What we know on June 6: Winners and losers

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Well … that was a crazy night, no? First it seemed as if Scott Baugh might join Dana Rohrabacher to shut Democrats off the 48th ballot. Then it looked—somewhat convincingly—that Hans Keirstead would be the second candidate, and our party’s standard bearer.

Then, when many were in bed, Harley Rouda surged. At this point (9:37 am), he is the presumptive candidate to take on Dana in the general election. “Presumptive” doesn’t mean definite. But it feels increasingly definite.

Here are my thoughts:

• Thank goodness I’m a moron: I was convinced Dana and Baugh would be the last two  standing. I mean, I was r-e-a-l-l-y convinced. It just seemed as if the Democrats were cannibalizing themselves with too many candidates, too much in-fighting, stubbornness, wayward messaging. But then a couple of things happened:

* Baugh was a pretty crap campaigner: He just felt invisible. And the charisma that I worried about never materialized. Never, ever.

* Harley Rouda’s team REALLY upped its late game: This was a pretty palpable thing. You could feel an increasing sense of “If there’s gonna be a Democrat, it’s this guy.” Now, that didn’t mean he’d top Baugh. But as time passed he stole Hans’ momentum.

* Trump. He’s simply unpopular. And while we still live in a Republican stronghold, it’s not (with some exception) a Mississippi-esque Republican stronghold. What I mean is, most Republicans I know in these parts are college educated, bright, astute. They loved Reagan, liked Bush Senior, tolerated Bush Junior. But are they cheering at a president who behaves like a toddler? No.


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* There are winners and losers to consider, so …

WINNER: Dana Rohrabacher—Let’s not get cocky. He’s the incumbent and he’s the frontrunner. There was no drama last night for the incumbent. Not even a sliver. So while he’s as vulnerable as ever, this is anything but a sure thing for the Democrats.

LOSER: Omar Siddiqui—There was a time when Omar seemed respectable, decent, fair-minded. Was he going to win this thing? No. That was never a real possibility. But he brought some gravitas to the debate stage, and people appreciated it.

Then, something changed.

Even when it was clear he couldn’t win, he kept pushing and pushing and pushing and pushing. He complained the media wasn’t covering his “surging” campaign fairly. He kept talking about all the Democrats saying he should leave the race because his name and ethnicity (I call bullshit). Then, a few days ago, he did this …

For me, that’s it. Dude, you go on Fox News? Fox News!? And how about naming names? Because you never do. So tell us, exactly, who said these things. Pathetic, embarrassing, wrongheaded. I won’t vote for him—for congress, for dog catcher. Nothing.

WINNER: Laura Oatman—Ran a pretty strong campaign, then realized she couldn’t win and wound up serving as a model of grace and insight. Whereas others (Omar, Rachel Payne) allowed ego to overtake logic, Laura dedicated herself to ousting Dana, not propping herself.

LOSER: Scott Baugh—Has to be hoping Dana loses in the general. Because he’ll be the Republican frontrunner in 2020. But … not a good night.

WINNER: Paul Martin—Distant fourth in Republican field, but such a classy, decent, kind man who truly wants his party to return to the sanity of the Reagan years. And if you’re a person thinking, “Wait, Reagan was sane?”—well, think about where we are in 2018. Paul is just one of the best around. Has been my pleasure getting to know him.

LOSER: Rachel Payne—Never had a shot. Like, never, ever. Yet it wasn’t long ago she was Tweeting excitedly about her name being atop the ballot. Like Omar, I will never support her.

WINNER: Aaron McCall—The Indivisible 48 frontman has done a truly remarkable job keeping his shit together through trying times. An admirable man with a bright future in politics. Or, put different, were I running for something, I’d hire him immediately.

WINNER/LOSER/MYSTERY: Harley Rouda and Hans Keirstead—One of these two Democrats is going to be facing Dana in November. And (seriously) whatever happens, y’all need to sit down and work out your shit. I mean that in a huge way. We need Dana out. You’re both smart, talented, reasonable men who share overlapping beliefs on the issues. Come to my house. We’ll barbecue and talk Dodgers.

Let’s win this thing …

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The end. Or the beginning

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Well, we’re just about here.

Tomorrow is the primary, where we—as Democrats, as independents, as sane inhabitants of California’s 48th congressional district—decide our collective fates.

As most everyone knows, two people will be selected to run in the general election. The two could both be Democrats, could both be Republicans, could both be independents. There could be one Dem and one Republican. Truly, the potential combinations are endless.

