381 Comments

Again, the Mever-Trumpers quibble about progressive semantics (changing phrasing around abortion) while the right weaponizes language to demonize and dehumanize their opponents (literally calling everyone “groomer” and “pedophile”).

Which of these are more “alienating” to the supposed middle? Which are YOU more alienated by?

Because if it’s by the Left’s trying to reframe the abortion debate, and not the Right’s trying to reframe the “our opponents- plus all non-hetero citizens anywhere- are literal child predators worthy of death”, then your outrage meter is out-of-whack (AGAIN).

We get it, Charlie. You don’t like some elements of the Democratic Party. You say they’re not doing enough to attract right-leaning voters.

But sorry to break it to you, again, they are a LEFT OF CENTER PARTY. If you acknowledge, as you keep insisting, that Republicans are an existential danger to American democracy and the Democrats- despite any policy disagreements you have- simply aren’t, then you’ve got to stop the daily broadsides of “I hate the Republicans and they’ll kill America, but ooooh, those leftists are almost as bad!”

Enough. We get it. If we somehow survive as a nation, please criticize the left to your heart’s content. Until then, every word you write that doesn’t emphasize the danger of electing Republicans is just wasted space.

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"The Bankruptcy of the Democratic Party Left" - Thank you, thank you, thank you. The Progressives are either willfully ignorant or the most politically unsaavy group I've seen in my long lifetime. They shield themselves from responsibility for Democratic election losses by claiming it's always because the Dems didn't go far enough to the left. When their candidates lose primaries and elections, it's because the "establishment" or some PAC group stacked the cards against them.

When it comes to extremism and victimhood, they are just the flip-side of the MAGA coin.

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May 13, 2022·edited May 13, 2022

Progressives have a belief that a base strategy will work for the Democrats because it works for the Republicans. But the Democrats are at a huge disadvantage because of the electoral college and the two-senators-for-each-state-no-matter-the-population fact. Democrats absolutely need to court the center. The refusal of progressive pols in safe seats to moderate their rhetoric in service to the goal of saving democratic and constitutional governance is a scandal.

Voters in Wyoming have about 3.7 times the power of a California voter in choosing the President. In the Senate, Wyoming voters have 68 times the power of the Californian.

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How is the side that claims a newly formed fetus is the exact same as a 6 month old baby not the extremist side?

How is the side that wants to force women to die so they can deliver a baby which is likely to die during the birth process not the extremist side?

How is the side that wants to force a 12 year-old rape victim to bear her rapists child not the extremist side?

Oh yeah, Dems use words like "unwanted," so they're the extremists

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May 13, 2022·edited May 13, 2022

The Bulwark+ was created for a purpose. Not that I'm reading their mission statement but I'm just going by my own reason for subscribing and loving it. The friggin' GOP went off the deep end. In hindsight, I realized there were signs of some cultish behavior, but NOTHING even close to how it fast and deeply it devolved into one.

Many of us former GOP'ers became homeless and still are in a way. Currently....I have zero intentions of becoming a democrat but you can 100% count on me to fight to the death for our country, Republic and in response to our enemies and I include many of the GOP in that category. I will NOT be voting GOP for a very long time unless its under very specific circumstances where the other candidates are worse.

Regarding the discussion about Bulwark+/Charlie et al being hard on the Dems and that's making people mad is hard to fathom. OMG...let me remind you...this website ONLY exists because of Charlie and like-minded folks like him. What is this site? One of the VERY few that both the Left and Right can come and fairly exchange philosophies and ideas. That's HUGE!

I'm sort of seeing why I was attracted to the GOP in the first place with some of these discussions. I feel like some of the Dems walk into a busy intersection with a semi-truck barreling toward them and you guys want to point out that the truck's license tab expired.

You may say that Charlie does the same thing with his criticism of the Dems, but I totally disagree. FFS...he disowned his own tribe and started this great site and you are taking the site and pounding his head with it. You wouldn't even have been able to do that if it weren't for the originators that really took the courageous step to create this site and make it successful.

The further left leaning readers are posting their honest opinions so that's great and what this is all about, but let's remember where we were before (no Bulwark+) and where we are today and acknowledge and realize that this site is a very important step toward the middle.

