Support The Bulwark and subscribe today.
  Join Now

It’s the Mickey Mouse Jail House (with Sonny Bunch)

April 19, 2023
Notes
Transcript

Fox settled with Dominion Voting Systems for $787.5 million, at the expense of getting Tucker Carlson and Laura Ingraham to testify publicly. Was this the best or worst case scenario?

Plus, with his stock in the 2024 presidential horse race sinking, Ron DeSantis picks back up his fight with Disney, threatening to build a jail next to Disney World. Anything beats taking on Trump directly, right?

And Democrats are pressuring Sen. Dianne Feinstein to retire as her absence prevent President Biden from confirming judges. Is it time for all these octogenarians to finally give up their seats?

Watch the gang record this episode here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ftyhv2AIoEk

Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

This transcript was generated automatically and may contain errors and omissions. Ironically, the transcription service has particular problems with the word “bulwark,” so you may see it mangled as “Bullard,” “Boulart,” or even “bull word.” Enjoy!
  • Speaker 1
    0:00:00

    Hey, guys. I cannot wait to get back into my Bolen brand sheets in my new house. You should get some of these too. Get fifteen percent off your first order when you use promo code next level. At bolen branch dot com.
  • Speaker 1
    0:00:12

    That’s bolen branch b o l l a n d branch dot com promo code next level.
  • Speaker 2
    0:00:23

    Hello, everyone. Welcome to the next level. I’m JBL here with my best friend. Sarah Longwell. And sitting in for my other best friend, Tim Miller, is my actual very old friend, Sunny Bunch.
  • Speaker 2
    0:00:32

    Before we get started, hit the thumbs up. Hit subscribe. Leave us the five stars on your podcast app and then go to the bulwark dot com and sign up for all of our stuff. Charlie Sykes writes an excellent morning newsletter every single day and it’s great and it’s free. I write a fairly okay mostly math newsletter also every day that is sometimes free and sometimes only for subscribers, but just don’t go giving us money yet.
  • Speaker 2
    0:00:58

    Just go get the free stuff. Have the kit well, you know, we’re like the nice van that pulls up with the interior neighborhood, with the the weird clown saying, here, I have some candy kids.
  • Speaker 3
    0:01:08

    Jeez, there’s an inviting. That’s great. What a comparison.
  • Speaker 4
    0:01:12

    Come get in our crazy kidnapping van folks.
  • Speaker 2
    0:01:15

    Everything’s fine. Guys, we begin with Fox having the surprise settlement announced in its Dominion suit yesterday for I’m gonna mess this up seven hundred eighty seven point five million dollars, which seems like a fair amount. Until you find out that the Fox Corporation has four billion dollars of cash on hand. And of course, they must have LIBOR insurance. And their LIBOR insurance probably will cover some very large portion of this money as well.
  • Speaker 2
    0:01:48

    I would like to know just before I start pushing and prodding and making you all come to the dark side with me. What do you think of this? Sarah Longwell
  • Speaker 3
    0:01:58

    was a little disappointed that they settled because I thought that trial was gonna be good for sunlight. You, like, drop something in a maybe it was the next level where you said, they do know it. The viewers of Fox know about it and they just don’t care. And I said afterwards, I was like, I meant to push back on that because I had just done a focus group a couple weeks ago where we specifically asked a group of two time trial voters. We it had never come up once I was like ask them about Dominion.
  • Speaker 3
    0:02:23

    And so the moderator asks about Dominion and they all just stared at us. Like, the blank stares you get when you ask about something that is a big national news story, but that Republican voters have never heard about because they watch Fox News and Fox News was not talking about it. They were however, you know, they understood that the Tucker got in his hands on some good January six footage that showed the whole thing was a scam. So, like, what I wanted from the trial is the same thing that we got with the January sixth Committee, which is when it’s a big enough news story that Republicans feel they need to push back and they go on Fox News to push back which allows the story to penetrate the psychies of the viewers. Right?
  • Speaker 3
    0:03:05

    And like we needed that and we aren’t gonna get that. And so as a result, I think it’s a big disappointment for, like, them actually finding out that they were being lied to and sort of pushing back on the idea that the election was stolen in general.
  • Speaker 2
    0:03:18

    I would like to push back on your pushback. Yes, please. I do not go to concerts anymore. I like Taylor Swift Fine, but I do not seek out her music. I am very much aware that Taylor Swift had a real big problem with Ticketmaster over her latest tour.
  • Speaker 2
    0:03:33

    In the initial sales, it was like a a big deal. And I don’t know all the ins and outs of it, but I’m aware that this happened. I hate the royals. And yet I am aware that Harry and Meghan have made some sort of split and that they now live in California and have a TV show, here’s the thing I actively avoid. I try my hardest to never learn anything about the support of golf because I effing hate golf.
  • Speaker 2
    0:03:56

    And yet I’m aware that Saudi Arabia has their own competitor toward the PGA. It’s called Liv. I’m aware that Tiger Woods made the cut at the Masters for like the 89th straight time, but then he had to pull out. I try to avoid these stories and I know about them. How is it that these people can these functioning adults can can move through life without ever hearing about I don’t buy it.
  • Speaker 2
    0:04:19

    Okay. Don’t buy it. I don’t
  • Speaker 3
    0:04:21

    know what you are. Do you know what you are? You know why you were different? A constant avid consumer of all kinds of media. Just constant.
  • Speaker 3
    0:04:30

    Which many of these people are not? You know what they do? They live in a media ecosystem that’s quite clear. It’s a Fox News slash OANN NewsMax, their friends on Facebook, and who all also just listened to those right wing media outlets. In, you know what, it’s possible that when we said dominion and that just, like, didn’t quite resonate.
  • Speaker 3
    0:04:51

    But if you kind of if you really really pushed on them. If you and we didn’t. It was, like, has anybody heard of this? Because we were gonna talk about it? And then nobody had so we just moved on.
  • Speaker 3
    0:04:58

    That maybe somebody might have been, like, oh, Maybe I heard something about that, but like, but then they don’t believe it anyway. Right? Like, part of it is that they don’t they don’t want to hear. That’s I understand. I understand.
  • Speaker 3
    0:05:10

    But here’s the thing. Most of them just hadn’t heard about it, and I’m saying there might be some people for whom, like, they caught a little bit of it, but they, like, immediately dismissed it. Because it’s something bad about their team. Like, I’ll give you some of that. Like, I’m telling you too, if you watch Fox News, they never talked about this.
  • Speaker 3
    0:05:25

