Mercury Confidential: "Mercury is more than just a workplace. It is a family"

by Meg Storm

Ever wonder what goes on behind the scenes at Mercury Radio Arts? Just how do all of Glenn’s crazy ideas get done? Does anyone ever get a chance to sleep? Well, over the next few months we are going to take you inside MRA, giving you the inside scoop on everything from publishing to special events, 1791 to Markdown to GBTV. We will be interviewing members of our New York, Columbus, and Dallas staff, bringing you all the info, so you can know what it’s really like to work for Glenn. Part 1 (Kevin Balfe – Publishing)Part 2 (Liz Julis – GBTV/Special Events), Part 3 (Joel Cheatwood: CCO & President of TheBlaze), Part 4 (Eric Pearce: VP, TV Operation of TheBlaze)

You know you love your job when you call traveling to Israel and not sleeping for two weeks the best experience of your professional career. But that is exactly how Michele Vanderhoff, Network Operations Manager at TheBlaze, describes the event.

Vanderhoff, who studied newspaper journalism and political science at Syracuse University, first thought she wanted to be a foreign correspondent for a major newspaper, and then she thought she wanted to be a producer for a news program, and yet she has somehow found herself overseeing the ever-growing production staffs in two states for a major online streaming network.

“I thought I wanted to be a foreign correspondent and write these big long pieces about international politics from war zones,” Vanderhoff said about her initial ambitions. “One of my professors had worked for the Chicago Tribune in the 1960s, and he had all these great stories about journalism in the 60s. He basically embodied how I pictured a newsroom. I kind of romanticized journalism in my head.”

She might have been going to school to be a newspaper reporter, but, ironically, Vanderhoff never wrote or worked for a newspaper. Instead, she found internships at two highly regarded radio stations – WAER in Syracuse and 77 WABC in New York – where she gained the bulk of her production experience.

“So even though I was training to be a newspaper reporter, I actually interned as a producer for WAER, which is the NPR affiliate in Syracuse,” she explained. “I would go out and get the interview, come back and write the piece, voice the piece, and then work with an editor and get it done. That’s kind of when I really started to love the production aspect of things.”

It was during her internship with 77 WABC that Vanderhoff learned just how much she loved the industry. “I interned with 77 WABC in New York. It is where I learned how to write for broadcast. Their newsman – his name was George Weber – taught me how to write succinct, concise, get it out there type stories.”

Weber even used one of her stories on air. “I remember the first time he let me write one,” she recalled. “He was like, ‘This is going to be a test run. This isn’t going to go to air, don’t worry.’ I think like Michael Vick was very much in the news, Lindsay Lohan was very much in the news, and so I wrote something up. About 30 seconds before we went to air, he said something like, ‘Yours is better than mine. I am going to use yours.’ I remember just sitting there with my mouth open thinking I wrote that! I loved the newsroom after that.”

Despite these wonderful opportunities, her experience was still solely in radio. “I was completely foreign to TV, which is funny because television is my life now,” she said laughing.

Vanderhoff graduated college in 2008, a rough time for any business, but the media industry was particularly hard hit. She ended up taking a job in ad sales at CBS – a job she hated, but it paid the bills.

“I did ad sales for six to eight months. I hated every second of it. I was terrible at it. The only part I was good at was producing the commercials afterwards. So I was there, and I tried really hard, but it wasn’t working for me.”

With the economy not in her favor, Vanderhoff had to take matters into her own hands. Her alma mater, the Newhouse school at Syracuse University, has a large alumni network that she knew she had to take advantage of. “I wanted to start networking,” she said. “[Syracuse] put me in touch with a producer at CNN, Josh Belsky.”

It was a phone call with Belsky that ultimately got her in the door at CNN. She went in to meet with one of Belsky’s colleagues, Eric Pearce, a producer at CNN at the time and current Vice President of Television Operations at TheBlaze. “Eric Pearce called me, and he is like, ‘Come in. Let’s have a conversation.’ I go over there, and he at the time was on Issues with Jane Valez-Mitchell. I went in, and we talked for a while. He called me the next day and offered me a freelance position, which I so happily took.”

At CNN, Vanderhoff was a production assistant for Issues with Jane Valez-Mitchell. She worked closely with Pearce, a producer on the show, and her fellow production assistants – Adam Ford and Brett Zoeller, both of whom are now producers at TheBlaze.

“So while I was at CNN, I worked with Adam Ford, who is now down in our Dallas office, and Brett Zoeller, who is here in New York,” she said. “The three of us – that was my team. Eric was like the dad, and we were his kids. I made the move [to Mercury] first. I was here for a year or so, and [Adam and Brett] were bugging me constantly. They eventually came over too.”