But, as we sit here, let’s be very real.

If I’m betting my life on a result, it’s that the two to emerge will be Republicans Dana Rohrabacher and Scott Baugh. I hate, hate, hate, hate the thought, but we Democrats needed discipline, integrity, intelligence, savvy to be certain one of ours wind up on the ballot. Too often over the past year (or so), we have failed to meet those measures.

However …

There is a realistic chance for a Democrat to oppose Rohrabacher. Honestly, there is.

And that Democrat is Harley Rouda.

It doesn’t take a genius to see that Rouda has been a better candidate than Hans Keirstead. And that’s not knocking the other major Democrat in the race. Hans is an accomplished guy; probably a decent guy. I’ve got no beef whatsoever. But he … just … can’t … win … this … thing. The wind is against him. He’s neither charismatic or inspiring. He’s been a flawed candidate from the start, but the Party initially made the mistake of backing his run. That was a colossal blunder.

So—in what may well be (but hopefully is not) my final entry as Crazydana.com—I beg of everyone to go to the polls tomorrow and vote Harley Rouda.

We don’t just need this for the district or the state.

We need this for the country.

We need the win.

This ain’t good

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So in case you’re wondering how the upcoming primary is looking thus far for the Democrats, the answer (predictably): Not good.

Per Ron Brownstein: In Dana Rohrabacher’s seat (48), Republicans lead 46/35 in returned mail ballots, and 57 percent are age 65-and-older. As Brownstein Tweeted, “If those gaps persist, the Democrats will need big election day push to avoid getting shut out.”

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As of today, 30,749 mail ballots have been received by the registrar of voters. While 45.2 percent have been Republicans, only 35.5 percent are Democrats.

That, by any measure, is an awful sign.

Just awful.

The solution: Get every district Democrat you know to come out and vote. Don’t sleep. Don’t delay. Don’t pause. Tell them about Dana’s horrid record, tell them about Scott Baugh’s xenophobic ugliness—and get them out to the polls.


Happy birthday, Scott Baugh!

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I would like to use this occasion to wish Scott Baugh a very happy birthday.

And while I don’t know, exactly, when Baugh was born (I mean, there’s a 1/365 chance this is the day), we as a Democratic collective have done everything within our powers to make this day/week/season a very special one for the Republican candidate for the 48th congressional seat.

See, were it not for the Democrats, Baugh would have (quite literally) 0.00% chance of winding up in the upcoming general election, when the top two candidates from the open primary are placed on the ballot. Hell, he almost certainly wouldn’t have attempted to run, what with Dana Rohrabacher (the incumbent) assured of one slot and the selected Democrat (universally backed by the party) as the other.

But—nooooooooooo. We had to do what Democrats always do. Which is to say, bluntly, fuck the whole thing up. See, thanks to a divide within the party, we now have three mainstream Democratic candidates fighting for limited available votes. There’s Hans Keirstead. There’s Harley Rouda. There’s Omar Siddiqui. And, because all three have continued to run and run and run, they will almost certainly divide Democratic support, opening the way for the otherwise impotent Baugh to snag the highly coveted second slot.

And here’s the thing: It’s worse than it even sounds. Because while Baugh, right now, seems like a distant factor in the election, I’d say he’s even money to beat Rohrabacher in the general. Which is a huge problem, because while Baugh is every bit the right-wing disaster, he doesn’t come across as the right-wing disaster. Unlike Rohrabacher, he’s youngish, he’s appreciable, he’s (seemingly) agreeable, he’s great at chatting and shooting the breeze. He’s likable and level-headed, and not prone to the batshit craziness that often defines Rohrabacher. If he wins, he has the potential to stay in office for a reaaaaaaaaaallllllllyyyy loooooooooooonnnnnnnngggg tiiiiiiiiiiiimmmmme.

To be clear: Scott Baugh in office will be super hard to get out of office.

Hence, with that in mind, I would like to make one final request to Hans, Harley and Omar: This week, pick a night and meet up in the corner of a dark restaurant or cafe. Leave your handlers behind, your spouses behind, your backers behind. Just agree to meet, and don’t leave until you’ve decided on one man to lead the rest of the way. I don’t care how it goes down. If money is involved. If promises are involved. Whatever. Select one of you—then do everything possible to push, endorse, support that man. Throw everything you have behind him. Work it like you’re working for yourself.

