The Bulwark Presents
The Triad by JVL

Nothing To See Here. Just Another Guy from Trump World Charged with Fraud.

May 9, 2019
Featured Image
(Michael Reynolds-Pool/Getty Images)

1. Only the Best People

Do you ever find yourself reading a story about someone in the Trump orbit who looks to be running an obvious con and think, “Haven’t I read this before?”

That’s the feeling I got reading this Politico story about “Students for Trump” founder John Lambert.

See if any of it feels familiar to you, too:

On the eve of the last presidential election, NBC’s “Nightly News” broadcast featured two skinny college students in jackets and ties, discussing the future of American politics. They were co-founders of Students for Trump, a grassroots group that had tapped the social media power of Donald Trump’s populist movement — and of photos of bikini-clad women in MAGA hats — to become the real estate mogul’s standard-bearer on college campuses around the country.“I see Donald Trump as reviving the Republican Party,” one of them, John Lambert, declared confidently.

Last month, Lambert, now 23, showed up in the news again. This time, he had been arrested in Tennessee on charges of wire fraud. According to the federal government, at the same time he was building a nationwide political network and serving as one of the most visible young faces of Trump’s populist movement, Lambert was also posing online as a high-powered New York lawyer, eventually making off with tens of thousands of dollars in fees he stole from unwitting clients seeking legal services.

You’ll want to read the whole thing.

Why does this keep happening? Trump’s personal lawyer is in jail. Trump’s 2016 campaign manager is in jail. There’s Trump super-booster Jacob Wohl. There’s Omarosa and Sheriff David Clarke and Laura Loomer and Corey Lewandowski and let’s just stop right now before you get sick.

It’s important to note two things about this steady stream of weirdos and conmen and grifters and felons orbiting around Trump:

1) It’s not an accident.
2) It’s not normal.

Nothing like this has ever happened in modern American politics. Don’t ever fall into thinking that this is just how the world works.

Because it doesn’t have to be like this.

2. Democratic Mystery Candidate

My May Democratic Power Rankings are up and there are a number of surprises:

  • For the first time ever, Bernie Sanders has been knocked from the top spot.
  • Beto gets another boost from his privilege.
  • Cory Booker and Kirsten Gillibrand are both edged out by the “Democratic Mystery Candidate.”

Read all about it here!

The Democratic Mystery Candidate is a pet theory of mine that has rested on the idea that should Biden turn out not to have his fastball, then eventually the party will freak out and look for someone to stop Bernie. If Kamala, Beto, and Mayor Pete aren’t up to the job, they’ll look outside the race.

To me, the obvious first options are Michelle Obama and Oprah. Mark Cuban could fit the bill in a pinch. Maybe Bloomberg.

But reader D.P. writes in with his own theory:

It won’t be Oprah. It won’t be Bloomberg or Cuban.  It won’t even be Michelle Obama.

If anyone else is going to jump into the Democratic race, it will have to be someone with near-universal name recognition, impeccable progressive credentials, governing experience, a strong vision for the environment, and a semi-plausible claim that he was denied the Presidency by Republican shenanigans.

Hmmm…now, which former Vice President and popular-vote-winning Presidential candidate does that sound like?

Think about it.