Former Rep. Katie Hill was driven out of office by vicious revenge porn clearly orchestrated by her angry ex-husband and her defeated former rival.
Now Sen. Bernie Sanders — ignoring the advice of virtually everybody, starting with the governor — has jumped into the primary fray to replace her.
Sanders knows better than Gov. Gavin Newsom, Sen. Dianne Feinstein and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, all of whom have endorsed state Rep. Christy Smith for the special election to replace Hill. But socialist Bernie, Mr. Progressive, endorsed a former Republican who has had this to say about women: "They are poorly designed creatures who do not want to have sex nearly as often as needed for the human race to get along peaceably and fruitfully."
Then there were the candidate's 2012 comments in which he said that, as the Los Angeles Times wrote, "conservative Orthodox Jewish men and Muslim women in heavy religious attire were 'wasting their lives.'"
A believer in bestiality (Could I make this up?), the candidate said in 2013, "I believe that if I were the benevolent dictator of the world, I would legalize bestiality where you are giving ... you are pleasuring the animal."
In the same year, he ranked women from 1 to 10 on how likely men would be to let the women perform oral sex on them.
In a 2016 statement, he praised the Harvard University men's soccer team's system of rating female students based of their sex potential, saying: "We've been doing it for as long as humanity has existed, so they put it in a Google doc — not guilty."
Then there are his countless uses of the N-word, which was some kind of "game."
This is the voice Bernie Sanders said we "desperately need in Congress."
This is the voice of Cenk Uygur. It shouldn't take a massive protest for Sanders to know that he had no business endorsing Uygur.
The Sanders campaign, in his endorsement statement, had nothing to say about the racism, sexism and anti-Semitism expressed by the candidate. After all, Uygur was only 46 when he made some of those statements and as young as 43 when he made others. He is now 49. He has said his views have changed, although as to what topics he is not clear. He has a large online following. He is supporting Bernie Sanders. I have the feeling even he can't believe what's he has gotten away with.
But it's Bernie Sanders who interests me, not Cenk Uygur. Sanders obviously knew that the endorsement would be controversial. Hill's former district of Santa Clarita is not liberal. The great triumph was that Hill unseated a much-favored and nasty conservative incumbent. Certainly, Sanders doesn't think Uygur is going to win, or that his endorsement would have made the difference in this traditionally moderate/conservative district.
Many people think Sanders is a self-hating Jew. Others say he just craves attention and will do anything to appear more progressive than thou. Then there's the group — and it's backed by evidence — that points to Sanders' own 2016 campaign, where he took a "see no evil, hear no evil" approach to sexual harassment and pay discrimination, for which he later apologized.
Sanders is, for all his bluster, a politician. California matters this time around. I'm not sure what his base is in the state, or where it is. Certainly not Santa Clarita. Certainly not the very liberal "establishment." Uygur obviously appeals to a swath of the non-establishment that must overlap somewhere with the young Bernie supporters. But wherever that is, it is not a place most Democrats — much less those in Hill's old district — want to be.
Susan Estrich can be reached at email@example.com.