Support The Bulwark and subscribe today.
  Join Now

The Anti-Woke Mind Virus

Blaming “1 Black” for Silicon Valley Bank collapse.
March 17, 2023
The Wokes Didn’t Crash SVB, Morons | Not My Party with Tim Miller

[Editor’s note: Watch Not My Party every week on Snapchat.]

Tim Miller: Bank collapse in Silicon Valley had the tech bros freaking out and begging Biden for a bailout. So a POTUS gotta do what a POTUS gotta do.

O.J. Simpson (Cuba Gooding Jr. on American Crime Story): Daddy’s gonna take care of things.

Tim Miller: This is “Not My Party,” brought to you by The Bulwark. Welp, welcome to your first bank run, kids.

Michelle Fisher: The collapse of Silicon Valley Bank is causing shock waves across the entire business world.

Matt Egan: This is the biggest failure since 2008.

Michael Smerconish: The second-biggest bank collapse in U.S. history.

Kit Tanthalos (Ruby Cruz on Willow): Yeah, that sounds really bad.

Miller: And the reaction among the venture capitalists and the tech elites was pretty intense.

Jake Peralta (Andy Samberg on Brooklyn Nine-Nine): We’re gonna die! We’re gonna die!

Miller: For example, Elon Musk has this rich-guy brain trust. They have a podcast called “All In.” These dudes got so freaked out that one host tweeted about grabbing “guns and provisions,” and the other, a proud libertarian that I like to call Meatball David, started begging the feds for some socialism to save the bank. So what made these guys panic so fast?

Becky Conner (Lecy Goranson on Roseanne): How did we get here?

Miller: To explain let’s bring in friend of “Not My Party” Josh Barro, who’s the perfect expert to go deeper on how this happened.

Josh Barro: The problem is tech firms bought a lot of long-term bonds with fixed interest rates, and as you’ve seen, interest rates have gone through the roof. Part of this is a regulatory failure. The government spent too much money in the COVID response. The Fed didn’t act quickly enough in 2021. All that added up to, the Fed had to raise rates by several points, and it really hit Silicon Valley Bank.

Homer Simpson (from The Simpsons): Whoopsie.

Miller: So yeah, between the 2018 deregulation under Trump, Biden juicing the economy too hard with stimulus, and screwups by the CEO, there’s a lot of blame to go around.

Matt Bevers (John Gemberling on Broad City): It’s not my fault!

Miller: But I’m sorry to all the MAGA Republicans: There’s one thing that didn’t get us here no matter how much you wish it did—“wokeness.”

Jesse Waters: Silicon Valley Bank is a woke Biden bank. They were holding seminars on Lesbian Visibility Day and National Pride Month.

Lois Griffin (from Family Guy): Are you serious?

Miller: I call this obsession with blaming everything on woke the Anti-Woke Mind Virus. These people are so obsessed with fighting diversity programs that they’ve become delusional one-trick ponies. I mean, it makes no sense. Straight white dudes have overseen every corporate fuck-up in history.

Sterling Archer (from Archer): Probably just a coincidence.

Miller: It’d be easier to ignore this if it were just random stupid TV talking heads. But this obviously racist nonsense is being pushed by Republican political leaders. Ron DeSantis said diversity and inclusion distracted the bank from its objective. The Wall Street Journal made the racist dog whistle much more explicit: SVB has “45% women, they also have ‘1 Black,’ ‘1 LGBTQ+’ and ‘2 Veterans.’ I’m not saying 12 white men would have avoided this mess, but the company may have been distracted by diversity demands.”

Mitchell (Charlie Saxton on Betas): Well, that’s kind of racist.

Miller: “One black”? This is a majority straight-white-male board, a straight white male CEO, and you all wanna blame this on the one black and one queer on the board? And the GOP’s leading contender to be a Trump replacement is on board with this? F**k you.

Mordecai (from Regular Show): You’re just a bunch of jerks.

Miller: Here’s another Republican with a different, kinda legit take about how the bank failure’s been handled. Nikki Haley tweeted that taxpayers should not be bailing out SVB. And some on the left agree with that. Here’s Biden’s pushback.

President Joe Biden: Americans can have confidence that the banking system is safe. . . . No losses will be borne by the taxpayers. . . . The management of these banks will be fired. . . . Investors in the banks will not be protected. . . . That’s how capitalism works.

Joseph Gribble (from King of the Hill): Man, you always know just what to say.

Miller: On this one, I ultimately land with Biden. As much as I’d love to avoid a bailout and see Elon’s VC buddies squirm, the government needed to backstop Silicon Valley Bank with a “let’s not call it a bailout” bailout.

Simpson: Let’s not get bogged down in semantics.

Miller: It’s the Fed’s job to protect the system and all the regular folks who work for companies that are banking with SVB. Let’s remember: The last time Bush and Obama worked together on a big bank bailout, there was populist rage on both sides—Occupy Wall Street and the Tea Party. But long after Zuccotti Park was cleared and the rage subsided, you know what happened? The taxpayers recouped more money from the bank assets than we spent in the bailout.

Noice Guy (Jordan Peele on Key & Peele): Nooice.

Miller: So yeah, we need to tighten up the banking regulations so we don’t need to do this all over again next decade. And as much as we’d like to stick it to the Masters of the Universe, unfortunately we need to deal with some short-term ick to protect everyone who would’ve been screwed over if the banking system collapsed.

Bob Belcher (from Bob’s Burgers): Okay, fine, but I’m gonna complain the whole time.

Miller: See you next time for more “Not My Party.” Subscribe to Josh’s newsletter.

Tim Miller

Tim Miller is The Bulwark’s writer-at-large and the author of the best-selling book Why We Did It: A Travelogue from the Republican Road to Hell. He was previously political director for Republican Voters Against Trump and communications director for Jeb Bush 2016.