But enough already.
  • Speaker 2
    0:36:56

    Like, I’ve been progressive, but, like, we need to fund police. You can’t have a the liberal society we want if people are getting shot and their cars are getting broken too. That’s the kind of liberalism he’s he’s running on. Interesting because of Chicago, but that’s made it, I think, at extra interest state. In LA, where I’m calling from, we had a similar run run down last year.
  • Speaker 2
    0:37:15

    So Karen Bass wins. Karen Bass is a the congresswoman from South Central parts of Los Angeles. Rick Caruso is a billionaire developer who was a Republican for years. Became a Democrat to run from error. That was both more straightforward because it became a runoff between these two candidates.
  • Speaker 2
    0:37:29

    But what worked for best was just saying, I am a progressive Democrat. He is the Republican. He’s the Donald Trump of Los Angeles. And I’m going to meet him yeah. I’m I’m meeting everybody halfway.
  • Speaker 2
    0:37:39

    I’m, like, I want to fix homelessness. That’s my priority if I’ve elected. Very different Chicago. One, crime is is worse in Chicago. There’s Oregon burgers, just as a fact, even though it’s a smaller city.
  • Speaker 2
    0:37:50

    And, two, yeah, it’s it’s Karousa was a Republican. She was an immigrant. She wasn’t the incumbent. She was introducing herself to people. She’s not the first unpopular incumbent to face this, but that’s this inevitable fact with with Lightfoot is that she’s going to an internal action where most of the city, according to every poll, just doesn’t like her and thinks she’s been terrible.
  • Speaker 2
    0:38:08

    I mean, I The event I went to with her where I talked to her and was meeting people, meeting was not advanced very widely. It was for local personas, many of whom were stalled defense. And she goes out. She she very briefly this is, you know, Wrigleyville. She’s an Democratic mayor.
  • Speaker 2
    0:38:22

    This is a place where a hundred percent of voters voted for Joe Biden. And, you know, the the five seconds she steps out of the car, there’s a company who’ll say, hey, and then a woman who is walking past her and goes, boom, fix the CTA. I mean, she’s just kind of getting heckled by people who are gonna vote for Democrats to pray in every other election. I just think that she can’t act. Well,
  • Speaker 1
    0:38:43

    I mean, that seems to think about Chicago politics is because people there are dialed into the political world in a way that perhaps they might not be in a different city. Dave Wigle. This has been fantastic. Dave Wigle, political reporter now at Sema four, by the way, for a fascinating website. Congratulations on that move.
  • Speaker 1
    0:39:01

    Previously with the Washington Post and with SLAIT also the author of the show that never ends the Rise and Fall of Prague Rock. You are a man of renaissance tastes, Dave White. Oh, yeah. It’s my secret is always
  • Speaker 2
    0:39:13

    a I root for the Eagles, and that’s all only sports I care about. And if you only heard from one team, like, twelve to fifteen games a year, you have a lot of free time to get interested in nerdy music. That’s my secret. Thanks for coming back on the podcast and thank you all for listening to today’s Bulwark podcast. I’m Trevy
  • Speaker 1
    0:39:30

    Sykes. We will be back tomorrow and we’ll do this all over again. The Bulwark podcast is produced by Katie Cooper and engineered and edited by Jason Brown.
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