Progressive Heroes and Toxic Masculinity: How Bro-Culture on the Left Came Back to Haunt Cenk Uygur

Once in a while, social media becomes a force for good. That’s what happened when a single Twitter user by the name of M. Mendoza Ferrer, took on far-left media mogul Cenk Uygur’s run in the special election to fill the Congressional seat for California’s 25th district.

The seat became vacant after Democratic Rep. Katie Hill, who defeated a Republican incumbent in 2018, resigned after a conservative campaign of revenge porn and cyber bullying.

California has a top-2 primary system. In this system, everyone appears on the same ballot in the primary election, and the top 2 vote-getters advance to a general election. In special elections like the one we will be holding next year for this seat, if someone wins more than 50% of the vote in this “jungle” primary, they are elected, if not, they have to wait for a runoff with the runner up.

A great deal of candidates have jumped into the special election race, including Trumpist felon George Papadopoulos. Republicans see the seat as a pickup opportunity, but Gov. Gavin Newsom scheduled the primary to coincide with the Democratic presidential primary “Super Tuesday” in March, ensuring a large Democratic turnout.

Progressive and Democratic heavyweights in California (and some nationally) have quickly coalesced behind the candidacy of Assemblymember Christy Smith, who represents much of the district in the California state legislature. Speaker Pelosi, Gov. Newsom, Sens. Kamala Harris and Diane Feinstein, and former Vermont governor, presidential candidate and DNC Chair Howard Dean have all endorsed Smith. Labor and other progressive groups have also been quick to back her: she has received the support of the Firefighters union, the SEIU state council, Emily’s List, and Equality California.

But the Bernie-Corbyn Left, whose propensity to fight with Democrats far exceeds their opposition of Republicans, decided that they would run their own candidate, since Christy Smith has refused to take far-left positions wildly out of touch with the moderate, down-the-middle district. Cenk Uygur, who made his career by bashing President Obama “from the left” and trashing Hillary Clinton in 2016, stepped up. A die-hard Bernie Sanders fan who does not live in the 25th district, Uygur announced his candidacy with the explicit purpose of trying to prove that the far left can win anywhere.

Uygur hasn’t built his media empire just by trying to build the myth that socialism is “super popular,” (that house of cards came crashing down with the UK elections this week), however. He also built it through provocative, toxic bro-culture.

In what he himself excused as “frank conversations about sex,” Uygur has, on his show over the years, ranked the attractiveness of women on a scale of 1 to 10, stood up for dick pics, discussed rating women before allowing them the privilege of fellating him, and bravely advocated for legalizing beastiality as long as the animal “comes to a conclusion.” This is by no means an exhaustive list. In addition to harboring rank misogyny and advocating for beastiality, Uygur defended racism against President Obama, and consistently spoke to conservative audiences about getting “George Soros money” out of politics. He also invited white supremacist David Duke on his show, who described Uygur as “courageous.”

Imagine my surprise (or not) when I heard on Thursday that socialist hero Bernie Sanders used the same word to endorse Cenk Uygur for Congress, signaling that the socialist, far-left establishment should rally around Uygur. Uygur also received endorsements from some of the most prominent Sanders surrogates including Nina Turner and Congressman Ro Khanna.

So someone - the aforementioned M. Mendoza Ferrer, decided to take on Cenk Uygur on the far-left’s favorite platform, Twitter. She posted videos going back years (but mostly the last seven years) of Uygur’s incendiary comments, and all of a sudden, the national media started to notice. The Los Angeles Times, fox example, ran the endorsement story with Uygur’s sexism making it to the headline, as did other outlets.

The heat became too much, and by Friday afternoon, Uygur released a statement saying he would not accept any endorsements because his “political allies” were being sullied by association. Bernie Sanders issued a curious “retraction” that reiterated his admiration for Uygur, and Ro Khanna followed shortly after.

Uygur isn’t renouncing his brand of toxic masculinity, however. He is continuing to tout his “progressive” bona-fides and accusing those who brought history of misogyny to light of “character assassination.” Obviously, Uygur thinks that he is the victim here. He continues his rant about “corporate Democrats” and the media.

Because that is his true brand, and the bro-Left is his true base. Despite the pretense, Uygur’s campaign isn’t about health care, or climate change, or anything else. His campaign, like his show, is about making the snowflakes on the left who subscribe to bro-culture populism feel good about themselves.

Let’s make sure the Democratic party never becomes a home for toxic masculinity.

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