Donald Trump’s Bizarre History Conference

Plus, Judicial Jumanji.

Leading The Bulwark…

Donald Trump’s Bizarre History Conference

Ron Radosh argues: the participants served as fig leaves for the development of a Trumpist state-dictated popular history.

Yesterday’s Overtime went out late because of user error. Mine! Still figuring out this new platform—thanks for bearing with us. (Read: me.)

Remember, if you want to manage your emails, you can do so here. Subscribers to Bulwark+ get a lot more emails than they used to. If you like to devour the podcasts ASAP, you might want to keep those notifications. If you’re more of an occasional listener, you may want to forego some of the emails since the free ones are featured here.

If you haven’t signed up for Bulwark+, you can do so here:

Join now

On the pods…

The Sum of All Fears

RBG is gone. There’s a SCOTUS war coming. And now the Trump campaign is talking about coming up with alternate electors if they don’t like the results in November.

Buckle up, Jack.

Editor’s note: Soon, The Next Level will be a subscribers-only podcast. Check it out!

David French on 'Divided We Fall'

David French joins host Charlie Sykes to discuss his new book: Divided We Fall: America's Secession Threat and How to Restore Our Nation.

From The Bulwark Aggregator

Today on The Bulwark

McConnell’s Only Principle Is Power

Mona Charen: Senate Republicans may regret their embrace of naked power politics.

200,000 Dead Isn’t a Statistic. It’s a Tragedy.

John J. Pitney, Jr.: You cannot put a “best face” on this.

President Trump’s Unpatriotic ‘Patriotic Education’

Robert Tracinski: Trump’s latest culture war vaporware undermines the very ideals he claims to wants to defend.

We’re glad you’re here.

Thanks to so many of you—thousands!—who have joined us in launching Bulwark+. We hope more of you will join us!

Join now

Or, if you’d like to give a gift subscription, there’s always that, too:

Give a gift subscription

If you’ve been one of our generous donors who helped bring The Bulwark to this point, nearly two years strong, drop me a line (you know how to reach me) and let me make sure you get to experience what your hard-earned money helped us build.

You’re gonna love it. Thanks for all of your support.


Where will your COVID-19 skeptic or denying friends be 4 years from now? I don’t know why I had this thought going to bed last night, but as somebody who has worked inside the GOP apparatus for so long, anyone who is honest can admit what was always a conspiratorial underpinning in our party that has metastasized into something far worse.

Institutional forces have a lot to do with that. But Donald Trump hit the nos button and everyone pretty much in the GOP went along with it.

I thought David French made an astute point on today’s podcast that a lot of people didn’t get to see the death toll, an extraordinary 200,000 souls, because there largely isn’t a process of public mourning. And COVID-19 his different communities in different ways. Worland, Wyoming is not Williamsburg, NY. Beachwood, Ohio is not Bainbridge, Georgia.

Sometimes it is out of sight, out of mind. Funerals may or may not help people change views of a deadly pandemic. People who want to be myopic usually find ways to remain so.

But not everyone is myopic. Some people spent weeks talking to their mom in an iPad in a hospital wondering if they’d ever see her again. But not everyone. Not most people. Many people, but not most.

I’ve seen folks, public figure types (of the lower case p variety) cope with the death of loved ones due to COVID-19 on social media differently. They complain that Ruth Bader Ginsburg gets a funeral and the ________ in their life, say, in Maine or Minnesota, was not afforded that. Some people use the death of somebody to rail against protests, or rallies (though usually not the ones with people toting guns). Sometimes, and I’ve spoken with a few readers about this, it’s hard to have empathy or sympathy.

We must have both in the middle of a pandemic. That’s why, if you haven’t noticed, we have not changed our tagline (or what I used to call the “gagline”) from “Hold Fast” for months. People are dying en masse, and dunking on stupid things—which the President and his enablers say daily—it’s just not a good look to make jokes about stupid comments.

But we must look to the future.

Let’s imagine, for the sake of argument, it’s incumbent VP Kamala Harris or incumbent Joe Biden running against a Trump. Could be any Trump of constitutional age.

Or, imagine a different scenario. Incumbent President Trump, term limited, has ________, and it’s not clear who takes up that mantle, is running against somebody who is probably not Joe Biden. And is probably far more liberal.

Now think of somebody in your life, and you probably know more of these people than you know victims of COVID-19. Where do you see them?

Depending upon whom you think of, and in each scenario, your answers could vary wildly. But if you play this game with a few more people, you’ll see a pattern, and it is probably not a good one. People are typically more tribal than rational…

We’ve already played this take home game with Supreme Court nominations (and we’re still stuck in this Judicial Jumanji), but if you think this is bad?

Conspiracies become more mainstreamed over time. And now they’re at a fever pitch with a party in power that loves to stoke them for electoral gain.

Imagine where a party, chastened or unchastened that has a history of not learning lessons, goes from here. And you thought JVL was the depressing one.

It’s only going to get worse before it gets better. At least for people who care about and want a respectable Republican party.

How conspiracies spread… You see what I mean. And with deep fakes and the shamelessness of the GOP to promote such things? Yeah. It’s gonna get worse.

Contingency plans… If were unsure that the GOP was worried about losing, well, look no further than the reports than there are plans to basically delegitimize the electoral college.

But if Trump does win… Here’s the prediction from Sen. Grassley’s former Judiciary Committee noms guy. Mike Davis has long been radicalized by the MAGA movement years ago, but even for him, this is extraordinary.

I know you will be shocked… to hear that the White House is being accused of improperly politicizing John Bolton’s book review... Shocked, I tell you.

Listen to former deputy AG under George H.W. Bush, Donald Ayer—Bill Barr’s former boss— explain why Barr "completely undermines any faith anybody ought to have in him because he is nothing other than a political spokesman for the President."

I don’t want to step out of my lane, since Sonny Bunch does our movie stuff… But I will say that this movie looks to have an excellent cast and I will totally watch it, despite being a comb-over party stiff who would have probably been very critical of the Chicago 7 at the time.

Dr. Fauci is over Senator Paul’s antics.

That’s it for Overtime today. Time to finish some BBQ for the wife, kids, and dog. We have brats (Johnsonville Tailgate Cheddar + Beer), CostCo hot dogs, cajun garlic chicken, and steak on the menu.

Drop me a line at: with any comments, tips, questions, or concerns. Or criticism! We’d love to have you join Bulwark+, so please consider doing so.

Join now

And, since this post is public, if you liked it, share it with your friends who might enjoy it: