The Bulwark Podcast

Charlie Sykes and guests discuss the latest news from inside Washington and around the world. No shouting, grandstanding, or sloganeering. Truth over tribalism. Principles over partisanship.

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News Commentary
Will Saletan: Performative Garbage
RonAnon Johnson wanted to get beat up on "Meet the Press" — so he could weaponize it. Plus, the active moving backward from MLK's dream, Trump gets the ultimate whataboutism, debt ceiling dangers, and a football confession.
42 min
Michael Steele: Slapping Matt Schlapp
Former RNC Chair Michael Steele had a front-row seat for the start of the ugly transformation at CPAC. Racist rhetoric has now been normalized, and they're not even pretending anymore.
33 min
Adam Kinzinger: Detoxing from Congress
Watching from a distance, former Rep. Kinzinger tells Charlie Sykes that House moderates have a lot of power they're not willing to use, while the Freedom Caucus —AKA "The Terror Club" — is willing to shoot hostages.
38 min
Aaron Blake: Kevin McCarthy Is Keeping a Secret
Without his secret pact, Kevin McCarthy likely would not be Speaker.
39 min
Olivia Nuzzi: Has Trump Become Norma Desmond?
Trump rarely leaves his 'weird' smelling, moldy mansion, he seems bored and tired, and D-List MAGA are his main loyalists now.
37 min
Will Saletan: Expect More Hostage-Taking in the...
McCarthy paid the ransom, Bannon is openly supporting violence in Brazil, and even normie Republicans are prepared to put the US economy at risk.
48 min
A.B. Stoddard: A Desperate Man
The hijackers have the energy in the House, Biden is quietly succeeding, no-mentum Trump's biggest fear is being ignored, DeSantis is a closet wimp, and George Santos doesn't respond to his name — is his name fake too? A.B. Stoddard joins Charlie Sykes for the weekend pod.
48 min
Nick Confessore: The Theater of Elise Stefanik
Rep. Elise Stefanik was a star pupil and the future of the GOP — now she's joined the kids in the back of the class, whose only role in Congress is to generate outrage.
42 min
John Avlon: The Bomb Throwers Just Don't Care
McCarthy thought he could appease the kamikaze caucus with cash and playing along with Stop the Steal — surprise, they'd rather ruin everything if they can't rule. CNN's John Avlon joins Charlie Sykes on today's pod.
37 min
Tom Nichols: Of Course They All Hate Each Other
The House Republican caucus is a jackal pack, with George Santos — the poster boy for our era of grift — along for the ride.
48 min
Andrew Weissmann: The DOJ and Trump's Attempted...
he clock is ticking down on whether to bring charges against Trump for what was essentially a "simple" scheme — a president wanted to stay in power even though he lost the election. Former DOJ prosecutor Andrew Weissmann joined Charlie Sykes for this encore episode from July.
30 min
Susan Glasser and Peter Baker: Trump's Hostile ...
During his four years in office, Trump kept testing the weaknesses in our Constitutional system — and January 6 was the culmination of his war on the institutions of American government. Susan Glasser and Peter Baker's book, "The Divider" captures the threat Trump posed. But as they told Charlie Sykes, their book is not just history: It's also a prologue if he returns to power. This encore episode was originally released in September.
32 min
Maggie Haberman: Trump Is Damaged and He Causes...
Donald Trump is the product of an exacting and brutal father who undermined him in private, and his damaged childhood has impacted him ever since. In this encore episode from October, Maggie Haberman, author of "Confidence Man," told Charlie Sykes that Trump doesn't really trust anyone — and that the era of distrust we live in now is one of his biggest legacies.
31 min
Jennifer Senior: Steve Bannon Is an Asymmetric ...
Steve Bannon is a card-carrying member of the coastal elite, but he's trying to light a bonfire under American democracy. An intelligent, well-read man in the same category as Tucker Carlson, Bannon's genius is in polarizing people. The Atlantic's Jennifer Senior joined Charlie Sykes in this encore episode from June.
48 min
Nick Confessore: Tucker and the Most Racist Sho...
Tucker Carlson regularly borrows conspiracy theories from the racist right, and counsels his viewers that immigrants, nonwhites, and non-Christians are trying to destroy them and everything they love. Meanwhile, his show brings in more advertising revenue than any other Fox News program. The New York Times' Nick Confessore joined Charlie Sykes for this encore episode, originally released in May.
48 min
Michael Fanone: We Were Literally Fighting for ...
Former DC police officer Michael Fanone joined Charlie Sykes for our first live show, and recalled the events of Jan 6 — when he was seriously injured defending the Capitol. A one-time Trump voter and Fox News fan, Fanone is now waging "a one-man war" against Trump and his reality-denying apologists. He also shared his thoughts about Kevin McCarthy, Lindsey Graham, Mike Pence, and the battle for the American soul. This encore episode was originally released in October.
44 min
Tim Alberta: The Political Poisoning of the Eva...
On this Christmas weekend, we revisit our conversation with Tim Alberta about the morphing of evangelicalism from a spiritual disposition to a political identity, a development Alberta calls "heartbreaking."
40 min
BONUS EPISODE: The Bulwark Goes Across the Movi...
The Across the Movie Aisle pod returns to Pandora for James Cameron’s Avatar: The Way of Water. Is the sequel — 13 years in the making — worth the wait?
37 min
Eric Edelman: A Struggle Between Democracy and ...
Zelensky didn't hit a wrong note, and he embodied the Ukrainian people's will to freedom on the floor of the US Congress.
31 min
BONUS EPISODE: The Symmetry Between Zelensky's ...
The fight against Putin and the fight against Trump are cousins, so how poetic is it that Zelensky and the January 6 report both show up on nearly the same day?
43 min
Gen. Mick Ryan: The War in Ukraine, 10 months In
Putin likes to say the West is weak, but he isn't even fighting NATO, and he's losing.
38 min
Will Saletan: He Wanted the Violence
The January 6 committee never wavered from its main goal: to make sure Trump never holds power again.
34 min
The Next Level Takes Over The Bulwark
Tim Miller checks in from Turning Point's event in Phoenix on the role of "Gays Against Groomers" in the culture war.
52 min
Symone Sanders-Townsend: Let Joe Run
The case for Biden to run again, the hate-mongering GOP, and the expectations around Kamala vs the realities of the vice presidency.
46 min
Derek Thompson: An Abundance Agenda for the Future
The success of Operation Warp Speed has been orphaned by both sides — the left won't credit Trump for any policy success, and too many on the right won't get vaxxed.
45 min