California Senate Leader Kevin de León has announced he will challenge Democratic Party establishment politician and Donald Trump apologizer Dianne Feinstein for her U.S. Senate seat in 2018.
It’s welcome news for the progressive wing of the Democratic Party in California, which has been steadfast in its resistance to the chaotic and immoral Trump regime unlike the 84-year-old Feinstein, who publicly has said she thinks Trump could actually become a good president as if he shouldn’t be held accountable for his unhinged and dangerous behavior. Her statement, and her longtime Republican-lite political agenda that includes support for the death penalty, has become a rallying cry for people who argue Feinstein is out of touch and is running only to appease her massive ego.
Feinstein, who has been in the Senate since 1992, could still do the right thing and step aside to allow someone to advance a more progressive platform in the Trump era, especially from liberal California, but she’s not been hearing that enough from her constituents. That’s now going to change. It’s unlikely Feinstein will be able to make announced public appearances in some instances in California without facing sizable protests at this point, and she’s not exactly a firebrand on the campaign trail, anyway. Her decision to run, as I’ve written before, is one of the most ego-driven decisions in the annals of U.S. politics and a crucial error in a time of a fascist threat to this country from a immoral presidential regime.
De León has a compelling life story, name recognition in all of California’s major media markets because of his service as a state Senator and as the California Senate leader and a liberal agenda. He’s a progressive not afraid to call out Trump. Raised by a single mother who once cleaned houses for a living, de León grew up to believe in and support diverse and inclusive communities. He was eventually elected to the state Senate and become its leader in 2014.
There is also political speculation that another potential candidate for the Senate seat, Tom Steyer, a billionaire who could conceivably self-fund his campaign, will run for the office. Steyer made his fortune as a hedge fund manager and that could damage his credibility. He will get labeled as a banker running to appease his own ego like Feinstein, who is worth only a paltry $71 million. De León, too, isn’t some pure candidate from the left. He has accepted campaign contributions from business interests. Both of them, however, are to the left of Feinstein and far more outspoken in their criticisms about Trump. Pat Harris, a Los Angeles area attorney and author, is also running for the seat. He doesn’t apologize about being a liberal either.
The apologizers for the establishment Democratic politics as practiced by Feinstein will make the tired argument that an intraparty war will hurt the chances of Democrats to flip some House seats in 2018. They will also argue that Feinstein is so entrenched in her position that no one can mount a successful challenge, especially given California’s “jungle” primary system in which the two candidates who receive the most votes move on to the general election. Even if Feinstein comes in second in the primary election, she can shift to the right or left given the circumstances in the general election, they argue. See, she and her supporters don’t care about principles. They want to win at any cost to the country and California. In other words, the overall message from the Feinstein camp is don’t challenge establishment politics because it’s, well, establishment politics, that’s just how it works. Shut up. Be quiet. Go away. This attitude is exactly why Trump is president.
Here’s another argument that will get made by the Trump apologizers in the Democratic Party, which include House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and by the consistently wrong “expert” political analysts in the supposedly liberal media: Those party members who challenge the Democratic establishment are wackos just like the Tea Party freaks, a racist group of hate-mongers and wannabe fascists who love their guns and are making sure we’re going to endure a continued scourge of mass shootings and daily gun violence for years to come.
No, it’s Feinstein, Pelosi and Schumer who are allowing immoral, extremist Republican ideology and outright lies to flourish through their inaction and refusal to speak up. Those who oppose the politics of these spineless politicians are the opposite of the Tea Party nuts. They’re trying to do something to stop them, not Feinstein, of course. She’s the Tea Party enabler. It’s extremely important we call out the media types who try to make the false comparison, which is a product mainly of sloppy, lazy thinking.
Here’s the truth: A lively race for a U.S. Senate seat in California, one that focuses on the very real fascist threat of the Trump regime and issues such as raising the minimum wage, guaranteeing health care to people, equal rights, free college tuition, student loan debt forgiveness and progressive taxation, can only help the Democratic Party, not hurt it. Trying to stop ideas and debate should be the antithesis of the party, but Feinstein needs the money, right? I mean $41 million only goes so far. I wonder how much she would benefit under the Trump tax-cut proposal. That should help her out.
Here’s a final point: The de León camp should draw attention to the California housing crisis and the lack of substantive action by Feinstein and Pelosi on the issue. These two filthy rich people epitomize the gentrification and the basic immorality of the high rents here and the destruction of our diverse communities and quality of life. They are more than just culpable or complicit. After all, they built the system for their own financial benefit.