Thank you. The podcasts are always enjoyable, but I look forward to those with Bill Kristol perhaps even more than the rest.

Expand full comment

The first infrastructure that needs dealt with is ridding the congressional leadership of the Party of Dummy’s of everything 20th century, Nancy and Chuckie, and their old ways.

Nancy is no longer capable of controlling her caucus, whether educating/convincing them on their legislative plan, nor exerting her power to achieve her desired out come.

Chuckie has proven too me that he hasn’t the wherewithal to pushback effectively against moscow mitch, hence he too needs to go!

It is my not so humble opinion that changing leadership is a very close second to messaging in order of importance to expanding majorities in both houses.

Top attack point against the candidates of the Party of Liars Cheats and Thieves is LCT state legislatures moving to give the majority party the right to overturn any majority vote they don’t like.

They should have started that attack a couple months ago.

A very rude and obnoxious attack on some incumbent should, needs to lead every evening news broadcast in states where they are passing legislation to over turn election result if the majority doesn’t like the out come.

They should also be answering the question; “will you ever accept that a Party of Dummy’s candidate wins fairly/without cheating?”

There is a reason I’ve tagged them POD’s, it’s a cause they just can’t stop being stupid!

Expand full comment

For everyone looking to both-sides the debate on CRT in schools, please make sure you read this first -


Expand full comment

The Democrats face a few problems and some structural political issues.

The first problem that the Democrats face is that they are now the "party in power." In our modern political ecosystem, that almost inevitably means that they are going to lose elections. This is something that history demonstrates to us.

It has little to do with what those governing can do (although that can impact the magnitude of loss) and is mostly about the government (now represented by the Democrats) getting blamed.

The likeability of the candidate and whether or not their party is in power tends to override policy issues in these cases.

The second problem is that people want a lot of things but they want someone else to get the bill or make sacrifices. It is misleading to look at polling data and say that 60% of people support policy X. VERY misleading.

The following questions are all about the same thing, but they would get you VERY different poll results:

A) I believe that we should do more to preserve the environment

B) I believe that we should do more to preserve the environment and that taxes on the rich should be raised to fund that action.

c) I believe that we should do more to preserve the environment and that taxes on everyone should be raised to fund that action.

D) I believe that we should do more to preserve the environment and that I should have to pay $6 per gallon of gas to fund that action.

The further down that list you go, the less likely you are to get majority support. You can do that with pretty much any policy that enjoys "majority" support.

The devil is in the details--it is always in the details. Majority support is ephemeral and largely meaningless when it comes down to brass tacks.

People LOVE broad aspirational ideas. They hate policies that cost them something. This is true whether your aspirational cause is the environment or making America great again. The costs and inconvenience are always meant to be placed on someone else.

The third problem that Democrats face is that, underneath it all, most of us do not like change. The only people REALLY looking for change (particularly large scale change) are the people who are currently being screwed over (or who believe that they are currently being screwed over).

The people at the top definitely do not want change unless they are very sure they will profit from it... and that is rare. The people in the middle are afraid of change because things are at least bearable and who knows how this thing is going to ACTUALLY play out (the old bird in the hand is worth two in the bush perspective). The people on the bottom lack the ability (wealth, power, access) to achieve change--the deck is stacked. This has nothing explicitly to do with racism or sexism (although these get entrained in it).

As soon as the Democrats start putting the details to an aspirational goal and start tying costs to that goal, they lose majority support--particularly in areas that they NEED to win to gain power (because of the nature of our institutions and demographics).

We are faced with a logjam that no one can either figure out how to break or is willing to pay the cost to break.

Bad/stupid rhetoric also does not help the Democrats. Phrases like "defund the police" for example.

Another problem is that people flay out do not believe politicians--they have been burned too many times. They tend to think that they WILL get screwed over, regardles of the goal of the policy.

Expand full comment

No, Charlie and Mona, voters aren't turning into fiscal hawks who see spending on infrastructure as a "lurch to the left." People vote on results, not ideology, and the results aren't good right now; pandemic restrictions, shortages, and inflation are putting a crimp in their lives, and when that happens they blame the party in power. Even the education issue in VA can't be understood apart from frustration over school closings and restrictions that affect people's daily lives (CRT matters to a fringe that seeks advantage from it, and in any case identifying mainstream Dems with the woke left is silly--a lot of those people don't like Dems either. If Democratic rule makes people's lives better--even if, as likely they aren't responsible for it--things will get better for Dems.