    Neither did anybody else on the right in the right one media ecosystem because they’re all Fox News is the big show that they’re all auditioning for. And so I think it’s it was important, like, Fox News made an apology. No.
  • Speaker 4
    0:05:37

    No. No.
  • Speaker 3
    0:05:37

    No apology. Sorry. Sorry. They made an admission. Sorry.
  • Speaker 3
    0:05:40

    They made an admission. Yes. They did. They said Let me read it to you. Oh, I know what you’re gonna say.
  • Speaker 3
    0:05:44

    Go ahead.
  • Speaker 2
    0:05:45

    Go ahead. Go ahead. I’m gonna read the entirety of Fox’s statement. We are pleased. You’re just getting, getting, getting happy, so pleased to have reached a settlement of our dispute, just a dispute, like two neighbors with a fence, with dominion voting systems.
  • Speaker 2
    0:06:01

    You’re not reading the statement.
  • Speaker 4
    0:06:02

    You’re interjecting.
  • Speaker 2
    0:06:03

    I I mean, we acknowledge the court’s rulings finding certain claims about dominion to be false. They don’t acknowledge that the claims were false. They acknowledge that the court ruled That’s certain of this I agree. It’s unsatisfying. This settlement reflects Fox’s continued commitment to the highest journalistic standards, we are hopeful that our decision to resolve this dispute with Dominion amicably
  • Speaker 3
    0:06:29

    I
  • Speaker 2
    0:06:29

    wonder if they know what the word amicably means. INSTEAD OF THE ACROMONY OF A DEVISIVE TRIAL ALLOWS THE COUNTRY TO MOVE FOLLOWED — FROM THESE ISSUES, Right. Move on dot org. I have so much to talk about in this this statement. Sunny, would you say that this sounds like an admission?
  • Speaker 2
    0:06:47

    I’m
  • Speaker 4
    0:06:48

    not a hundred percent sure what either of you want from this because Well,
  • Speaker 2
    0:06:51

    I
  • Speaker 3
    0:06:51

    wanted the trial. That’s that’s all. I wanted the trial.
  • Speaker 4
    0:06:54

    Oh, okay. But I like, don’t think that the trial is would actually have been that great because it’s not like Fox News would have been covering it every day, you know, for five hours a day. Right? It would have gotten, like, thirty seconds on Brett Bayer show. So they could say, look, the news side is covering this important news story, and then it would move on.
  • Speaker 4
    0:07:10

    So I don’t I don’t think actual trial would have made any difference to the people it needs to make a difference to, which is Fox News viewers. But I also JBL is, you know, kind of dismissive of the penalties here and the outcomes. I This is almost the best case scenario because here’s what happened. Fox News even if the the statement was mealy mouth had to admit that the court has found them to be liars, they had to pay a ton of money, like I know we wanna say, oh, it’s just a portion of revenue over a quarter, but it’s a ton of money. Seven hundred eighty seven million dollars is objectively an extremely large amount of money.
  • Speaker 4
    0:07:45

    That’s you know what that is? That is how much money an enormously successful blockbuster grosses. Losing all of that is a is a problem. That’s a lot of money and losing it is a problem. But the most important thing here is we got to see all the stuff anyway.
  • Speaker 4
    0:07:58

    We got the documents. We got the emails. We got text messages. It’s in there. It’s out in the universe in perpetuity.
  • Speaker 4
    0:08:05

    We are able to point to the people at Fox anytime we want to be like, you’re liars and you’re lying to people and you know you’re lying to people and you’re doing it all the time and you’re probably still doing it. And that’s good. Like, I am not sure what else could have been accomplished by going to trial with the exception of it’s entirely possible that Fox would have had to pay zero dollars. It’s all
  • Speaker 2
    0:08:24

    downside, I think, to a trial. Totally agree about settlement. Let me just throw this out here. This is how far down we have defined the standards. Right?
  • Speaker 2
    0:08:33

    When I say to you that, you know, what would you want? Here’s the thing that I might want. I might want Fox to settle And as part of the settlement, say, we’re going to put out a statement that we are going to read once on the prime time, listing the things that we said and allowed on our air that were untrue. And we are going to institute some policies even if this is all just bullshit. To make sure that this sort of thing never happens again.
  • Speaker 2
    0:09:00

    That would have made me quite happy. Again, even if it was all Bulwark, even if it was, you know, the policies are just like everybody use a burner phone to text. Don’t text on your actual personal cell phone. But we have such low standards for Fox that even something like that is unthinkable. That’s impossible.
  • Speaker 2
    0:09:16

    That’s like asking the cow to jump over the moon. Right? They could never do. But I don’t
  • Speaker 4
    0:09:20

    think it would make any difference. I don’t think it’s impossible. They have actually done that. They’ve read statements on there that that we have been untrue about things Dominion has done. They’ve actually literally done that.
  • Speaker 4
    0:09:30

    It doesn’t matter. That’s my point. My point is none of that matters. It’s not defining standards now. It just makes no difference.
  • Speaker 4
    0:09:36

    I think in the actual world, it would make no difference. It would
  • Speaker 2
    0:09:39

    make a difference to Fox began acting like a semi responsible journalistic outlet instead of like a propaganda arm. So
  • Speaker 3
    0:09:46

    here’s the thing about the settlement that I that I don’t love. Right? Which is the seven hundred and seventy million is a lot of money. Agreed. JBL’s point about liability insurance well taken.
  • Speaker 3
    0:09:54

    But I do think it’s, like, it’s a stiff penalty. The question is, is, like, what is that I want a verdict that addresses the damage. Right? So they’re paid damages. So what they did was address the damages to dominion and its reputation.
  • Speaker 3
    0:10:08

    What it is not addressing is the damage to democracy and the country to ground the line. Now hold on a second Sunny Bunch. But that’s not what’s trial would be That’s not what a trial does. That’s not how the legal system works. Hold on.
  • Speaker 3
    0:10:22

    They’re not But And so I but so when you say what do you want, I agree with JBL that I want I would like for them to have to do much more. And and here’s my here’s the thing. So to JBL’s point about, it matters what happens going forward. Okay. So right now, the front runner for the Republican nomination repeatedly makes those same false claims, the ones that they just had to do a payout for.
  • Speaker 3
    0:10:44

