Democratic Donors Are Getting Bamboozled
Plus, Why Trump Says He ‘Just Might Have to’ Run Again.
Recently at The Bulwark:
CHARLIE SYKES: Warning to the West and Greitens Tests The Limits Of The Post-Decency MAGAverse.
You can support The Bulwark by subscribing to Bulwark+ or just by sharing this newsletter with someone you think would value it.
LAUREN HARPER: Democratic Donors Are Getting Bamboozled.
When Marjorie Taylor Greene and Lauren Boebert heckled President Biden during his State of the Union address earlier this month, MTG’s Democratic opponent, Marcus Flowers, went to Twitter to pledge that “on November 8th, I will unseat her.” The tweet, which was promptly followed by an ActBlue link soliciting donations for Flowers’ campaign, went viral across the leftwing Twitterverse. What the hordes of online donors either didn’t know or didn’t care about was the fantastical aspect of Flowers’ tweet: He will not unseat Greene this fall. Sorry.
Every Democrat fantasizes about seeing Marjorie Taylor Greene go down in flames. But the reality is that she won her district by a landslide in 2020 and is on track to do the same in 2022. Trump won in her newly-drawn district with 68.1 percent of the vote in 2020—a bigger vote share than he got in the very red states such as Idaho (63.9 percent), Mississippi (57.6 percent), or Nebraska (58.5 percent).
There is no Democratic pathway to victory in Greene’s district. Even for a high roller like Flowers. This fact has not stopped Democratic donors from giving Flowers more than $4.6 million in 2021 alone (87 percent via small-dollar donations of less than $200). That’s a haul exceeded by only a handful of other campaigns.
AMANDA CARPENTER: Is Ginni Thomas’s Story Believable?
Her story, as well as her election theories, don’t survive even the most basic common-sense tests.
Justice Thomas cannot plausibly plead ignorance of his wife’s Jan. 6th-related activities. Her texts were the subject of a blockbuster Washington Post-CBS story, carried by numerous other outlets such as CNN and the New York Times. Multiple outlets asked the Thomases for comment multiple times. A CNN reporter staked out the couple in their parking garage. Maybe the Thomases talked about it, maybe they didn’t—it’s impossible for outsiders to know what happens inside a marriage—but the notion that Clarence Thomas is unaware of what Ginni was up to? Not plausible.
Second, beyond the text messages revealed last week, many of Ginni’s political activities relating to Jan. 6th were already a matter of public record. Her promotion of election conspiracies was well known; she posted them on her Facebook page. On the morning of Jan. 6th, just hours before the attack on the Capitol, she lavished praise on the Trump rallygoers who wanted to overturn the election. In the weeks after the riot, Ginni apologized to a listserv of her husband’s former clerks because her election-related activities and her “lifetime passions” caused a rift in the close-knit group of Thomas alumni.* Although this was a minor controversy, her husband could reasonably be expected to know about it, since it directly involved his wife and former clerks—and the Washington Post reported on it.
Ben Ginsberg, former legal counsel to the presidential campaigns of George W. Bush and Mitt Romney, joins Sarah to listen to both MAGA voters and swing voters talk about the Big Lie. We cover how MAGA voters think the election was stolen, how swing voters talk to their MAGA family members, and what Ben thinks might be done about all of the mistrust in our elections.
The world’s bloodiest terrorist is angling for concessions in exchange for not killing more Ukrainians civilians, Biden’s real and honest moment was undercut by his own advisers, and Elise Stefanik’s lack of principle is her biggest asset. Will Saletan is back for Charlie and Will Mondays.
Bulwark+ members can listen to an ad-free version of these podcasts on the player of their choice. Learn more at Bulwark+ Podcast FAQ.
WILL SALETAN: Vladimir Putin, Terrorist.
The purpose of Putin’s bombardment in Aleppo wasn’t just to kill people. It was to induce capitulation. At a March 16 hearing, Marc Garlasco, a war crimes investigator who was part of the U.N.’s inquiry in Syria, told a House subcommittee that Russia is doing the same thing in Ukraine. In Syria, he explained, Putin’s and Assad’s forces “trapped the population in urban centers, surrounded them, and starved them out,” in part through “direct targeting of civilians and their foodstuffs [and] medicine.” The onslaught “began with a surrender-or-starve order,” which then escalated to “surrender-or-die.” Garlasco pointed to similar Russian tactics in Mariupol and other Ukrainian cities. “We’ve already seen food warehouses hit,” he testified. “They’re putting the screws [to] the civilian population.”
Initially, Putin’s goal in Ukraine was to topple the government. But as his army bogged down, he switched to the Aleppo strategy, apparently with the aim of extracting concessions. On March 7, Putin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, spelled out Russia’s conditions for ending the war: Ukraine had to “recognize that Crimea is Russian territory,” “recognize that Donetsk and Luhansk are independent states,” and amend Ukraine’s constitution to rule out joining NATO or any other “bloc.” If Ukraine were to make those concessions, said Peskov, the suffering of its people would “stop in a moment.”
DENNIS AFTERGUT: Why Trump Says He ‘Just Might Have to’ Run Again.
Two motivations appear to lead the pack of emotional wolves that maraud Trump’s brain. First, as his niece Mary Trump has said, he owns “the most colossal and fragile ego on the planet.” His frail self-image fears external confirmation that he’s a loser. Restoration would represent redemption.
Second, and likely more important, is his fear of federal prosecution. The presidency brings immunity from it under Justice Department memos. (As Kimberly Wehle has explained, those memos lack legal grounding.) Although Attorney General Merrick Garland has appeared reluctant to prosecute Trump, he remains exposed to federal prosecution on a variety of charges—including charges related to Jan. 6th—absent a return to the White House.
My hands are hurting… Home ownership is great, but maintenance? Not fun! Busy toddler hands, and age, resulted in a leaky faucet. To YouTube I went, and my Home Depot brand faucet needed a new cartridge. But, over time it aged. Parts fused. $8 and a geyser later, we’re all set.
What’s the future of social security? Lawrence Eppard and Kathleen Romig discuss.
A good way to help Ukraine… This weekend, a family member of mine was at an event raising funds for Ukraine led by the Cleveland Maidan Association. Check out their work and consider donating.
Will Hurd and “normal” Republicans. I always think you should read Tim Alberta, who is one of the great profiles of recent years. And his profile of Will Hurd, who is noodling a 2024 run is worth your time. It’d be interesting to see how Hurd positions himself should he run, and whether Bulwark-type Republicans would support him. (I, for one, have concerns, as JVL illustrated here.)
Boebert’s deductions… Raising red flags.
Matt Labash: On our media disease.
Biden’s unforced error on Putin… Tom Nichols weighs in.
The Department of Salad. If you like leafy greens, let Emily Nunn be your sherpa.
Russia is bad at maintenance… A thread.
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.