Trump that President-Elect!

I’ve had several people ask me whether there is any legal recourse in preventing Trump from taking office in January.  This is an unprecedented area of the law, and I am no constitutional lawyer, but there is a lot of work being done on this front.  Note: this is action focused on preventing Trump from taking office.  It does not apply to actions that may be available once Trump takes office.  For example, Trump cannot be impeached until he is sworn in.  He cannot violate the Constitution until he takes the oath of office.  But for those interested in what is happening right now, here’s a run down of what I have seen and researched.  Please feel free to weigh in if there are movements of which I am unaware.

Recounts

Recount efforts are underway in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Florida, Nevada, and up until yesterday, Michigan.  The votes were fairly close in these battleground states, but not close enough to trigger an automatic recount.  The Republican party, and at times Trump, has challenged these actions to varying degrees of success.

Because these efforts change on a daily basis, it’s hard to keep up.  However, regardless of the individual efforts to start and stop the recount process, the takeaway remains the same – Clinton would need to win enough electoral votes to get to 270 total votes, and take those states away from Trump.

How can she do it?  If she wins Florida’s 29 votes, that would do it.  However, the Florida suit was filed by individual voters and not any political party.  These voters allege that Clinton actually won Florida’s electoral votes, but due to hacking, malfunctioning voting machines, and other problems, those votes weren’t recorded accurately.  The plaintiffs request a hand recount funded by Trump, Florida’s Governor Rick Scott, and the electors in Florida.  It is unlikely that this case will go anywhere before the electoral college meets in 11 days.

Clinton could also win if she takes the lead in Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.  She’d need all three states to get the votes.  Notwithstanding that Michigan’s recount has been halted indefinitely, it’s a tough road to win all three states.  The margins were close, but not that close, and odds aren’t great.

“Conscientious” Electors

There’s a movement called the Hamilton Electors, which is focused on convincing the voters of the Electoral College to vote for someone other than Trump when they meet to vote on December 19, and become “Conscientious Electors.”  There are 538 voters in the Electoral College.  Each state has a number of electoral votes (and voters), who physically meet to cast their votes to elect the president.  According to the Hamilton Electors, quoting Alexander Hamilton, the Electoral College was founded to ensure that “the office of President will never fall to the lot of any man who is not in an eminent degree endowed with the requisite qualifications.”

The movement involves trying to convince these designated individuals not to vote for Trump.  It’s worked, a little bit.  A Republican elector in Texas published an op-ed in the New York Times this week explaining why he will not vote for Trump.

There has been other work on this front besides bombarding electors with letters, phone calls, and emails.  One law professor and political activist, Lawrence Lessig, is taking additional steps to facilitate electors who may want to switch their votes but only want to do so if there is collective action.  He has established the Electors Trust, a confidential and free resource for electors who want to learn more about their options.  Time will tell how many people take advantage of this service.

There’s more.  Currently, 29 states have laws in place that require electoral voters to vote with the popular vote.  On Tuesday, two voters in Colorado filed a lawsuit to that law in Colorado.  This could open the path for filing similar lawsuits in the rest of the 28 states with similar laws.  The Colorado case hasn’t gone anywhere yet, and people will have to act quickly to get any movement from the courts before December 19.

Abolish the Electoral College.  Now.

Lots of people are talking about what to do with the Electoral College in the future, but some are focused on what to do now.  Again, Lawrence Lessig is at the forefront of this theory.  He published a post outlining the way forward.  The argument rests on the Equal Protection Clause of the Constitution.  In a nutshell, this argument is premised on the idea that one person should equal one vote, and the current structure of the Electoral College dilutes individuals’ votes.  This happens both at a state to state ratio (i.e., the strength of an individual vote in California is less than the strength of an individual vote in Wyoming), and within the state.  The “within the state,” or “winner takes all” argument is one I have not thought of before.  Here, Equal Protection fails because the entire state votes for one candidate, even if almost half the individuals within the state voted for the other candidate.  The voters who voted for the winner get their vote counted, while the voters who voted for the loser have no impact whatsoever on the election.

Fine, sounds good, but how do you get it done now?  It would have to be decided by the Supreme Court, and would most likely be filed by Attorney Generals of states, who would file the case on behalf of their state with the Supreme Court.  Although I have heard people discuss the concept, I have not seen any action on this front.

National Popular Vote Interstate Compact

The National Popular Vote Interstate Compact (“NPVIC”) is a proposed agreement between states, under which states that are a party to the agreement would assign their electors to vote for whomever wins the popular vote nationwide.  The NPVIC is set to kick in only when enough states join to guarantee the requisite 270 votes.  Eleven states have joined, adding up to 165 votes.  The NPVIC will need another 105 votes before it kicks in, and although legislation has been introduced in all 50 states on this issue, no state has approved the agreement since 2014.  It is unlikely that enough states will sign on and push through legislation to this effect before December 19, but this would bypass the need to amend the Constitution (which, as a reminder, can be done by a two-thirds vote in the House and Senate, or through a constitutional convention called by two-thirds of the states).

LAST WORDS:

This is an uphill battle any way you slice it, and time is running out.  I’ll be honest with you – this is not the area I am choosing to spend my time on, but I support and appreciate the ways people are thinking and acting to address some increasingly clear issues with our structure.  I think more talk about the Electoral College is good, and fully support actions to make it more fair overall.

