Is Attacking ‘Wokeness’ Ron DeSantis’s Superpower?
...Or His Kryptonite?
Recently in The Bulwark:
CHARLIE SYKES: Freaking Out Over Rank Idiocy
JVL: Biden > Obama 🔐
You can support The Bulwark by subscribing to Bulwark+ or just by sharing this newsletter with someone you think would value it.
RICH THAU: Is Attacking ‘Wokeness’ Ron DeSantis’s Superpower—Or His Kryptonite?
On January 3, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis spent nearly an eighth of his inaugural address—a full 198 words—trying to define the word “woke”—just so he could spend the next 35 words condemning it.
There’s no doubt these 35 words were powerful, direct, and unambiguous. Below is the official transcript prepared by DeSantis’s office. Note the two exclamation points in it:
“We reject this woke ideology. We seek normalcy, not philosophical lunacy! We will not allow reality, facts, and truth to become optional. We will never surrender to the woke mob. Florida is where woke goes to die!”
But is DeSantis’s message truly getting through when it takes six times as long to explain wokeness as it does to reject it?
THEODORE R. JOHNSON: Could the ‘Dignity Index’ Help Make Our Politics More Civil?
Could a new social scientific tool help us to publicly shame acts of incivility—and publicly praise acts of civility—in a way that ultimately improves American political and civic life? Tami Pyfer, a former local official in Utah, thinks so. The Dignity Index was developed with a national nonprofit, and Pyfer and a bipartisan team deployed it in Utah during the midterm elections. Amanda Ripley recently discussed the project in a fascinating essay in Politico, and while the reception by the public thus far leaves a lot to be desired, the concept is worthy of deeper consideration.
Concisely, the Dignity Index scores politicians’ public remarks on a scale of 1 to 8 based on how “dignified or contemptuous” they are, with 1 being the most derisive and 8 being the most civil and decent. Every comment is assessed by a team and peer-reviewed by a diverse group to help root out any biases. The results are then published, partially in the hopes that a low score would disincentivize—or shame—politicians from using contemptuous language.
It took a lot of arm-twisting, but the West has finally committed to arming Ukraine with battle tanks — not only to boost its defenses, but also to take the fight to the Russians. And Crimea is now in play. Michael Weiss joins Charlie Sykes today.
Bulwark+ members can listen to an ad-free version of these podcasts on the player of their choice. Learn more at Bulwark+ Podcast FAQ.
JOE PERTICONE: Matt Schlapp allegedly groped a young man—hurting his already dwindling influence.
Schlapp’s allies in Washington span Republican politics and, once upon a time, a significant number of powerful corporations. But in the wake of a lawsuit that followed multiple news reports about allegations that Schlapp sexually assaulted a young man working for the Herschel Walker campaign, those close ties appear to be fraying—and fast.
Schlapp’s lobbying firm, Cove Strategies, has lost significant business over the past two years, but that can be chalked up primarily to his diminished influence at a time of Democratic control in Washington. After losing a hefty roster of corporate clients, Schlapp sent a letter a few weeks before the midterm elections offering CPAC’s support for candidates on the condition that they pledge not to meet with CEOs and lobbyists for corporations who have “gone woke.” Schlapp’s previous clients included major corporations such as Walmart, Samsung, and Comcast.
AMANDA CARPENTER: The Democrats’ Senate Map of Doom.
Michigan Senator Gary Peters didn’t want to serve as chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) again. Perhaps it’s because he can see the 2024 Senate map.
Even though almost every competitive race went the way Senate Democrats needed them to last fall, in the 118th Congress, they enjoy only a fragile 51-49 majority. Further, they had three big things going for them in the midterms: a favorable map, a shockingly poor batch of low-quality GOP opponents, and a Supreme Court decision that revved up left-leaning activists across the country.
Happy Thursday! Here’s a throwback video for you. How times have changed, no?
What’s next… After the Republican Road to Hell? If you’re in North Carolina, there’s still time to plan to see Tim Miller live at Duke on Monday!
Beginning of the end? California’s Bar is seeking to stop John Eastman from ever practicing law again there. Good. A good first step.
Glenn Youngkin says no to Ford jobs… Because China?
The French? Is that problematic now? Or just a social media person trying to go viral?
The dominoes… Of the debt limit default. Let’s hope they don’t start falling.
Another day… Another George Santos controversy. And another. And we’re learning what it was like in Flophouse Devolder.
An ode… To the Casio F-91. And while we’re on old-school instruments, I gotta pick Pen #7, the Bic Cristal.
Ron DeSantis wants to move the RNC’s HQ… Because he thinks it’ll help them win elections?
“So easy to do!” Trump has thoughts on ending the war against Ukraine.
We have a ghost! The trailer at first was about to lose me, but then it hooked me.
The last frontier… What life on the Colorado prairie is like.
That’s it for me. Tech support questions? Email email@example.com. Questions for me? Respond to this message.
Editorial photos provided by Getty Images. For full credits, please consult the article.