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 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.

Dana Rohrabacher makes a very cagey move

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In case you missed this, a couple of days ago Dana Rohrabacher, the congressman who never appears anywhere, showed up at a Fountain Valley City Council meeting to back what the Daily Pilot called, “the growing Orange County movement against California’s so-called sanctuary immigration laws.”

In fact, not only did Rohrabacher appear at the meeting—he actually volunteered to pay (or raise) the funds so that the city could file a court brief supporting a federal lawsuit targeting the laws.

“Criminals that come here illegally do not deserve the type of protection that this law says,” Rohrabacher said. “On top of it, the Constitution of the United States has been established to protect ordinary Americans.”

His words were greeted by a standing ovation.

It was political genius—as well as his first real public move for the upcoming election.

If we’re being honest, the heated sanctuary city debate is not a winner for Orange County Democrats. If Hans or Harley wind up on the ballot, they’ll need to woo a fair number of Republicans to their side. And while Rohrabacher’s zaniness and indifference and loyalty to Russia seem like powerful talking points, he will (wisely, if not disgustingly) use sanctuary cities over and over and over again. He’ll gladly remind voters that [Hans/Harley] wants to let criminals across the border. He’ll tell stories about Juan and Carlos raping precious white women. He’ll cite phony crime rates; remind voters that he’s here to protect them, no matter what. He’ll stand alongside an American flag, hold his hand above his hear, tear streaming down his cheek …

And it just might work.

So what should a Democrat do with this one? Honestly—mumble. Babble. Be as vague as possible. Oppose the position without sounding overly confrontational. Because while we liberals know where we stand on the issue, too many Republicans and conservatives know where they stand, too.

It’s not with us.

An Open Letter to the California District 48 Front-runners

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Harley (above) and Hans need to figure this out. ASAP.

Cody Mendoza with a guest post—and an important message.

I write to be blunt and address the largest threat to a California District 48 general ballot consisting of Scott Baugh and Dana Rohrabacher: the Democratic primary vote being split by two middle-aged white candidates.

Hans and Harley, there is no doubt that you are accomplished community leaders who would make fantastic elected officials, but having you both in this race is dangerous, if not lethal, for ousting Dana and flipping the district blue. The historical voting record and ethnic makeup of this district is no secret — almost 60% of the constituents are white middle-class voters, a strong majority identifying as Republican.

We often tout that the 48th District flipped by favoring Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump in the 2016 Presidential Election. This was an encouraging sign of progress, but Dana too was victorious…by over 50,000 votes. It is imperative that we consider the numbers in recognizing how fragile that 2016 flip was and how easily those voters could again reverse leaving Scott and Dana on the ballot in November. Secretary Clinton won the district 47.9% to 46.2%, Dana’s win was 48% to his challenger’s 41%. Partisan Voting Index projections still have the 48th District at +4 for Republicans and the race holding as a tossup favoring a Republican victor.

Ultimately, the margin of those willing to ignore their party affiliation and vote with their conscious is thin. Among likely voters, Republicans still firmly outnumber Democrats. California’s jungle primary system is unique and splitting the white Democrat vote between two candidates that poll similarly well within the bloc leaves the party vulnerable, forcing it to scrounge up votes from smaller, less reliable groups of voters. Plainly and simply, you both remaining in the race is damning for the progress that we have made as Democrats.

There have been many concerned constituents calling for candidates to bow out of this race to avoid a fatal split of Democratic voters. They are right that someone needs to gracefully exit, but the only surefire way to guarantee that a Democrat will be on the ballot in November is for either you, Hans or Harley, to be the one to do so. I call on Hans and Harley to meet and engage in an realistic, issue-oriented discussion on who is the most viable candidate to emerge victorious in November. At end, the less-fit candidate should recognize the importance of not splitting this voting bloc and agree to bow out of the race. The vote cannot be torn any further and the risk of two Republican candidates must not linger any longer. I urge you to do what must be done to continue our progress as a district and a country.