Discover more from The Bulwark
Is The Twitterpocalypse Nigh?
Plus: The GOP releases the moral idiocy
Our word of the week is “recrudescence” (17th century): the return of something unpleasant after a period of relief. (Hat/tip @susie-dent.)
So, what was your best memory of Twitter?
Tens of thousands of users began saying “good-bye” last night as the site appeared to teeter toward destruction. Thousands of workers fired, mass resignations, ultimatums, lock-outs. And millions asked the nagging question: wouldn’t it have been easier for Elon Musk to have just taken the $44 billion out back and set it on fire?
As the day dawns, the site still seems to be functioning, which suggests that reports of Twitter’s demise may have been premature. But the death/crash watch continues as Musk’s Fiasco for the Ages plays out.
Death is in the air on Twitter.
On the platform Thursday evening, where #RIPTwitter was the top trend worldwide, users wrote what they feared might be their last posts, offering apprehensive goodbyes and listing the other (more stable) social media platforms where they can still be found.
Via the Verge: “Hundreds of employees say no to being part of Elon Musk’s ‘extremely hardcore’ Twitter.”
Multiple “critical” teams inside Twitter have now either completely or near-completely resigned, said other employees who requested anonymity to speak without Musk’s permission. That includes Twitter’s traffic and front end teams that route engineering requests to the correct backend services. The team that maintains Twitter’s core system libraries that every engineer at the company uses is also gone. “You cannot run Twitter without this team,” a departing employee said.
“Every mistake in code and operations is now deadly” said a former engineer who departed the company this week. Those left “are going to be overwhelmed, overworked, and because of that more likely to make mistakes.”
Musk himself seemed to toggle back and forth between sheer panic and they’ll never take me alive in the bunker bravado. Via the NYT:
Mr. Musk and his advisers held meetings with some Twitter workers whom they deemed “critical” to stop them from leaving… He sent out confusing messages about the company’s remote work policy, appearing to soften his stance on not allowing people to work from home before warning their managers….
All the while, two people said, resignations started to roll in. By the deadline, 5 p.m. Eastern time, hundreds of Twitter employees appeared to have decided to depart with three months of severance pay, the people said. Twitter later announced via email that it would close “our office buildings” and disable employee badge access until Monday.
Amidst the chaos, Musk tweeted:
Haha, I guess.
While some celebrated the Twitterpocalypse, there also were farewells and tributes, like this from the Sykes household:
To be sure, there were also a few voices of caution. Our friend Tom Nichols pointed out that actually destroying Twitter… wouldn’t make any sense, even for an megalomaniacal billionaire.
But this was my favorite tweet:
… which actually describes me perfectly. Except for the sex part.
Morning Shots is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.
Meanwhile….stories you should keep watching:
The Democratic changing of the guard: “Hoyer, Clyburn to step out of leadership roles, clearing way for Jeffries.” Politico: describes the “seismic shift”:
The decision paves the way for the House’s biggest leadership shakeup in either party since the Republican revolution of 1994. Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.), the current caucus chair, will seek the role of minority leader for the next Congress after months of steadily building support across the caucus.
Right on cue: “House Republicans vow to investigate Biden and his family’s business dealings.” And unleashed this moral idiocy:
Least surprising story of the day: “Defeated Republican candidate Kari Lake refuses to concede in Arizona governor’s race.”
MADISON - Republicans in the state Assembly have exiled one of their own members who campaigned against Speaker Robin Vos and promoted false claims about the 2020 election.
GOP caucus members voted to bar Rep. Janel Brandtjen, who leads the Assembly elections committee, from meeting with them in private, citing a loss of trust, according to a letter first obtained by Wispolitics.com to Brandtjen from Assembly Caucus chairman Rep. Rob Summerfield dated Nov. 11.
"Yesterday, at our caucus, the members voted to no longer allow you to participate in closed caucus. The continual issues from the past have led our caucus to lose trust in you. For this reason, this vote was taken," Summerfield wrote.
Wait, there’s more… A local conservative website is asking: “Why did Trump’s PAC, MyPillow’s Mike Lindell, and state Rep. Janel Brandtjen suddenly give thousands of dollars to a northern Wisconsin GOP county party that is deeply involved with [the bid to oust the GOP Assembly Speaker]?”
President Donald Trump’s Save America PAC and MyPillow’s Mike Lindell suddenly gave an obscure northern Wisconsin Republican county party a combined $9,000 in August 2022, and, a short time later, that county party’s chairman told election decertification and Trump-endorsed write-in candidate Adam Steen that he was looking for another county party to “wash” money for Save America to help Steen take out powerful GOP Assembly Speaker Robin Vos.
The comments about washing money came in a conversation recorded this September between Steen and Langlade County GOP Chairman Terry Brand. Recordings, which you can listen to throughout this article, show that Brand and his vice chair are deeply involved in Steen’s determined efforts to oust Vos, the powerful GOP Assembly Speaker based in southeastern Wisconsin who earned Trump’s ire after refusing to decertify the 2020 election.
In an attempt to get Steen elected to Vos’s seat, which narrowly failed, Trump called Vos a Democrat from a stage in Waukesha County this August, even though Vos has a 93% conservative “excellence” ranking as a state legislator by the national CPAC organization in 2021 and 92% over his entire career.
1. Falwell’s Downfall: The Pool Boy’s Story
Billy Corben’s new documentary, God Forbid: The Sex Scandal That Brought Down a Dynasty, presents the pool attendant Granda’s account of his ménage à trois with Falwell and Falwell’s wife, Becki, both of whom have rejected his version of the events. The main outline of the narrative will be familiar to anyone who followed the Falwell saga as it unfolded, but new footage and materials deepen the picture while making the Falwells’ denials even harder to believe. Granda himself is a likable and winning narrator of the scandal, frank and unforced in his interviews. Having been a supporting player in earlier versions of the story that centered on the prominent evangelical couple, Granda’s comments add nuance to the story and emphasize the significant power differential between himself and the Falwells. It is impossible, for example, to forget his youth: Granda was only 20 years old when he met them. What 20-year-old in Granda’s situation would have known what they were getting themselves into? It is hard to avoid the conclusion that the couple knew just what they were doing when they invited him into their complicated lives.
2. Lies, Losing, and Low Energy: Trump Runs Again
3. In 2024, Will Republicans Run on Abortion or Run Away From It?
In surveys of the midterm electorate, I’ve found lots of evidence that Dobbs triggered a backlash against Republicans. But I can’t find evidence that the DeSantis 15-week position is relatively safe. Among Republican governors who ran for re-election in 2022, surveys show no apparent relationship between the time frame of a state’s abortion restrictions and the magnitude of the backlash.
Dinesh keeps digging.
Welcome to the GOP House.