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CHARLIE SYKES: Does America Have an Oligarch Problem?
THE NEXT LEVEL: From Ukraine to the Disney Coasts 🔐
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RICHARD C. BARTON: Le Pen Could’ve Won Here.
It could be said that French President Emmanuel Macron won re-election because he was a moderate candidate with broad popular appeal. That statement may come off as obvious, given that he finished first in the country’s initial round of voting and ultimately defeated his far-right challenger Marine Le Pen by a margin of roughly 17 percentage points in the runoff election on Sunday.
But not every country has electoral institutions that produce winners with Macron’s particular traits. In fact, if France used the electoral institutions and processes in place in the United States, the overwhelmingly moderate French electorate would have been stuck with a democratic socialist and a far-right extremist as its final two choices.
And the best evidence suggests that Le Pen would have won handily.
DeSantis’ anti-gay agenda is all about winning over the conservative entertainment wing, Musk paid the GDP of Paraguay for a company with the gross revenues of the Olive Garden, and we need to start planning the rebuilding of Ukraine now. David Frum joins Charlie Sykes today.
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The madness of Vladimir Putin’s war in Ukraine has once again turned the spotlight on the creepy, enigmatic guru who has been called “Putin’s brain” or, irresistibly, “Putin’s Rasputin”: maverick “political philosopher” Aleksandr Dugin. And indeed, in many ways this is Dugin’s moment: For more than a quarter century, he has been talking about an eternal civilizational war between Russia and the West and about Russia’s destiny to build a vast Eurasian empire, beginning with a reconquista of Ukraine. Both the war in Ukraine and the new Cold War against the West can be said to represent the triumph—or the debacle—of Dugin’s vision.
The 60-year-old Dugin may or may not be Putin’s whisperer; there is no evidence that the two men have actually met. But his influence on the Putin-era ruling class in Russia is unquestionably real and scary. For one thing, much as the word “fascist” gets frivolously thrown around, Dugin is actually a onetime self-proclaimed fascist, albeit of the “real fascism has never been tried” variety. What’s more, there is every reason to think that while he dropped the label, his ideology has not changed much.
But even that understates the sheer weirdness of the man described in a 2017 book on the rise of Russia’s new nationalism as “a former dissident, pamphleteer, hipster and guitar-playing poet who emerged from the libertine era of pre-perestroika Muscovite bohemia to become a rabble-rousing intellectual, a lecturer at the military academy, and ultimately a Kremlin operative.” (The author, former Financial Times Moscow bureau chief Charles Clover, had extensive conversations with Dugin and still failed to crack the enigma.)
WILLIAM SALETAN: The Most Damning Part of the Meadows Texts.
We’ve known for a long time, based on audits, investigations, and court reviews, that Donald Trump’s allegations about massive fraud in the 2020 presidential election are false. We also know, based on firsthand accounts from Trump’s former aides, attorneys, and political allies, that Trump’s advisers repeatedly told him the allegations were false. That leaves two possibilities: Either Trump is lying, or he’s trying to overthrow the government based on an impenetrable delusion. Take your pick.
Now we’re compiling similar evidence against Mark Meadows, who was Trump’s chief of staff during the election. He, too, knew Trump’s accusations were false. And instead of telling the truth, Meadows helped spread the lies.
The latest evidence comes from a batch of more than 2,000 text messages, revealed by CNN that were sent to or from Meadows between November 3, 2020, and January 20, 2021. Three of the exchanges are particularly instructive: one in early November of that year, another in late November, and a third in early December.
You guys are awesome. As of the time of this writing, Bulwark readers have raised $66,000+ for World Central Kitchen. I always have scruples asking people who pay us to consider donating or subscribing to something else. But we only suggest it if it’s important, and I think you all get that. But your generosity seemingly knows no bounds. From the bottom of our hearts: Thank you. Imagine how many people $66,000 can feed. It’s a lot.
A crazy house race in Oregon. A rich crypto guy! A pandemic planner! And a bunch of angry democrats! Dave Weigel reports.
Why does anyone have tariffs on Ukraine’s products right now? Look, I’m a free trader and I see very little utility in tariffs in general, but why is Biden keeping Trump-era tariffs on Ukraine? We, and the EU, should cut tariffs straight to zero. Sure, they’re not going to be exporting a lot of, say, steel, in the near future, but as we should make Russia repay the damage, assuming Ukraine escapes, we can help by not charging them tariffs.
Good for J.R. Smith… The former Cavalier and 2x NBA champ has gone back to college, and is now a collegiate golfer with a 4.0! A story that will make you smile. I hope he goes pro.
Michael Luttig: The Republican blueprint to steal the 2024 election.
The three rings of sedition… Jon Stoeher writes about Jamie Raskin, who says: “I want people to pay attention to what's going on here, because it's as close to fascism as I ever want my country to come to.”
Maddox comes out of the woodwork… To be the good guy? The longtime internet content creator known for his work making fun of kids’ artwork comes after Elon Musk and Tim Pool for misrepresenting a Twitter employee.
The sad decline of Liz Harrington. I can’t imagine this is a fulfilling job, if she believes what she’s saying. But shilling for that former guy has never been really a rewarding job. Ask Sean Spicer. Or Sarah Sanders. Or Kayleigh McEnanay. Or Stephanie Grisham. Unlike preceding administrations, it’s not a road to getting a well paying job at a big corporation, rather a slot on the meat and potatoes conspiracy speaking circuit. Hope she is happy.
Meanwhile, in California…
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