The California state Democratic Party apparently doesn’t believe that one of the most liberal senators in the country is liberal enough for California.
Dianne Feinstein has been a liberal icon since she took office as a senator in 1993. But the state party has given its endorsement to Feinstein’s Democratic rival, state Senator Kevin de Leon.
De Leon is a radical leftist who has become a star among California Democrats. Feinstein, the 14th most liberal senator according to one analysis, isn’t partisan enough or radical enough for most state Democrats. It sets up an interesting contest in November as Feinstein has far more money and name recognition while de Leon has the enthusiasm and love of the activists.
“Today’s vote is a clear-eyed rejection of politics as usual in Washington, D.C.,” de Leon said in a statement after the vote. “We have presented Californians with the first real alternative to the worn-out Washington playbook in a quarter-century.”
A total of 217 delegates voted for de Leon, of Los Angeles, while 22 cast ballots for Feinstein and 94 voted for no endorsement.
Party members and activists are typically more liberal than the wider California electorate that has sent Feinstein to Washington five times. Feinstein has turned skepticism from some party activists into an asset in her past campaigns.
The endorsement of de Leon means the state party will spend money promoting his candidacy this fall.
Still, Feinstein outpaces him in name recognition and cash and has a loyal following across California. She won the June 5 primary with 44 percent of the vote compared to de Leon’s 12 percent.
While it’s an embarrassment for California’s senior senator to lose her party’s official nod, it may do little to change the trajectory of the race.
“We are confident that a large majority of California Democrats will vote to reelect Sen. Feinstein in November,” Jeff Millman, her campaign manager, said Saturday night.
That may be. But de Leon’s candidacy, and the candidacy of other radicals and socialists across the country, is pushing less extreme Democrats ever leftward on the ideological spectrum.
Is this really the wave of the future? Millennials are said to be more liberal than older Americans, even more willing to “try” socialism. Few are surprised at that, given the indoctrination going on at all education levels.
But generational politics is tricky. There are conservative millenials out there whose influence on their own generation is still unknown. They may have proven to be more liberal on some issues, but their core beliefs in free markets and individual liberty are unquestioned. Who’s to say what will happen?
These California Democrats are, by and large, not young millenials. They are old-line socialists and far-left radicals, veterans of the political wars. That Feinstein has lost their favor is not important to the Senate race in November, but could have negative implications for the party down the road.