On Naomi Osaka, Serena Williams, and Referees

I decided to comment on the US Open Women’s Tennis Final/Serena vs. the ref/ Naomi Osaka thing via Twitter. Here’s the tweet-storm-

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Forecasting the 2018 Senate Midterms

The U.S. Senate is virtually evenly divided- 51-49. That two seat Republican Majority might as well be a bigly wall though, as Mitch McConnell has continued to cement his legacy as the man who destroyed the Senate. He used the filibuster at unprecedented levels and denied President Obama a fairly won seat on the Supreme Court when he wouldn’t even give Merrick Garland. Now he’s gutted the filibuster’s use on Supreme Court nominees. The Senate is more partisan under McConnell than at any point in our history.

So who will control the chamber? A few numbers to consider-

  • Ten (10)- the number of Democrats defending seats in states Donald Trump won in 2016.
  • Nine (9)- the number of Republican Senators up for election in 2018.
  • Two (2)- the net number of seats Democrats need to win the Senate.

There seem to be three strong possibilities for this election in the Senate. In order of probability, in my opinion:

  1. Republicans narrowly hold on and maybe even pick up one to three seats.
  2. Blue Wave- the Democrats pick up at least two, maybe four or five on the high end, and take the Senate.
  3. Red Wave- Republicans pick up five or more seats.

That’s the range of possibilities, and it’s not that easy to predict which one it will be. About 18 months ago I would have listed the “Blue Wave” option in third, because they had too many tough defenses. Now it’s plausible, though I still doubt it.

So let’s rate these seats out. Here’s my current ratings:

Safe Democrats-

California, Hawaii, Maryland, Delaware, New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Vermont, Washington

Likely Democrats-

New Mexico, Minnesota (Klobuchar), Maine, Virginia

Lean Democrats-

Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Minnesota (Smith), New Jersey

Toss-Ups-

Nevada, Tennessee, West Virginia, Indiana, Missouri, Montana, Florida, North Dakota

Lean Republican-

Arizona, Texas, Mississippi (Hyde-Smith)

Likely Republican-

Mississippi (Wicker), Nebraska, Utah

Safe Republicans-

Wyoming

Current Conclusions-

I would currently take a guess of the Republicans holding 53-47. That can move, but just the sheer volume of Democratic toss-ups gives them the edge. In fact, I almost moved Florida and North Dakota the GOP’s way, but held off for now. There is a pathway forward for Democrats though, and it begins with wins in Nevada and Tennessee. While I’m skeptical they can run the table, that is the base of their chances. Ultimately, I think they will need a tough win- in one of Texas, Arizona, or the Mississippi special election- to really have a shot though. The good news is they have somewhat “pros” running in each seat (Beto, Sinema, and Espy). Right now though, I’d be more likely to be on the GOP winning Florida, North Dakota, and Missouri, than the Dems rolling these seats up.

How an Unpopular Trump Can Beat the Democrats, Again

There are 195 Democrats in the U.S. House right now. The emerging wisdom of the political class is that there will be more of them next year, probably a majority actually. Democrats need 23 seats to get to the 218 they need, and most people now think they will get there. The presumption is that this is good for them. I’m not absolutely sure of that, yet.

I am imaging a 2018 Election right now where Democrats do incredibly well. In 2006, they won 30 seats in the anti-Bush wave, and I think that’s a fair neighborhood to predict them ending up in again. A win of that magnitude would give Democrats a 225-210 Majority. While Democrats may pick up the U.S. Senate as well, no one is going to win the Senate comfortably. Whether Democrats pick up control with two seats, or lose a seat or two, the Senate will be divided 53-47 or closer, either way.

This narrowly divided Congress will be very difficult to navigate. I’m not as concerned about the fight over Nancy Pelosi being Speaker or not, in part because I think it will be a real struggle for whoever gets the gavel. A majority with 225 members can’t afford to lose more than seven votes on any particular vote, or they lose. There will probably be seven or more members representing extremely competitive seats, members who will fear tough votes. There will almost certainly be seven or more Democrats on the other end of the spectrum, seven Alexandria Ocasio Cortez type members who will be in an energized, militant left. They’ll have demands too.

This kind of divided House will produce a Democratic version of the Boehner or Ryan speakerships- a caucus on the left like the Tea Party, who make demands of their leadership. What may they demand? I’m sure they’d get a vote on a clean DACA bill, and other mainstream Democratic initiatives. I’m sure they’d also get a vote of a Bernie Sanders style single-payer health care bill, one that would be dead on arrival in the Senate, but would serve both parties goal of energizing their base. This is probably the tip of the iceberg though. There would probably be a demand for a vote on abolishing ICE, among other less mainstream initiatives of the further left-wing of America. Obviously, I’ve left out the big issue settling over all of this as well- a potential vote on impeachment. Sure, there’s virtually a zero chance of getting enough Republicans (probably between 14 and 20) in the Senate to vote to convict and remove Donald Trump from office. The truth is, almost everything in the Democratic platform, besides maybe a minimum wage increase or infrastructure bill, would either die in the Senate or on Trump’s desk, so all of this is about political theatre, not actual governing. It’s all really a question of what face the Democrats want to put on ahead of a 2020 Election.

All of this is a great reason to make Nancy Pelosi the next Speaker, since she skillfully used the gavel in 2007 and 2008 to position the Democratic Party for a 2008 sweep to power. This isn’t 2007 though, and Pelosi is far less popular than she was then. Some of the Democrats running this year are running on a far less compromising agenda than the more moderate 2006 class. I’m not sure even Pelosi will be able to hold the left flank in line, and I’m not sure the members in more moderate districts will be able to not cave in to the left flank. If those in more competitive districts kill off the agenda of the further left, the Democratic base may revolt. They could face competitive primaries that virtually insure their defeat in 2020, one way or the other. Or they could go along with the left, and insure their defeat that way. Democrats could look conflicted and inept, or militantly ideological. Neither work very well.

It’s very hard to run the House with a small majority when you don’t have the White House or ability to govern. It’s really hard to do when you have a very motivated, agitated base. You end up spending most of your time posturing for the optics, balancing the base against the broader electorate. Doing that during the 2020 Presidential race may be impossible.

So, what does all of this have to do with the title of this piece, and President Trump? Well, it gives him a contrast. It makes the Democrats relevant again, and allows him to position them as only trying to destroy him and his Presidency. He can point to their infighting and call it inept, or to their more progressive successes and call it extreme, or to their efforts to hold his feet to the fire and play the victim. It gives him a way out.

I know where those on the left would go in responding to me here- they obstructed us from Congress in the Obama era, and it turned out fine for them. That’s true, but that’s the difference in the two parties voters. Republicans rally together when attacked, and play the victim quite well. They are most united in their hate of the Democratic base. Democratic voters want to govern and achieve things, and are largely turned off by the fighting. We just can’t do what they can.

Democrats need to win Congress in 2018- both houses. They need to maximize their victories, and try to get to 240 House seats. Once in power, our new Congress members need to rally to our leaders and stand together in the fight. If we are a chaotic mess, we will be handing Donald Trump a pathway to victory.

On Kaepernick and Nike

I own a pair of Nike shoes, and I’m proud to say I’ll buy more. I also must confess that I am not a fan of Colin Kaepernick. I wasn’t much of a fan while he played, and even now I have some serious issues with him. As I take stock of Nike deciding to use Kaepernick in their “Just Do It” anniversary campaign though, I have to say I support it.

I’m not a Colin Kaepernick fan. The man wants to hold himself up as a social justice champion, but has admitted he didn’t vote in 2016. That he didn’t see the importance of voting in that election, and was critical of Hillary Clinton (who spent her life fighting for the causes he claims to champion), makes me very suspicious of him. While I agree with his kneeling during the national anthem, I found his depictions of police as pigs to be childish. I find Kaepernick to be a very flawed leader and spokesman of his cause.

Let’s also be clear here- kneeling during the anthem is an expression of free speech, our highest ideal as a nation, and the NFL blacklisting him for it is disgusting and UnAmerican. Kaepernick did lose his livelihood in support of a cause bigger than himself. I don’t have to like him to support him for that. That he made some bigots uncomfortable is no vice, but a badge of honor. Nike makes a lot of money selling shoes- and many of their customers are African-Americans who support Kaepernick in his cause. There is nothing wrong with Nike celebrating him for that.

I’m not a Kaepernick fan, but what I do love about him is how he exposes the bigotry in so many of my fellow white people. It would be easy to take Kaepernick as a flawed individual who is using his first amendment rights in our society and take it for what it is. Some of these folks can’t though. They lose their mind when he is honored by those who agree with him. They cut the swoosh off of their socks and burn shoes and jerseys. It’s as though the idea of a black athlete speaking out against racism is unacceptable to them (spoiler: I know that is what they actually think). They can’t contain their inner bigot and have to make a spectacle of themselves, instead of ignoring him like they do everyone else who tries to speak on the subject of race. I’m glad they do this though, it exposes who they are for everybody else to see.

Crazytown

There’s enough news most days right now to fill a normal week, but we shouldn’t lose sight of how crazy Trump’s Washington is- someone senior to his administration wrote an anonymous op-ed that essentially says Trump is immoral and incompetent. This is simply unprecedented. At the height of Bill Clinton or George W. Bush’s difficulties, people resigned and left them, but they did so publicly, and citing a specific issue they had with the President. This person is publicly calling the President an imbecile, but doing so anonymously because they believe the nation needs them to continue serving, and thwarting the President. That is astonishing and remarkable. It is possibly the most chilling thing I have read.

The problem with this, of course, is that it is confirmation bias for everyone, but especially Trump’s base. It is an admission that there are people within this government working against Donald Trump, and that they are using the New York Times and press as a whole to spread information that is damaging to the President. While it also confirms that the President is a buffoon, as many of us knew, that’s not the part his base will hear. As long as his base hears what they want, they paralyze Republicans across Washington into inaction on the President’s insanity. It’s great that we know he’s an idiot, but we can’t do anything about it.

It’s absolutely horrifying that someone this insane, this inept, and this immoral received 46% of the national vote for President. That there was such a large market for his brand should terrify us. It is cold comfort to know there are some in this administration who see what a problem he is and are thwarting him- because this won’t end with Trump. His voters won’t all go away when he leaves, this line of thinking won’t die. What happens when they elect a competent, but equally immoral version of Trump? What happens if Mike Pence actually does get into office?

We can’t live in hypotheticals though, we live in now. Where we are now is troubling. We have a President that is so terrible that members of his administration are writing op-eds anonymously trashing him. Bob Woodward is writing a book that essentially says the same thing- our incapable President doesn’t even control his own administration, because his senior team is undermining his worst impulses. Our system of government is being stressed to it’s limits. Our republic is in actual danger. “Small D” democratic norms are being trampled. Things are really bad.

Unfortunately I don’t expect things to get better quickly. I expect the President and his supporters to rage at this discussion of his ineptitude. I expect members of his administration to publicly rally around him and do things to affirm their loyalty to the President. I expect terrible things, and for people to get hurt.

But the good news in all of this- there’s a chance our republic survives this. There’s a chance the people undermining the President from within will succeed. That’s at least somewhat comforting.

Oh- by the way- this didn’t go on when Barack Obama was President.

The 2018 NFL Preview

It happened. Hell froze over. For the first time since my 61 year old father was three, the Eagles are champions. For the first time ever, the Philadelphia Eagles won the Super Bowl. 41-33 happened. We beat Tom Brady.

But now it’s over. Tomorrow, football season will kick off. The Eagles will put up their banner. They’ll play a game then, probably a game they won’t win, I might add. They have injuries, they have obvious distractions, the Falcons are a good team, and many defending champions lose the opening game. Just look at last year’s Patriots, who ended up fine. It’s just one game.