    Right? Are they gonna still have him on? And when they have him on, are they gonna correct him when he makes those claims? Are they going to run a disclaimer every time he says it? Like, what is it that they will do to change the way that they operate?
  • Speaker 3
    0:10:58

    That’s
  • Speaker 4
    0:10:58

    a great question. I it would be very funny if they adopted the CNN style live fact check that all of the Republicans, you know, hated and made fun of CNN and MSNBC for for years. But, like, as just pure defense against getting sued into oblivion again? Like, it would be it would be funny to do. I don’t know.
  • Speaker 4
    0:11:15

    I mean, look, I don’t know. I don’t know what the answer to that that question is. I just don’t know there is a result from this trial that would have been satisfactory in that regard.
  • Speaker 2
    0:11:23

    Here’s a question for you guys. From Fox’s perspective, purely as a business. Right? So take all of right and wrong and morality out of it for the purposes of their business. Which of the following two outcomes would have been preferable?
  • Speaker 2
    0:11:41

    A, they are on the hook for seven hundred seventy million dollars, but they don’t have to admit publicly any wrongdoing, especially on air to their viewers. Or they could have had to pay out fifty million dollars, but they would have had to have each of their hosts do like a four minute segment on Here are the thirty things that we did that were wrong. We’re sorry. Which which would have been more which of those is preferable purely to their their interests quab business.
  • Speaker 3
    0:12:14

    Hundred percent paying out the big fine. We know that because they just did it. Do you know what I wanted, Sunny? I want a Tucker Carlson on the stand. I wanna talk to girls on the stand reading his text messages.
  • Speaker 3
    0:12:24

    I wanted a prosecutor to be like, read your text messages, and then let me show you the clip of pillow guy or Sydney Powell on your show making these claims and you go nodding along or go your own statement saying something’s really up with dominion while you have said right here, in these text messages that this stuff is b s. That’s what I wanted.
  • Speaker 2
    0:12:43

    Yeah. I would’ve taken taken that. I mean,
  • Speaker 4
    0:12:45

    that that would be fine and fun as well. I just don’t know that it would actually I don’t think it actually adds as much to all of this as you guys think. To answer your question though, JBL, so is is your question which cost them more money in the long run, seven hundred and eighty seven upfront versus fifty million and potential lost audience. Is that
  • Speaker 5
    0:13:02

    is that
  • Speaker 4
    0:13:03

    the I don’t think they would lose any audience. I think they would lose literally zero audience and it would not actually make any difference in the world. So I think seven hundred eighty seven probably costs them more money in the long run. Maybe that’s true.
  • Speaker 3
    0:13:15

    And to JBL just to back up Sonny for one second, though. Let’s think about So, Tucker Carlson, his tech star out there, in which he says, what did he say? I I hate that fucking god. I don’t like to swear on this statement.
  • Speaker 2
    0:13:26

    Hate him passionately. There is no upside.
  • Speaker 3
    0:13:28

    Even have to swear. I didn’t even have to swear because he didn’t say that. Sorry. With apologies. I hope you’re kids were in the car.
  • Speaker 3
    0:13:34

    Maybe they’ll bleed me. Here’s the thing. Donald Trump still went and sat down with Tucker. Still just did a big interview with him like a week ago. So even though we know it, did it change anything?
  • Speaker 3
    0:13:44

    I mean, maybe Sunny’s right without these types of sort of moments where people are held accountable in ways that are more specific. Right? Like, the part of it too is, like, the damage, like, who did the damage? Right? So Hannity, Laura, Maria Bottaroma, like these judge Boxowine.
  • Speaker 3
    0:14:03

    Like, do they pay a penalty for this? No. They get to skate under the big umbrella of the seven hundred and eighty seven million. Right?
  • Speaker 1
    0:14:09

    What
  • Speaker 4
    0:14:10

    has happened to Lou Dobbs? Has he been removed from the air? I like,
  • Speaker 3
    0:14:13

    He was removed from the air. He was gone from Fox Business, although, I mean. Had you washed Lou Dobbs lately? That guy was off his freaking rocker.
  • Speaker 2
    0:14:21

    I mean, it’s kinda hard to tell, but yes. I wanna read one sentence from the statement, though. This strikes me as the absolute fuck you to America from Fox. This settlement reflects Fox’s continued commitment to the highest journalistic standards. The two words I want you to focus there are continued and highest.
  • Speaker 2
    0:14:45

    Right? These words are absolutely gratuitous in the context of the sentence. You you could have simply read this settlement reflects Fox’s commitment to journalistic standards. Right? That that that gets across the exact same trajectory in that.
  • Speaker 2
    0:14:59

    By saying continued, what they’re doing is they’re saying, Oh, yeah. Even back then, we had the highest like, but this is just all the sales, all in continuum. Nothing nothing’s changed. But saying it’s the highest, not just journalistic standards,
  • Speaker 5
    0:15:12

    but a
  • Speaker 2
    0:15:13

    very tippy tippy top. This is their version of like doing the John Cena, you can’t see me. Right? And I look at that and I think even here, this is Fox behaving like a propaganda outlet. Because again, the lawyerly version of this statement doesn’t have those two words in it.
  • Speaker 2
    0:15:31

    Lawyerly, like, you know, the few as possible words, say as little as possible, don’t give anybody anything to Nagon. This is the, like, version of that statement. And it’s amazing to me.
  • Speaker 4
    0:15:42

    I’m glad that you bring up journalistic ethics here because I will say that the the reason I am not surprised that there was a settlement was because look, JBL, you’re a journalist. You’ve been a journalist for a long time. You’ve sat through any number of presentations from law firms that your organization has brought in to explain to you what libel and slander and defamation are and how you avoid those things as a journalist.
  • Speaker 3
    0:16:03

    Should we be doing that at the Bulwark? Should I bring should I have lawyers coming in to do? You should because
  • Speaker 4
    0:16:07

    they’re really fun. This is me being a real sicko here, but I love these things. I think they’re incredibly fun because it it lets you run through a lot of different hypotheticals and figure out exactly how far you can push things. But, like, again, we sat through a ton of these things, UNMVJBL. And the one thing that I thought the entire time as I was watching this trial play out was they’re gonna have to settle this because I’ve never seen anyone violate as many of the things that I saw in these presentations in one place at one time as Fox News has done here.
  • Speaker 4
    0:16:37

