“The true bulwark of our freedom and national independence is to be found in the souls of our people. Our greatest defense lies in their love of liberty and strength of character.” -Ronald Reagan
A Note to Our Readers from editor-in-chief Charlie Sykes:
George Orwell once observed that “To see what is in front of one’s nose needs a constant struggle.” And what is in front of our nose at the moment is that the president of the United States is a serial liar, a narcissist and a bully, a con man who mocks the disabled and women, a man with no fixed principles who has the vocabulary of an emotionally insecure 9-year-old.
Lots of Republicans, even the ones who defend him publicly, say these things quietly.
Our mission will be to say them out loud and encourage others to do so as well. We’re long past the time for anonymous op-eds, or sotto voce complaints. The task now is not to continually degrade and adjust our standards to accommodate Trump, but rather to push back against the moral and intellectual corruption that now poses an existential threat to conservatism as a viable political force.
When he launched National Review magazine in the 1950s, William F. Buckley Jr. declared that a conservative was someone who “stands athwart history, yelling Stop, at a time when no one is inclined to do so, or to have much patience with those who so urge it.”
We face an even more complicated challenge today: not merely resisting the pressures of the Left, but also a conservative movement that is being driven by grifters and mountebanks into a dark hole of nativism, protectionism, isolationism, and fabulism.
The Bulwark will stand in the breach and shout, “You can’t be serious?”
As much of the Right descends into sophism and trollery, we will be a forum for rational, principled, fact-based conservative commentary.
With the recent closing of The Weekly Standard, we think it is more important than ever to provide a voice for non-Trumpian conservatives. There are writers, academics, politicians, and thinkers who remain focused on protecting democratic ideals as well as developing the policy ideas of the future. Such voices are sprinkled across think tanks, academia, advocacy organizations, and media outlets. The Bulwark will continue to be a point of convergence and amplification for these voices, but will also be the home for original reporting, analysis and commentary.
The Bulwark is a project of the Defending Democracy Together Institute. DDTI is a 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to preserving America’s democratic norms, values, and institutions, and educating the public on conservative principles like rule of law, free trade, and expanding legal immigration.
Charlie Sykes is the editor-in-chief of The Bulwark, host of The Bulwark Podcast, and an NBC/ MSNBC contributor.
He is also author of nine books, including A Nation of Victims, Dumbing Down Our Kids, Profscam, The Hollow Men, The End of Privacy, 50 Rules Kids Won’t Learn in School, A Nation of Moochers, and Fail U. The False Promise of Higher Education. He was co-editor of the National Review College Guide.
His most recent book, How the Right Lost Its Mind, published by St. Martin’s Press, was released in October 2017. An updated paperback edition was released in October, 2018.
Sykes has written for The New York Times, The Atlantic, The Weekly Standard, The Washington Post, Commentary, The Wall Street Journal, Politico, The Los Angeles Times, Newsweek, Time.com, USA Today, National Review, The New York Review of Books, the New York Daily News, and other national publications. He has appeared on Meet the Press, This Week with George Stephanopoulos, State of the Union with Jake Tapper, the Today Show, ABC, NBC, Fox News, CNN, PBS, the BBC, and has been profiled on NPR. He has also spoken extensively on university campuses.
He is a former contributing editor to the Weekly Standard; he also has served as editor of Milwaukee Magazine; editor of Wisconsin Interest Magazine; and founder and editor in chief of Right Wisconsin.
Sykes serves as the president of Defending Democracy Together Institute, sits on the advisory board of the Democracy Fund, and is a member of the board of Stand Up Republic.
Until he stepped down in December 2016 after 23 years, Sykes was one of Wisconsin’s top-rated and most influential conservative talk show hosts. In 2017, he was co-host of the national public radio show, “Indivisible,” which originated from WNYC.
He lives in Mequon, Wisconsin with his wife and three dogs. He has three children, and two grandchildren.
Jonathan V. Last is executive editor of The Bulwark.
Rachael Larimore is the managing editor of The Bulwark. She was the online managing editor of The Weekly Standard from 2017 to 2018. From 2002 to 2017, she served in various roles at Slate, where she also wrote about sports, politics, and gender issues.
Jim Swift is a senior editor at The Bulwark. He worked at The Weekly Standard from 2012 to 2018, where his last post was as deputy online editor. His writing has also appeared in the Washington Post, the Richmond Times-Dispatch, the Cleveland Plain Dealer, and elsewhere. Before TWS, he worked for five years for members of the House and Senate as a tax staffer, working for Rep. Geoff Davis (R-KY) on Ways and Means Committee matters and Senator Jon Kyl (R-AZ) on Finance Committee matters. In 2004, he worked as a field staffer for President Bush’s re-election campaign. He holds a B.S. in Business Administration from Saint Louis University.
Benjamin Parker is a senior editor at The Bulwark. His writing has been published in The Weekly Standard, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Examiner, and The Hill. He holds a B.A. in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics and Russian and East European Studies from the University of Pennsylvania.
Hannah Yoest is an art director at The Bulwark. Previously she managed social media and produced art for The Weekly Standard, where she also wrote about art and literature. She graduated from the University of Virginia with a degree in Fine Art.
Kayla Gowdy is an assistant editor at The Bulwark and a veteran of conservative think tanks and Republican political campaigns. She graduated from Ashland University, receiving her Bachelor of Arts in political science and economics.
Andrew Egger is a senior writer at The Bulwark. He has previously written for The Weekly Standard, the American Spectator, and the Orange County Register. He holds a B.A. in history from Hillsdale College.
Barry Rubin is a senior video editorial producer at The Bulwark. Barry started making videos at the age of 13, when he guilted his mother into allowing him to use his bar mitzvah money to buy a video camera and editing equipment. Barry holds a B.A. in film production from Arizona State University.
Sarah Longwell is the publisher of The Bulwark. She is a partner at a communications firm in Washington, D.C., and a founding director of Defending Democracy Together and the Defending Democracy Together Institute. She is a graduate of Kenyon College and lives in Washington, D.C., with her family.
William Kristol is editor-at-large of The Bulwark. He was a founder of The Weekly Standard, and is a regular guest on leading political commentary shows. Prior to his work at The Weekly Standard, Kristol led the Project for the Republican Future, an organization that helped shape the strategy that produced the 1994 Republican congressional victory. From 1985 to 1993, Kristol served as chief of staff to Education Secretary William Bennett in the Reagan Administration and as chief of staff to Vice President Dan Quayle in the George H. W. Bush administration. Before coming to Washington, Kristol taught politics at the University of Pennsylvania and Harvard University.
Contact: [email protected]