I’ll go on the record and predict the Eagles to go 12-4 and win the NFC East, claiming the #2 seed in the NFC. Here’s my predictions, by division:

NFC East

  1. Philadelphia Eagles 12-4
  2. Dallas Cowboys 10-6
  3. Washington Redskins 8-8
  4. New York Giants 7-9

This division will be relatively competitive, after the Eagles. Nobody is really awful.

NFC North

  1. Minnesota Vikings 11-5
  2. Green Bay Packers 10-6
  3. Chicago Bears 7-9
  4. Detroit Lions 4-12

The Vikings won’t cruise like last year, but their defense gets them through, again. Aaron Rodgers carries the Packers to ten wins, while Chicago’s defense makes them competitive.

NFC South

  1. New Orleans Saints 11-5
  2. Atlanta Falcons 10-6
  3. Carolina Panthers 10-6
  4. Tampa Bay Buccaneers 3-13

This division is truly stacked and deep. It was hard to decide who’s what.

NFC West

  1. Los Angeles Rams 13-3
  2. San Francisco 49’ers 9-7
  3. Arizona Cardinals 6-10
  4. Seattle Seahawks 5-11

The Rams are the runaways here, with a stacked team on both sides of the ball. San Francisco moves up, and becomes elite next season.

AFC West

  1. Los Angeles Chargers 9-7
  2. Denver Broncos 8-8
  3. Kansas City Chiefs 7-9
  4. Oakland Raiders 5-11

This is anybody’s ball game, but not in a good way. I take Rivers to pull it out.

AFC South

  1. Jacksonville Jaguars 10-6
  2. Houston Texans 10-6
  3. Tennessee Titans 7-9
  4. Indianapolis Colts 6-10

I’m taking the Jags to show us Sacksonville wasn’t a fluke. I also think Watson contends for MVP in Houston.

AFC North

  1. Pittsburgh Steelers 12-4
  2. Baltimore Ravens 7-9
  3. Cleveland Browns 5-11
  4. Cincinnati Bengals 4-12

Pittsburgh should roll to this one, even if the Bell saga rages on. Nobody else is even close. Cleveland will show improvement though.

AFC East

  1. New England Patriots 13-3
  2. Buffalo Bills 9-7
  3. Miami Dolphins 7-9
  4. New York Jets 5-11

Just another season here.

Wild Card Playoff Round-

Saints 35 Packers 21

Vikings 21 Falcons 17

Jaguars 24 Bills 17

Texans 27 Chargers 24

Divisional Playoff Round-

Rams 31 Vikings 21

Eagles 24 Saints 21

Steelers 34 Jaguars 21

Patriots 38 Texans 17

Conference Title Round-

Eagles 24 Rams 21

Patriots 28 Steelers 17

SUPER BOWL-

Eagles 41 Patriots 33 😏

Let’s play some football.

The Kavanaugh Hearings are a Joke

My biggest takeaway from the Brett Kavanaugh hearings so far? We shouldn’t have Senate confirmation hearings anymore. Much like Government Oversight hearings in the House they are all theatre, and we’re all more dumb for having listened to them. There’s not one undecided person in the room, and Chairman Grassley is a shameless hack for trying to claim his staff went through 42,000 documents in six hours the night before the hearings (7,000 an hour? That’s a lie.). The hearings attract protestors like honey attracts bees, and the net effect is zero- Lindsey Graham doesn’t care how loud you yell about Kavanaugh overturning Roe v. Wade, he’s voting for him anyway.

The only thing in the way of Kavanaugh being confirmed at this point is when Kyl gets to the Senate to replace McCain. Susan Collins pre-cleared this nominee ahead of time, really only leaving Lisa Murkowski as a questionable vote on the GOP side. Assuming the Republicans have 50 votes to confirm Kavanaugh, you might see Democrats in red states- meaning McCaskill, Donnelly, Manchin, and Heitkamp- vote for him too, to help their re-election campaigns. That’s the equivalent of scoring a touchdown with a minute left in a 42-0 football game though, no one cares. Kavanaugh’s entire “target” audience is keeping Murkowski, Flake, Corker, Collins, and Sasse- and he can do that purely by not doing something moronic.