Another aspect of all this, away from the gilded walls of academia, is what impact these avenues might have on our country.  I think a recount showing Clinton actually won the contested states would be the smoothest way to transition Trump out of his role as president-elect, as it is still working within an accepted, already-existing structure.  I think if we, as in Democrats, tried to overthrow the Electoral College it may lead to huge outbreaks of protests and potentially violence.

We’ll see what the Electoral College does in 11 days.  Until then, I’m focusing on what we can do when president-elect Trump becomes President Trump.

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What Can I Do?

Since the election, I have been absorbing information around me and planning my next steps.  I know that I cannot sit back and do nothing while policies I do not believe in are enacted around me, but I have struggled with how to proceed.  What hits me most is that there are people in my own community who are already feeling the stress of this election, and Trump isn’t even in office yet.

I’ve joined Facebook groups.  I’ve ranted and complained to friends.  I have tweeted and retweeted, and none of it makes me feel like I’m doing enough.  Here are some the areas I am concerned about in the immediate term.  This is not an exhaustive list.

Women’s Access to Healthcare

Our president-elect has vowed to appoint Supreme Court justices who will overturn Roe v. Wade.  When asked about what women would do if their state no longer had abortion clinics, Trump said they would have to go to other states.

It’s not as simple as “going to another state,” especially with protectionist laws in place that make it even harder to access healthcare, such as waiting periods.  A woman would not only have to find the transportation to another state, but would need to be able to take several days off of work to get there, get seen by a doctor, and then have to wait the statutory amount of time before getting an abortion.  Twenty-seven states have waiting periods.  Most of the waiting periods are 24 hours, but some states have waiting periods of 48 or 72 hours.  That’s a heavy, heavy burden on women, and it disproportionately affects our most vulnerable groups of women.

LGBTQ Rights

Although Trump has said he will stand by the Supreme Court’s decision to legalize gay marriage, there are a lot of other areas where he, or his administration, can chip away at rights for the LGBTQ community.  Potentially most pressing would be an appeal of the Affordable Care Act/Obamacare, which currently protects transgender people from discrimination in seeking healthcare.  The ACA also protects against discrimination based on preexisting conditions, which includes HIV/AIDS.  There is also a general anxiety regarding the future administration’s treatment of the LGBTQ community, and what that might mean for same-sex couples who have adopted a child.  We know Republicans want to repeal Obamacare immediately.  It might even be the first thing on the Senate agenda in 2017.  It’s unclear what other changes might happen that will impact the LGBTQ community, but it’s safe to say that people are worried.

Immigrant/Refugee Rights

Let’s forget the wall for a second, which has its own issues.  In 2012, Obama’s administration passed something called the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (“DACA”), which protected from deportation young people who were brought to the U.S. illegally as children.  These individuals are referred to as “Dreamers.”  There are about 750,000 of these Dreamers living in the United States, who have been given work permits and safe harbor from deportation.  These individuals are known to the government, as they have applied for protected status.  President-elect Trump has vowed to “immediately terminate” DACA.  This would lead to the deportation of hundreds of thousands of individuals, would break up families, and would send back individuals who have been living in this country legally.

Hate Crimes

There has been a rise in hate crimes since Donald Trump won the election.  The Southern Poverty Law Center reported 900 hate crimes in the 10 days after the election.  Since then, they have continued to update those numbers, and the results are chilling.  I can, and will, do a longer post on this, but regardless of what is motivating these individuals, they feel emboldened.  Hate crimes are unpleasant and scary, and can be very dangerous, but I believe they are also a symptom of anger that might be directed in other, more nefarious ways, and I am highly concerned about where that might go.

What Can You Do?

This is a lot to take in, and can seem overwhelming.  I have spent the past few weeks reading, reading, reading, trying to wrap my head around what my concerns are, and how best to take action.  One thing I have come to realize is that politics is not just national.  We can do work locally, and we can start now.  I don’t have to have the answer for the electoral college problem, but I’m a lawyer in Chicago and can use those skills to help some already-existing organizations.

Here are a few things I have done, and they will only lead to more action:

1.  Change my lifestyle to be able to donate more.  Donating is now a key role I can play in making sure the organizations I care about are equipped to tackle an onslaught of issues that are coming down the pipeline.  I’m not shopping right now for anything personal, and I plan to continue making those cutbacks so I can give back more.  It feels really good to pick my organizations and to be able to join campaigns I care about.

2.  Become a member of already-existing organizations.  Another thing I’m realizing is that there is so much work going on around me.  Right now there’s a huge influx of people who want to do something, but I don’t know if we need to recreate the wheel.  I know that even though I’ve been aware of these groups in the past, I have not always opened the emails they’ve sent me, and I certainly have not always signed up to volunteer.  Here are a few options (apologies if these are Illinois-based, but there are similar organizations everywhere)

  • I have signed up to be a legal volunteer for the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (“ICIRR”).  There are lots of other volunteer opportunities if you want to get involved in immigrant and refugee rights, check out other volunteer opportunities here.  I am interested in volunteering as a legal screener, where I will be assessing client eligibility to apply for citizenship and pointing clients in the right direction if they are eligible.
  • Become a Legal Observer through the National Lawyers Guild (note – you do not need to be a lawyer to be an observer) to ensure First Amendment rights are being protected during protests.  I am attending this training on December 15 – maybe I’ll see you there!  Register here and find out more about the training here.
  • I am also attending a training and orientation on volunteering with the Center on Halsted, which is a LGBTQ service agency in Chicago.  I will be starting in February, but there are lots of options to register here.  The Center does so many things, but I am interested in getting involved in domestic violence issues in the LGBTQ community.

