The Democratic crack-up continues

  • 28 February 2018
  • NormanL
Don't weep for DiFi

One might think that a powerful, long-time Democratic politician in California would have little problem getting the state party to endorse them for another term in office. As Sen. Dianne Feinstein found out, that's just not the case, as the state party declined to endorse her re-election bid. The reason? Party activists think she's not progressive enough:

In an aggressive speech at the California Democratic Party convention, [Feinstein challenger Kevin] De León said Democrats deserve a progressive senator who fights on the "front lines," who doesn't "equivocate on the sidelines."

"I'm running for US Senate because the days of Democrats biding our time, biding our talk, are over," said De León, who is the leader of the California Senate. "Leadership comes from human audacity, not from congressional seniority."

He faulted Feinstein for her initial approach to President Donald Trump -- which infuriated Democratic activists here -- mocking her for saying last August that she believed Trump "can be a good president" if he had the ability to "learn and to change."

Charging that Feinstein is out of step with the progressive direction of the party, De León pointed to a litany of issues where he said he disagrees with the senior senator, including school vouchers, allowing federal agents to spy on American citizens, and her past support of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

He said he would never have supported prosecuting 13-year-olds as adults "in a criminal justice system propped up by institutional racism" (an apparent reference to her support for the 1994 crime bill). De León also chided Feinstein's approach to immigration, charging that he would never use the so-called Dreamers "as a bargaining chip."

"We demand passion, not patience. We speak truth to power," said De León said. "And we've never been fooled into thinking that Donald Trump could be a good president. ... Being good sometimes is not good enough."

While it may be true that Democratic convention delegates are more liberal than the general electorate, their repudiation of Feinstein can only be interpreted as a setback to her campaign. She may yet win -- Feinstein has all of the advantages of incumbency working in her favor. But her odds of success just got longer.

What is happening in California is occuring elsewhere, too. Increasingly, the Bernie Sanders remnant is challenging Democratic incumbents, charging they aren't aggressive enough in advancing a progressive agenda.

We would point those activists to the 2016 Democratic primary results. Bernie and his take no prisoners progressivism lost, soundly, and unmistakably, to Hillary Clinton. But that's the past. Progressives believe they the future is in their hands. 

Bully for them -- because their purges only increases the chances of Democratic losses this November, and beyond.