This confirmation was basically sealed when Chuck Grassley accepted mass assertions of executive privilege by the Trump Administration and representatives of the Bush 43 Administration. If Kavanaugh’s opinions on torture, executive power, environmental law, and labor law (to name a few) as the White House Staff Secretary aren’t part of the hearing, what is there to even discuss? As expected, Kavanaugh declined to take a position on whether or not a President could be indicted or subpoenaed, particularly germane topics in the era of Donald Trump as President. Grassley tried to claim Kavanaugh’s opinions as Staff Secretary really don’t matter, and the public shouldn’t see them. If that’s the case, why bother having hearings. The partisans on both sides will take their partisan positions, and everyone else has no reason to care. This whole process is a fraud, and Kavanaugh was guaranteed 51 votes to start.

This isn’t to absolve Kavanaugh of fault and push it to the Senate. He has taken positions on the definition of employment that are outside of the mainstream. He was involved in legalizing torture in the Bush White House. He lied under oath to the Senate Judiciary Committee when he was up for a lifetime appointment to the DC Circuit Court of Appeals. He has said Presidents shouldn’t face indictments or criminal probes while in office. It’s a near certainty that he promised to protect Trump from prosecution, support corporations in their fights to avoid regulation, overturn Roe v. Wade, and to expand Presidential power- all just to get this nomination. This man wouldn’t even shake the hand of Fred Guttenberg at his hearing, a man who lost his daughter in the Parkland, FL mass shooting, and who supports gun control. Kavanaugh is a bad guy, one who will probably gut the Voting Rights Act and expand the Citizens United case.

The main point is that yet another Congressional process doesn’t work. The Senate Judiciary Committee is a clown show that is run by a liar. If over 100,000 documents are going to be kept out of the public eye on this nominee, what’s the point of calling it a public debate. Like every other nominee in recent memory, Kavanaugh has an impressive resume for the job, but this should actually be about what he’s going to do, and if his nomination is even legitimate, not his qualifications. If we’re not considering his impact on our country, why not just proceed with a partisan, political vote.

She’s No AOC, Thankfully

Last night in Boston, waves were made. A Congressman, District Attorney, and state legislators who were incumbents all lost. The big story, of course, was Congressman Mike Capuano losing to City Councilor Ayanna Pressley. Capuano had served ten terms, and hadn’t faced a tough challenge since his 1998 victory. Suddenly, he’s out.

I don’t personally endorse these kind of primaries. Capuano had a good voting record on almost every issue, and was a staunch anti-war Congressman. I see no actual point in kicking guys like him out. These primaries are usually a progressive fetish for bored activists in blue districts, who want more angry legislators, like themselves. In the end, Ayanna Pressley will have a nearly identical voting record to Mike Capuano. What’s the point?

With that all said, don’t cry about Ayanna Pressley. She’s going to do just fine at this. She’s a big city Councilwoman that used to work for John Kerry’s political team. She’s a pro, not a bomb thrower. She will go to Congress and work hard, and get things done. This is not Alexandria Ocasio Cortez out there campaigning to destroy the party, Pressley is a part of the Democratic Party. She believes we should have more diversity in Congress, and so did her district.

This race was not much of an upset. Pressley is an elected official, and in fact had won a competitive race more recently than Capuano. The demographics of this seat have changed a lot since JFK held it too. With less gerrymandering and segregation in Boston today, this seat was increasingly less white. We have seen this repeatedly in recent years, where a white, older man had represented an urban district for quite some time without a real challenge, and then they lose when someone credible steps forward. There’s not much to imagine about why this race happened.

There are certainly parallels to what happened to Joe Crowley, but only on the incumbent side. In a few years, Pressley’s constituents will be proud of her. She’s not AOC, and for that, I’m thankful.

And What Will Become of Them?

In the days since John McCain’s funeral there have been two pressing questions: what will become of the (former) Republican “Establishment” and who will represent it? In the era of Donald Trump, who will take up McCain’s cause and fight to make America a leader in the world order, while upholding the cause of mainstream conservatism at home? What Republican will be the “maverick” that makes deals in the Senate, such as McCain-Feingold? Who among the Republicans will be the check on Trump’s wilder impulses, as McCain was on repealing the Affordable Care Act and opposing the cozying up of this White House to Putin’s Russia? There is some hope for Ben Sasse to serve that purpose. There is a sense that Mitt Romney could serve in that role, assuming he is elected to the Senate this Fall.