At CNN, Zoeller, Ford, and Vanderhoff were known for their teamwork. “It was very high pressure with breaking news and stuff, but we knew we had each other’s backs,” she said. “We just worked really well together.”

There is a sign on Vanderhoff’s desk that reads ‘BAM’ – a catch phrase that served as a running joke for the production team at CNN. “That was the running joke for the three of us because seriously everybody told us that we were the best production assistant team that they had,” she explained.

“That was the order we came to Issues with Jane Valez-Mitchell: B was Brett, he came first; A was Adam, he came next; and M was Michele, I was last. Adam and I made that sign for Brett on his first day at Mercury.”

Vanderhoff made the move to Mercury in July 2010. “Eric brought me over as an associate producer. I sat by myself over in the corner on the other side of floor, before there was a Blaze newsroom,” she recalled.

“I remember Eric didn’t know what to do with me at first,” she continued. “I ended up like writing critiques of the radio show. And he had me looking for Benjamin Franklin quotes. But that was just the first week. After that, everything just hit hyper speed, and it hasn’t slowed down since.”

She assumed she would stay on the editorial side of things – producing packages for various projects and helping to create content – but as is customary at Mercury, things didn’t really go as planned.

“I kind of always thought I would stay on a more editorial track,” Vanderhoff explained. “But I had a knack for the operations stuff. I was good at just kind of organizing everybody. I was good at distributing jobs and assignments.”

“I actually remember the day that it happened,” she continued. “Eric and I used to sit next to each other when the production team was a lot smaller, and we used to send out an email everyday with assignments. He was in and out of meetings, and I was like, ‘Do you want me to send out the assignment email?’ He was like, ‘That would be great.’ And I have done it every day since. From there, I would just see the need for something to get done, and I would just do it, or I would see that he was just doing two different things, and I would be like give me this one.”

After a few months, Pearce and Vanderhoff sat down to revaluate. “We sat back down, and Eric was like, ‘You’re really not doing editorial anymore. You are doing operational stuff. Let’s make that official.’ That’s how I ended up here,” she said with a laugh.

Vanderhoff’s hard work paid off. She quickly worked her way up to Network Operations Manager, which comes with the responsibility of overseeing production in New York and Dallas. For someone like Vanderhoff, who likes to be “really hands on,” the sheer fact that she couldn’t be two places at the same time seemed daunting.

“I like to make sure anybody I am working with knows that they can rely on me – knows that they can come to me. And I have that rapport with New York because I am here. I am busting in on them all day asking how is this going, how is that going,” she explained. “I am really lucky that I have good conversations with everyone in our department. They can tell me exactly what they are thinking, and they know that if I can make it better, I will.”

“With Dallas, I can still talk to them, but it is not the same as being able to walk in and have a conversation,” she continued. “But we have all gotten a lot better with our communication, which has made it a lot easier. Checking in with each other a few times a day, and really seeing what the production needs are for Dallas, and seeing how I can help them balance their work load, help them manage their time.”

She keeps things operating through organization – lots and lots of organization. The staff is still relatively small considering Mercury’s productivity levels, but everyone is dedicated and wears many hats. It has become a bit of a joke around the office that Vanderhoff keeps it all running with the help of her trusty white boards that list the members of her team, where they are, and what they are doing (virtually at all time), but it’s the best way to keep all the moving parts straight.

“Since I now have my hands on both places, I can now hopefully make it as efficient as possible,” she said. “Everyone is so dedicated. And everyone loves what they do. I think that really shows in what we produce every day.”

Since Vanderhoff joined Mercury right before the Restoring Honor events in Washington D.C. in 2010, she wasn’t fully in the trenches, but by the time the 2011 Restoring Courage events came along, Vanderhoff would not only be in Israel, she would be forgoing sleep and her sanity for a week.

“It’s funny because I love talking about Israel with people because everyone has such a different vision of what it was,” she said. “Some people are like, ‘Oh my God it was so beautiful, and I saw the most amazing things.’ I saw a control room, and a hotel room, and that was it. But it is still – I will always say this – the best experience of my professional career. Hands down.”

For Vanderhoff, who had never left the United States and didn’t speak the language, figuring out how to manage her staff in a foreign country with limited resources was not an easy task. “The stuff that we did there just blows my mind because we were operating off road Macs, laptops, and we had hard drives linked to each other, and that’s what we edited off of. That’s what we used, and it didn’t blow up. As soon as I touched down until the moment we left, it was just go, go, go, go, go,” she said.

She became somewhat of a dispatcher over the course of the trip – sending crews X, Y, and Z to points A, B, and C to capture stories and then return to the hotel that was serving as the makeshift production studio.

