These 4 Ballot Initiatives Might Tell the Future
Plus, Russian Infighting Could Be Just What Ukraine Needs.
Recently at The Bulwark:
CHARLIE SYKES: Dark Scenario Rising
BGTH: The Past, Present, and Future of the Romcom
You can support The Bulwark by subscribing to Bulwark+ or just by sharing this newsletter with someone you think would value it.
DANIEL MCGRAW: These Four Ballot Initiatives Might Tell the Future.
The national political environment for the midterms will be driven by a number of obvious factors—inflation, gas prices—but at the state-level, the environments may be determined by a factor getting relatively little attention: ballot initiatives.
Of the nearly 130 ballot measures in states this November, there are four that stand out as having importance on which direction the country is heading.
In no particular order, they are an abortion vote in Kentucky, ranked-choice voting change in Nevada, stricter voter ID regs in Arizona, and marijuana legalization in Arkansas.
Was John Fetterman’s debate performance a fatal error — or will it inspire voters with empathy and admiration? And did the Jan 6 committee hearings actually change people’s minds? Karen Tumulty joins Charlie Sykes today.
Eric and Eliot welcome Duke University professor, Peter Feaver, to discuss the state of civil-military relations, the recent statement on the subject by former Chairmen of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and Secretaries of Defense, the damage done to civil-military relations under Trump, and how to repair the damage.
Bulwark+ members can listen to an ad-free version of these podcasts on the player of their choice. Learn more at Bulwark+ Podcast FAQ.
Commenting on the controversy surrounding former RT director and host Anton Krasovsky, suspended for an overly vicious anti-Ukrainian tirade on a show last week, expatriate Russian satirist Viktor Shenderovich remarked that Krasovsky had “found himself in the position of the man who gets fired from the Gestapo for brutality.” Indeed, while Krasovsky’s musings on murdering Ukrainian children were unusually vile even for present-day Russian television, they differ only in degree from what currently passes for normal in the Kremlin-controlled media. What’s more, it’s fairly clear that the incendiary comments were not treated as out of line by Krasovsky’s colleagues or superiors until they were publicized in the West and caused an outcry.
Ultimately, this repulsive episode provides a rather dramatic “Where the Nazis are” moment amidst the frequent talk of “Ukrainian Nazis” coming from the Kremlin propaganda machine and from Kremlin-friendly Western pundits.
DAVID J. KRAMER: Russian Infighting Could Be Just What Ukraine Needs.
At a time when criticism inside Russia of that country’s “special military operation” against Ukraine—a euphemism for its unprovoked invasion of its neighbor—can often lead to arrest and prosecution, even long prison sentences, two people stand out for their harsh assessments of the military’s performance: Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov and the head of the Wagner mercenary outfit, Yevgeniy Prigozhin.
Kadyrov and Prigozhin’s criticism of the Russian military likely has more to do with palace intrigue in Moscow than with the situation in Ukraine. Kadyrov and Prigozhin are close enough to Putin that they haven’t faced any consequences criticizing—even insulting—the Russian Ministry of Defense and its leaders. One of the ways that Russian President Vladimir Putin preserves his power is by keeping various factions at odds with each other and refereeing the political infighting. Constant bureaucratic (and sometimes actual) combat among the Kremlin’s many towers may help Putin keep his hold on power, but it could cost him in Ukraine. Russian infighting could be exactly the opportunity Ukraine needs.
As we wait for baseball… If the Astros win, “Mattress Mack” could get a big payday.
An interesting twist in the Rubio volunteer story… Turns out he didn’t tell the police it was politically motivated.
James Bennet was right… About that Tom Cotton op-ed and the hollow uproar that followed.
The Saint Louis school shooting… Thankfully was not as bad as the shooter intended. But now details are emerging about the gun. A few questions: How does a 19 year old afford all of that? And two, the family raised concerns and had the gun removed because the shooter had mental health issues. Time to talk about strengthening red flag laws. We need them.
That’s it for me. Tech support questions? Email firstname.lastname@example.org. Questions for me? Respond to this message.
Editorial photos provided by Getty Images. For full credits, please consult the article.