My honest assessment is that the real answer to these questions is no one, and that the GOP of McCain that we all imagine, it no longer exists. You can hope that a McSally, Romney, Sasse, or whoever else you want will be the savior, but you’ll probably be disappointed. We have seen would-be critics from Lindsey Graham to Marco Rubio, all the way over to Ted Cruz, all fold like cheap suits. We have seen Republicans with the spine to fight back, the Jeff Flakes and Bob Corkers of the world, end up falling in line when it’s time to vote, and choose to retire, rather than take Trump on. Even Rand Paul loves Russia now. Those who choose to fight Trump, like Mark Sanford, end up decimated in Trump’s wake. Maybe Mitt Romney will choose to fight Trump on a couple of issues, but it won’t be any real, constant resistance. As much as we have romanticized the McCain-Trump feud, it only existed on select political issues. It’s not as though McCain opposed Gorsuch, or voted against tax cuts.

There’s a reason George W. Bush is off painting pictures and John Boehner is driving on some highway singing “Zippidy Doo-Dah” for Labor Day– the Republican Party created a monster it’s old guard can’t control. From Ronald Reagan’s racist overtones of launching his 1980 campaign in Philadelphia, Mississippi to Dubbya running against gay marriage in 2004, the GOP stoked the flames of closet racism to win elections for a couple of generations and wondered how Trump happened. Paul Ryan’s talk of “makers and takers” and Newt Gingrich and Ronald Reagan beating on “welfare queens” created a sense of victimization in the GOP base. You can’t absolve the last couple of generations of Republican leaders for the current state of the party. With the rare exception of McCain, the rest of the GOP refused to tamp down the fires of birtherism during the first African-American Presidency.

I will grant the generation of McCain, the Bush Family, and the Doles that I think they were by and large above the real grotesque racism and bigotry that currently rules the GOP. I think Trump largely does disgust them. While I think they were complicit in creating the conditions for Trump, I agree that they couldn’t foresee this. Even so, the Trump movement is having no mercy on their brand of Republicanism. History will largely show them being overrun by it.

The reason that old-line conservatism is losing to Trumpism is because Trumpism is actually who their base always was. All the talk of “small government” and neoconservative war didn’t mean what they thought it meant to their base. The culture wars of God, gays, and guns wasn’t just a ploy to the Republican base. Men like Donald Trump knew that, while Mitt Romney did not. In the face of a more global, more diverse, more intellectual world, a huge chunk of America wanted someone like Donald Trump- someone who would oppose feminism, “the browning” of America, campus intellectuals, and an America that didn’t seem to value “their” way of life anymore. The motivating factor in conservative politics is stopping the liberal vision of America’s future. Nothing more, nothing less. If it takes giving rich people tax cuts to secure the funding for electoral victories that give them conservative judges and a White House that halts the changing world, the Republican base will take it. They will endure lies, corruption, and hypocrisy to defeat the liberal vision of America. Donald Trump promised them to reverse the Obama course in absolute, culture driven terms, and he didn’t dog-whistle about it. That’s why he owns the GOP now.

So as I said above, there is no new McCain coming, to the extent there ever was one. The “Republican Establishment” is dead, to the extent it ever existed, and it stands no chance against the blue-collar, white politics of Trumpism. What will become of them? At best, not much. At worst, ruin. One can hope the GOP’s future is the “younger” Republican libertarian ideals, which at least give lip service to a less bigoted party. I’m not betting the house on that right now.

My Evolution on Bernie- From Harmless to Negative

There was a time when I really didn’t mind Bernie Sanders. I thought he was too far left to be President, but I was generally, philosophically fine with him. Yes, we need to invest more in the working class, sure we do need to regulate big banks, and yes we do need to expand access to health care. Sure, the devil is in the details, but that devil was less important than the broad agreement.