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Charlie - If you want to get picky over language, you should seriously contemplate the meaning of “pro-life”. What you are really talking about when you say “pro-life” is pro-fetus”. The people who want to deny women choice over what happens to their own bodies are also the people who are against helping women care for the baby that gets born. They are on the record opposing

social income, low-cost housing, pre and post-natal medical care, hospital care, child care, job training and everything else that would help the mother and child live post-partum. At least the “far left” are trying to find words that accurately describe what they say. “Pro-life” concerns stop at birth. After that, mothers and babies are on their own as far as pro-lifers are concerned when it comes to the practicalities of life.

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What is a "Fradulent Pedophile?" Does this mean that Biden (I'm guessing) is masquerading as a pedophile, but isn't the real thing? Does this mean they would prefer a real pedophile?

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So the Pro-CHOICE Caucus does not want people to use the word....'choice'? Developing messaging about which words to use or not use is not where our efforts/energy should be directed. Given the dire threat that access to abortion faces, we need to be focused on building a consensus of the reasonable and developing options that reflect where a majority of Americans are on this issue.

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Charlie - Do you have any input in what MTG or Madison Cawthorne do or say? No? Well, why rant at The Left or Dems for what Ilhan Omar or AOC have to say? Most of us are here because we see The Bulwark as a tiny light in the darkness that is the today’s Republican Party. Let’s concentrate on what we have in common - a belief in democracy, fair mindedness and basic human decency. And together find a way out of the looming catastrophe that threatens us all.

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One of the comments I seem to see (that sticks out to me) is that why should The Bulwark (or other non-D organization) help out the D's with their messaging. The D's need to fix that themselves. It's their problem.

Why would you do it? Because it is better for the country and the survival of the republic than not doing it.

Whose problem is it? It is everyone's problem.

In an ideal political universe, with multiple functional and reasonable political parties, this is not an issue. It does not raise it's ugly head.

That is NOT where we are currently at.

Well, the D's need to earn my support!

They have--simply by not being ethno-nationalist thugs busy destroying the legitimacy of the foundations of our system and institutions. If that isn't enough to win your support in comparison to the other side, then you are part of the problem, not part of the solution.

Regardless of whether they have a good message or rhetorically kiss you behind or cozy up to you.

Sometimes you hold you nose and do what is best for the country. It is seemingly an antiquated perspective.

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Brass tacks:

1) The GoP and the GoP adjacent have demonstrated an ever-increasing tendency (and acceptance) towards:

a) Racism;

b) Sexism;

c) Denial of rights to Other People;

d) A will (and action) to destroy the legitimacy of our system in order to gain and retain power;

e) A servile behavior towards an unsuccessful business man turned entertainer whos gives every indication of being not entirely sane;

f) willful lying and obstruction in pursuit of (e) while hypocritically bad-mouthing the person in private;

g) a willingness to accept, encourage or actually use political violence in pursuit of all of the above;

h) A will to use the power of government to enforce ethno-nationalist norms;

i) A willingness to use political power to openly punish opponents and threats made to do so;

j) Isn't really interested in governing other than apparently enforcing their ethno-nationalist agenda, punishing/owning opponents, and letting corporations have as much control of you as possible as long as the corp keeps politically quiet... oh, and the graft.

2) The Democratic party is a Chinese fire drill of competing and often antagonistic sub-groups ranging from extreme left to center-right that can barely find it's ass with both hands--that couldn't pass a far left agenda because half of them would vote against it.

Which one do you trust the future of the Republic with? Which one should you?

I know who I trust, if only because of their incompetence.

Vote Democratic, save the Republic.

See how easy that is?

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I am waiting for people to understand this is the court getting involved in family planning, a place they should steer clear of. And when will men speak up about how this iimproperly infringes on family privacy and the resulting potential loss of rights for one's partner, spouse, sister, aunt or mother. This is not just a womens issue.

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Good morning Charlie!

Might I suggest that you change the name of your newsletter to Morning Overreactions?

Let me get this straight, Democrats choosing to change how they message is going to contribute to the downfall of the United States system of governance? Am I reading you correctly? Am I oversimplifying or misstating what you are trying to communicate?

Those new words must be pretty bad.

“Decision” in place of “choice”: Ok, not seeing too much difference but you do quote Planned Parenthood talking about why black feminists and other feminists of color think it could be useful.