Because here’s the thing: If the primary results in Baugh and Rohrabacher on the ballot, you three are done in local politics. D-o-n-e. You will be remembered as the three who put self over party; who decided you (and only you) were needed to lead the way. You will be recalled for selfishness. For ego. For pettiness. Seriously, I’m tired of being told that we need [Hans/Harley/Omar]. Because, truly, we don’t. You guys all fit the bill—liberal, progressive, decent. It can be any one of the three and Democrats would be thrilled.

But if it’s none of the three …

All this hard work will be for naught.

I won’t forget.

The moron

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In case you missed this, somewhat recently Dana Rohrabacher told realtors that, should they so choose, homeowners should not have to sell their houses to gays.

“Every homeowner should be able to make a decision not to sell their home to someone (if) they don’t agree with their lifestyle,” Rohrabacher told an Orange County Association of Realtors delegation. He later added, “A homeowner should not be required to be in business with someone they think is doing something that is immoral.”

This, of course, means you can deny selling your home to an interracial couple; to a couple that speaks Spanish and English; to a couple that believes in Jesus. On and on and on.

And, to be clear, Dana Rohrabacher doesn’t need to be taken seriously on this particular issue. There is no law waiting to be passed on this one. And were Rohrabacher to suggest one, he’d be laughed out of the state.

However …

What does it say about the man’s depth? About his cognitive abilities? About his reason and decency?

What does it say?


Hans can’t win the general

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Hate to say this. Really hate to say this. And I’m open to being corrected. But can someone explain to me how Hans Keirstead can win the general election?

I’m being serious. No charisma. No mojo. Flat. Boring. Dull. Uninspired speaker. I just don’t see how he’s even a viable candidate at this point, because there’s no pizzazz, no flair, no juice. Truth be told, had the Democratic Party not mistakingly gotten behind him early on (for reasons to stupid to reiterate here), Hans is a non-entity in this election. Again, I know this sounds mean. But it’s just true. Really is. His campaign feels boring and and listless, like a shopping mall closing in five minutes. It also feels mean-spirited. Not in a Rohrabacher way. But nasty. Sorta gross. Dark.

I don’t know that Harley Rouda will win come November. Hell, were I a betting man I’d put my money (sadly) on Dana Rohrabacher being re-elected on the backs of a largely indifferent public and a whole lot of money.

But … Harley is at least inspired and hard-charging and charismatic.

So … we have about three weeks to convince people that this is real; that we have a legitimate candidate who offers the goods; that Dana Rohrabacher the fraud can go down and Scott Baugh, the equal fraud, should never rise.


PS: And, to be clear: I’ve been accused of being biased. And at this point I am biased—because I friggin’ want a Democrat to win. That’s my bias. Not one guy over another for personal reasons. One guy over another because I think Hans’ run is a disaster. A listless disaster.

Staggering levels of bullshit

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In case you missed this, a new poll was released this week. Here are the results:

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Now, I’m calling bullshit. And I’m not calling bullshit because the “poll” favors Hans Keirstead, the candidate who doesn’t quite inspire my sensibilities. Hell, if the general election pits Hans against Dana Rohrabacher, I’ll happily (and eagerly) back his bid.

Nope. I’m calling bullshit because, well, it’s bullshit. Let’s count the ways …

• 1. 314 Action Fund, in and of itself, sounds good enough, right? I mean, there are a gazillion places that do polling, most with boring names along the lines of “314 Action Fund.” Upon closer inspection, though, the group—by its own words—was “founded by members of the STEM community, grassroots supporters and political activists who believe in science. We are committed to electing more STEM candidates to office, advocating for evidence-based policy solutions to issues like climate change, and fighting the Trump administration’s attacks on science.”

Hell, here’s an offering from 314’s Twitter feed …

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Oh, and here’s another one …

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So, just to be perfectly clear: 314 Action Fund releases the details of a poll that shows Hans Keirstead kicking ass—without saying (literally, anywhere) that the group endorses Hans’ candidacy!? Seriously?

• 2. The man quoted in the poll is Theodore Bordelon, the impressive-sounding director of communications for 314. And his words are very authoritative. “It’s clear from this poll,” he tells us, “that Harley Rouda is going to be the spoiler candidate.” Wow, that’s pretty rough. I mean, certainly Bordelon is an expert, because he says, “it’s clear.”

