The Top 10 Worst Trump-Enabling Takes of 2020

As we bid a not-so-fond farewell to 2020, here’s a look back at some of the political lowlights.

Leading The Bulwark…

The Top 10 Worst Trump-Enabling Takes of 2020

AMANDA CARPENTER: As we bid a not-so-fond farewell to 2020, here’s a look back at some of the political lowlights.

🎧 On the Pods… 🎧

David French: The Dangerous Radicalism of the Christian Right

On today's Bulwark Podcast, David French joins Charlie Sykes to discuss radicalism, Christianity, and the right.

GOP Crack-Up

Charles Lane joins this week to discuss how Biden is doing. Is GOP terminally Trumpy? A look at the Georgia run-off. Plus, is huge gov’t debt actually ok?

For Bulwark+ Members… 🔐

THE TRIAD: Welcome to the Desert of the Real

JONATHAN V. LAST: The new cleavage in American politics isn't left-right. It's reality-unreality.

MORNING SHOTS: Trump Has Been a Superspreader Event

CHARLIE SYKES: Have we lost our capacity for outrage?


Sarah and JVL have a Christmas tradition throw-down.

LIVESTREAM: Holiday Special Livestream

I was the only one who wore an ugly sweater.

If you’re not already a member of Bulwark+, you can rectify that and catch up!

From The Bulwark Aggregator…

In Today’s Bulwark…

Has the European Central Bank Been Handing Out Illegal Bailouts?

DESMOND LACHMAN: The German Constitutional Court might think so, and it might be right—and that would spell trouble.

MAGA Mutiny in the GOP

SHAY KHATIRI: The Trumpists and white nationalists have declared war on the institutional GOP. Can they all lose?

Trump’s Last Stand

PHILIP ROTNER: No, Congress doesn’t have the final say in the election.

China Can’t Save Hollywood’s Box Office Bacon

SONNY BUNCH: “If Mulan doesn’t work in China, we have a problem,” Disney Chairman Alan Horn said in 2019. Well, Burbank? We have a problem.


Thanks to the few thousand of you who joined in last night on our livestream. I had a bunch of fun, even if I was the only person who wore an ugly sweater to get into the spirit of the season. (Bah humbug!)

Truthbetold, I don’t care for the commercialization of the holiday. And not just because I worked at a college bar where Mariah Carey blasting on repeat from the jukebox is enough to make a sober bouncer consider atheism.

Most Christmas music is bad. If you’re a moderately successful musician, make a Christmas album, and radio stations will play enough of your music for a modest royalty, because filling 44,640 minutes of air of nonstop Christmas music in a month requires a lot of duds. You can only play “the hits” so many times a day.

A few years ago, I even made a special collection of some of the worst songs on Amazon Music. Outside of Mariah Carey, the worst contender for me is Dominick The Donkey by Lou Monte.

Look at the lyrics if you’ve never heard the song:

Hey, chingedy ching, hee haw, hee haw
It's Dominick, the donkey
Chingedy ching, hee haw, hee haw
The Italian Christmas donkey
La, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la
La, la, la, la, la, la, ladioda

Maybe this song holds some special affinity in the Italian-American community, I wouldn’t know, as Swift is not an Italian surname, but if you ever want to clear out a bar at 3 AM when it closes quickly, this is one of those songs.

What is the Club for Growth doing? In Georgia, a reader sends this:

Yes, because when I think about GOP voters, I think “this is a demographic that really cares what ‘university professors’ are doing.” These sorts of scare tactics are not totally new, but they’re being utilized more and more by right wing direct mailers. Perhaps they did a focus group where they found that people on the right really want to stick it to those professors?

It’s been a long while since I worked on a campaign, but I suspect that the creepier your messaging gets, the less effective it is. As somebody who has looked up voter lists, this is not a thing ordinary people do.

The reader who sent this has gotten three of these from C4G in recent days, including other ones that that said:


Mr. Lebowski asked me to repeat that: her life is in your hands.

Larry Hogan is all out of f’s to give. I thought what I saw yesterday was a one off. Nope. Larry Hogan / his staff spent the afternoon pushing back against trolls. Before he became a Trump lackey, I always respected that about Chris Christie. People have this (incorrect) notion that since they pay taxes, their politicians have to suck up to them, even when they’re being stupid.

They are wrong. And it’s rare when somebody who holds office does that. So, in my book, good for Hogan.

A 1,000 letters to Santa. A few days ago, I posted a link highlighting the USPS’s very worthy Santa operation. At Defector, Leland Nally read through 1,000 of these letters, and the results might make you want to cry. Please consider adopting a letter.

Pray for the nuns of Notre Dame of Elk Grove. Just such a sad read. While two of my wife’s cousins are women of the cloth, I think back to the nuns who were influential in my life growing up, and worrying this could be them. And I know they probably were just as big of a part of thousands of peoples’ lives as the nuns who taught at my grade school were to me. RIP.

Saints, Sinners, and the Limits of Public Policy… Writing at the Ordinary Times, Will Truman observes:

I think the best way to look at Covid in the US is primarily as a regional matter. Our national numbers go up or down mostly depending on outbreaks occurring at various places even while other places are often holding steady or improving. The fact that the southern states got hit so hard over the summer sure does seem related to the warmer weather driving people indoors4 and it does look like colder weather is doing the same in the north. Not universally, but somewhat.

What’s noteworthy, though, is that two of the countries often cited as having the best response had responses decentralized like ours (although also not like ours). There is a case to be made that the provinces of Canada and the landers of Germany acted with better support from their national government than what our states had, but it’s not the case responses must be national in nature.

Rep. Crenshaw, call your office… Following an escort on Twitter and blaming it on a hack? Yikes.

Former top Postal Service official testifies Mnuchin and White House were involved in slowing mail. Is this bad?

Kushner OK’d Trump Campaign Shell Company That Secretly Paid Inner Circle: Report. THE. BEST! IS. YET! TO. COME!

Life comes at you fast…

How a QAnon-Backing Hormone Doctor Financed 2020’s Craziest, Scariest Election Conspiracy… A must-read from The Daily Beast’s Will Sommer.

This likely won’t work, but points for trying… Twitter is trying to show people who are about to shitpost what they have in common with the person they’re targeting in an effort to reduce trolling.

"It's human nature to feel wary when replying to someone you don't know," Christine Su, senior product manager for conversations at Twitter, explained in an emailed statement. "In the heat of the moment, people can forget there's another human behind a Twitter account. By showing what we have in common, we hope to remind people of what connects us as a starting point."

I applaud the effort, but people who are behind a keyboard often fail to humanize their target. (Thus, yesterday’s newsletter.) Happy to be wrong if this makes a difference, but I’ve seen enough people tweeting at our friend Jonah Goldberg about his avatar and mocking his dead dog to know that, well, people can be awful.

Your final read of the day… Comes from my friend Ben Dreyfuss at Mother Jones, who recently set up a personal newsletter. It’s about what life is like with one working eye.

He’s such a talented writer, I don’t want to spoil any of it for you. Read the whole thing, as they say.

That’s it for me for today, everyone. Have a great weekend, and we’ll see you back on Monday.

Remember, you can always sign up for Bulwark+ and see my ugly Ohio State Christmas sweater from last night’s livestream.

And, if you’d like to give a holiday gift of Bulwark+ to a friend or love one…

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