California Sen. Dianne Feinstein should not seek reelection

Today we’re answering questions about ageism, sexism, and the amazing contest to succeed Dianne Feinstein in the US Senate.

Now that Feinstein is retiring, the race is on!

Wow. stop, pony Feinstein has yet to publicly state her intentions. She said she will announce sometime this spring whether she will retire at the end of her term in January 2025 or seek re-election for a sixth time.

She’s like, what, 150 years old?


Feinstein is 89 years old, making him the oldest member of the US Senate at 12 weeks and 3 days.

The second senior Senator, Charles E. Grassley of Iowa,
was easily re-elected to a new six-year term in November after facing token opposition in the GOP primary. He will be 95 when his term expires in January 2029.

By contrast, Feinstein has already attracted two serious challengers within her party, Democrats Katie Porter and Adam B. Schiff. Rep. Barbara Lee has told fellow congressmen that she plans to run and that other candidates may be coming.

Sounds like sexism to me.

It is not.

Unlike Grassley, Feinstein faced ongoing questions about her performance in the face of a noticeable decline in her mental functioning. She’s gotten through these past few years with much help from Senate staffers, and I’ve argued that Feinstein deserves to complete her term without being brushed aside beyond obvious incompetence.

But running again would be a terrible idea. She’s clearly not ready for the rigors of a campaign – let alone another six years in the Senate – and would certainly and rightly lose her attempt at reelection. That would be a sad and embarrassing coda to a remarkable, storied career.

What about the vultures running away?

My goodness. That is hard.

Feinstein’s would-be successors showed her a lot of respect. But that’s politics, Jake. It will take a long time for candidates to raise the money and build the national notoriety they need to seriously attend an elementary school that’s only about a year away.

And let’s be honest. Feinstein’s mental failings have been chronicled extensively in great, sometimes painful detail. For some time, there has been a quiet wrangling to replace them, with potential candidates hiring, traveling across the state, collecting political bulletins and doing everything but putting up a large neon sign explaining their intentions.

Be happy that all these activities are finally taking place outdoors.

I was thinking about California’s last Senate race with open seats. It was not like that.

You don’t have much life, do you?

Just answer the question.


You’re right.

When Democrat Barbara Boxer announced her intention to retire after 2016, the biggest question was what new office Gavin Newsom and Kamala Harris, enemies from their early days in San Francisco politics, would seek.

Newsom, then lieutenant governor, opted to run for governor in 2018, paving the way for Harris, the attorney general, to seek the Senate seat against hapless Rep. Loretta Sanchez.

Why such a weak field compared to this one?

It might be hard to believe given her murky political image, but Harris was considered something of a political goliath at the time.

She had twice run successfully for state office. She was female and had a political base in the San Francisco Bay Area, both of which were major assets in a nationwide competition.

And that’s where Feinstein’s age came into play. There were doubts that she would compete again in 2018 and given Harris’s perceived benefits, most potential rivals decided it was better to wait and see rather than take on the front runner.

So I’m looking forward to a positive, topic-oriented campaign.

What planet do you live on?


Given California’s political coloring, the state’s next US Senator will surely be a Democrat. And substantively, there is no dramatic split between the candidates on most of the important issues they would face in office. You can be sure that if elected, everyone would vote the same more than 9 times out of 10.

So the next year of campaigning—and longer if other Democrats emerge from the first two primaries—is spent turning small differences into big differences and tearing down each other’s characters.

You can expect a lot of negativity as the candidates and their supporters focus on style, the candidates’ personal backgrounds, and such subtle distinctions as “warrior” (porter) vs. “fighter” (ship).

Are not You be something negative?

Facts are facts.

Schiff had been in the Senate race for, oh, a full 10 minutes, when he was attacked by progressive activists for being too centrist — not coincidentally the criticism Feinstein has faced throughout her career from fellow Democrats.

So get ready If you enjoyed watching Bernie Sanders compete against Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden, you will love the California Senate race.

Speaking of candidates of a certain age…

you mean barbara lee?


She is 76. On Election Day 2024 she will be 78 years old.

Katie Porter is 49. Schiff is 62.

So obviously, age is the big issue Lee faces — especially when he’s running to take Feinstein’s place.

Their response, according to the San Francisco Chronicle’s Joe Garofoli, will be a promise to serve only a single term, as a kind of bridge to a new generation of leaders.

The funny thing isn’t that long ago — when 70-year-old Jerry Brown was governor and California’s two US Senate seats were being filled by politicians north of 70, there were all sorts of clamors for fresh blood and a desire for the state’s geriatric leadership to step aside and gives other, younger politicians a chance to serve.

Maybe everything old is new again. California Sen. Dianne Feinstein should not seek reelection

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