Friday Edition


1. The RNC’s New Loyalty Test

The Republican National Committee is asking prospective hires if they believe the 2020 presidential election was stolen. (WaPo)

The RNC recently underwent a “MAGA” makeover with the resignation of former chair Ronna McDaniel, who was replaced by Lara Trump (Donald Trump’s daughter-in-law) and Michael Whatley.

Spokeswoman Danielle Alvarez on why the RNC’s asking about stolen elections: We want experienced staff with meaningful views on how elections are won and lost and real experience-based opinions about what happens in the trenches.”

Trump has often used the stolen election issue as a litmus test for weeding out so-called “RINOs.” Many Trump endorsements have hinged on whether a candidate is willing to say the 2020 election was rigged.

Trump to former Arizona senate candidate Blake Masters: “If you want to get across the line, you need to be stronger on [the rigged election issue] … Look at [Arizona gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake] … if they say, ‘How is your family?’ She says, ‘The election was rigged & stolen.’”

A common belief on the right is that Trump has been sabotaged by establishment Republicans who aren’t really committed to the “MAGA” agenda. Some organizations have even taken concrete steps to fight the supposed problem. For instance, the Heritage Foundation’s Project 205 wants to create an army of Trump-loyal staffers to fill government agencies.

Bubba’s Two Cents: A lot of Trump’s success stems from GOP voters’ dissatisfaction with their own party. 52% of Republicans say GOP leadership isn’t any more effective than Democratic leadership. Is the RNC’s stolen election job interview question a sign of how Trump demands an insane degree of loyalty (which he doesn’t always reciprocate)? Obviously. But it’s also a vetting tool aimed at shaping the party in Trump’s image.

2. Tapping into the Free Market

A new organization is spearheading a bipartisan plan to establish $1,000 government-funded investment accounts for every child born in the U.S., with additional matching funds from corporations. (CNBC)

InvestAmerica CEO Brad Gerstner says investing $1,000 in the S&P 500 stock market index at birth (plus a $750 annual contribution) would yield $200,000 by the age of 30. Major companies like Uber, Microsoft and Dell have shown interest in matching employee contributions to InvestAmerica accounts. Gerstner estimates the plan would cost the government $3.7 billion a year ($1,000 for the 3.7 million children in America), or less than one-tenth of 1% of the U.S. national budget.

Gerstner to CNBC: “This is gonna drive financial literacy. It's going to have a major impact on our savings rate, sociological benefits, increased graduation rates, more optimism, better health and more belief in free market capitalism.”

Younger generations have grown increasingly skeptical of capitalism.

3. In Defense of “Colorblindness”

In a recent appearance on “The View,” podcast host and writer Coleman Hughes, who is black, argued for a “colorblind approach to politics and culture.” (Mediaite)

Over the past 10 years, influential commentators like Ibram X. Kendi and Robin DiAngelo have popularized “anti-racism,” a more radical form of the racial equality movement. Anti-racists believe that unless white people are actively taking steps to fight racism, they are racist. Kendi has called on the government to establish a Department of Anti-racism, which would “investigate private racist policies when racial inequity surfaces, and monitor public officials for expressions of racist ideas.”

Hughes says this is the wrong way to fight racism, largely because it places too much emphasis on defining people by race. According to Hughes, anti-racists and racists make the same mistake.

Hughes: “[White supremacists and anti-racists] both view your race as an extremely significant part of who you are. So white supremacists, we all know what they say, okay. Neo-racists like Robin DiAngelo, they say that to be white is to be ignorant, for example. Well, this is a racial stereotype and I want to call a spade a spade and say this is not the style of anti-racism we have to be teaching our kids. We should be teaching them that your race is not a significant feature of who you are. Who you are is your character, your value, and your skin color doesn't say anything about that.”

Is it possible our recent fixation on race has actually worsened race relations in America? As Hughes notes, perceptions of race relations had been slowly improving for years until 2013. That’s when the rise of smartphones and social media helped create “this impression that racism was on the rise when in fact it had been on the decline for decades,” he says.

Bubba’s Two Cents: Hughes’ appearance on “The View” is getting rave reviews, and it’s easy to see why. Thanks to the general media environment, so many conversations about race devolve into unhinged finger-pointing and nastiness. People are hungry for a reasonable and measured perspective.

4. The Great Journalist Revolt

This week, NBC personalities got their network to reverse course on the hiring of former Republican National Committee chair Ronna McDaniel. (WSJ)

But that's just the latest example of journalists openly rebelling against their employers for platforming conservative views.

  • Politico staffers complained after the media outlet brought in Daily Wire founder Ben Shapiro to guest write the company’s daily newsletter. The controversy led to Politico pulling the plug on planned guest spots for other conservative commentators.

  • The New York Times’ publishing of an essay by Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., caused a newsroom uproar and the resignation of the Times’ opinion editor.

  • CNN’s own media analyst wrote an essay criticizing the company’s town hall with Donald Trump last year.

Bubba’s Two Cents: There’s a famous scene from the 2013 thriller “Captain Phillips” where a Somali pirate leader holds the titular captain at gunpoint and tells him, “Look at me, I’m the captain now.” These days, many newsrooms are probably feeling a lot like Captain Phillips. And journalists (only 3% of whom identify as Republicans) are acting like the pirate leader.

5. Reevaluating the “Grindset”

The pandemic sped up the move from working all the time to valuing a balance between work and personal life. (Bloomberg)

Data shows Americans are less into their jobs these days.

  • The share of employees who say they’re actively engaged with their work has declined 4% since 2021.

  • According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the quits rate remains high post-pandemic, indicating ongoing dissatisfaction with traditional work setups.

  • Job satisfaction hit its lowest level since early 2020, with a 10% drop this year, according to a BambooHR study of over 57,000 workers.

In the past decades, the rise of live-to-work, "grindset" culture has coincided with a decline in the American values that used to define us.

Bubba’s Two Cents: Lots of Americans seem to be searching for meaning these days, especially since many of the places where we used to find purpose (church, community, pride in our country) are in decline. What seems to me to have happened is many people thought pouring themselves into their careers would be the answer, only to realize it wasn't as fulfilling as they'd hoped

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