Uninstalling Stephen Miller

How one man’s mastery of the dark bureaucratic arts made life a living hell for immigrants and refugees.

Leading The Bulwark…

Uninstalling Stephen Miller

SAM PEAK AND JONATHAN HAGGERTY: How one man’s mastery of the dark bureaucratic arts made life a living hell for immigrants and refugees.

🎧 On the Pods… 🎧

Tim Alberta on the Fear That Binds Us

On today’s Bulwark podcast, Tim Alberta joins Charlie Sykes to discuss his recent item about the 2020 election, and how Americans have “very little in common except our fear of each other.”

James Emanuel Shapiro on the Epic WB/HBO Max Brouhaha

On this week’s episode, James Emanuel Shapiro, the COO of Drafthouse Films who started the analytics department at the Alamo Drafthouse and also works as a distribution consultant, talks with Sonny about the epic, amazing, spectacular, disastrous mess that is the decision made by Warner Bros. to release their whole 2021 slate on HBO Max and in theaters simultaneously.

Bulwark+ Content (Unlocked!)

THE TRIAD: Where Is the President of the United States?

JONATHAN V. LAST: Donald Trump is AWOL. And his disgrace is hiding in plain sight.

MORNING SHOTS: Can We Quit Trump?

CHARLIE SYKES: How powerful is a defeated ex-president?

From The Bulwark Aggregator…

In Today’s Bulwark….

Beethoven at 250: Four Masterpieces to Celebrate the Big Day

DANIEL LELCHUK: From mysterious to manic, a small tour of the great composer’s works.

Inside the Epically Murky ‘Epoch Times’ Ad Campaign

TIM MILLER: The full extent of the publication’s pro-Trump YouTube adgasm is hidden from view.

Too Much Democracy Is Killing Democracy

DALIBOR ROHAC: Highly differentiated parties and massive voter mobilization might not be as good for democracy as was once thought.


Reach out and touch someone… Two years ago this month, I along with half of the people on our masthead were fired from our jobs. The end of The Weekly Standard resulted in this site you’re reading today.

It was a very depressing Christmas.

We all loved our jobs, and were sad to lose them, and to see a beloved magazine snuffed from existence by some jerks who wanted to cut us up for parts to prop up a magazine that was friendlier to Trump. I was sitting in my office, knowing my fate, a few days before we were fired, when my phone rang on my desk. It was an unrecognized number. The guy calling was elated that reports had surfaced we were all going to get fired, saying he used our magazine in his dog’s crate to piss on.

I had a few questions. One: Dogs should not be peeing in their crates, do you hate your dog? Two: Why do you pay for something you don’t like? And three: magazine newsprint is not really absorbent, so see #1.

I’m used to getting hateful phone calls, that’s what you deal with on Capitol Hill a lot of the time, so I am good at keeping people on the line. It’s like a rodeo of politeness. I consider it a pyrrhic victory if they hang up before you do. I think that suggesting he was mistreating his dog (spoiler: he was lying about getting our magazine) got him to stay on.

At the end of our call, we talked through our differences and he apologized for calling to be a gloater, and wished us well in whatever comes next. I highly doubt he reads The Bulwark. I knew his well wishes were genuine.

Earlier today, I got such an email. It read:

Fuck off, treasonous maggots.

Now, we don’t buy email lists, we don’t rent or sell ours, so if somebody feels so strongly about this, they consciously signed up for our site (knowing what we’re offering) just to get our emails and make a point. Other people, less original, do this and then write back UNSUBSCRIBE.

Of course, we honor all of these requests, even though every email (including this one!) has an unsubscribe button. The reason people do this is because they want their dissatisfaction to be heard, even if they don’t express the why. It’s not because they’re lazy, it’s because they’re crying out to be heard.

Some cries are louder than others.

Most of the time, I just go into our Content Management System and remove them. Sometimes, I write back saying not everyone monitors their reply boxes like we do, so, in the future, it’s almost always quicker to do it yourself, rather than asking somebody there to do it for you.

But other times? I seek people out. And I call them, on the phone. It’s not hard. And I’m good at even the difficult cases. Let’s call this guy John, because that’s his name, and let’s say he’s from a rural, sparsely populated state. I called him about 10 minutes after his email, and suffice to say, he was very surprised.

The reason I do this from time to time starts with amusement. “How did you get this number?” We don’t have your phone numbers, by the way, but it’s to convince people not that our politics are genuine (they are!), but that we’re people. And you have to treat other humans like they’re humans. So much of our discourse nowadays is about dehumanizing people, and a lot of the time, people don’t think anyone is listening. And we are.

John grew up north of St. Louis, and was a Marine who trained at Quantico, which is about two miles from my house. We talked for 20 minutes and had a very nice conversation, in which, without asking, he apologized for calling us “treasonous maggots.”

The reason I bring this up is because it’s the holidays. And if you read our site, or are a member of Bulwark+, I’m guessing there are pretty good odds there are people in your life… Friends, family, co-workers, who think you are a treasonous maggot. I know I am not perfect in how I treat others, especially on Twitter Dot Com, but I never dehumanize people. Nobody should. And we owe it to ourselves to try and convince our friends who act this way not that we are right, but that we should treat others how we’d like to be treated.

John said if he were ever out this way, he’d like to have a beer with me. And I would take him up on that, and he has my number.

Speaking of having a beer… We’re going to be spreading the holiday cheer tonight on our Bulwark+ livestream. It’s going to be gangbusters. I joked yesterday that Charlie was going to be going as Santa, but that’s not going to happen, though he is the only one on these things who has worn a disguise. But he’s also the only silver fox we have who is a Christian, so by default, Charlie has to be Santa. (Can you imagine if it was me, JVL, Tim, Sonny, or Ben Parker?) If you’re a member, the info is at the top of this message. I’ll also send it out an hour before starting time, which is 8 pm ET, so look for it around 7. Can’t make it? Don’t worry, we’ll have an archive that will be posted on the page with the info shortly after the event.

Hope to see you there. Ohio State fans will appreciate my ugly sweater.

Not a member? There’s still time to treat yourself:

It’s here… The annual hater’s guide to the Williams Sonoma catalogue. One of the best features you get every December.

On the jukebox… The United State of Pop 2020.

“I don’t really like all this politics stuff. It just makes people crazy," That’s what a Trump supporter told the New Yorker’s Charles Bethea… Shortly after he threatened him.

Get ready for the Mar-A-Lago shadow presidency… It’s coming. And there’s nothing we can do to stop it:

There's no chance Donald Trump will simply walk away. He can't physically bring himself to do it. A shadow presidency, therefore, will allow him to continue play-acting as a wrongfully deposed leader, forced by a "rigged election" to flee to Florida, where he'll continue to lament how unfairly he's been treated. He'll sign fake executive orders condemning actions by the Biden White House. He'll hold press conferences, rallies and maybe even State of the Union addresses — cut-rate imitations of all the things he'd normally do as president. 

What’s next for #NeverTrump… Will Saletan has three ideas that should be a main focus:

Larry Hogan, dunking on the commenters. You love to see it:

Hogan was announcing a partnership with the province of Ontario to strengthen ties.

Beers on the floor. Joe Cunningham (D-SC) lost his seat this fall, and in his farewell address, he cracked a beer and poured one out for his homies.

Nearly 20 years ago I went to parliament on Spring Break in the UK, and a friend of mine who worked there took us to the staff and members only bar. Congress has no such thing: it’s BYOB. (Though they used to have smoking rooms, but those were phased out in 2007.)

That’s it for me for now. I’ll see you in a few hours on our livestream. Please make sure to drop comments and thoughts in the comment section!

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