Virtually Normal

Mona Charen on the morning after the election.


Elections are about learning lessons. Rarely is it the case that an issue is temporary, though that can indeed happen. What happened in Virginia was a little bit of both.

Republicans have elevated CRT to the forefront of nationalizing their message on schools (which they have long thought should be controlled at the state and local, except for No Child Left Behind), and then there was the McAuliffe gaffe and the alleged sexual assault in Loudoun county in a public school bathroom.

Here at The Bulwark, we’ve covered each of those things with a warning: Republicans are good at turning these things into weapons. Of course, like nearly all weapons, there’s a chance you can get killed—literally or politically—with your own weapon. Add to that, Terry McAuliffe’s gaffes, literally handing free points to Glenn Youngkin, and his botched attempts at damage control… And here we are.

I won’t even pretend to understand New Jersey. I’ll leave that to the Jersey natives here. But when your Senate Majority leader is losing to a guy who spent $200 on his campaign and made COVID/holocaust comparisons… You’re gonna have a bad night.

Republicans may later regret what they’ve done, but if last night is any indication, they are not likely to learn this lessons soon.

But the most important lesson is: new blood. Coming from Ohio, I saw it with the state’s democrats who ran Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald… who spent (checks notes) three years with the FBI, and didn’t have a driver’s license for 10 years, but had a county government-provided car.

Sometimes you have to look at your bench and determine it’s not enough. And in the case of McAuliffe and Herring, perhaps they should have. Read my piece below for more.

Leading The Bulwark…

Virtually Normal

MONA CHAREN: The morning after the election, the Democratic candidate concedes and wishes his opponent well. The Republicans keep pushing conspiracy theories.

🎧 On the Pods… 🎧

Mona Charen: Swing Voters Swung

Yes, there was a white backlash against Critical Race Theory, but there was also genuine concern about equity trumping excellence in education. Plus, Democrats forgot to speak to the Black and Latino working class. Mona Charen joins Charlie Sykes on today's podcast.


Sarah, Tim, and JVL have a Very Special Post-Election Episode.

For Bulwark+ Members… 🔐

MORNING SHOTS: Why Can't You Beat These Guys? 🔓

CHARLIE SYKES on last night’s elections and 5 remarkable election results.

THE TRIAD: The Republican "Post-Trump" Future Is Fool's Gold 🔐

JVL on why they just can't quit him . . .

TNB: VA Election Night Bulwark Podcast 🔐

Join Tim Miller, Mona Charen, Sarah Longwell, and JVL as they watched the returns in Virginia and what it might mean going forward.

From The Bulwark Aggregator…

In Today’s Bulwark...

Why Are We So Awful to Each Other?

MONA CHAREN: Social media are to the country what a blocked sewer line is to my basement.

Virginia Results: Giving Up on Rural America Is Proving a Nightmare for Democrats

TIM MILLER: Margins matter.

How McAuliffe Lost Virginia

JIM SWIFT: An uninspiring candidate with no big ideas and terrible messaging.


Just a reminder: Since we had TNB on Tuesday, there won’t be one on Thursday.

Why would you want to live in the Middle Ages? As we hear news of Green Bay Packers QB Aaron Rodgers’s positive COVID status, and his bizarre comments about his vaccination status, I’m interested in this quote from his significant other, actress Shailene Woodley:

“I think everything about my lifestyle is fairly alternative. I gather my own spring water from mountains every month. I go to a farm to get my food. I make everything from my own toothpaste to my own body lotions and face oils,” she laughs at the long list. “I could go on for hours. I make my own medicines; I don’t get those from doctors. I make my own cheese and forage wild foods and identify wild plants. It’s an entire lifestyle. It’s appealing to my soul.”

Before I got married, I made my own beer as a hobby. It was fun for a few times, but it is a laborious hobby. Making your own toothpaste, body lotions, face oils, cheese? Yikes.

Perhaps the NFL should implement a vaccine double check. (YSWIDT?)

Where are the Dems headed? Good analysis here.

Your daily moment of Zen. This parody will have you rolling.

The importance of legislating or governing the right way. Cutting corners has consequences! From the Texas Tribune:

Charges have been dropped against 11 migrants arrested under Gov. Greg Abbott’s border security initiative after the men told attorneys they were marched for about 20 minutes to a fenced ranch by law enforcement, then arrested for trespassing.

Without video evidence or a written report of the August incident from U.S. Border Patrol, Val Verde County Attorney David Martinez dismissed the trespassing charges Monday after the men had spent nearly two months in state prison.

The men had fled on foot after a highway traffic stop by Border Patrol agents, according to an arrest affidavit. The migrants later told attorneys that when found near the highway, officers made the migrants walk for about 20 minutes and climb, hands zip-tied, over a nearly 10-foot fence onto a ranch before they were arrested for trespassing by state troopers.

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.