Expand full comment

Charlie, Hillary Clinton and Terry McAuliffe are card-carrying members of the moderate Third-Way movement started by Bill Clinton. They both lost to Trump(ism). Biden is a moderate but he ran on some pretty progressive ideas and beat Trump. Biden also focused on issues while Clinton and McAuliffe both thought not being Trump would be enough to win. They both lost and Biden won.

But you want Biden to more Hillary Clinton and Terry McAuliffe like? Where is this evidence that being a moderate is what will defeat Trumpism? To defeat Trumpism you need clear policies and messages about how you are going to help people and you need to smash Trumpism in the mouth when it rears its ugly head and show voters those guys only pretend to care about you when it's time to get your vote. It's not good enough to just say, "Yo, I ain't that guy . . . vote for me."

Expand full comment

A big THANK YOU to Jennifer McDonald and Bulwark for the article on this absurd practice. Having fought this issue in Indiana, both in courts and the political arena, I found the political dynamics of the issue to be interesting. So many of my Democratic friends, supposed champions of civil liberties, had no interest in helping stop civil forfeiture even when shown outrages of the type that have been outlined in media support. The biggest support I received was from conservative Republicans. But even their support was underwhelming. This is an issue that should unite those on the right and left.

Expand full comment

I'm getting kind of tired of asking you to explain what policies you want liberals to adhere to. Again, both moderates in Virginia and New Jersey had problems or lost, same as liberals did. It's not clear that popularism is actually popular. If you're going to say 'liberals need to stop trying to do things and instead do other things' you need to be specific as to what you want, Charlie. It's not enough to say 'be more moderate' without defining what it means to be a moderate in 2021. Because again, in Virginia the former governor, a moderate who ran on kitchen table issues, lost to an insurrectionist sympathizer. So unless you're going to say that his method was successful, you're going to need to actually say what you think he and other liberals should run on. Because yelling 'be moderate' doesn't actually mean anything to most people who can only define the term based on where they think their opponents are.

As for CRT, it's clear now that the problem is that most liberals are incapable of grasping that words often do not have esoteric or branching meanings to most people. Example, 'racist' conjures up a very specific image, as does 'racism.' At least, to moderates and conservatives. To liberals, the terms is more open and flowing. For example, racism isn't just men in hoods to them, it's the policies that cause things like increased incarceration against minorities, and the people who support those policies. It's the belief that, if you support things like segregated schools based on wealth, which often means color, you are also a racist, even if you're not directly marching with the tiki torch guys. If you're afraid of willie horton, then you must be a racist.

This extrapolation is everywhere. And in many situations, they come to these conclusions armed with lots of data and ideas. But they're rather terrible at actually making it make sense to those who aren't versed in the liberal nomenclature. Let's put it like this: conservatives have the fox news cinematic universe. Liberals have something similar in regards to words like 'racist' though I don't know what to call it.

The issue of CRT is that it's very easy to be like 'they're trying to make people feel guilty about being white!' which is where liberals say it's an overtly racist dogwhistle against learning history. Part of this comes from certain sections of liberal thought that says the sins of the father are the sins of the son, so to speak. Your ancestors set up these systems, they did so with racist intentions, and so if you defend them you must be racist, because you're defending a system created by and meant for racist reasons. A lot of people would disagree with this, and that's partially why liberals struggle so much. Because people don't see themselves as inheriting a racist system. They see themselves as simply existing in a time when these things were already set up. They didn't make these systems, they don't have the power to change them, so why are you getting mad at them for going along with things, goes the thinking.

We talk a lot about how silence is acceptance, which is why liberals are quick to point fingers at those who talk a lot about how bad fascism is, but not about how bad racism is. If you're mad about systems that enforce or make it easier for fascists to gain power, why aren't you also mad about the same systems that create racist outcomes? Again, you can agree or disagree with this, but that's the thinking.

I think the issue with CRT is that liberals are refusing to say what they really want which is: yes, we are changing how we teach things, because we're doing it better than we did before. The past was complicated, and how we teach kids should reflect that. People are neither good nor evil for the most part, but that doesn't mean there weren't terrible things in the past that we should work towards being better than. If the goal of education is to produce better citizens, then logically we should be striving to not be teaching, say, lost cause narratives in text books, something that still happens in much of the south today for example.

Instead, by trying to say nothing has changed, they've let the CRT moral panic swallow up lots of airtime and define itself as 'actually, the people complaining about racists are the real racists, and also the people who are mad about segregation are the real segregationists.'