“We did capture these really amazing stories. And then we would come back. And we called our home base the Frat House because that is what it became,” Vanderhoff said. “It was just all of us in this one beautiful room, but all on top of each other, ingesting media, breaking it down, putting it together, and there were just a lot of sleepless nights. A lot.”

The majority of the GBTV (now TheBlaze) staff flew back to New York on the day before Hurricane Irene was set to hit the east coast. It was a mad dash back to the city because GBTV was set to launch in just two weeks. “We got home from Israel that Friday and there was a hurricane coming. I was on the ground a few hours before my building got evacuated,” Vanderhoff recalled. “I still hadn’t slept.”

Her instinct was to drive to her mother’s home in Pompton Lakes, New Jersey. While the town floods often, her mother’s home hadn’t flooded in many years. Because she was concerned about not being able to get back to the city for work on Monday, Vanderhoff decided to go to safer ground.

“I called my Mom and said that I really didn’t want to come over in case the towns around her are flooding – we are launching a network, I am going to need to get to work. I went to my Aunt’s house in Clifton, New Jersey instead. For the first time in half a century, my Mom’s house actually flooded. It actually flooded very badly. It was a scary situation,” she explained.

“I remember after the storm passed, everyone was like ‘That was it. That was no big deal,’” she continued. “My hometown was devastated. My hometown is still devastated. There are still dozens of houses on each block for sale. There are three or four houses on each street that are completely abandoned. At the height of it, it was four to five feet of water in our house. My Mom had to get rescued by the National Guard.”

Vanderhoff and her fiancé went to pick her mother and brother up from the Red Cross drop off location. “I said to her, ‘Mom, I am coming to get you. You have to leave.’ My fiancé and I found these back roads and mountains and finally got to the Red Cross drop off point. She and my brother had to get onto a National Guard boat, which brought her to a Humvee, which brought her to the Red Cross center. At the Red Cross, my fiancé and I were setting up beds and cots and helping organize the kids because it was shear chaos. So it always bothered me when people said, ‘Oh nothing happened’ because my hometown is devastated. That was really hard.”

She brought her family back to her apartment and called several people at Mercury to let them know she wouldn’t be at work on Monday because she would be on the phone with insurance companies and the like.

“That actually brings me to my favorite Glenn story,” Vanderhoff said. “Glenn was the first person from Mercury to call me. I had finally gone to sleep, so of course I missed his first call. I was just passed out on my couch. When I woke up he called again, and I answered the phone, and it was Glenn asking if I was okay, if my family was okay. I very emotionally told him everything that happened, and the love that I felt from him was just - I can’t even explain it.”

“I have always said he is the best boss in the world, but he really showed that Mercury is more than just a workplace. It is a family,” she said emotionally. “He literally said anything that I need – if my family needs a place to stay, let him know, he will help set it up; if they need clothes; if they need food; if they need anything. And it was just the outpouring of kindness that Glenn and Tania showed us those first couple of days. It was just – I get emotional even thinking about it still. At that time I had only been at Mercury for a year, and I had gotten to know Glenn, but not really on a personal level, so the fact that he took the time out and did that just means everything.”

Glenn then asked Vanderhoff if he could speak with her mother. “He called my mom and sat on the phone for a while – 30 or 45 minutes. And we all know what Glenn’s schedule is like, so the fact that he was able to do that. He had never met my mother, and they actually prayed together on the phone, which I know was a very special moment for my Mom. To this day she adores Glenn, and not just because of what he does, but because of the person that he is.”

“It is a small story, and people could say that it doesn’t say much, but it meant so much,” Vanderhoff said. “I think it shows Glenn’s heart and what this company means to him and what his employees mean to him. To me that sums up Glenn Beck.”

Vanderhoff made it back to work not too long after that, just in time for the launch of GBTV. “It was so crazy leading up to the launch of GBTV. Since all of our efforts were focused on Israel for so long, we came back and we had never done any of the things we were trying to do,” she said.

What is often taken for granted at a major network was now the responsibility of Vanderhoff and her team. “That’s what was so interesting,” she said. “We were producing a better looking TV show than anything on the major networks with paper and glue. Like that is essentially what we had.”

The network has grown substantially since those first couple of days, and as it continues to grow so too does the staff and, therefore, the scope of Vanderhoff’s job. But if past performance is any indication, it looks like everything will be just fine.

“As crazy as it is, I love it,” Vanderhoff said smiling. “And that is one of my favorite things about Mercury in general – you constantly have this feeling of purpose and know that none of your efforts are being wasted. Everything you are doing is for a reason. You go crazy getting to that reason, but you know what the goal is. And seeing it come together is so satisfying.”

It's time for our April 29, 2019 edition of our Candidate Power Rankings. We get to add two new candidates, write about a bunch of people that have little to no chance of winning, and thank the heavens we are one day closer to the end of all of this.

In case you're new here, read our explainer about how all of this works:

The 2020 Democratic primary power rankings are an attempt to make sense out of the chaos of the largest field of candidates in global history.

Each candidate gets a unique score in at least thirty categories, measuring data like polling, prediction markets, fundraising, fundamentals, media coverage, and more. The result is a candidate score between 0-100. These numbers will change from week to week as the race changes.

The power rankings are less a prediction on who will win the nomination, and more a snapshot of the state of the race at any given time. However, early on, the model gives more weight to fundamentals and potentials, and later will begin to prioritize polling and realities on the ground.

These power rankings include only announced candidates. So, when you say "WAIT!! WHERE'S XXXXX????" Read the earlier sentence again.

If you're like me, when you read power rankings about sports, you've already skipped ahead to the list. So, here we go.

See previous editions here.

20. Wayne Messam: 13.4 (Last week: 18th / 13.4)

CANDIDATE PROFILE

A former staffer of Wayne Messam is accusing his wife of hoarding the campaign's money.

First, how does this guy have "former" staffers? He's been running for approximately twelve minutes.

Second, he finished dead last in the field in fundraising with $44,000 for the quarter. Perhaps hoarding whatever money the campaign has is not the worst idea.

His best shot at the nomination continues to be something out of the series "Designated Survivor."

Other headlines:

19. Marianne Williamson: 17.1 (Last week: 17th / 17.1)

CANDIDATE PROFILE

Marianne Williamson would like you to pay for the sins of someone else's great, great, great grandparents. Lucky you!

Williamson is on the reparations train like most of the field, trying to separate herself from the pack by sheer monetary force.

How much of your cash does she want to spend? "Anything less than $100 billion is an insult." This is what I told the guy who showed up to buy my 1989 Ford Tempo. It didn't work then either.

Other headlines:

18. John Delaney: 19.7 (Last week: 15th / 20.3)

CANDIDATE PROFILE

Good news: John Delaney brought in $12.1 million in the first quarter, enough for fifth in the entire Democratic field!

Bad news: 97% of the money came from his own bank account.

Other headlines:

17. Eric Swalwell: 20.2 (Last week: 16th / 20.2)

CANDIDATE PROFILE

The Eric Swalwell formula:

  • Identify news cycle
  • Identify typical left-wing reaction
  • Add steroids

Democrats said there was obstruction in the Mueller report. Swalwell said there “certainly" was collusion.

Democrats said surveillance of the Trump campaign was no big deal. Swalwell said there was no need to apologize even if it was.

Democrats said William Barr mishandled the release of the Mueller report. Swalwell said he must resign.

Democrats say they want gun restrictions. Swalwell wants them all melted down and the liquid metal to be poured on the heads of NRA members. (Probably.)

16. Seth Moulton: 20.6 (NEW)

Who is Seth Moulton?

No, I'm asking.

Moulton falls into the category of congressman looking to raise his profile and make his future fundraising easier— not someone who is actually competing for the presidency.

He tried to block Nancy Pelosi as speaker, so whatever help he could get from the establishment is as dry as Pelosi's eyes when the Botox holds them open for too long.

Moulton is a veteran, and his military service alone is enough to tell you that he's done more with his life than I'll ever do with mine. But it's hard to see the road to the White House for a complete unknown in a large field of knowns.

Don't take my word for it, instead read this depressing story that he's actually telling people on purpose:

"I said, you know, part of my job is take tough questions," Moulton told the gathered business and political leaders. "You can ask even really difficult questions. And there was still silence. And then finally, someone in the way back of the room raised her hand, and she said, 'Who are you?' "

Yeah. Who are you?

15. Tim Ryan: 21.6 (Last week: 14th / 20.7)

CANDIDATE PROFILE

When you're talking to less than sixteen people in Iowa one week after your launch, you don't have too much to be excited about.

Ryan did get an interview on CNN, where he also talked to less than sixteen people.

He discussed his passion for the Dave Matthews Band, solidifying a key constituency in the year 1995.

Other headlines:

14. Tulsi Gabbard: 25.2 (Last week: 14th / 25.9)

CANDIDATE PROFILE

Tulsi Gabbard torched Kamala Harris in fundraising!!!!! (Among Indian-American donors.)

No word on who won the coveted handi-capable gender-neutral sodium-sensitive sub-demographic.

She received a mostly false rating for her attack on the Trump administration regarding its new policy on pork inspections, a topic not exactly leading the news cycle. Being from Hawaii, the state which leads the nation in Spam consumption, she was probably surprised when this didn't go mega viral.

Other headlines:

13. Andrew Yang: 27.2 (Last week: 12th / 27.1)

CANDIDATE PROFILE

Yang has a few go-to lines when he's on the campaign trail, such as: "The opposite of Donald Trump is an Asian man who likes math." Another is apparently the Jeb-esque "Chant my name! Chant my name!"

Yang continues to be one of the more interesting candidates in this race, essentially running a remix of the "One Tough Nerd" formula that worked for Michigan Governor Rick Snyder.

I highly recommend listening to his interview with Ben Shapiro, where Yang earns respect as the only Democratic presidential candidate in modern history to actually show up to a challenging and in-depth interview with a knowledgeable conservative.

But hidden in the Shapiro interview is the nasty little secret of the Yang campaign. His policy prescriptions, while still very liberal, come off as far too sane for him to compete in this Stalin look-alike contest.

Other headlines:

12. Jay Inslee: 30.4 (Last week: 11th / 30.4)

CANDIDATE PROFILE

If you read the Inslee candidate profile, I said he was running a one-issue climate campaign. This week, he called for a climate change-only debate, and blamed Donald Trump for flooding in Iowa.

He also may sign the nation's first "human composting" legalization bill. He can start by composting his presidential campaign.

Other headlines:

11. John Hickenlooper: 32.2 (Last week: 10th / 32.0)

CANDIDATE PROFILE

John Hickenlooper was sick of being asked if he would put a woman on the ticket, in the 0.032% chance he actually won the nomination.

So he wondered why the female candidates weren't being asked if they would name a male VP if they won?

Seems like a logical question, but only someone who is high on tailpipe fumes would think it was okay to ask in a Democratic primary. Hickenlooper would be better served by just transitioning to a female and demanding other candidates are asked why they don't have a transgendered VP.

Other headlines:

10. Julian Castro: 35.7 (Last week: 9th / 36.2)

CANDIDATE PROFILE

Lowering expectations is a useful strategy when your wife asks you to put together an Ikea end table, or when you've successfully convinced Charlize Theron to come home with you. But is it a successful campaign strategy?

Julian Castro is about to find out. He thinks the fact that everyone thinks he's crashing and burning on the campaign trail so far is an "advantage." Perhaps he can take the rest of the field by surprise on Super Tuesday when they finally realize he's actually running.

Other headlines:

9. Kirsten Gillibrand: 38.1 (Last week: 8th / 37.8)

CANDIDATE PROFILE

Gillibrand wants you to know that the reason her campaign has been such a miserable failure so far, is because she called for a certain senator to step down. The problem might also be that another certain senator isn't a good presidential candidate.

She also spent the week arm wrestling, and dancing at a gay bar called Blazing Saddle. In this time of division, one thing we can all agree on: Blazing Saddle is a really solid name for a gay bar.

Other headlines:

8. Amy Klobuchar: 45.1 (Last week: 7th / 45.5)

CANDIDATE PROFILE

Klobuchar is attempting a run in the moderate wing of the Democratic primary, which would be a better idea if such a wing existed.

She hasn't committed to impeaching Donald Trump and has actually voted to confirm over half of his judicial nominees. My guess is this will not be ignored by her primary opponents.

She also wants to resolve an ongoing TPS issue, which I assume means going by Peter Gibbons' desk every morning and making sure he got the memo about the new cover sheets.

Other headlines:

7. Elizabeth Warren: 45.3 (Last week: 6th / 46.0)

CANDIDATE PROFILE

Elizabeth Warren is bad at everything she does while she's campaigning. I don't really even watch Game of Thrones, and the idea that Warren would write a story about how the show proves we need more powerful women makes me cringe.

Of course, more powerful people of all the 39,343 genders are welcome, but it's such a transparent attempt at jumping on the back of a pop-culture event to pander to female voters, it's sickening.

We can only hope that when she's watching Game of Thrones, she's gonna grab her a beer.

Other headlines:

6. Cory Booker: 54.9 (Last week: 5th / 55.5)

CANDIDATE PROFILE

Booker is tied with Kamala Harris for the most missed Senate votes of the campaign so far. He gets criticized for this, but I think he should miss even more votes.

Booker is also pushing a national day off on Election Day—because the approximately six months of early voting allowed in every state just isn't enough.

Of course, making it easier to vote doesn't mean people are going to vote for Booker. So he's throwing trillions of dollars in bribes (my word, not his) to seal the deal.

Bookermania is in full effect, with 40 whole people showing up to his appearance in Nevada. Local press noted that the people were of "varying ages," an important distinction to most other crowds, which are entirely comprised of people with the same birthday.