3.  Stay smart.  I don’t want to sound like a conspiracy theorist, but fake news is all around us, on both ends of the political spectrum.  We cannot afford to let go of facts.  Subscribe (and I mean pay) for good journalism.  The Wall Street Journal has a deal right now that gives you 12 weeks of digital access for $12, check it out here.  The New York Times will give you 4 weeks for 99 cents, and then $3.75 per week after that, here.  If you can’t fit that into your budget, then stick to free online publications that link to their sources and follow real journalistic procedures.  People are doing some great work sifting through what’s real and not.  This short piece is a good start.  Note, this used to have a link to a list of fake news sites but the professor who drafted it had to remove it due to threats and harassment.  How scary is that?  She is following up and I will post once the list is live again.

4.  Support the performing arts.  This might not seem intuitive, but comedy/performance has a huge role in challenging and critiquing the status quo, and performers who speak out against the regime are some of the first targets of free speech violations.  Support the performers you care about.  Watch their shows, tweet your support, and get involved in the work going on in your community.  My personal project is the Neo-Futurists, which is a bad-ass group of performance artists doing awesome work.  They recently separated from their founder and are undergoing a fundraising campaign.  Learn more here, or hit me up if you ever want to check out some local theater.

LAST WORDS:

Another thing I’m learning is that there is SO MUCH WORK going on around us, and these people have been fighting these fights for much longer than Trump has been president-elect.  I know it is frustrating and challenging trying to harness your energy to DO SOMETHING, but these organizations do not exist to help you find your path; they exist to provide services to the most vulnerable in society.  Work within their rules.  Be patient if they can’t train you next week.  In the mean time, give them a donation and a word of support.  The onus is not on them to connect you to your ideal volunteer opportunity.  The onus is on YOU to find out what you want to do and start doing it.

Now get out there and make your Facebook posts mean something!

Plot Twist – Reality Politics

My world was rocked on November 8, 2016, and I have been reeling from that day for the past month.  I have made some life changes, but I constantly feel like it’s not enough.  What can I do to get out of my own bubble?  What can I do to help those suffering around me?  How can I get even more involved?  It seems like the options are endless, but when you have a demanding job in the private sector and are not ready to jump ship into direct services, it feels like all you can do is donate or send a form email to your representatives (not saying those aren’t important things to do – do those if you have not already done so).

I feel in my core that we have an obligation to keep talking, to keep the pressure on, to keep digging through the noise to find the facts.  And as a millenial with a liberal arts degree in Political Science and Gender Studies, I am fully equipped to add my voice to the mix, right??

Well, I’m not sure, but I do know that I already have a blog and that the things I want to write about aren’t Us Weekly stories but are big, and scary, and need to be faced head on.  So I’m going to start doing that here.  Posts will be categorized, so feel free to skip anything with a “Politics” tag and head straight to the good stuff.

Don’t worry, when the Bachelor is back in January I will be blogging that as well.  I haven’t missed a season in over a decade and don’t plan to this time around.  And we can all use a little escapism sometimes.  But before then, there’s a different type of work to do, so stay tuned.

 

November 9, 2016

I went to bed last night pretty sure that Donald Trump would win this election.  I woke up to confirmation of that fear.  It’s hard to describe in words the feelings I have in this moment.  This is momentous.  This is unprecedented.  This will be forever remembered in our collective history as a nation.

I’ve thought a lot about how this happened.  How were the polls so far off?  Were people really scared to voice their opinions for Trump?  Did he really have the silent majority?  Looking at the exit numbers it looks like a lot of white people voted for him, and not just men.  I don’t feel at all connected with the white, college-educated female who voted for Trump, but apparently they’re all around me.  I don’t do well with commiserating – I tend to jump to action.  In Michael Moore fashion, here is my November 9, 2016 to do list:

  1. Understand what went wrong.  I don’t need to rehash it all, and I don’t want to dwell on the polling errors.  I’ll leave that to the pundits.  But I feel fundamentally disconnected from the other half of my country.  We can say a lot about why people voted for Trump, but the populace has spoken.  I need to know why they felt this way, and what we can do to change or address that mindset, preferably by 2018.
  2. Get involved.  I have been so inspired by my fierce friends who have made the Hillary campaign part of their lives.  I helped, but could have done more.  Although the presidential election is over (for this cycle), politics is also local, and there’s more than enough to chew on in Chicago.  I’m not exactly sure what my involvement will look like yet, but it’s not ending with this post.
  3. Take care of people.  A large number of our population is hurting today, and will be hurting for some time to come.  Regardless of why people elected Trump, it is impossible to ignore that the candidate they have elected has support from the KKK, dictators, and has used hate rhetoric to bandy the base.  It is an unsettled time for people who are most vulnerable.  I am giving to Planned Parenthood.  I am volunteering my time to working with young women in Chicago.  I am reaching out to my feminist networks.  We are strong, and we need to stand with each other.
  4. Fact find.  We are so used to being fed stories in tweets and clips that it is sometimes hard to uncover the facts.  But that is what I do for a living, and I know it can be done with some digging.  I am going to critically challenge news that I digest and do my best to find the truth, and to think critically about that truth.
  5. Allow happiness in, even though times are so trying.  You want to know one of the weirdest things I realized today?  Life goes on.  I got to work, I still had work to do.  I talked to my co-workers about so many things today, but we still talked about work.  My friends are still celebrating the birth of their son.  My other friends are still celebrating their new marriage.  Even when the world is at its darkest, little pockets of light shine through.  That is what I fundamentally believe about humanity, and what I will continue to strive towards.

