News & Politics

What’s Next for Mark Judge?

Experts say: Probably not much.

Mark Judge when the Washington Post found him recently in Delaware. (Photo by Gabriel Pogrund/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court nomination catapulted his high school friend Mark Judge out of relative obscurity when Christine Blasey Ford alleged Judge witnessed her sexual assault. (Kavanaugh denies he assaulted Ford, and Judge said he had no memory of the incident.) Judge’s sudden prominence has been surreal for some in DC’s publishing circles, where he’d cultivated fraught relationships with local journalists and publishers for decades.

But if we’ve learned anything from the last couple of years, it’s that no reinvention is impossible. So could Judge bounce back from all of this and even flourish as a right-wing media star? We asked people with experience in these matters about possible scenarios:

Back to conservative media?

Right Wing Watch’s Jared Holt says it would be tricky for Judge to re-emerge within conservative spheres.

“Given that his book provided some ammunition to refute the account of Brett Kavanaugh, it’s hard not to imagine that there is some animosity toward him,” Holt says. “It’s not unimaginable to think that some conservative media outlets may have perceived him as a liability during the confirmation hearings.”

He adds that “unsavory elements” of Judge’s past, such as a slew of off-putting remarks about women and a strange YouTube account, “could make Judge too hot to handle for conservative outlets that seek to establish themselves as a mainstream conservative perspective.” Yet there’s a phenomenon that tends to play out within right-leaning media that could act as a safety net for Judge. It’s possible for the author-turned-columnist to assume the role of a martyr, mauled by the left-leaning media and Washington elite.

“In this huddle from the right-wing playbook, Judge would enter the scene as the victim of a ‘liberal smear’ who weathered the storm and helped Kavanaugh to success in the end,” Holt says.

Judge’s best bet, Holt says, would be to try for a gig at a publication that has a “low barrier to entry” like Gateway Pundit, the Federalist, or maybe even at the Daily Caller again.

Revive his career as a book author?

Judge has published several books, and his memoir about drinking has become a highly priced (if poorly reviewed) collectible. Could he turn that into literary fame? One source with direct knowledge of the publishing industry is “highly dubious” Judge could get a book deal. “What could he do?” the individual, who spoke on condition of anonymity, adds. “Rewrite the last couple books he did about his glory days at Georgetown Prep? Not sure who would publish that.”

Go the DIY route?

Judge deleted his social media accounts when he got swept up in the Kavanaugh story, but Holt says he could easily try to become a self-made star like Mike Flynn Jr., Jack Posobiec and Lee Stranahan. How exactly? By embracing platforms where he doesn’t need anyone’s approval, like Periscope or YouTube, he could pontificate directly on topics like why he’s sure a black person stole his bike, or  how “pathetic” twerking is. “Conservative people that can’t get a platform sometimes take the social media star route, another one of many possible avenues Judge could meander down.”

Staff Writer

Brittany Shepherd covers the societal and cultural scene in political Washington. Before joining Washingtonian as a staff writer in 2018, Brittany was a White House Correspondent for Independent Journal Review. While she has lived in DC for a number of years now, she still yearns for the fresh Long Island bagels of home. Find her on Twitter, often prattling on about Frasier.