The Failed Game Plan for Overthrowing the 2020 Vote

Philip Rotner on the John Eastman memo.


Trying something new, I’d like to bring you a short essay before you get to what you may have missed in today’s Bulwark.

When I was a sophomore in high school, I was mugged by a couple of kids a few years older than me in a failed attempt at robbery on the public train coming home from high school. A few weeks later, the Cleveland transit police, with my help, caught them in a sting operation. Some went to jail, others got probation. It was my college essay about my belief in the rule of law.

Of course, I remember the names of my assailants. I had to testify against them in court. I had to refute allegations that the attempted robbery happened because I made racist remarks (I didn’t.) It was very formative.

But as I grew older, I always wondered what happened to my assailants. Some stayed in the criminal world, others got out and had families. For lack of a better term, I stalked them on Facebook and Google because I was curious what happened to them.

This is because I’ve long thought a lot about forgiveness and recidivism. I doubt the guys who mugged me read my newsletter, or have even Googled me like I have them. But in reading Michael Carter’s story at Bon Apetit, I thought of them today and hope they’re living happy and fulfilling lives.

Carter offers a good look at what it’s like and how once you’re out, you can leverage the tides that are indeed stacked against you as an ex-convict.

People deserve a second chance.

Leading The Bulwark…

The Failed Game Plan for Overthrowing the 2020 Vote

PHILIP ROTNER: The basis of John Eastman’s memo: Get Pence to lie, then count on the GOP to be Trump trucklers.

🎧 On the Pods… 🎧


THE FOCUS GROUP: Political Unicorns

Amy Walter, editor and publisher of the Cook Political Report, joins our publsiher Sarah Longwell for a focus group with the most coveted portion of the American electorate -- swing state voters who switched from Trump in 2016 to Biden in 2020. 

Subscribe to The Focus Group

Geoff Duncan on GOP 2.0

On today's podcast, Geoff Duncan, the lieutenant governor of Georgia joins host Charlie Sykes to discuss the Big Lie about the 2020 election, and his new book about the future of the GOP.  

ATMA BONUS: Why Shouldn't Activists Have to Compete?

Plus: 'Cry Macho' reviewed!

For Bulwark+ Members… 🔐

MORNING SHOTS: How Trump Planned to Overthrow the Election 🔐

CHARLIE SYKES has some news.

THE TRIAD: Evergrande and China's Rule by Law 🔐

JVL: It's all about control.

ATMA BONUS: Clint Eastwood: Avatar of the American Man 🔐

On this special bonus episode, Sonny, Alyssa, and Peter discuss their favorite Clint Eastwood movies. How did The Man With No Name involve into one of the few men in America who can both revel in, and deconstruct, stereotypical ideals of American masculinity?

From The Bulwark Aggregator…

In Today’s Bulwark...

Did the War on Terror Result in Trumpism?

GABRIEL SCHOENFELD: Spencer Ackerman’s oversimplified account of the last two decades.

Three Myths About Viktor Orbán and His Remaking of Hungary

H. DAVID BAER: Even commentators who claim to be familiar with Hungary get some big things wrong.

Democrats Should Welcome Those Fleeing Political Violence

LIAM KERR: On Anthony Gonzalez in northeast Ohio.


The Eastman memo was poor lawyering… Our friend Jonathan Adler at Reason.

A good movie with dogs…

Kyrsten Sinema… Senator and intern?

Who knows where a rusty bridge might take you? Especially in St. Louis.

Working at a crematory during COVID-19. Some people can’t do this anymore.

That’s it for me for today. We’ll see you back here tomorrow. Tech support questions? Email Questions for me? Drop me a line:


Editorial photos provided by Getty Images. For full credits, please consult the article.