So, on that note, this blog will continue as an entertainment site.  We all need a little light in our worlds.  Although I caution you all to use reality television as a release and not a total function of denial, I will not apologize for finding pleasure in the little things.  Until then.

 

A Break in Normal Programming

I am suffering from election-induced anxiety.  For the past few weeks, I can’t seem to disconnect from all the sources giving me breaking updates on the latest scandal.  But the past week in particular has been intense.  As I have watched more and more women come forward to speak about their experiences with the man who is a candidate for president, I can’t help but think about how these are shared stories.

When I was 17, a male friend came over to my house to watch a movie.  He spent the entire time groping me, trying to get in my pants.  I had just been dumped by one of his friends and was not at all interested.  He didn’t even try to kiss me.

When I was 18, I was drugged by my older prom date, who was at best an acquaintance.    He just wanted to “see what would happen.”  Luckily, due to the kindness of near-strangers, nothing happened.

When I was 19, another male friend tried to have sex with me when I was trying to go to sleep.  He later apologized.

When I was a 20-year-old intern, an older male employee tried to pick a stray hair from my breast at work.  He repeatedly tried to change my work schedule so I would stay late with just him at the office.  A female supervisor intervened.

I literally can’t tell you the number of times I have been touched by men in public.  I have had my ass grabbed more times than I can count.  Just last month at a bachelorette party in Charleston, a man I had never spoken to before came up behind me and rubbed his crotch up the leg of my shorts at a bar.  I was dancing with the girls.  I’m married.  We all laughed about it afterwards.

Here’s the deal.  I think of myself as lucky.  And the sickening part is that it’s true.  I AM lucky.  I’ve never been raped.  I’ve never been physically abused.  Almost every woman I know has experienced at least some of what I’ve experienced, but many have experienced far worse.  I have friends who have gone through that sometimes murky line of consent, with their partner pushing just a little too far.  I also have friends who have been victims of a total trampling of that line.

As an avid consumer of election-cycle media, I have seen more and more women telling similar stories.  This is something that women in America, likely the world, experience collectively.  This is what rape culture looks like.

I’m adding my stories to validate those experiences and the experiences of the women coming forward publicly.  I’m tired of the narrative that men push and take and women fight against it and give in.  It’s not right, and we should not be partaking in and modeling that behavior for others.

Rush Limbaugh (I told you, I’ve fallen in deep) tried to mock the concept of sexual consent, but I’ll leave you with his words:

“If there is consent on both or all three or all four, however many are involved in the sex act, it’s perfectly fine, whatever it is. But if the left ever senses and smells that there’s no consent in part of the equation then here come the rape police. But consent is the magic key to the left.”

You are absolutely correct, sir.  Consent is the magic word.

#ImWithHer

Picking the Wrong Partner

Last night’s Luke exit just about broke my heart.  Not because I think Luke is far superior to the other guys, but because JoJo’s decisions and state of mind mirror what I see in so many people.  Despite everything she has said about how Ben taught her what she is worth and how she is looking for someone who will treat her better than EX-CHAD, JoJo is still picking guys who have the potential to hurt her instead of going for the guy who is steady and mature.  And I would never encourage someone to go with a “safe bet” if the feelings weren’t there, but it looks like JoJo and Luke had some serious chemistry.

kiss

JoJo brings up her exes a lot.  She has said that her relationship with the other Chad was a lot of high highs and low lows, and has alluded to infidelity.  She has stated that she’s looking for something different this time around.  She has said that Ben taught her what she is worth (query the issue with finding self-worth from a guy, but let’s go with it for now).  Now JoJo is in the position of power, and has control over who she keeps and who she says goodbye to.  Yet despite the fact that it’s totally up to her, she still picks the guys who have the potential to hurt her.

Let’s look at Jordan.  JoJo clearly cares the most about him, and their conversations are fraught with anxiety on the part of our leading lady.  JoJo is concerned about Jordan’s ex-girlfriend.  JoJo is concerned that Jordan isn’t being real with her.  Jordan has gotten into a few issues in the house – nothing major, but potential red flags – and JoJo is unbothered by it.  We don’t know the full situation of why Jordan’s family is estranged from Aaron, but it likely has something to do with Jordan’s relationship with his ex-girlfriend (Olivia Munn, Aaron’s gf, is friends with Jordan’s ex).  RED. FLAG.

aaron

Listen.  I get that feelings are feelings, and JoJo clearly is falling for Jordan more than any of the other guys there.  So I can understand giving him the benefit of the doubt on some of this stuff.  However, I do not see it at ALL with Robby.