    It’s like they went down a checklist and did every single thing wrong. Exactly right. It’s like it’s wild. And put it in
  • Speaker 2
    0:16:44

    writing too. Right? This is the I mean, there is a piece of parental lesson too. Just pick up your phone and dial Suzanne Scott. To to say that.
  • Speaker 2
    0:16:52

    Don’t text her with it. Or get a burner phone. Right? Laura Tucker and Sean, you guys each have special burner phones that you only use to text each other that don’t have your, you know, you buy them at at Duane Reed. Don’t have it in your name of the contract.
  • Speaker 4
    0:17:06

    Anyway, journalistic standards, not Fox’s strong suit in this situation.
  • Speaker 3
    0:17:11

    Hey,
  • Speaker 1
    0:17:12

    we’ve got a lot of warm weather coming ahead. Everyone does, but I do a special because I’m moving south to New Orleans, and it is gonna be a heater down there this summer. And one thing I’m looking forward to is getting into some cool luxurious Bolen brand sheath at night. I’ve been suffering through these hotel and Airbnb sheets while we move, and let me tell you the Bolen brand sheets are a big upgrade. It’s unmatched softness one hundred percent traceable organic cotton get softer with every wash.
  • Speaker 1
    0:17:39

    I can verify that. You can sleep better at night with bolen brand sheets So get fifteen percent off your first order when you use promo code next level at bolen branch dot com. That’s bolen branch. B o l l a n d branch dot com promo code next level, get into
  • Speaker 2
    0:17:57

    them. Alright. In other news, Ron DeSantis escalated his war with Disney, suggested that he might build a prison or alternative theme park, next door to Disney World in Florida, said that he’s considering sending extra ride inspectors to Disney to really lockdown, which I think is funny because Disney World is like the only amusement park I’ve ever known that I don’t think I’ve ever heard of anybody dying there. Growing up in Jersey, people die in our amusement parks all the time. Great adventure, action park, like it’s, you know, you take your life in your hands.
  • Speaker 2
    0:18:34

    Disney World was an adventure without the risk as Douglas Copeland famously put it, I think. This on top of Ron DeSantis begin to push back with his own super pack ad saying what happened
  • Speaker 3
    0:18:44

    to Donald Trump. He’s different now. Thoughts? So why is Ron DeSantis suddenly talking about putting a prison next to Disney World? Maybe because he doesn’t like the conversation that the media’s been having the last tier bit about his slide in the polls and Trump’s putting it.
  • Speaker 3
    0:19:02

    And look, he’s had a bad couple of weeks. And first rule of PR is if if you don’t like the narrative, change the conversation. And look, he’d rather fight with Disney than with Trump. And so he went back to the well and said, yeah, look, here are all the ways I’m the big bad governor and I can make your life miserable, Disney. Also, because he’d also had a new cycle, which ever was like, oh, we got owned by Disney.
  • Speaker 3
    0:19:25

    You know, he’s not able to do this. So he’s — Right. — he’s looking for a reason to have people talk about something. Like, he clearly just couldn’t round up migrants fast enough to get them on the plane, but, like, if he could have or if he could have gotten indicted himself for something, but he would have done that. Like, he just needed something to get people talking about something else.
  • Speaker 3
    0:19:43

    And I think that’s what that was all about.
  • Speaker 4
    0:19:44

    I I have very conflicting thoughts on this sequence of events for a couple reasons. On the one hand, you have Donald Trump weirdly seating the but he fights ground to Ron DeSantis. You know, Trump puts out a statement and he says, you know, what is what is Ron talking about putting your prison next to Disney? He should be focused on the squatters. I don’t know what the squatters are, but like I but he’s like, why is he talking about putting a prison next to Disney?
  • Speaker 4
    0:20:09

    That’s insane. And then you have Don Junior. Talking about how Republicans shouldn’t boycott the great American company, Bud Light. They donate to Republicans and they’re they love America. So don’t boycott Bud Light.
  • Speaker 4
    0:20:20

    So you have this weird little pullback there by the Trump people. And then DeSantis, I think I I really think DeSantis is making a strategic error, not necessarily by going to war with Disney because that hits a lot of the culture war, pleasure centers with the base right now even if it doesn’t make any sense to the general public. But, like, this specific way he is doing it, like, you never have to give Donald Trump credit. They’re like ISIS. Right?
  • Speaker 4
    0:20:48

    But saying I’m gonna put a prison next to Disney World, is an insane thing to say. I mean, it just sounds insane. It’s like if I was if I am like a parent who, you know, doesn’t like Disney maybe, anyway, but like and like kinda wants to be with Ron DeSantis. I’m like, wait, you wanna put a bunch of, like, rapists next to the children’s theme park? I don’t understand the thinking here.
  • Speaker 4
    0:21:10

    So I’m very confused by this current moment. I I look at it and I and none of it really makes any sense to
  • Speaker 2
    0:21:15

    me. I think Trump once again here has figured out where the populist position is for this. Right? Because Ron DeSantis finds himself in a very conservative position but kind of like in a weirdo conservative position where this was, you know, what Trump did in twenty sixteen. He was like, you guys have all these stupid litmus test over there.
  • Speaker 2
    0:21:37

    And I’m just gonna come in and put myself in the dead center of the party, and I’m not gonna you know, do do I’m not gonna do your gay marriage thing. I’m not gonna do your crazy social con thing. And I’ll get those people anyway because they know that I’m on their side. You know, his statement yesterday was like, you know, does he’s the biggest business in Florida? He gotta keep the economy humming.
  • Speaker 2
    0:21:56

    He, you know, DeSantis couldn’t figure out how to make a deal, which is which is exactly the kind of playbook he ran in twenty sixteen. Right? It was like, I would just go in, I’ll make the deal. Believe me, I’ll sit down with the Democrats and I’ll make the best deals. Right?
  • Speaker 2
    0:22:10

    And people bought it, and why wouldn’t they buy it here too? I think. Maybe I’m wrong. I don’t know. Sarah?
  • Speaker 2
    0:22:16

    I
  • Speaker 3
    0:22:16

    wanna talk about that pack ad where it’s like the what happened to Donald Trump? Why is he attacking governor, Ron DeSantis? What kind of whiny garbage is this?
  • Speaker 2
    0:22:26

