Judged against the backdrop of so many establishment Democrats ignoring the will of their constituents and supporting Clinton, Grayson's endorsement of Sanders seemed bold--perhaps even heroic. Just think about that for a moment. A superdelegate takes a poll among his own supporters to see whether they prefer Clinton or Sanders, and when the results come back overwhelmingly for Sanders, we construe the superdelegate's endorsement of Sanders as bold even though it's a textbook example of political expediency.
Grayson didn't base his decision on Clinton's corruption or Sanders' commitment to social, economic, racial, and environmental justice. He took a poll and got behind the candidate that 84% of his supporters preferred.
So it was no shock to me when he exposed himself as a political opportunist in this cringeworthy interview with Democracy Now! after the Orlando nightclub shooting in June:
Grayson's condescension towards Vince Warren of CCRJustice.org becomes palpable when Grayson invokes the "real world" as his justification for championing the Democrats' "no-fly-no-buy" initiative over his own vastly superior call for a reinstatement of the assault weapons ban.
The problem with Grayson's argument is that in the real world, the no-fly-no-buy legislation sponsored by the Democrats would not have prevented Omar Mateen from acquiring the assault weapons he used in his nightclub assault.
Yes, Mateen had once been investigated in connection with vague connections to Homeland Security concerns, but he wasn't under investigation at the time of the massacre.
The bill that would have prevented Mateen's atrocity is actually the one that Grayson himself wrote, a one-sentence request for a reinstatement of the assault weapons ban that was passed in 1994 and resulted in a 65% reduction in events such as the Orlando shooting before being allowed to expire.
Again, I want to let that sink in: The guy who wrote a bill that would have prevented the Orlando shooting stood in front of a camera and championed a different bill that wouldn't have prevented the Orlando shooting as his response to the Orlando shooting. He even went so far as to scold another adult human being (Warren) for pointing out the absurdity of his position.
This is the problem with Democrats. They don't want to stop mass shootings for the sake of stopping mass shootings. They only want to stop mass shootings if doing so allows them to expand the powers of the surveillance state. And when critics call them out for this hypocrisy, their response is to belittle and bully those of us who live in the real world for being unrealistic.
And what did Grayson get for putting the Democrats' bad bill ahead of his own good bill? Was he rewarded for being a good little soldier in the cause of his party?
He has now been hung out to dry as old charges of domestic violence are coming out to plague his campaign just as he seeks a high-profile debate with Patrick Murphy, an establishment Democrat who, like Grayson, seeks to win Marco Rubio's seat in the senate.
Do I support Murphy? No.
Do I know what to make of the domestic abuse charges against Grayson? No.
Do I suspect that Grayson's ex-wife was pressured into making her charges by operatives of the Democratic Party? It's possible.
But most importantly, do I care that Grayson (who remains a favorite of Sanders supporters) appears likely to lose his party's nomination to Murphy? No.
I don't see any reason to believe that Grayson was ever committed to progressive values. He appears to have been just another politician who was eager to ride in the wake of Bernie's populism. And if you ever have any doubts about that, just watch the way he speaks to Warren. Grayson is simply another entitled politician who wants to appear dedicated to standing up for the little guy (even as he steps on other people who are actually standing up for the little guy).
But the important lesson for progressives to learn from Grayson is that even the Democrats who make despicable compromises with the party will be run over by the party in the end.