So, um, who is Theodore Bordelon? Well, he goes by Ted. He lives in Philadelphia. He has 78 Twitter followers. His profile photo is him with a dog.



Oh, and here’s what’s even more wacky. Of those 78 Twitter followers, one is (gasp!) Kyle Quinn-Quesada, Hans’ campaign manager. Eight hours ago Kyle Tweeted out the results of the poll, which were then re-Tweeted by Hans.

See, that’s how this shit works in the Donald Trump age. Something exists, and it might be legitimate and it might be illegitimate. If it’s repeated enough times, however, it becomes legit—whether it’s real or sorta kinda fake.

That’s what’s clearly happening here. A poll is commissioned specifically to make the candidate of choice look good. It (amazingly) makes the candidate of choice look good. Then the guy with the dog Tweets it out. Then the mediocre hot-headed campaign manager Tweets it out. Then the candidate Tweets it out. In the blink of an eye, fiction becomes fact, fact becomes fiction and people start saying, “Did you hear about that new poll?”

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• 3. I’m a writer. I’ve been a writer since 1994. I think I have a pretty good understanding of language’s nuances. And this “poll,” well, it ain’t nuanced. Writes someone from 314: “This poll shows voters have serious concerns with Harley Rouda’s past business practices, from profiting from predatory and unscrupulous real estate deals with Wells Fargo to firing an employee with cancer to save health care costs.”

OK, I’m once again calling bullshit. I live in this district. I know this district. And the vaaaaaast majority of people living here (like, 99.9 percent) have no clue about any of this. Maybe they know Harley’s name, and maybe they know Hans’ name. But have they read about the stuff mentioned above? Almost certainly not.

See, what “polls” like these do is this: They call 500 people and someone asks, “If you found out one of the candidates fired an employee with cancer to save health care costs, would you have (a) no reservations; (b) reservations; (c) serious reservations?” And, of course, if it’s put that way, Bob and Susan—electorally uninformed save the info you just provided—would have serious reservations.  Because, hey, who wouldn’t? And that’s exactly what the Hans Campaign is counting upon.

• 4. A whopping 590 people were polled. That’s not a poll—that’s a crowded McDonald’s.


Look, this is politics. It’s dirty and gross, and campaigns will do anything and everything to sway your opinions. No one walks away unscathed—and that includes Hans, Harley, Dana, Scott Baugh. It sucks, but you just can’t run for high-level office and stay entirely clean.

That being said, I’m fed up. From the early stages of this race, we’ve been told—repeatedly—that Hans is the best candidate. The party has pushed him. Nonsense polling has pushed him. But, to steal from the ol’ Chris Rock line (“Vanilla Ice sold 10 million albums—and I don’t know one person who owns a copy”), for a guy who’s so popular and so charismatic and so inevitable … why is it so difficult to track down slews of die-hard Hans backers?

I hear all the voices saying he’s the one.

Only, is someone the one if the one is the only one who thinks he’s the one?

Maybe we can take a poll.

PS: An important point to make: Hans boasts a long, impressive, distinguished history in both science and academia. Were he conducting research, and he found out the data being received had been compiled by an outfit with a vested interest in the results, he would—I 100 percent assure you—never use it. Never, ever, ever. I think those are good standards, and they should apply to politics, too.

PPS: Why is the Costa Mesa Democratic Club Tweeting this out as real? Seriously, can we all stop falling for nonsense? A Google search is a terrible thing to waste.

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The. Angst.

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Over the past few days I’ve been pondering this post.


And pondering.

And pondering.

Now, at long last, here I sit—writing.

Honestly, I’m tired of this. All of this. The smears. The egos. The negativity. I’m tired of Harley’s people, of Hans’ people, of Dana’s people, of Scott’s people. I am tired of candidates refusing to drop out for the good of the 48th. I am tired of bullshit photos of candidates with kids, with dogs, with concerned citizens. I’m tired of that pose—chin in hand, deep in thought.

Mostly, I’m tired of us.

I kicked off this website because I believed—truly believed—Democrats were united in defeating Dana Rohrabacher. That was the sole reason I registered crazydana.com as an entity. To do something good for the district. To make sure an awful politician’s reign of bullshit would cease. To take a stand alongside other concerned citizens. I was inspired, about 1 1/2 years ago, by an Indivisible meeting, so I chose to try something constructive.

Has it worked? No.

Not at all.