Notwithstanding the fact that Robby refuses to wear socks and feels the need to only button the lower button on his shirt, JoJo continues to keep him around.  Robby said that he loves her first.  JoJo explains that at first she was surprised, but then she felt comfortable opening up to him because she knew where he was at.  You CANNOT tell me that in JoJo’s mind, it’s enough to just hear the words “I love you” from a guy who says it as casually as he’d ask whether she wants cream in her coffee.

jojo and robby

I do not get this

I don’t see the chemistry with Robby, which makes it even harder to excuse the potential problems with him.  He broke up with his girlfriend of 4 years right before coming onto the show.  It seems like that was a bad relationship, but it’s hard to imagine he’s fully ready for marriage right now.  The fact that it was such a bad relationship also screams “ISSUES” to me.  Robby has said that his ex-girlfriend hit him, physically.  The families are involved.  Social media, media outlets, roommates, all involved.  This is not a drama-free dude.  So why is JoJo so into it?  Just because he said “I love you” first?

As an aside, maybe you don’t think that Robby has been too bad on the show, but he has been running a publicity campaign ever since the show ended.  Robby has reached out to former contestants (namely, Jade and Tanner) for instagram followers.

See also this tweet from JJ:

I have a feeling this is not the end of this story.

And Chase-bot.  Chase seems to have a fair amount of emotional baggage stemming from his parents’ divorce.  He comes from a family that doesn’t show emotions, and where crying is not something they normally do (along with saying I love you).  I knew Chase could be a dark horse, but I would expect by now that we would have gotten to know him better by now.

chase

I feel like I’m still waiting for the answer to this question

But of course, because Chase was the least offensive guy remaining, JoJo had to ax him too.  I see this a lot, luckily less so as I’ve gotten older, but it’s still there.  Women, and men, continue to pick the wrong person.  They pick emotionally unavailable partners, or partners who aren’t ready to commit, or people who just aren’t that into to them.  I’ve talked to a few women who have gone down that path to see what the reasoning is.  I’ve heard that the chase is enjoyable, or that it feels good to be the one to land the bad boy.  I believe these women when they tell me that.

I also think, however, that part of it centers on what we are projecting into the universe.  You pick what you think you deserve.  If you are used to drama, tears, and feelings of insecurity, or are insecure yourself, you are comfortable with those aspects of a relationship, and seek them out.  If it feels like JoJo is setting herself up for heartbreak, maybe she is, and maybe she can’t help it right now.

I think a lot of this comes down to having 24 and 25-year-olds try and and find a spouse in a condensed time period, with the only outside influence being producers.  Maybe Luke was not JoJo’s unicorn, and she’s on to bigger and better things.  I think it is more likely, however, that JoJo is not in a place to receive the type of love that Luke was ready to give.  JoJo doesn’t seem ready to settle down in a small town in Texas.  She seems attracted to the dark and twisty nature of the men she has left, and potentially the allure of a life with someone who runs in the same circles, like Jordan.  I wish her the best of luck, but I don’t think Jordan OR Robby is really the guy for her.

LUKE FOR BACHELOR.  Enough with the 25-year-old leads!

Ok fiine #nationalselfieday in my #sideboob shirt #freethenipple #thebachelorette @texashumor @dpayth 👀

A photo posted by LUKE PELL (@luke__pell) on Jun 21, 2016 at 9:08am PDT

 

Rankings:

  1. Jordan.  Not even close.  I even wonder if JoJo subconsciously got rid of the guy she cared the most about (Luke) so her final decision would be easier.
  2. Robby.  De facto second.  See ya.

The Final Four

Mea culpa, dear readers.  This season has been a little lackluster for me, and my urge to blog reflects that feeling.  But the show must go on, and before it does so TONIGHT, here are my thoughts on last week (and a little on the week before).

Over the past two weeks, JoJo has gotten rid of some gems and also finally relieved us of watching Alex and his Napoleon complex.  She has since narrowed it down to almost exact clones (and, thanks to Vinny, they’re now all sporting the same haircut):

bachelorette-jojo-final-four-guys-hometown-dates-670x388

The FOUR musketeers

I think JoJo has a type.  But before we move on to the remaining four, let’s pay homage to the men who have since left.

Goodbye to Wells, who, only on this weird microcosm of a reality show, would be thought of as effeminate and undesirable.  I think he was too normal for JoJo.  And he didn’t suffer from roid rage, which normally would be a good thing, but not this season.  Goodbye Wells, we will miss your normalcy!

wells-adams-1

He has a beanie AND a puppy

Goodbye to Derek, the only voice of reason in the face of Chad.  I really admired Derek up until his very last episode.  He seemed to get a little cocky, which I assume was producer-driven.  But all that build up leading to disappointment brought us the most epic breakdown yet:

derek

Poor Derek

However, Derek did not go silently.  He’s been killing it on Twitter lately.  This exchange is my favorite so far (which only makes me like Derek more – totally underrated this season).

#SCIENCE

And GOODBYE TO LITTLE ALEX!  It seemed that once Chad left, there was a douche vacuum that only Alex could fill.  He became aggressive, whiny, and overcompensating.  And he was rewarded with maybe the worst date I’ve ever seen on this show.  They basically took a travel day, threw Alex in the back of the car, and called it a date.  Alex seriously has borne the brunt of awful producer manipulation this season.  Case in point:

alex small

Seriously, WHY give him this large chair??

For example, this past episode, Jordan got to go on a private jet, spend a day alone with JoJo wine tasting, and have a delicious dinner (that nobody ate).  Alex, on the other hand, had to ride in the back of a car with a tired JoJo, eat snacks from a gas station, and dress as a gaucho:

alex dancing

This outfit is not ok

Alex and JoJo did not even get to cuddle with the weirdly subdued horse in private.  They were chaperoned by an actual gaucho.

gaucho

Earning his paycheck

So it was not surprising to me when JoJo sent Alex packing.  It was actually a truly touching moment, seeing someone open up and share a piece of themselves while watching JoJo realize her feelings were on camera.  We literally get to see the emotions go through her face as she comes to the realization that Alex is not her prince charming.