    Boy, how is
  • Speaker 1
    0:22:27

    it?
  • Speaker 3
    0:22:27

    I’m sorry. Did God make a fighter or not? Because if you told me around the scientists that God made a fighter, and now your position is, why is Donald Trump attacking me during her public and primary where I’m the punitive second place person. What are you talking about, bro? I’m sorry, did you not know he was gonna be mean to you?
  • Speaker 3
    0:22:46

    I mean, drug scientists is not doing great here. And and we are getting close. I said this in political today, but like, We’re getting dangerously close to Rhonda Santa seating so much ground that we’re in like a Trump inevitability place. Like, the thing that happened yesterday where Ron DeSantis comes to DC to ruffle up some endorsements because Emraisal. This is dorsing Trump already.
  • Speaker 3
    0:23:12

    Then what happens? While he’s away from Florida, half the Florida delegation endorses Trump — Yeah. — and then tell stories about how Ron DeSantis has been a dick to them.
  • Speaker 4
    0:23:20

    All this time. I’ve found that fascinating. Why? DeSantis I mean, look, again, full disclaimer here. I’ll vote for DeSantis over Donald Trump in a second.
  • Speaker 4
    0:23:28

    I wouldn’t even wouldn’t even occur to me not to. But he is remarkably weak on some of the very basic smoozing, glad handing style politics that Donald Trump is very, very good at. Like, say which again, like, you don’t have to hand it to Donald Trump. But, like, he he knows how to get on the phone with somebody and talk their ear off and make them feel special and they they walk away possibly confused, but also, like, well, Donald Trump at least, you know, knows who I am. And I get the sense that Ron DeSantis is more of an ice king.
  • Speaker 4
    0:23:59

    He’s not a happy. Hey, buddy. Let’s How’d you do on the back nine there? You know, I like, that’s not
  • Speaker 2
    0:24:04

    a It’s still a swing to of conservative politics.
  • Speaker 3
    0:24:08

    That is a real in swing
  • Speaker 2
    0:24:09

    to It’s still a swing to that swing to that swing. It
  • Speaker 3
    0:24:11

    was a incredible actress
  • Speaker 2
    0:24:12

    trying to meet you on your level, man. Thumbs up. The cake plan. It’s
  • Speaker 3
    0:24:17

    stop. What are you doing?
  • Speaker 4
    0:24:19

    I was just trying I was trying to figure out take it that one step further. No.
  • Speaker 2
    0:24:23

    I’m not saying total sweetened the bad actress. I’m just saying her thing is that, like, she’s the aloof ice queen. Ice queen. And that’s, you know, in in every role she does. I kinda say it makes me worry about the Santa’s.
  • Speaker 2
    0:24:35

    And, Sarah, so what if what if DeSantis begins to look like he’s cratering? Let’s say he goes down sub twenty. Then he still gets in. I think he has to get in. Did you notice the Ross Dallas at pace this week?
  • Speaker 2
    0:24:50

    That was like, you know, no. He has to run. He’s casting has to run. Please run, precious. God.
  • Speaker 1
    0:24:59

    Ron DeSantis
  • Speaker 2
    0:25:00

    goes down to to eighteen. Right? He’s at eighteen in the polling average, and he’s gonna run. He’s gonna do it anyway. Is there enough time and initiative, do you think, for the Conservative Republican blob to find somebody else congeal around him?
  • Speaker 2
    0:25:17

    To go to Brian Kemp or Glenn Youngkin. Right, Glenn Youngkin seems to have decided he’s gonna enter in, like, September. Or October. He’s gonna finish the Virginia legislative session. He is going to get the Virginia House election done.
  • Speaker 2
    0:25:33

    And if he can flip the House of delegates say, look at this. I turned Virginia red, and that’s his pitch.
  • Speaker 3
    0:25:41

    Is there time for that, do you think? I think there’s time. To me, the limiting factor is not time. It is talent. Yes.
  • Speaker 3
    0:25:49

    And so a question that I have is is there somebody in the field? Is it Sunu? Is it is it young game? Is it camp?
  • Speaker 2
    0:25:56

    It’s not Sunu. Sorry.
  • Speaker 3
    0:25:57

    Right. But I’m just saying, like, is there somebody who who enters who everybody when they’re doing second looks. Right? Because this is the thing. We’re on first looks.
  • Speaker 3
    0:26:06

    Bunch people aren’t even in. I think that DeSantis is is allowing Trump to be on the precipice of inevitability, and I think that’s bad. And I also think it’s wrong. You don’t want Trump to get to a place where everybody’s like, this is inevitable, and I’m starting to hear a lot of that. I don’t think he’s inevitable.
  • Speaker 3
    0:26:20

    My personal position is that there will be a bunch of flips and flops between now and then. I
  • Speaker 2
    0:26:25

    agree with that.
  • Speaker 3
    0:26:26

    And it won’t just be a a full straight path. That said, something’s gotta get in his way. And if it’s not gonna be Ron DeSantis, it has to be one of these other people. And the question is, like, does anybody have the talent? Because I do think there’s a a way actually to come in late and get on second looks like catch fire.
  • Speaker 3
    0:26:44

    Because I actually think sitting too long with people in a Republican primary where they just this is why Vivint ran a swamy is, like, weirdly the name that I hear now
  • Speaker 1
    0:26:54

    coming
  • Speaker 3
    0:26:54

    up though. What what about him? What about
  • Speaker 2
    0:26:56

    good old Vivic? Anyway,
  • Speaker 3
    0:26:57

    so I I just my my point is that, like, I think there’s plenty of time. I’m not sure I see the person who has the talent. Like, are you gonna watch Tim Scott? Tim Scott announced his exploratory committee and then proceeded to just suck. Every time somebody asked him, what do you think about abortion?
  • Speaker 3
    0:27:14

    We think the six weeks, and he goes, wow. He’s
  • Speaker 2
    0:27:16

    on a banking committee one. Oh,
  • Speaker 3
    0:27:17

    a Christian chin, and I’m a hundred percent pro life. But I think there’s gonna be discussions about this. And then suddenly, the banking committee and you’re like, what Tim saw? Are you really bad at this? You seem really bad at this.
  • Speaker 3
    0:27:28