Other headlines:

5. Robert Francis O’Rourke: 60.2 (Last week: 4th /62.6)

CANDIDATE PROFILE

Kirsten Gillibrand gave less than 2% of her income to charity. The good news is that she gave about seven times as much as Beto O'Rourke. Robert Francis, or Bob Frank, also happens to be one of the wealthiest candidates in the race. His late seventies father-in-law has been estimated to be worth as much as $20 billion, though the number is more likely to be a paltry $500 million.

He's made millions from a family company investing in fossil fuels and pharmaceutical stocks, underpaid his taxes for multiple years, and is suing the government to lower property taxes on a family-owned shopping center.

He's also all but disappeared. It's a long race, and you don't win a nomination in April of the year before election day. If he's being frugal and figuring out what he believes, it might be a good move.

But it's notable that all the "pretty boy" hype that Bob Frank owned going into this race has been handed over to Mayor Pete. Perhaps Beto is spending his time working on curbing the sweating, the hand gestures, and the issues with jumping on counters like a feline.

Other headlines:

4. Pete Buttigieg: 62.9 (Last week: 3rd / 62.9)

CANDIDATE PROFILE

When we first put candidates in tiers earlier this year, we broke everyone into five categories from "Front Runners" to "Eh, no." In the middle is a category called "Maybe, if everything goes right," and that's where we put Pete Buttigieg.

Well, everything has gone right so far. But Mayor Pete will be interested to learn that the other 19 candidates in this race are not going to hand him this nomination. Eventually, they will start saying negative things about him (they've started the opposition research process already), and it will be interesting to see how Petey deals with the pressure. We've already seen how it has affected Beto in a similar situation.

The media has spoken endlessly about the sexual orientation of Buttigieg, but not every Democratic activist is impressed. Barney Frank thinks the main reason he's getting this amount of attention is because he is gay. And for some, being a gay man just means you're a man, which isn't good enough.

When you base your vote on a candidate's genitals, things can get confusing.

Other headlines:

3. Kamala Harris: 68.6 (Last week: 1st / 69.1)

CANDIDATE PROFILE

There are a couple of ways to view the Harris candidacy so far.

#1 - Harris launched with much fanfare and an adoring media. She has since lost her momentum. Mayor Pete and former Mayor Bernie have the hype, and Kamala is fading.

#2 - Harris is playing the long game. She showed she can make an impact with her launch, but realizes that a media "win" ten months before an important primary means nothing. She's working behind the scenes and cleaning up with donations, prominent supporters, and loads of celebrities to execute an Obama style onslaught.

I tend to be in category 2, but I admit that's somewhat speculative. Harris seems to be well positioned to make a serious run, locking up more than double the amount of big Clinton and Obama fundraisers than any other candidate.

One interesting policy development for Harris that may hurt her in the primary is her lack of utter disgust for the nation of Israel. There's basically one acceptable position in a Democratic primary when it comes to Israel, which is that it's a racist and terrorist state, existing only to torture innocent Palestinians.

Certainly no one is going to mistake Harris for Donald Trump, but a paragraph like this is poison to the modern Democratic primary voter:

"Her support for Israel is central to who she is," Harris' campaign communications director, Lily Adams, told McClatchy. "She is firm in her belief that Israel has a right to exist and defend itself, including against rocket attacks from Gaza."

Just portraying the rocket attacks as "attacks" is controversial these days for Democrats, and claiming they are responses to attacks indicates you think the Jeeeewwwwwwwws aren't the ones responsible for the start of every hostility. Heresy!

Someone get Kamala a copy of the 'Protocols of the Elders of Zion' before she blows her chance to run the free world.

2. Bernie Sanders: 69.2 (Last week: 2nd / 68.3)

CANDIDATE PROFILE

If Bernie Sanders hates millionaires as much as he claims, he must hate the mirror. As a millionaire, it might surprise some that he donated only 1% to charity. But it shouldn't.

It's entirely consistent with Sandersism to avoid giving to private charity. Why would you? Sanders believes the government does everything better than the private sector. He should be giving his money to the government.

Of course, he doesn't. He takes the tax breaks from the evil Trump tax plan he derides. He spends his money on fabulous vacation homes. He believes in socialism for thee, not for me.

Yes, this is enough to convince the Cardi B's of the world, all but guaranteeing a lock on the rapper-and-former-stripper-that-drugged-and-stole-from-her-prostitution-clients demographic. But can that lack of consistency hold up in front of general election voters?

If Bernie reads this and would like a path to credibility, clear out your bank account and send it here:

Gifts to the United States
U.S. Department of the Treasury
Funds Management Branch
P.O. Box 1328
Parkersburg, WV 26106-1328


Other headlines:

1. Joseph Robinette Biden Jr.: 78.8 (NEW)

Joe has run for president 113 times during his illustrious career, successfully capturing the presidency in approximately zero of his campaigns.