Also, bye to James Taylor.  I know he was a fan favorite, but I found his whole shtick to be vaguely manipulative.  He acts as this guy who never gets the girl, but in the process of doing so he’s (trying) to get the girl.  Can we forget the infamous poker card shade James threw at Jordan, in which he called Jordan entitled, then immediately followed it up with a request for a kiss?

can i kiss you

Is the plan here to make her feel sorry for him, and then keep him around out of pity?  Does he want to confuse her into kissing him?  Does he just want as many kisses as possible?  And what was up with him throwing Robby under the bus last week (I still can’t figure out if Robby was actually checking out Argentinian women or not and I also don’t care if he was).

So although some may be sad, I’m not sad to see James T. go.  Maybe we’ll see him in Paradise.

So we’re down to the final four.  Jordan, Luke, Robby, and Chase.  I have been suspicious of Jordan from the beginning, but really appreciated him fronting the issues with his family before the hometown date.  Guys, I’m such a Luke fan.  He’s just been steady, calm, and you can really see the sparks.  I can take or leave Robby and Chase.  Robby is a little weird about not wearing socks and his footwear choices in general:

slipper 1

Hotel slippers, bold move

slipper 2

Put. On. Your. Shoes.

Chase is also a dark horse in this competition.  He also has a very inexpressive face, which makes me laugh when he says things like how he’s angry, or shocked, or sad.  To me, he looks the same.

happy chase

Happy Chase

sad chase

Sad Chase

Which brings us to Hometowns.  We’re at the part of the season where things start to become “real” for the contestants, and it’s always fascinating watching this part of the journey.  As always, my rankings:

  1. Jordan – I think he’s still number one for JoJo
  2. Luke – I wish he was number one for JoJo
  3. Robby – Meh
  4. Chase – Meh

History Repeats Itself

It’s clear that JoJo and Jordan have chemistry.  Unless something disrupts their love story (ahem, like a cheating allegation), these two seem to be on the path to the final rose ceremony.  I’m worried about JoJo, though.  Despite allegedly learning so much from her time with Ben Higgins, the former Bachelor who showed her what she was worth, she seems to be picking men just like Chad.  Chad the ex-boyfriend, not Chad the ex-contestant.

Let’s dig a little into what JoJo has said about ex-Chad.  During the last season, JoJo told Ben that there was another person in her ex’s life, alluding to cheating.  On her date with Jordan, JoJo explained that with ex-Chad, there were “high highs” and “low lows,” and that her insecurity was “insane.”  You don’t have to extrapolate too far to understand that JoJo had some trust issues with ex-Chad, likely involving cheating.

And here’s where Jordan comes in.  Jordan has seemed fine so far.  Even with his prestigious family connections, he hasn’t come across as too cocky and he hasn’t come across as someone who’s in it for fame.  Except for the hair.

jordan hair.png

But that’s not what other people saying.  On the show, we’re treated to some commentary from the men.  When Jordan got the 1-on-1 date card, it was silent.  Wells said that he was upset it wasn’t him, and that Jordan is “playing the game to get a stamp on his passport.”  I’ve never heard that one before, but I can imagine what Wells is getting at.  Derek says he’s not going to stereotype football players, but if there’s one person on the show he would question, it would be Jordan.  A bunch of voiceovers follow, saying that people don’t trust Jordan and that he’s not there for the right reasons.

But even if you put what Jordan’s competitors say about him aside, JoJo herself questions Jordan.  She tells Jordan that she met one of Jordan’s “on-again, off-again” girlfriends, who told her that Jordan was not “the best boyfriend.”

jordan sip

Jordan taking a sip to stall the conversation, classic move.

Once confronted with this, Jordan stalled, said he didn’t know what to say, and then blamed it on sports.  He said that he was going through a lot trying to be the best at sports, and that he took it out on people.  This girlfriend was “along for the rollercoaster” when Jordan was “at his best and worst.”  Notice how he mirrors what JoJo had previously told him about her relationship with ex-Chad, with highs and lows.  Interestingly enough, Jordan says there was no physical cheating.  That’s not what his ex-girlfriend says:

instagramm

EDIT – The Pitch Perfect reference was about his cameo in the movie, NOT cheating.  He cheated with someone else.  Thanks Laura for the correction!

Listen.  I like Jordan, mostly.  I think he adds something to the show beyond Villain-Lite.  But regardless of whether these allegations are true or not, Jordan’s reaction the next plot point – the tabloid fiasco – was extremely manipulative.

Somewhere in Uruguay (perhaps in a producer’s bag??), Vinny got his hands on a “gossip rag” that had an interview with ex-Chad.  Chad said that he and JoJo rekindled their romance when JoJo was home after Ben’s season.  Whatever, no big deal, except the producers obviously gave this magazine to the contestants, and then confronted JoJo about it, and made her go talk to the guys.

why

My thoughts exactly, JoJo.

JoJo goes to see the guys, who, by the way, are not at all surprised to see her, which just shows more producer involvement, and explains her case to them.  Through her tears, she tells them that the allegations were untrue, and explains more about her relationship with ex-Chad, which sounds like a nightmare.

