Recently in The Bulwark:
CHARLIE SYKES: Numbed America
JOE PERTICONE: From Keyboard to Canvas: Meet the Political Reporter Who Paints Washington.
JUST BETWEEN US: The GOP is Trapped. 🔐
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DANIEL MCGRAW: Too Tired of Trump.
Three years ago, in the thick of the 2020 presidential campaign, I argued that “the craziness is exhausting people”—that many of the voters who put Trump in office in 2016 were tiring of his shtick. I saw this in the polls, and heard it from the old coots who loved him for giving voice to their grievances, from the underemployed high-school-educated rural residents who think city people get more than them, and from suburbanites who think the government takes too much of their money.
Now, as the 2024 campaign cranks into motion, with Trump hoping for a comeback even while in legal peril, I get the sense again that these people are exhausted. You hear little excitement about Trump’s candidacy when you hang around in bars and coffee shops and parks, talking to a whole host of different types of people in critical rural, suburban, and former industrial parts of Pennsylvania (think Erie or Beaver Falls), Michigan (think of Oakland and Macomb Counties), and Wisconsin (think of Racine or Kenosha).
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MONA CHAREN: Is Clarence Thomas Crooked?
The journalists at ProPublica are proud of their scoop about Justice Clarence Thomas accepting scads of luxury gifts over the years from a billionaire pal, Harlan Crow. Many who never liked Thomas’s jurisprudence are piling on and declaring a four-alarm fire. Writing in the American Prospect, Max Moran intones that Thomas has “broken the law, knowingly and repeatedly, for two decades” and thus must face impeachment and removal from the bench. A representative of Accountable.US told the Guardian that “this is an unprecedented story of corruption at the highest levels, and those involved must be held accountable.” Court watcher Dahlia Lithwick and her Slate colleague Mark Joseph Stern argue that Justice Thomas violated the law “and it isn’t particularly close,” while the always measured and sober Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez called for impeachment to save the reputation of the Court, which she asserts, has become known for “rank corruption, erosion of democracy and the stripping of human rights.”
On the other side, those who approve of Thomas’s rulings, like the Wall Street Journal editorial board, mock the ProPublica reporting as so much argle bargle (to borrow a favorite phrase of the late Justice Antonin Scalia).
PHILIP ROTNER: Sorry Doubters, But Bragg Was Right to Indict Trump.
It’s easy to understand the public angst about Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s indictment of Donald Trump.
To many, including some who are not Trump supporters, the case looks “thin” or “weak,” especially when compared to the weightier claims brewing within the Department of Justice investigations, now headed by Special Counsel Jack Smith, of the Mar-a-Lago documents and Trump’s attempts to overturn the results of the presidential election, and the Georgia investigation of Trump’s attempted interference with the election in that state.
Nearly all of the skepticism over the Manhattan indictment issued last week boils down to one of two core complaints: either (1) the case shouldn’t have been brought at all, or (2) it shouldn’t have been brought first.
Happy Tuesday! And happy launch day to Substack’s “Notes” platform. A bunch of us are on it, and we hope you’ll kick the tires and say hello to us and other Bulwark+ team members. You can follow me here.
Capitol Hill life… Even as a lowly staffer I had better digs than this, though not by much. I don’t even think photos exist of my living arrangements in the early aughts in the pre-smartphone era. It was nice to be back in D.C. today at our office with a few colleagues. I checked to see if our booth still exists at Post Pub, stopped by the U.S. Mint HQ store, and renewed my library card at the DCPL. I’ll be in town next week covering for Joe Perticone, taking over his great Press Pass. Ideas welcome!
Speaking of libraries… This rural Texas community’s elected leaders are considering eliminating theirs. Guess why.
…and in Missouri… Republicans vote to remove state funding for libraries in their new budget.
Things I missed today in D.C.: The DuPont Circle fountain is back in action!
Midwest Conventions 2024! The Democrats are apparently headed to Chicago for the 2024 convention. Having attended the last few, it’ll be nice to get back to our normal political circuses after the pandemic. And it won’t be a far drive from Wisconsin, where the Republicans will be holding theirs.
"That's not gonna happen, and you know it's not gonna happen," Said a judge sentencing a January 6 insurrectionist who hit cops in the head with a fire extinguisher whose lawyers sought merely a year in prison. He worked with a cult deprogrammer (a good start!) but got 52 months in prison. Good.
How’s DeSantisU working out? Apparently not so well? Per Wonkette, the college is offering $10,000 scholarships for people to transfer to the “Hillsdale of the South.”
Roth and Roth… A cardboard cut out’s journey.
International Foundation for Electoral Systems’s January 6 problem… Turns out making Kenneth Blackwell your co-chair might have been a bad idea.
Is the Bible… Porn? One parent, arguing against book bans, has asked for it to be reviewed.
Forget smartwatches… This $15 Casio is just what you need to unplug. (It’s probably one of my favorite models of all time.)
When will we hear from Fulton County? An interesting thread from Lawfare’s Anna Bower.
Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg sues Jim Jordan… Will that gambit work?
You can cry from laughter, too… Donald Trump claims that courthouse workers were crying and apologizing during his arraignment.
The NY Post loves giving Budweiser free advertising…. 20 articles about a single video that’s less than a minute? Talk about a steal! But as Ben Collins observes: “If you think you have a regular job immune to the culture war bullshit machine, you... do not.”
The 💩 emoji, a legal history… As it is used more frequently, judges have to be trained on it. Seriously.
Glory to Ukraine! UK soldiers salute Ukrainian troops as they depart for the front lines from their training there.
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