    Just like Ron DeSantis suddenly seems really bad at this. Like, who’s who’s good at it? I don’t know. The problem
  • Speaker 2
    0:27:34

    is I don’t think Youngkin is the guy. I agree that coming in late is especially if you are somebody with an established national brand. Right? Like Tucker, just to pick a name. If Tucker got in and not Tucker, I think Tucker could conceivably win the nomination.
  • Speaker 2
    0:27:51

    Now, I don’t think he’s going to, but that’s the type of, you know, an outsider. Look, You laugh at
  • Speaker 4
    0:27:56

    me, Sunny.
  • Speaker 2
    0:27:57

    I now if Tucker wanted to to be the Republican presidential nominee, I think he could.
  • Speaker 4
    0:28:01

    I’m not laughing at you. I’m I’m laughing at the universe? Because I don’t I don’t think that’s wrong. Like, I could actually envision a scenario in which doctor Carlson is like, you know what, I’m gonna do this. I love Donald Trump.
  • Speaker 4
    0:28:15

    He’s been great for America, but, you know, he’s he’s weak against the democrats. And we need a fighter right now. I don’t know. I could see it. With his dip
  • Speaker 2
    0:28:25

    cup, his pick up, going going from town hall to town hall. I could see it. Cicero, what about the money though? There was an interesting side in Terra Palm Mary’s piece about how a conservative donor or big billionaire came to to scientists and was, like, really upset over the six week abortion ban. The scientist campaign’s response was America is he’s littered with conservative billionaires.
  • Speaker 2
    0:28:49

    We’ll find three others. Who cares? We don’t need them?
  • Speaker 5
    0:28:52

    Yeah.
  • Speaker 4
    0:28:52

    I don’t
  • Speaker 2
    0:28:52

    know if this is true or not. Maybe you love a better sense of it than I do. But can the money pivot that quickly? I mean, how I don’t know how, like, wealthy donor or conservative types think. There’s
  • Speaker 3
    0:29:03

    a lot of herd mentality among donors. And so, like, Tim Scott, there’s one guy who’s basically gonna
  • Speaker 2
    0:29:09

    fade Larry, oh, Tim
  • Speaker 3
    0:29:10

    Scott. Yeah. Right. And that guy when you have billions of dollars. You’re like, you’re a friend.
  • Speaker 3
    0:29:15

    Here’s two hundred million bucks. Run hard. Yeah. Friend. And so, like, okay.
  • Speaker 3
    0:29:20

    That’s a lot of money. Although two hundred mille, they’re probably not enough to really, really do it. So, like, they will stampede, but they’re they’re in this place, right, where they’re pivoting, they’re looking for another horse. Because they’re thinking, okay, maybe DeSantis doesn’t have it. Where
  • Speaker 2
    0:29:33

    are they gonna go? I’m Young Kim. Right? Unless Kemp makes it clear that he’s willing to run. I’ve long said Kemp’s the obvious guy.
  • Speaker 2
    0:29:40

    Right? I
  • Speaker 3
    0:29:40

    don’t know about this.
  • Speaker 2
    0:29:41

    I kind of agree with you in this on paper. But I On paper, He can’t be, though, because he was crosswise with Trump. That’s the big problem of Kemp. And
  • Speaker 3
    0:29:49

    he’s not, like, the most charismatic guy, like That’s
  • Speaker 4
    0:29:52

    the real problem here. He’s a very good state level a politician that I do not know necessarily translates to the rest of the country. I mean, maybe maybe I’m wrong, but this is also kind of the DeSantis problem. Ron DeSantis is objectively a good politician. He has won a lot of races.
  • Speaker 4
    0:30:06

    He, you know, he is the second polling person in the Republican primary. I don’t dispute that he has some skills, but he is also lacking a very important thing, a like nameless quality that makes you peeling to people and I’m not I’m not sure that Kemp really has that either on a national level. I don’t know. I just
  • Speaker 3
    0:30:23

    think there’s gonna be several donor pivots as they flail around here and they’re gonna wanna have somebody to fight Trump. But the problem is is that they have to be good enough that they think they really could beat him for people to get super cross wise with Trump. Like, when I talk about Trump inevitability, what I mean is is that enough people start to think Oh my god. It’s gonna be him, that they lay down and stop fighting. Like, if they decide basically like, guys, it’s gonna be him and I can’t risk Kim coming after me.
  • Speaker 3
    0:30:52

    Like, literally, this guy is making retribution, a centerpiece of how he’s running. Menace has always been an element of this. Nobody wants to be in this guy’s crosshairs, most importantly, the crosshairs of his fanatical cult like —
  • Speaker 2
    0:31:06

    Right. —
  • Speaker 3
    0:31:06

    following that will attack people on his behalf, And so if Trump starts to take on an error of, boy, there really isn’t somebody who can beat him, everybody just gives up because they don’t want to be one of the people fighting the fight. They need a winner. And if it, like, that’s why they’re panicking about the Santos.
  • Speaker 2
    0:31:21

    So here’s my question then about the Naperville. Let let’s just ten. We’re in a world where we’re coming up on June. It’s Trump fifty five, DeSantis eighteen or twenty. And nobody else in double digits.
  • Speaker 2
    0:31:35

    At some point, do you get a dynamic where people look at it and say, yeah, he’s probably inevitable, but don’t worry he’s gonna lose the general because I think a lot of those people Ron DeSantis just assume that Trump will lose the general, not something I assume. And don’t worry, this is the last time we’ll ever have to deal with him. Let’s just give this one a pass. Right? Once he loses, we’ll never have to to deal with Donald Trump again.
  • Speaker 4
    0:32:00

    JBL’s most terrifying and accurate prediction is that Donald Trump will be with us forever. He’s if he loses in twenty twenty four. He’s definitely running again in twenty twenty eight. If he loses in the general or the primary, he’s running again in twenty twenty eight. Like, there’s no there’s no getting rid of him.
  • Speaker 4
    0:32:13

    Like, that he doesn’t have anything else to do. So what else he
  • Speaker 2
    0:32:17

    gonna do besides Menesus forever? So I don’t know what do you think, Sarah? I mean, could they just look at it and decide, yeah, he’s probably inevitable.
  • Speaker 4
    0:32:24

    Well, there is
  • Speaker 2
    0:32:25

    nobody else I’m worth spent I’m worth wasting my money on. And don’t but don’t worry he’s gonna lose. We’ll just take the cycle off. And we’ll be back to to really win those midterms against a reelected Biden who’s too old and senile.
  • Speaker 3
    0:32:37