Right now, with less than a month until the primary, I see the ashes of what was a v-e-r-y winnable race. Dana Rohrabacher is more vulnerable than ever. Scott Baugh is chipping away at him. If we, as a party, settled upon a single candidate—well, we’d be even money to take the district. That’s no exaggeration: With one Democratic name on the ballot, we’d have an absolute shoo-in to survive June 5.

Instead, we’re a mess. There are Harley people, and there are Hans people. And even though the candidates would hold nearly identical positions in congress, far too many have decided (based upon their leaning) that one man is an angel and the other a devil. It’s absolutely pathetic. And sad. And irrational. And, because of that, the odds are extremely high that no Democrat will wind up running a month from now.

So who do I blame? Everyone. Me, for starting this site. Hans and Harley, for failing to meet up and do what’s best for the party. Omar, for his nonsense. Rachel, for her nonsense. Dana, for being the worst politician I’ve ever seen. Scott Baugh, for being an opportunistic bottom feeder. Voters, for repeatedly falling for garbage talking-point silliness.

God, I used to love politics. As a kid, I’d sit with my dad and talk Carter, talk Ronald, talk Mondale and Bush and Dole and Gore. It was a legitimate passion, because it seemed like running for office could result in real change.

Now, I’m not so sure.

Now, I’m jaded.

Rolling in the mud. For what?

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In case you haven’t been paying attention, no one is safe in the 48th Congressional District race.

By no one—I mean no one.

Dana Rohrabacher is going after Scott Baugh. Scott Baugh is going after Dana Rohrabacher. Harley Rouda is going after Hans Keirstead. Hans Keirstead is going after Harley Rouda.

Don’t believe me? Take a look …

And here’s the thing: It didn’t have to be this way for Democrats. It really didn’t. We could have been rolling along behind a single candidate right now, watching Baugh and Dana claw each other’s eyeballs from the sockets. We could have watched them blow through their funds in an effort to distance themselves from the other Republican. We could have won.

It could have been great.

But, no. No, no, no. Here we are, no better than the Republicans, taking stupid shots as our fellow Democrats. And … for what? So Hans or Harley—two wealthy men with lovely families and great lives—can hold down a position that lasts for two years before the next election? That’s what you’re doing this for? Really?

Wanna know why I started this site? Why I need a Democrat to win? Because I love clear air. Because I love decency and compassion. Because I’m pro-choice, pro-gun control, pro-school funding, pro-environmental protections, anti-Russia interfering with our shit.

I don’t care if its Harley or Hans. I truly don’t.

I want to win this thing for our viewpoints and our happiness.

Shame on us for rolling in the mud.


 * After initially writing this post, I was told that the two Democratic videos date back to February. Which is fine as a sorta kinda explanation. My advice to both campaigns: Take them down, ASAP.

On Harley Rouda

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For the longest time, I decided I wouldn’t use this site to endorse a candidate.

Really, I wanted it to be a news/opinion source on the upcoming election, but not a place where people turn to have their minds swayed. I actually hate political outposts that beat people over their heads with DO THIS! DO THIS! DO THIS! DO THIS!

However …

With the primary not all that far away, I figure it’s time to offer a take. So, here I go …

Harley Rouda is our best hope to beat Dana Rohrabacher and Scott Baugh come November.

I don’t say this lightly. And, despite what some might think, it’s not a stance I’ve held this entire time. Harley’s campaign has experienced its ups and downs, and I know several candidates feel his people have—at times—have been somewhat rough and, for lack of a better word, uncouth.

However, as I sit here on April 19, I’m 100 percent certain he’s the best hope to win in November. First, there’s the charisma issue—a huge factor in elections. Harley is extremely charismatic. Charming. Engaging. He’s a great talker and a skilled listener. When you sit down with the man, you feel like he’s interested. Now, is he interested? I have no remote idea. But he seems interested. And that’s a skill.

Second, there’s money. Harley has raised a lot, and he’s put in a lot. Again—that matters. And while he lacks (inexplicably) the official party support that Hans somehow received, he has—to my shock—been able to walk through that setback as if it never happened.

Third, and most important, I honestly believe he’d do an excellent job. Harley’s this moderate Democrat with a lot of savvy and business success. He’s openminded, willing to engage, OK admitting when he’s wrong.

Will he emerge? I don’t know.

Should he?


PS: This is not a dismissal of Hans—and shouldn’t be read as such. If he’s the last Democrat standing, he’ll have my 100% backing.