So as the 2016 Presidential process began, I was actually not really anti-Bernie. I supported Clinton. I liked O’Malley. I thought Bernie represented an important voice. When January of 2016 came, I even collected petition signatures to get Bernie on the Pennsylvania ballot (I also did this for Clinton, but I don’t often carry for more than one candidate in a race). Bernie seemed fine to me, and I liked that he was collecting younger supporters.

So what changed, and how? I didn’t go from “fine with Bernie” to fierce critic over night. While I’m unimpressed by his biography and personal flaws, I knew most of that when he entered. I knew he had very little support from non-white voters. I knew he wasn’t a Democrat. I knew all of that, but still didn’t hate him. I even knew he called himself a socialist- which didn’t bother me yet, as I had never hated socialism (my advisor in college was a socialist). Yet, today I’m passionately never Bernie.

For me, the first annoyance point with Bernie came in his disastrous New York Daily News editorial board interview, and the fallout from it. He was universally panned for it, then lost the New York race decisively, then stayed in the race. It was great that Sanders wanted to be a fighter for the working class, but he really hadn’t done his homework to explain how he was going to do it. This was the point I started to believe he was misleading the flock.

The next real annoyance was here in Pennsylvania, just after New York. Several friends of mine were running for delegate to the convention for Bernie. They worked hard to help him, and to be on the ballot, and probably felt like the campaign should help them. Instead, a group of the other Bernie delegates and supporters put out a voter guide saying not to vote for the establishment Bernie delegates on the ballot, only those who would refuse to support Hillary, ever. It was at that point I realized that these people were total wackos. As the weeks went by, right through California, this became more and more clear.

When the primaries ended, I expected peace to come soon after. I thought maybe the crazies wouldn’t support Clinton, but I expected the campaign eventually would. Then Bernie kept up his rhetoric about corruption. Then came the big blow- Jane Sanders saying the FBI needs to “hurry up” their investigation into Hillary Clinton’s emails. Jane was feeding into the right-wing crackpot investigations. It’s fair to say I enjoy that she’s under investigation now.

The breaking point came in Philadelphia, at the convention. Had Team Sanders been firm, but gracious in defeat, I could have given them credit. Instead they pushed out the DNC Chairwoman, held anti-Clinton rallies and marches, and raised holy hell in the convention. While I give some credit to Bernie for campaigning for Hillary after that, the damage his people did in Philadelphia was lasting and unforgivable. Wikileaks played them for willful idiots, and they were right.

The weeks after the 2016 Election were bitter and cold. Infighting ran rampant after Hillary’s loss. Just days before Trump’s inauguration, Bernie supporters were launching attacks on Cory Booker for “supporting pharma”- because he voted for a non-binding resolution about reimportation and negotiating drug prices that wasn’t Bernie’s. Then Bernie insulted the Democratic Party while on a listening tour with our next chairman. Those early days of Trump were a chance for Bernie to be a force for good. He didn’t bother.

It would unfair to lump all Bernie supporters into one “bad apple” camp. There are those like Tulsi Gabbard, Susan Sarandon, and Shaun King who actively tried to harm Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party, as opposed to the majority who did not. There are Bernie-backed candidates in 2018 like Andrew Gillum (who backed Clinton) that are full of good ideas, positivity, and hope- but there are also straight-up troublemakers like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez who provide the same negative value as the 2016 troublemakers. Bernie had some outstanding staffers on his campaign that do amazing work, and really don’t deserve disparaging remarks either. There are always shades of gray.

What I figured out about Bernie though is that he’s a fraud who isn’t really interested in a better tomorrow, unless he owns that tomorrow. His interest is in being a critic against the Democratic Party, rather than governing and leading. He’s not serious about the details, only about the rhetoric that brings in the $27 donations. He’ll go to the Senate and mostly vote right, but when he votes against immigration reform or gun control, he’ll want you to hear out his nuances, while he’ll crush Cory Booker out of hand for having his own state-based, nuanced positions. The man exposed who he was to me, and I did not like it.