While the push has been on in woke Democratic circles to shove Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) out the door before her last term in office is over, there has also been a coordinated effort among Feinstein’s “allies” to make sure she doesn’t.
The reasons are obvious but nevertheless intriguing even to those not predisposed to obsessing over the finer points of behind-the-scenes political machinations.
The most vocal proponent on the “Feinstein must retire” side has been Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.), who is rumored to be considering a future run for president but who for now seems content with being the co-chair for Rep. Barbara Lee’s (D-Calif.) 2024 Senate run.
Khanna has on the surface tried to make this about Feinstein and her allies needing to “put country over party,” but in reality, an early Feinstein retirement has the potential to benefit Khanna by making Lee’s path to the Democratic Senate nomination easier.
Why? Because Gov. Gavin Newsom has in the past stated that he would pick a “woman of color” to replace Feinstein in the short term. Appointing Lee obviously would give her a running head start over her competitors.
That last point is something that seriously concerns former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), whose daughter, Nancy Corinne Prowda, has been acting in a caregiving role for Feinstein in recent weeks and has been seen close by her side during some of her recent appearances on Capitol Hill.
Ostensibly, this has been to ensure Feinstein’s well-being, but the rumor mill has it that Pelosi is having her daughter keep close tabs on Feinstein to make sure she doesn’t retire early, which would hurt Pelosi’s choice for the seat – Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), who is also a declared candidate.
But back to Newsom, as the unseemly debate continues over whether Feinstein should stay in the Senate or retire to her California home, he is reportedly considering his options to replace her in the event she decides to go ahead and head for the exits.
One person who is said to be on the list of people he has in mind to fill her seat? Longtime talk show host and big-money Democrat backer Oprah Winfrey:
In filling a Senate vacancy, Newsom has the authority to name a successor. He could even pick himself, though that is unlikely. State rules dictate when an election would have to be held.
Newsom’s choices all run risks.
He could get entangled in the ongoing Senate campaign and choose one of the declared candidates to fill a Feinstein vacancy.
Another option would be to select a caretaker, and then leave it to voters to decide in next year’s election — someone who would hold the seat but is not a Senate candidate. That’s where names like Winfrey come up — a celebrity who is Black and happens to meet Newsom’s appointment pledge. However, Newsom also might find it challenging to land on someone willing to take a short-term appointment.
If he picked one of the declared Senate candidates, Newsom would unsettle the growing field and elevate that person to frontrunner status. U.S. Rep. Barbara Lee, who is Black, is already running against fellow Democratic Reps. Katie Porter and Adam Schiff, who both are white.
According to the California politics experts at SFGate, there’s a “solid chance” this rumor is “something more” than just one being mindlessly “floated in California circles”:
The Associated Press does state that “a range of names, from obscure to famous” have been “floated in California circles,” so this could simply be a case of the publication deciding Winfrey, with her celebrity status, was the only one worth mentioning. But there’s a pretty solid chance it’s something more.
If so, this would absolutely be the coward’s way out for Newsom, who would avoid any cries of “favoritism” from his party in the event he chose Winfrey, who doesn’t have an ounce of political experience, over the others being floated to fill the seat.
But in a way, this would be par for the course for the “New Newsom,” should it come to pass. After all, he’s the guy bizarrely running around the country portraying wokesters in his party including himself as the “sane” alternatives to “extremist MAGA Republicans” who he says would take this country back decades if they get any more powerful – all while leaving out the fact that the Democrat policies he supports, like transgender women in women’s sports, are actually doing just that.
It would be just like him at this point to play the “middle of the road” placator type in the Senate race, trying not to ruffle the feathers of any of the major political power players he would need to make a formidable presidential run in the future a reality.
Then again, this isn’t really the “New Newsom” here at all, come to think about it. In fact, it sounds like the same Newsom we’ve always known, willing to put his personal and political ambitions ahead of doing what’s right for the residents of his state.
In other words, same crap, different day, same feckless “leader.” Despite continually picking the wrong people for the job, Californians really do deserve better than this.
Related: Ted Cruz Spills the Tea on Backroom Democrat Campaign to Replace Dianne Feinstein
Join the conversation as a VIP Member