This week, to the shock of absolutely no one, former BernieBro extraordinaire H.A. Goodman, who built his brand on mindless, conspiracy-laden hatred of Hillary Clinton and the Democrats, has come out as a Trump supporter. In a tweet to his followers released Friday, April 20th, Goodman wrote:
I'm voting Trump in 2020 to spite you and getting everyone I know to vote Trump. How DARE you sue @wikileaks when it simply published the corrupt words of people who cheated @BernieSanders. You stole $200 million from voters to his campaign. Show your servers to the FBI for once https://t.co/fcMy0NwznJ
— H. A. Goodman TRUMP 2020 (@HAGOODMANAUTHOR) April 20, 2018
Goodman elaborated in a Facebook post where he explained that his conversion came due to the DNC’s lawsuit against WikiLeaks and Russia:
“Democrats are suing WikiLeaks, Trump, Russia and soon Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy, and puppies…Trump will win again in 2020, and only a second loss will ensure that Democrats are finally stripped of their hubris and corruption…Better to peacefully and legally dismantle the DNC by voting Trump…than go back to a political party that kicks you in the face and turns its voters against one another.”
I was turned off by Bernie Sanders because his supporters unleashed vitriol not just at Hillary Clinton, but towards anyone who supported her, particularly Goodman. Anyone who endured the social media wars engendered by the 2016 primaries encountered his articles, mostly written for Huffington Post, which had incendiary titles like “It’s Time for Hillary Clinton to Concede the Democratic Nomination to Bernie Sanders.” These articles were so embarrassing that even other Sanders supporters disavowed them – a November 2015 post from the Sanders for President subreddit page called them “optimistic to the point of delusion.” They even got a shout-out in the Downfall parody video, “Hitler finds out Bernie Sanders lost the election”:
The irony of this is that when Goodman first started blogging on Huffington in early 2014, he and his articles appeared tethered to reality. One of his first pieces, “The Republican Strategy Against Hillary Clinton in 2016,” is so level-headed that you almost can’t believe he wrote it. While it isn’t an endorsement of Clinton per se, it does outline all the ways Republicans will try to attack her, from spreading myths about Benghazi to attacking her mental health, which sound benign compared to the things he would say about her years later. This changed in November of that year when he wrote the first of his pieces aimed at the middle of Jean-Pierre Faye’s horseshoe, titled, “I’m a Liberal Democrat. I’m Voting for Rand Paul in 2016. Here’s Why,” his first step down the road to madness.
As his Huffington articles gained steam, Goodman became a contributor at Salon, where they published, by then-editor-in-chief Richard Daley’s estimations, “about a quarter of what he pitches.” The online publishing giant had already garnered a reputation for needlessly provocative clickbait, and Goodman fit their bill, sending them articles like, “Please, FBI, you’re our last hope: the Democratic Party’s future rests upon your probe of Hillary Clinton’s emails.” These articles sparked a debate in the newsroom over how they made the website look, but Daley insisted on giving the BernieBros a voice – after all, he also published Goodman clone Walker Bragman, who eventually collaborated with Goodman on a piece for Paste Magazine and wrote for Goodman’s short-lived website, Counter-Propa.com.
In the summer of 2016, Goodman was dropped by Salon as wiser heads prevailed, axing some of their most clickbaity writers. In addition, neither of his most-mocked predictions came true: Bernie did not become Democratic nominee and the FBI did not indict Hillary Clinton for her emails. The Banter’s own Bob Cesca wrote of him at the time:
“His almost sociopathic disconnect with reality will surely inspire other disaffected Bernie supporters who see Goodman on CNN and MSNBC and assume that he’s a legitimate reporter, thus making it acceptable for others to follow in his footsteps. The endgame is, obviously, the slow Fox News-ification of the left. Due to the efforts of Goodman and others, the progressive movement is rapidly losing its credibility and, at the very least, is stripped of its high-road posture.”
It was obvious to all of us at the Banter that Goodman was a con man – his use of stock phrases to glide over complexities (“we could go on forever,” in reference to all the wrongs Hillary and the Democrats have done, is an oft-repeated one, as is “Pick a crime, any crime”), embrace of conspiracy theories, and inability to admit how wrong he was all reminded me of an orange Republican candidate whom he repeatedly dismissed as a “buffoon” who wouldn’t get any of his policies passed by Congress. My hate-watching has continued to this day, especially since my articles about him have gotten under his skin. He refers to us often as “nobodies,” and has even made two videos attacking my articles, one last June, and one last October. (I know he made these to insult me, but honestly, I think they’re hilarious.)
Although Goodman spent early 2017 either downplaying Trump, or dismissing criticisms of him outright, the biggest sign that he would convert to the Orange Overlord came that summer when Caitlin Johnstone’s articles defending a progressive collaboration with alt-right leader Mike Cernovich hit Medium. Many in the progressive, Bernie-or-Bust community turned against her, but Goodman didn’t, arguing that progressives shouldn’t disqualify potential collaborators because they disagree over one thing, even if that one thing is vicious racism. In a debate with Progressive Army’s Ben Dixon, the African-American Sanders supporter challenged him on his repeated dismissals of Cernovich as a “blogger” with “crazy ideas,” repeatedly stressing the repugnance of these views. But Goodman couldn’t hear Dixon’s message: he had become so obsessed with going against mainstream reporters like Joy-Ann Reid and David Fahrenthold that he didn’t realize it was the online, progressive, pro-Bernie community, of which he had been a vocal advocate, were the ones asking him to disavow Johnstone and Cernovich, not the Reids and Fahrentholds of this world.
The most important moment of the debate came after the one hour mark when Dixon called out Goodman on the festering swamp that he’d been cultivating among his followers:
Dixon: Whenever we engage…do you know who I’m confronted with?…Hordes of racist, white supremacist, Pepe alt-right followers…If these are the people who follow you, what are you saying or tweeting that draws them to you?
Goodman: Thee happen to be a lot of progressives who are anti-Democratic Party, but there are also a lot of people on the right…If people of all different spectrums enjoy [me], I want that! I don’t want to separate people by political ideology…
A week later, following the tragedy in Charlottesville, Goodman wrote this:
— H. A. Goodman TRUMP 2020 (@HAGOODMANAUTHOR) August 12, 2017
In addition to this piece, he tweeted all throughout that weekend that the Nazis at Charlottesville weren’t actually real Nazis and that there was no such thing as white nationalism.
It is no surprise that Goodman is now shilling for Trump, and I suspect many of his fellow Bernie-or-Busters – Bragman, Nina Turner, Nomiki Konst – will eventually do so as well. Goodman and these other so-called progressives were never actually progressives in the first place. Although the Washington Post’s Dave Weigel called his videos “BerniePorn,” they were really anti-Hillary porn since Goodman was more anti-Hillary, and anti-Democratic Party, than he was for Bernie and progressivism. Now that the Bernie revolution is losing steam, they have nowhere to go for their clicks other than the hard right. As they do so, the real, progressive left, must take a long, hard look at themselves and ask why they willingly made themselves susceptible to these frauds. If they haven’t abandoned reason, perhaps Goodman’s switch to the right will allow for the first inklings of self-reflection.
Jeremy Fassler is a writer and journalist living in Brooklyn, New York.