    So I think for some people, so here’s the deal. Like, the problem is is that people are very they’re used to the cadence of being a big player in Republican politics. Right? Where they just are like, this is the time we write big checks and we see all our friends and we go to donor retreats out on some crazy island somewhere where everybody wears masks. And there are probably, like, ritual killings.
  • Speaker 3
    0:33:01

    I don’t know what they do. What billionaires do. But they’re like but the the donors don’t place some of this out. I think the period in which they decide they realize or decide that let’s just let this happen is, like, longer from now. I think they’ll they’ll try a couple horses out first to see if anybody gets traction.
  • Speaker 3
    0:33:21

    And my guess is that and actually write this down, because that’s how I think it’s gonna go. Okay. Like, everybody will get a chance. Right? They’ll go to tip Scott and then they’ll be a little Scott boomlet.
  • Speaker 3
    0:33:31

    Oh, lot of donor interest intentionally.
  • Speaker 2
    0:33:32

    Like the Herman Cain but Yeah. Like
  • Speaker 3
    0:33:34

    the Herman Cain and then what’s her name from Minnesota? And, like, you know,
  • Speaker 4
    0:33:37

    everybody had, like, their moments? Everybody had a moment. Michelle Bakken.
  • Speaker 3
    0:33:40

    Thank you, that’s right. And and so there’ll be, like, a period of time and, like, there’s a lot of time to fill. First reporters and process stories, I’m hearing Terrapol Mary says that everybody’s looking at Tim Scott now and he’s raised a hundred and twenty one million dollars and suddenly everyone’s there’s the Scott boom lit. And then Scott comes out and talks and says about how is your Christian? It doesn’t have a position on abortion and looks really sucky.
  • Speaker 3
    0:34:05

    And then everyone’s like, you know what? What’s Glenn Youngkin doing? When’s that Virginia legislature out of session? You know, and then they then there’s a Yanken boom it. And, literally, what happens is, this is the part I want you to write down after they’ve exhausted their options.
  • Speaker 3
    0:34:17

    They’ll come back to DeSantis. Because DeSantis will manage to stay, I think, probably in double digits. And so after they’ve ridden everyone else for a minute, they’ll come back and be like, I don’t know. Yeah. I hate this guy, but, like, he’s the only one still in double digits.
  • Speaker 3
    0:34:32

    Let’s try. Or that’s when they tap out. Sarah,
  • Speaker 2
    0:34:34

    did you wanna talk about your piece? Somebody made you angry on the Internet. I just
  • Speaker 3
    0:34:38

    wanna say, so I I wrote I wrote the piece that I said I was gonna
  • Speaker 2
    0:34:41

    write. Great piece. Yeah.
  • Speaker 3
    0:34:42

    The before Trump after Trump piece. Thank you. And
  • Speaker 2
    0:34:44

    my wife was like, boy, that piece, Sarah Longwell us a fan. Tasty. I was like, I know. Sarah’s great. You love her so much.
  • Speaker 2
    0:34:50

    She’s so smart.
  • Speaker 3
    0:34:50

    So somebody in the comments literally was like, Is that buggy whipline yours or JBLs on the edit? And I was, like, oh, how did they know? It was, like, the best song on the piece. And, of course, it was JBL’s audition. So, anyway, so Michael Brendon Doherty over at the National Review wrote a response in which he agrees with my premise that we’re not going back.
  • Speaker 3
    0:35:11

    But says that my central thesis of the peace is that this is all the fault of the deplorables. And at the end of the day, you know, I am just taking what is the institutional bolder position that the people are the problem. That’s
  • Speaker 2
    0:35:25

    my position. That’s not
  • Speaker 3
    0:35:26

    your position.
  • Speaker 2
    0:35:27

    Your position is the triangle of doing Yeah.
  • Speaker 3
    0:35:30

    And that and that the people are the most blameless in that triangle. I defend the people all the time. I never called them. In fact, I get very annoyed when people tell me my thesis is the exact opposite of my thesis. And in fact, my thesis is what I get yelled at for all the time because people don’t like it that I defend the voters.
  • Speaker 3
    0:35:49

    But just like with the Fox News thing, they’re being lied to. They’re being lied to. And then, you know, Tom Nichols or you would argue, well, they don’t have to sit in that chair and watch Fox News the whole time. They choose to do that. They choose to let their brains be poisoned.
  • Speaker 3
    0:36:01

    Okay, fine. I just I don’t blame the voters with nearly the same level of, like, antipathy that I hold for the leadership and the infotainment right wing media. So
  • Speaker 4
    0:36:14

    you would say that you’re actually a populist You’re with the people. You’re anti elite.
  • Speaker 3
    0:36:18

    No. FALSE. Although, I’m not a populist. What I am is I am a believer that people are good and that they maintain inside themselves good and bad, and that when you feed all the bad stuff is when you get bad outcomes. And I think that there’s a bunch of people in the right Republican leadership and in the media who are feeding them bad things because it benefits them, the elite, the new elite who pretend to be populist and who actually hate those people.
  • Speaker 3
    0:36:47

    I don’t hold the people in the contempt. Tucker Carlson holds people in contempt. And that’s why they lied to them. Get me started. For
  • Speaker 4
    0:36:54

    the record, it is JBL that hates the people. We just wanna try
  • Speaker 2
    0:36:57

    and size that part. I don’t even hate the people as much as Sunny does. Sunny hates the people way more than I do.
  • Speaker 4
    0:37:02

    I only hate people on certain certain topics. Like, what movies they watch and TV shows they watch. How
  • Speaker 2
    0:37:08

    about how they behave in movie theaters? Right. Things that matter.
  • Speaker 6
    0:37:12

    April is national financial literacy month. What is financial literacy? It’s applying difference skills effectively, including managing your finances, budgeting, and saving. It just so happens, the Qumulus Podcast Bulwark has three great podcasts to help raise your Financial IQ. Stacking Benjamins with Joe Solcihai, Bankrate’s twenty
  • Speaker 7
    0:37:33

    twenty three best personal finance guest. What’s one of life’s biggest expenses that we can maybe talk about reducing? Housing is housing on the list. Buying a house is the number two expense of all these expenses. What’s a way that we can reduce our housing expense?
  • Speaker 7
    0:37:52