Jordan’s first reaction to JoJo’s story was to conflate the conversation they had during their 1-on-1 with JoJo’s situation.  In Jordan’s mind, being accused of cheating is the same as having a vindictive ex take you down in a magazine for a bit of money.  Jordan actually says that the two of them had just gone through a similar conversation about an ex spreading lies that aren’t true.  No, Jordan, they are not the same.  JoJo is the victim, and you are the alleged perpetrator, and your ex told JoJo in private, and honestly, it rings true.

I hope for JoJo’s sake it’s not, but by aligning himself with JoJo against the exes who want to take them down, Jordan has placed himself in a position to easily deflect anything anyone says about him, and has already shown his ability to manipulate facts to make it seem like he and JoJo are both dealing with the same thing.  This will make it even harder for JoJo to piece the truth together, even when faced with facts.

I’m sure this story isn’t over.

On a lighter note, this week we lost a true character – Damn Daniel.  In honor of Daniel, here are a few of my favorites:

daniel eating

Daniel eating during one of the Chad altercations.

canadian

When Daniel was the most Canadian.

personality

When Daniel got down on himself after he didn’t get a rose.

Maybe we’ll see you in Paradise?

paradise

As always, my frontrunners:

  1. Jordan.  Enough said.
  2. Luke.  They’re cute together.
  3. Robby.  Maybe I see it?
  4. Chase.  Yet again he managed to get cute alone time with props, clearly given to him by producers.  He’s not going anywhere yet.

What Makes a Winner

I have a theory about what makes a Bachelor or Bachelorette winner.

For women, I think the strongest contestants have the following characteristics:  long hair, petite, professional but non-threatening job, 26-28, and in terms of geography, from the coasts (but not New York), or from a larger midwest city.

I’ve been operating under these assumptions for years, and it has been purely anecdotal, so I decided to put these theories to the test and do a review of past Bachelor winners (Bachelorette winners to follow in a separate post).  I limited it to 2010 forward, because this show has been on forever and no one has time for that.

Bachelor 14 – Jake Pavelka

I hate to start with Jake Pavelka because he might be my least favorite bachelor of all time, but I made the rules so here we go.  At the time of his season, Jake was a 32-year old pilot from Dallas, Texas.  He picked the villain of his season, Vienna Girardi.

vienna

When I searched for Vienna’s job, her “nose job” was the top hit

 Vienna was from Sanford, FL, was only 24 when she won, and had no discernible job or career.  She was an ex-Hooters waitress.  Vienna does not fit into my theory, besides the fact that she had long hair and was petite.  Because it’s my theory and I want to be right, I’m going to go to the runner-up for this season, Tenley Molzhan.  Everyone wanted Jake to pick Tenley, and it’s easy to see why:

tenley_molzahnTenley, aka Disney Princess

Tenley was a more respectable 26, from California, and worked as a dancer.  But not a dancer for Hooters, a dancer for Disney.  She also moonlighted as a literal Disney Princess at Disneyland.  Basically, Jake picked wrong, but spared Tenley from having to put up with him, so win for Tenley!

Bachelor 15 – Brad Womack (second time)

Brad Womack is next on the list.  He is the only bachelor who has had the opportunity to do it twice, after picking no one in his first season.  Brad was 38 at the time of filming, and was a bar owner from Austin, Texas.  Brad picked the adorable Emily Maynard:

Emily-maynard-1

Doesn’t she look the part?

Emily was a single mother with a tragic backstory.  She was 25, lived in Charleston, South Carolina, and worked as a Children’s Hospital Event Planner.  She is also tiny, and has long hair.  Check, check, check.

Bachelor 16 – Ben Flajnik

Ben came next.  He hailed from San Francisco and was a 28-year old winemaker.  He picked his season’s villain as well – Courtney Robertson.

courtney

Courtney, our first brunette!

Courtney basically fit the part.  She was the right age, right look, was a model, and lived in Santa Monica, California.  She was a bit taller than my theory would allow for, but she was also a model, so I call that even.  Check.

Bachelor 17 – Sean Lowe

Sean was a 28-year old insurance salesman, ALSO from Texas.  Lots of Texas guys.  He picked that season’s dark horse, Catherine Giudici.  Catherine came from Seattle, Washington (coast), was a graphic designer (professional job but no grad school required), had lovely long hair, and was also quite petite.  But, plot twist, she is half Filipino!

catherine

Long hair don’t care

Fun fact: Catherine and Sean are also the only successful couple that will be featured today.

Bachelor 18 – Juan Pablo Galavis

Ugh, Juan Pablo.  My second least favorite bachelor.  Juan Pablo was a 32-year old former professional soccer player from Miami, Florida.  He was basically the worst.  He picked Nikki Ferrell, a 26-year old (check), pediatric nurse (check), from Kansas City, Missouri (check).

nikki-ferrell-the-bachelor-pinterest

Long hair, check.

Theory still in tact, even though that relationship crashed and burned.

Bachelor 19 – Chris Soules

I also did not love this season.  This was a bad stretch.  Chris was a 33-year old farmer from Arlington, Iowa.  He picked Whitney Bischoff, a 29-year old fertility nurse from Chicago, Illinois.

whitney

Look at those barrel curls

She’s a year older than my theory would allow, but she fills the rest of the criteria.  These ladies are starting to look the same to me.

