A Tale of Three Possible Outcomes

Bill Kristol breaks down the election, a week out.

Leading The Bulwark…

A Tale of Three Possible Outcomes

Bill Kristol: “Of course, history doesn’t repeat itself. It doesn’t even rhyme. And election consequences don’t move in a straight line from size of victory to impact on our politics. But it does seem likely that next week not just the fact of victory, but the margin of victory, will matter.”

🎧On the Pods…🎧

On today's Bulwark Podcast, Amanda Carpenter joins Charlie Sykes to discuss the last days of the 2020 election, the confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett, Brett Kavanaugh's Wisconsin opinion, and the future of the Senate and the GOP.


Give in to the hate, young Jedi.

On today’s Secret Podcast, Sarah and JVL break down the ludicrous posturing of Peggy Noonan, Rich Lowry endorsing the Middle Finger Strategy, and Olivia Nuzzi’s item on an anonymous Trump enabler.

Remember, you can only listen to the secret podcast if you’re a member of Bulwark+! Join today if you haven’t:

From The Bulwark Aggregator…

Get Ready to Nerd Out…

Our friend and former colleague David Byler, currently at The Washington Post is going to join JVL and others on Thursday to talk about the polls.

If you haven’t heard David before, he’s been on our podcast a few times and you will, and I promise you this, learn something new. I always learn something new when I talk to David “Data” Byler. You will, too.

Join up if you haven’t, and we’ll send you the Zoom link a little before. If you miss it, we’ll post the video for members when it’s over.

In Today’s Bulwark…

Who Wants to Give Italy a Free Loan?

Desmond Lachman: With global financial markets awash in cheap credit, Italy is issuing zero-interest bonds and hoping that it can somehow avoid fiscal calamity.

Trump as a Champion of ‘Bourgeois Values’? Not So Fast.

Ron Radosh: Fred Siegel has long been a sharp critic of liberalism. He should rethink his embrace of the president.

When the QAnon Apocalypse Doesn’t Come

Thomas Lecaque: The aftermath of failed end times.


We’re a week away from the election, and doesn’t that feel crazy? It doesn’t really seem like a week, it seems like an eternity.

One disadvantage of working in politics is that everyone you know who doesn’t will, at some point, ask your opinion. In the days leading up to an election, you tend to hear from a lot of people you don’t frequently chat with. I’m not complaining, mind you. I love talking about politics. It’s quite literally my job.

But I’ve heard from a lot of friends and they’re worried the polls are a mirage. I understand that. I’m once bitten twice shy and tell my friends I can’t offer hope. Here I was a little over five years ago suggesting Trump had no shot at—get this—winning the primary.

I used to do TV then. I had a great Back to the Future analogy, but I was wrong. What I’ve been telling my friends who ask is that I think Joe Biden wins the popular vote by eight points. The electoral college? No idea. But you don’t win by eight points nationally and lose the electoral college. Take that with a grain of salt. I’ve been wrong before.

A fun trivia question. Reader Garrett Smith posted a trivia question that I didn’t know the answer to:

Name the last SCOTUS justice that was (a) nominated by a Democratic president and (b) confirmed by a Republican Senate.

The answer, he says is: “As far as I can tell, was Rufus W. Peckham. If you haven't heard this name before, it's because it happened in 1895.”

There’s a lot to take in right now. We don’t know who will control the Senate in 2021, or whether there will be any vacancies. Much less, who will be President. But one thing’s certain: Mitch McConnell is not going to allow anyone Joe Biden nominates to the high court to be confirmed as long as he is the majority leader. (Despite having voted for RBG!) Bank on that.

Speaking of the election… If you haven’t tuned into Checks & Balances new podcast yet, there’s a great discussion of what the role of the high court might be in this election. Tune in.

Hell, No. Do enjoy Kevin Williamson’s opus on why he won’t be voting for Trump this November. Here’s a taste:

Living in Texas, I’ve never had much reason to think about the possibility of a Democrat’s winning my state in a presidential election — the last time that happened, I was four years old, and Jimmy Carter had successfully hung the disgraced Richard Nixon around the neck of the underappreciated Gerald Ford. Part of the case for Trump was the belief that he “knows how to win,” but as of Monday morning, he was behind Joe Biden in one recent poll, and tied in another, in Texas. That’s a funny kind of winning.

Bring back the Holidome. I never got to experience the Holiday Inn “Holidome” but I really kind of want to.

What are the white nationalists going to do after Trump? At BuzzFeed news, Jane Lytvynenko has some transcripts from the secretive Patriot Front group’s internal chats. Spoiler alert: They’re not going away.

Fun times in Cleveland today! We may lead the nation in drifters, but apparently our grand juries have no time for grifters. Assuming Jacob Wohl and Jack Burkman make it out of that state up north without prison time, they’ll have to go to Cleveland to face the music.

RIP Ed Brown. A mainstay of St. Louis legal billboards, from the trial law firm of Brown & Brown, apparently committed suicide earlier today. Please say a prayer for his soul and for his family.

Burn it all down, continued. Here’s another clip of Ted Cruz’s disastrous interview with Jonathan Swan from Axios.

The Poisonous Legacy of Portsmouth’s Gaseous Diffusion Plant… In my last job in Congress, this was one of those local issues we handled (even though my boss’s district was KY-4) because constituents worked there. It was a nightmare. We’re going to spend probably 20 billion dollars fixing this mistake, and that the government nickel and dimes folks at every turn is a travesty.

I’m very much pro nuclear energy (and weapons) but how Portsmouth has been handled has been a classic case of government malfeasance. It’s horrifying.

Please reach out if you have any questions, comments, or concerns: swift@thebulwark.com. If you haven’t joined yet, we’d love to have you.

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I have to run to dinner and check up on the garbage truck that caught on fire behind my house earlier today. Kind of a metaphor for 2020, isn’t it?