However, when the eternally woke Barack Obama had a chance to elevate a person of color, woman, or anything from the rainbow colored QUILTBAG, he instead chose the oldest, straightest, whitest guy he could find, and our man Robinette was the beneficiary.

Biden has been through a lot, much of it of his own making. Forget about his plagiarism and propensity to get a nostril full of each passing females' hair, his dealings while vice president in both Ukraine and China are a major general election vulnerability— not to mention a legal vulnerability for his children. But hey, win the presidency and you can pardon everyone, right?

His supposed appeal to rust belt voters makes him, on paper, a great candidate to take on Trump. The Clinton loss hinged on about 40,000 voters changing their mind from Hillary to Donald in a few states—the exact areas where victory could possibly be secured by someone named "Middle Class Joe" (as he alone calls himself.)

No one loves Joe Biden more than Joe Biden, and there's a relatively convincing case for his candidacy. But we must remember this unquestionable truth: Joe Biden is not good at running for president.

He's a gaffe machine that churns out mistake after mistake, hoping only to have his flubs excused by his unending charisma. But, will that work without the use of his legendary groping abilities? Only time, and a few dozen unnamed women, will tell.

Also, yes. Robinette is really his middle name.

If only Karl Marx were alive today to see his wackiest ideas being completely paraded around. He would be so proud. I can see him now: Sprawled out on his hammock from REI, fiddling around for the last vegan potato chip in the bag as he binge-watches Academy Awards on his 70-inch smart TV. In between glances at his iPhone X (he's got a massive Twitter following), he sips Pepsi. In his Patagonia t-shirt and NIKE tennis shoes, he writes a line or two about "oppression" and "the have-nots" as part of his job for Google.

His house is loaded with fresh products from all the woke companies. In the fridge, he's got Starbucks, he loves their soy milk. He's got Ben & Jerry's in the freezer. He tells everyone that, if he shaved, he'd use Gillette, on account of the way they stand up for the Have-Nots. But, really, Marx uses Dollar Shave Club because it's cheaper, a higher quality. Secretly, he loves Chic-Fil-A. He buys all his comic books off Amazon. The truth is, he never thought people would actually try to make the whole "communism" thing work.

RELATED: SOCIALISM: This is the most important special we have done

Companies have adopted a form of socialism that is sometimes called woke capitalism. They use their status as corporations to spread a socialist message and encourage people to do their part in social justice. The idea of companies in America using socialism at all is as confusing and ridiculous as a donkey in a prom dress: How did this happen? Is it a joke? Why is nobody bursting out in laughter? How far is this actually going to go? Does someone actually believe that they can take a donkey to prom?

Companies have adopted a form of socialism that is sometimes called woke capitalism.

On the micro level, Netflix has made some socialist moves: The "like/dislike" voting system was replaced after a Netflix-sponsored stand-up special by Amy Schumer received as tidal wave of thumb-downs. This summer, Netflix will take it a step further in the name of squashing dissent by disabling user comments and reviews. And of course most of us share a Netflix account with any number of people. Beyond that, they're as capitalist as the next mega-company.

Except for one area: propaganda. Netflix has started making movie-length advertisements for socialism. They call them "documentaries," but we know better than that. The most recent example is "Knock Down the House," which comes out tomorrow. The 86-minute-long commercial for socialism follows four "progressive Democrat" women who ran in the 2018 midterms, including our favorite socialist AOC.

Here's a snippet from the movie so good that you'll have to fight the urge to wave your USSR flag around the room:

This is what the mainstream media wants you to believe. They want you to be moved. They want the soundtrack to inspire you to go out and do something.

Just look at how the mainstream media treated the recent high-gloss "documentary" about Ilhan Omar, "Time for Ilhan." It received overwhelmingly bad ratings on IMDb and other user-review platforms, but got a whopping 93% on the media aggregator Rotten Tomatoes.

This is exactly what the media wants you to think of when you hear the word socialism. Change. Empowerment. Strength. Diversity. They spend so much energy trying to make socialism cool. They gloss right over the unbelievable death toll. BlazeTV's own Matt Kibbe made a great video on this exact topic.

Any notion of socialism in America is a luxury, made possible by capitalism. The woke companies aren't actually doing anything for socialism. If they're lucky, they might get a boost in sales, which is the only thing they want anyway.

We want to show you the truth. We want to tell you the stories you won't hear anywhere else, not on Netflix, not at some movie festival. We're going to tell you what mainstream media doesn't want you to know.

Look at how much history we've lost over the years. They changed it slowly. But they had to. Because textbooks were out. So people were watching textbooks. It was printed. You would bring the book home. Mom and dad might go through it and check it out. So you had to slowly do things.

Well, they're not anymore. There are no textbooks anymore. Now, you just change them overnight. And we are losing new history. History is being changed in realtime.