Bachelor 20 – Ben Higgins

Ben was a 26-year old software salesman from Denver, Colorado.  He was a great bachelor.  Thank you, Ben, for saving us.

Ben picked 25-year old Lauren Bushnell, a flight attendant from Los Angeles, California (originally from Portland, OR).

lauren bushnell

Another blonde!

I think my theory is mostly in tact.  Once you put these women next to each other, you can start to see the trends.  So many petite, blonde women!  So much mermaid hair!

It’s interesting to put this information together and see what it means for what makes the quintessential wife.  These women all have jobs that are professional (besides Vienna), but not threatening.  Many of them work in supportive types of jobs, like nursing, charity, or part of other aspects of the service industry.  However, there aren’t any teachers on this list.  There aren’t many southern women, and there are no women from small southern towns.  On the other side of the spectrum, there are no winners from New York.  Or Boston, or Washington D.C.

What does this say about what makes the perfect partner, at least for this show?  It may be too small of a sample size, but I’ll put my money on the petite blonde contestant with long hair, who works in an industry that is professional but does not require graduate school, and is flexible in terms of geography (not a lawyer, for example).  I also always pick the contestants who come from the following cities: Seattle, Portland, Chicago, Atlanta – and also Los Angeles after I weed out the ones in the entertainment industry.

Breakdown of the men to follow – let’s see if my theories hold true there!

Evolution of Evan

This season so far has been a petri dish for masculinity and all the forms it can take.  I have never seen a season so focused on what it means to be a man, what strength is, and how a man should interact with a woman.  Or a girl, as Chad loves to say.

Evan, the erectile dysfunction expert, is an interesting case study in what happens when someone is exposed to a house full of men, with no distractions.

Evan starts like this:

evan squatting

But views his housemates doing this:

chad and daniel

Nice form, Daniel.

At the beginning of this episode, Chad refuses to even engage with Evan.  When the group date card comes and Chad makes comments about how he does not want to go on a date with 12 other guys,  Evan speaks up and is immediately shot down.  Juxtapose Chad’s reaction to Evan with his confrontation of Jordan.  Chad views Jordan as a threat, or at least a worthy opponent, but Evan does not even register to Chad.

Evan decides to make a stand and call Chad out during the group date, leading to altercation #1.  Watch Evan slide past Chad:

shirt pull

I think Chad might have a point here.  Evan does seem to elbow Chad.  Does that justify Chad’s subsequent actions?  Absolutely not.  But it’s important to this plot point.  Evan succeeds in getting on Chad’s radar after his public accusation that Chad takes steroids, leading to altercation #2:

fight

Let’s skip to the after party.  As part of Evan’s evolution, he tells JoJo that “a big part of this process for me is realizing I haven’t been as strong as I should be,” leading him to give JoJo an ultimatum – it’s either Evan or Chad.  Evan returns to the group and tells them that he has been “stronger tonight than I’ve ever been.”  In Evan’s mind, his lesson is that he has not been strong enough and that he needs to take a stand with JoJo in order to have that strength.

In this battle, Evan gets the rose, and Chad gets embarrassed.  Evan wins, but it’s unfortunate that he feels he should even be playing the same game as Chad.

daddy gif

As a gender studies major, I took a class called “The Masculine Mystique.”  It was one of my favorite classes – not just for the alliterative title, but because it was one of the few gender studies classes with a healthy number of male students.  Masculinity studies is one of the potentially lesser known strands of gender studies, and it is easy to dismiss the idea by falling into rhetoric about privilege.  But it is impossible to unpack societal norms about gender without discussing how those issues affect men.

I don’t know Chad, and I don’t know his background.  It seems like he’s going through a lot, and I don’t doubt that some of his actions are producer-driven.  For example, in the previews for next week, Chad reappears at the house after he’s been kicked off the show.  This has never happened before, and could not have happened without producer assistance.  But notwithstanding those external factors, it is clear that Chad has internalized certain ideals about men that are damaging.  He is unable to engage in conflict without resorting to violence.  When faced with a conflict, his response is: “If I can’t lift weights I’m going to murder someone.”  He cannot comprehend that someone “like JoJo” would want someone like Evan, who is the ice cream to Chad’s steak.  Chad doesn’t know anything about JoJo besides what she looks like, and from that he has determined what she wants and needs, which is a huge issue.  It turns out that Chad isn’t even Chad’s real name.  His name is Brian.  Brian has morphed into Chad, who is a case study in how strict constructs of masculinity can have a damaging effect on our boys and men.  And it’s catching, and it caught Evan.

Small shout out to Derek here.  Derek was the only man in the house who was able to have a clear, firm conversation with Chad without resorting to posturing, threats, and similar forms of peacocking.

And with that, we say goodbye to Chad.

Behind the drama, we see a few relationships developing.  My list for the week:

  1. Jordan.  Although Jordan and JoJo have not yet had a one-on-one, they already act like they are in a relationship.  There’s an ease, and a corresponding insecurity on the part of JoJo about Jordan’s feelings, that make me think he will go far, if not all the way.
  2. Luke.  I loved their date.  My notes for Luke just say “gentleman.”  He’s relaxed, he seems secure in himself, and he seems sweet.  JoJo is in to him.
  3. Chase.  They had a weird date, but made the best of it.  I don’t see this relationship on the same level as Jordan and Luke at this point, but there’s potential.