One last bit. One issue that the CRT panic is about but which we don't talk a lot about is how, for most of our history, the idea was that there was an arc of progress, that we moved forward, that there was a kind of manifest destiny at work, and that America was a special, blessed place. Reality is not that simple, and there were a lot of people who had to be enslaved and displaced and killed in that whole arc of progress thing. But it's a story that Americans have told ourselves and used to justify ourselves since our creation. Now, people question whether that was actually an arc of progress, and whether it was right or wrong to exterminate people and the like. But they don't have a better story to tell in its place yet, so what ends up happening is a backlash against changing the story.

The same thing happens all the time if you deal with civil war stories. There are lots of people in the south who have stories about how Sherman or the northerners did something to their ancestors when in reality they were nowhere nearby. But that story is more powerful than the truth.

Personally, I think the story liberals should tell is simple: America is not a perfect place. But the point of America is that we understand that we are not perfect people, and that over time we work to create a better place, rather than be stuck in the past, slaves to the ideas of dead men. America is meant to be a dynamic place, both in spirit and character, and the idea that there is one narrative in America is profoundly unamerican. America is not more racist than other countries, we're simply the only ones that actually talk about it like it's a bad thing. In Japan, koreans are second class citizens. In China there are concentration camps for muslims. In the middle east they're still killing each other over different religions. In africa various ethnic groups are still committing genocide. In Europe, islamaphobia drives resentment and hatred towards others. And yet, you'll find no greater dialogue about whether this is good or bad than in America, because we believe, at least on paper, that the color of one's skin shouldn't define a person. That's a rather American idea, even if it's taken a lot of work to get where we are. But it's a specifically American concept.

The left should embrace that, rather than try to define terms that people already have ideas about.

Expand full comment
Nov 5, 2021Liked by Charlie Sykes

I'm willing to take the Lefties' word for it, that CRT, as such, is not being taught in public schools. I can only assume that, like other segments of Critical Theory, it is couched in the opaque polysyllabic jargon of postmodernism and accessible only to those who've had extensive training in that arcane skill. What parents do see, I'm sure, is the resulting policies pushed by CRT initiates such as the war on excellence seen in di Blasio's effort to abolish the selective schools in NYC or the proposal to "reform" the math curriculum in California to make it conform to DIE objectives. In any case, the insistence that CRT is not in the curriculum, that what's being taught is not CRT, reminds me of the Socialists' reply to criticism based on the record of Socialist regimes, that "real" Socialism has never been tried. (Translation: I have not yet been made the Autocrat of All Creation.)

Expand full comment

Last night when I was reading that NYT Editorial, I looked right into my dog's eyes and said, "Oh, shit. They ripped off The Bulwark." Pretty wild to see this editorial coexisting with Charles Blow's column ascribing this week's schlonging to your run-of-the-mill white racial anxiety. Hopefully, the Dems can pivot to a popularist legislative agenda. I don't understand why they don't disaggregate these spending bills and actually SELL voters on them! We should be seeing a series of bills with names like "The Joe Biden Money and Birthday Cake for Children Act" or "Everyone Has Good Roads and Internet and By the Way My Name is Joe Biden and I Did this Act".

Expand full comment

When it comes to climate policy, on which I'm essentially a single issue voter, what do you suggest our kids do at this point? They're the ones stuck with the consequences of our bad actions, and the consequences are pretty dire. Manchin is swimming in conflicts of interest on this, and yet he heads the Senate energy committee. I'm open to suggestions, because I agree, confronting Manchin as he disembarks from his yacht is not likely to be helpful. But what is there to do? Does anyone have any ideas?

Expand full comment

OK, Charlie. My husband and I are in our seventies and about to get our boosters in 2 weeks. We're going to get them regardless, and especially since we live in Texas, but more details please, on why you were in bed all day! I'd just like to know what we might be facing, especially since we had little reaction to the first 2 shots....

Expand full comment


I thought I would look for hope and listened to your podcast with Adam Kinzinger. Bad idea! I am now completely 100% sold the road ends badly here. Even someone as smart and who gets what is at stake can't move beyond partisan politics to be the grown up and fight back against Trumpism. He very clearly stated we have a hierarchy or needs and it starts there. Policy differences come later and we can fight over those in a democratic fashion once the authoritarian moment has passed. However, he then says he can't support the Democrats because of their liberal progressive policies including spending and voting rights. He thinks tinkering at the margins by supporting Evan McMullin types and getting smashed in a Presidential party nomination fight against TFG is going to do it. Wake up! Joe Walsh tried that, him and the very few sane republicans left are trying that and failing miserably. Maybe he needs to step back and take the advice he gives to the Dems and prioritize the most important aspects of the fight himself. I thought he was one of the grown ups left, but I am finally realizing he is just another one of the children running around doing nothing.

Expand full comment