    We’re from Seattle to Florida. Wow. It’s talking like somebody with a little
  • Speaker 4
    0:37:55

    knowledge of
  • Speaker 7
    0:37:55

    that situation.
  • Speaker 5
    0:37:56

    Afford anything with financial journalist, Paula Pan. You have many financial goals. You want to buy or pay off your house, you need to replace your car, you want to pay for a wedding, send your kids to college, travel the world, and one day, retire, but house and wevy award winning Brown ambition with Tiffany, the Fudgetnista LiJ, and
  • Speaker 3
    0:38:15

    personal finance expert, Mandy Woodrow. When I was crafting my resume in my career, I I thinking about the job I had, I was always thinking like, what’s gonna impress the person who has my next opportunity and make them want to have a conversation with me? And, yeah, I think people are not thinking that far ahead. That’s why we’ll be leaning into you career coach.
  • Speaker 6
    0:38:32

    So as you look to improve your financial literacy, follow stacking benjamins, afford anything, and brown ambition wherever you listen.
  • Speaker 2
    0:38:42

    So Diane Feinstein has gotten lost in the Aztec tomb. It’s an arrested development joke for my friends out there. Do we have thoughts about Diane Feing? Because it seems to me that she should resign her Senate seat? And probably should have resigned it a long time ago.
  • Speaker 2
    0:38:57

    No, is it too much? Is this aegis?
  • Speaker 3
    0:38:59

    I have broad thoughts about all the geriatric people holding seats that would be occupied like, nobody likes it when I say this, but Ruth Bader Ginsburg, she showed a step down. This is why we have the Supreme Court that we do. Chuck Grassley? What is Chuck Grassley running for another six year trip? That guy is nine thousand years old.
  • Speaker 3
    0:39:17

    Everybody knows how I feel about Joe Biden’s age? Like, just in general, the gerund is it gerund accuracy? Is that a is that a wrong gerund accuracy is the right
  • Speaker 1
    0:39:25

    word?
  • Speaker 3
    0:39:25

    Well, we have that, and we should stop having that. And of course, she should resign. Republicans are under no obligation to necessarily, like, make things easier for her. Although, it is super annoying, that Mitch McConnell, also very old, takes the tumble, hurts himself, has to take a bunch of time off, and he can’t show any collegial reciprocity for her she’s got shingles, but the point is is that they’re all too damn old is the bottom line. Send JBL your hate mail.
  • Speaker 2
    0:39:50

    It is nice that the big push to get her to resign comes from Democrats. Right? I mean, Democrats are trying to fix the problem in house.
  • Speaker 4
    0:39:58

    Well, the left has hated her for a long time. Well,
  • Speaker 1
    0:40:00

    but
  • Speaker 2
    0:40:00

    this isn’t just the left. Like, these are these are people who are, like, in party leadership who need to have, like, she’s a vote on the judiciary committee. She needs to be there to exercise her vote. Right? This is she’s not doing her job.
  • Speaker 2
    0:40:14

    Maybe for very good reasons, but but she isn’t doing it. And so the push together isn’t like a progressive push to, like, we can finally get sci fi. That’s not what’s going on. It’s a, like, a party wide, like, that’s part of it. No.
  • Speaker 2
    0:40:27

    She
  • Speaker 4
    0:40:27

    should resign. She should not be in the Senate anymore. She shouldn’t have been in the Senate for, like, five years now. I think people for a long time have had questions about her ability to do the job. And there’s no there’s she shouldn’t be there.
  • Speaker 4
    0:40:39

    And
  • Speaker 3
    0:40:39

    you know what? Do you know who would make a great Democratic senator from California?
  • Speaker 4
    0:40:43

    Come on here. Tim Miller.
  • Speaker 3
    0:40:44

    Yeah. Rama Harris.
  • Speaker 2
    0:40:50

    Oh, that’s funny and true. Be great. Right? Gavin Newsom could appoint her. Well, I don’t know how it works in California.
  • Speaker 2
    0:40:57

    I don’t know if the governor appoints with this special election.
  • Speaker 3
    0:40:59

    He does. And it’s actually a real it’s a sticky one for him — Yeah. — because he gets to a point and that gives whoever the whoever is, like, a huge leg up. And right now, you know, shift to shift and
  • Speaker 2
    0:41:10

    Kitty pitty
  • Speaker 5
    0:41:11

    pitty pitty pitty pitty pitty pitty pitty pitty
  • Speaker 3
    0:41:11

    pitty pitty pitty right now.
  • Speaker 2
    0:41:12

    Yeah. Reading the news accounts of Diephi’s interactions with staff and colleagues is really tough. I mean, to anybody who has ever had an aging parent or grandparent and you read it when you’re You know, it it sounds
  • Speaker 3
    0:41:29

    I don’t
  • Speaker 2
    0:41:30

    wanna say elder abuse to keep rolling her out there, but like, she shouldn’t be doing this. Right? So she sounds like her decline is so significant that she should she should be at home and surrounded by friends and family, not in the United States Senate.
  • Speaker 3
    0:41:43

    How old is she?
  • Speaker 2
    0:41:45

    Eighty nine, I said. Yeah. I believe
  • Speaker 3
    0:41:48

    Eighty nine. Who
  • Speaker 4
    0:41:49

    oh my goodness. Who was the Republican in his nineties who they were doing the same to? Is that Thad Cochrane? Drom Thurman? Well, there was also a Strom Thurman.
  • Speaker 4
    0:41:57

    Strom. Yeah. Strom.
  • Speaker 2
    0:41:59

    Alright. Good show. Long show. Everybody give it a thumbs up. Subscribe to the show, do it with the five stars, then come over to the Bulwark dot com and get my newsletter, get Charlie’s newsletter, read all the great pieces that Sarah Longwell writes once a quarter And also, it’s Sunny Bunch’s fantastic newsletter and actually one of my favorite podcasts that we do at The Bulwark goes to Hollywood, which is about movies, the business of entertainment, and it is absolutely sensational.
  • Speaker 2
    0:42:26

    And it’s sort of outside the donut of what the Bulwark does, you try to do some politics and some culture, and the sunny stuff is ban ethane casting. Alright, guys. See you next week. Bye.
  • Speaker 1
    0:42:37

    Bye.
Want to listen without ads? Join Bulwark+ for an exclusive ad-free version of The Next Level Podcast! Learn more here. Already a Bulwark+ member? Access the premium version here.