RELATED: 'Good Morning Texas' joins Glenn to get an inside look at Mercury Museum

You have to write down what actually is happening and keep a journal. Don't necessarily tell everybody. Just keep a journal for what is happening right now. At some point, our kids won't have any idea of the truth. They will not have any idea of what this country was, how it really happened. Who were the good guys. Who were the bad guys. Who did what.

As Michelle Obama said. Barack knows. We have to change our history. Well, that's exactly what's happening. But it's happening at a very rapid pace.

We have to preserve our history. It is being systematically erased.

I first said this fifteen years ago, people need clay plots. We have to preserve our history as people preserved histories in ancient days, with the dead see scrolls, by putting them in caves in a clay pot. We have to preserve our history. It is being systematically erased. And I don't mean just the history of the founding of our country. I mean the history that's happening right now.

And the history that's happening right now, you're a problem if you're a conservative or a Christian. You are now a problem on the left, if you disagree and fall out of line at all. This is becoming a fascistic party. And you know what a fascist is. It doesn't matter if you're a Democrat or a Republican or an independent. If you believe it's my way or the highway, if you believe that people don't have a right to their opinion or don't have a right to their own life — you could do be a fascist.

Christianity might seem pretty well-protected in the U.S., but that's not the case in many parts of the globe.

On Easter Sunday, suicide bombers made the news for killing 290 innocent Christians in Sri Lanka and injuring another 500. On Tuesday, ISIS claimed responsibility for the massacre. Of course, the Western world mourned this tragic loss of life on a holy day of worship, but we forget that this isn't an isolated incident. Indeed, Christians are discriminated at extreme levels worldwide, and it needs to be brought to light. And whenever we do highlight brutal persecutions such as the Easter bombings in Sri Lanka, we need to call them what they are — targeted attacks against Christians. Sadly, many of our politicians are deathly afraid to do so.

RELATED: Hey media, there is absolutely a war on Christians!

A 2018 Pew Research Center study found that Christians are harassed in 144 countries — the most of any other faith — slightly outnumbering Muslims for the top of the list. Additionally, Open Doors, a non-profit organization that works to serve persecuted Christians worldwide, found in their 2019 World Watch List that over 245 million Christians are seriously discriminated against for their religious beliefs. Sadly, this translates into 4,136 Christians killed and 2,625 either arrested, sentenced, imprisoned, or detained without trial over the year-long study period. And when it comes to churches, those in Sri Lanka were merely added to a long list of 1,266 Christian buildings attacked for their religion.

These breathtaking stats receive very little coverage in the Western world. And there seems to be a profound hesitation from politicians in discussing the issue of persecution against Christians. In the case of the Sri Lanka bombings, there's even a reluctance to use the word "Christian."

After the horrific Pittsburgh Synagogue and New Zealand Mosque shootings, Democrats rightfully acknowledged the disturbing trend of targeted attacks against Jews and Muslims. But some of these same politicians refer to the Sri Lanka bombings with careless ambiguity.

So why is it so hard for our leaders to acknowledge the persecutions Christians face?

Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, for instance, certainly did — calling the incursions "attacks on Easter worshippers." Understandably, the term confused and frustrated many Christians. Although, supporters of these politicians argued the term was appropriate since a recent Associated Press report used it, and it was later picked up by a variety of media outlets, including Fox News. However, as more Democrats like 2020 presidential candidate Julián Castro and Rep. Dan Kildee continued to use the phrase "Easter worshippers," it became clear that these politicians were going out of their way to avoid calling a spade a spade.

So why is it so hard for our leaders to acknowledge the persecutions Christians face? For starters, Christianity in democratic countries like the U.S. is seen differently than in devastated countries like Somalia. According to Pew Research, over 70% of Americans are Christian, with 66% of those Christians being white and 35% baby boomers. So while diverse Christians from all over the world are persecuted for their faith—in the U.S., Christians are a dominant religion full of old white people. This places Christians at the bottom of progressives' absurd intersectional totem poll, therefore leaving little sympathy for their cause. However, the differing experiences of Christians worldwide doesn't take away from the fact that they are unified in their beliefs.

By refusing to name the faith of the Sri Lankan martyrs, politicians are sending a message that they have very little, if no, concern about the growing amount of persecution against Christians worldwide.

Martyrs don't deserve to be known as "Easter worshippers." They should be known by the Christian faith they gave their lives for. Decent politicians need to call the tragedy in Sri Lanka what it is — a vicious attack on the Christian faith.

Patrick Hauf (@PatrickHauf) is a writer for Young Voices and Vice President of Lone Conservative. His work can be found in the Washington Examiner, Townhall, FEE, and more.