Discover more from The Bulwark
Do Democrats Really Want Trump to Win the Republican Nomination?
Plus: Thanksgiving connection.
Heads up: It’s Thanksgiving week, so we’re going to take some time off. No newsletters on Thursday, Friday, or Saturday. Friday’s Secret Pod is out today.
We’ll be back on Monday.
Travel safe, hold your loved ones close, and have a happy and blessed Thanksgiving.
1. Do Democrats Want Trump 2024?
On Monday I mentioned a strange aside in which National Review claimed that “Democrats are pining to run against” Trump in 2024. Maybe this is true? But if so, I have not seen
much any evidence of it.
In the comments, Alex Prywes suggested that whether or not this is the general position of “Democrats,” he believed it was not likely to be the view of most Bulwark readers. So let’s poll it:
Obviously this isn’t science. But I’m curious as to how you all see Trump 2024.
Trump could absolutely win a 2024 general election against any Democratic nominee at roughly coin-flip odds. Maybe 40-60, but not much worse than that and possibly better.
All things being equal, a younger Republican nominee—let’s just use DeSantis as a stand-in—probably has a slightly better chance of beating a Democratic nominee than whatever Trump’s theoretical chance is.
It would be better for America if Trump is not the Republican nominee in 2024.
So that’s my reasoning. Explain your vote in the comments for me?
2. Only Connect
Read my buddy Matt Labash’s essay about losing a reader who’d become a friend:
I am grateful for two people in my life this year, even if both of them have now officially left it: Tom Missler, who died on November 12 at the age of 78 after a long battle with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and Tom’s spiritual kin, the late great singer-songwriter Warren Zevon, who left us 19 years ago at the age of 56 after a short battle with lung cancer. (More on the latter in a while, but they’re interrelated. Trust me.) Many of you around these parts probably already know Tom Missler, or feel like you do. You might have run across him if you muck about in the comments section, where he was a semi-regular, thoughtfully assenting or dissenting, always the gentleman in either instance.
Or more likely, you know him from a piece I wrote this past August, called “Doubting Thomas.” Tom, a lapsed Catholic who grew into an atheist, was the titular Thomas. His parents had named him after Saint Thomas Aquinas, but it didn’t take. He’d tell people he was named after J.C.’s less-than-convinced disciple, since he enjoyed stirring the pot as regular practice. . . .
The piece was an examination of belief (mine) vs. unbelief (his) – an uncontentious dialogue, really, a reprint of emails that flew between us, often in the midnight hour, when I suffered from overcaffeination as Tom was suffering from pain-induced insomnia in hospice. Even if I had the last word in the exchange (Tom should’ve started his own site if he expected to get that), Tom - an open-minded and open-hearted sort – loved it, writing to me in all lowercase, as always (he didn’t have enough time left to bother with the “shift” button, though I will capitalize his words since it’s too hard to fight my Microsoft autocorrect): “Let’s hope we continue to share some words now and then. Having my thoughts on paper like this has proven important to my overall being. I have a path I can follow just because we communicated well with each other. I will reread this often and hope that some other souls who are suffering will understand that our ending does not have to be completely without joy.”
Tom might have stopped believing in God, but he did still believe in the power of words. Whether using them as pool-noodle playthings (“we be finding some joy this day,” he’d write me while bedridden), or holding on to them as a life preserver, Tom believed in the power of the written word to punch our buttons and penetrate our defenses – in their ability to leave a mark. Just because he could no longer convince himself of a sacred being - despite my best efforts - didn’t mean he didn’t still hold plenty sacred. Including the very act of me trying to convince him otherwise. . . .
I told Tom that for an atheist, he made a helluva good Christian. . . .
It’s a strange thing, making an old friend in three months. But that’s what Tom became to me. A new old friend, as it felt like I’d known him for years, instantly.
Matt’s piece hit me where I live because I’ve had the experience of making new old friends with so many of you. You’re generous readers and thoughtful correspondents and I treasure you.
Thank you, my friends.
Everything in life comes with costs and benefits. For bad stuff: costs >>> benefits. For good stuff: costs <<< benefits.
This piece is a reminder that crowd-funding, which is generally a good thing, has created some problems:
[O]ver the last several months a bigger issue has been made clear: that Wyrmwood, like so many other tabletop creators, feels trapped by the very tool that helped to bring it to life — crowdfunding. . . .
Why does it have to be like this? Wyrmwood has been in business since 2015, but every time it released a new product it always came back to the well — to Kickstarter, at least four times every year — just like so many other companies in the board gaming and role-playing game industries. On a call with Wyrmwood’s marketing director Bobby Downey just a few days before the campaign went live, he told me why: The company felt like it simply had nowhere else to go. It needed the capital on the kind of favorable terms it was afforded by crowdfunding to keep its company moving forward. . . .
“We call it ‘the Kickstarter crack,’” Downey offered. “That’s how we stay up, right? [It’s] necessary, but we can’t stay there forever.”
William Michael Cunningham, founder of Creative Investment Research and author of The JOBS Act: Crowdfunding Guide to Small Businesses and Startups, notes that crowdfunding — while still relatively new on the global stage — has earned its place in the marketplace. But it was never intended to be the kind of addiction that it has become for companies in the tabletop space. The bottom line is that the United States’ economic policies over the last 30 years have failed small businesses. And so have banks.
“Remember back in the ’50s and ’60s, banks used to be the place that you’d go to for some semblance of startup funding,” Cunningham, a University of Chicago-trained economist, told Polygon in a recent interview. “A restaurant. A barber shop. Whatever. [Now] they are completely out of that business, especially the big banks.”
Consolidation has led to fewer banks overall, especially community banks and savings and loans. The banks that remain are bigger, with larger reserves and bigger fish to fry.
Btw: The stuff Wyrmwood makes is amazing. I am not, personally, in a place where I could get away with a $5,000 gaming table. But if I was, I would 100 percent get one of theirs. Click through to their site, which is vaguely NSFW because of all the woodworking money shots.
So many mortise and tenon joints . . .