“Safe, legal, and accessible” in place of “Reduce abortion/’safe, legal, and rare’”: Again, not seeing the problem. Why should the word abortion be stigmatized? It’s a medical procedure. Aren’t the women who find themselves in the position of needing this procedure stigmatized enough already? Do we have to participate in the piling on? Are they bad people and we better make sure to let them know we think so?

“Unexpected pregnancy” in place of “’Unwanted’ pregnancy”: Not all abortions are done for unwanted pregnancies. Some pregnancies are quite wanted before they end with an abortion. So to say abortions are for unwanted pregnancy is just plain wrong. Why shouldn’t that language get cleared up without be classified as risk to the Republic?

“Refusal of care/denial of care laws” “Conscience clause/protections” in place of “Conscience clause/protections”: The new language places the emphasis on the woman rather than on the people who are not pregnant and facing this decision. Why should a hospital, if it’s the only health care facility within a certain mile radius, be allowed to refuse needed medical care? If a Seventh Day Adventist hospital (are there such things?) is the only health care facility in a locality should they be able to deny someone a transfusion because it violates their conscience/deeply held beliefs? And how do health care facilities even have consciences to begin with?

“Criminalizing healthcare” in place of “Back-alley abortions/coat hangers”: Not seeing a problem with this either. Not everyone can get their head around back alley abortions because they could never conceive of themselves ever going into a back alley for an abortion. However, they can certainly identify with the concept of criminalizing healthcare. And isn’t the point of effective messaging to make it understandable and relatable to as many people as possible?

The heat to light ratio over this issue seems really out of whack to me.

Oh, and you quote Planned Parenthood talking about the lived experience of women of color. Then immediately follow up with two tweets from two men trivializing and mocking the experiences of the women. Who the fuck do they think they are?

And tweeter Foster takes issue with the logic of the word changes and only addresses the “Decision/Choice” change and doesn’t address any of the others. And finishes off basically telling these women they are too dumb to know how wrong they are. That’s a good look.

But thanks for spending 21 paragraphs of today’s newsletter to the messaging change of Democrats and exactly *checks notes* zero paragraphs about Republican state legislatures trying to one up each on other on who can take the most maximalist position and criminalize the most women.

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I am trying to place the sour, curmudgeon, criticize everything tone of this newsletter, but it rings of an attitude we got a brief respite from during the never-T era when this project was trying to work toward something constructive. So now everyone is a stupid toad except the heroic Liz Cheney?

I don’t know whether recent tones reflect a reversion to type or some kind of political or personal despair. Feel better.

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In that ultra-MAGA poster at the end of your letter they misspelled the word "fraudulent." Clearly working with the "best people."

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Other than replacing "rare" with "accessible," I didn't see anything terribly objectionable in the updated Democratic talking points.

As someone on the "Right" who is nonetheless generally in favor of legal abortion, I've always thought the term "pro-Choice" was an unfortunate euphemism, but I guess it flows off the tongue better than "pro-Decision." It also at least recognizes the significance of the issue, since the connotation of "choice" is that it's something one deliberates over.

"Safe, legal, and rare" is a brilliant formulation, which I would never tamper with. Here, I agree strongly with Charlie. Changing that one to remove the part that appeals across the aisle is a huge communications mistake. "Safe, legal, and accessible" sounds like a pro-lifer's nightmare scenario of abundant abortions performed on whim. If Charlie's criticism had focused on that one point, then I would entirely agree. But there is a lot more in these talking points...

"Unwanted pregnancy" (from the original talking points) sounds callous, because it seems to ignore the ethical importance of the issue. "Unexpected pregnancy" might be slightly less jarring. This one gets a "meh" from me.

"Conscience clause" versus "refusal of care" doesn't raise any hairs on my neck, but I'd be open to persuasion.

The one point on which I think the new talking points are a significant improvement is the last one: "Back-alley abortions/coat hangers" versus "Criminalizing healthcare." While I have my objections to using the term "healthcare" (again, a morally neutral term to describe what should be a profound ethical choice), the gory images are counterproductive. They turn people off thinking about the issue in the first place, and they remind people that abortion is a serious procedure rather than a "decision." People have a strong psychological tendency to "kill the messenger" — that is, to turn against the person who raises an unpleasant image they'd rather not have to think about.

So on the whole, these changes are a mixed bag. I love the "safe, legal, and rare" formulation, and I think killing that one is a scandal. But I don't understand the generalized anger at the rest of these talking points.

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