California State Sen. President Kevin de León (pictured above left) yesterday won 54 percent of the vote of the delegates at the annual state Democratic Party convention in San Diego, a crushing blow to Sen. Dianne “Cryptkeeper” Feinstein (above right), whose name depressingly and oppressively has been on the ballot for the past 25 years. Cryptkeeper won only 37 percent of the delegates’ votes — 485 fewer votes than de León won.
Wow. For a little while I was a little worried about Kevin de León’s bravely insurgent campaign for the U.S. Senate seat for California that the ancient, Democrat-in-name-only Dianne Feinstein — whom I lovingly think of as “Cryptkeeper” — has held with a death grip since 1992.
Not only did de León recently win the endorsement of the nation’s largest state’s largest public-sector union, the Service Employees International Union (for once the Billary-Clinton-loving union to which I belong got a political endorsement right), but yesterday at the annual state Democratic Party convention, de León handily denied Cryptkeeper the state party’s endorsement.
It’s a high bar to win the state party’s endorsement — a vote of at least 60 percent of the delegates to the convention — but not only did de León deny Cryptkeeper that 60 percent, but he blew her out of the water: De León won 54 percent of the delegates’ votes to Cryptkeeper’s 37 percent.
The Los Angeles Times calls it “an embarrassing rebuke of” Cryptkeeper and notes that “Though de León did not get the endorsement, his success in blocking Feinstein from receiving it shows that his calls for generational change and a more aggressively liberal path have resonated with some of the party’s most passionate activists.”
Of course multi-millionaire Cryptkeeper, one of the wealthiest U.S. senators, has more campaign cash in the bank (including at least a cool $5 million that she gave herself) than does de León, and of course because of her name recognition (she has been around longer than has God), Cryptkeeper is polling better right now than is the much-less-known de León, but de León’s big wins — such as winning the majority of the state party delegates’ votes and winning not only SEIU’s endorsement but also the California Nurses Association’s — demonstrate that not only is de León a serious contender, but that plenty of Californians have had it with the plutocratic Cryptkeeper’s center-right bullshit and wish her gone.
I expect de León’s coffers to fill soon, and I expect his poll numbers to climb the more that Californians realize what a winner he is. And I expect more labor unions to endorse him, and without labor unions’ help, I can’t see Cryptkeeper winning. Her big money alone won’t be enough; she’ll have to actually earn enough votes.
The 84-year-old Cryptkeeper could have saved herself this embarrassment and stepped down, but she’s been tone-deaf to her constituency, who is to the left of her on many if not most issues, for years. The only reason that they’ve been re-electing her is that this is the first time that a viable alternative has emerged.
Cryptkeeper is no longer inevitable, and that’s great news not only for the people of California, but for all Americans who are affected by Cryptkeeper’s center-right votes in the U.S. Senate.
P.S. Also yesterday, California gubernatorial candidate Gavin Newsom (who also has been endorsed by SEIU) garnered more votes for a state party endorsement than did any other candidate, with 39 percent.
While DINO Antonio Villaraigosa and Newsom have been in the top two in polling, yesterday Villaraigosa came in at fourth place in the endorsement vote, garnering only 9 percent. (The second-place winner garnered 30 percent and the third-place winner garnered 20 percent, and because there are so many Democratic gubernatorial candidates, it wasn’t expected that any one of them would reach the 60-percent mark necessary for an endorsement from the state party.)
I expect Newsom, who is my imperfect-but-preferred candidate, to become California’s next governor.
Some are saying that these votes for state party endorsements reflect only the wishes of party insiders, but these so-called party insiders are dispersed throughout the state and they are opinion leaders. These state party endorsement votes aren’t meaningless, even though both de León and Newsom fell short of 60 percent (which, in my opinion, should be reduced to anything above 50 percent).
P.P.S. I should note that under California’s top-two primary system, the top-two vote-getters (regardless of party) in the state’s June 5 primary will move on to the November general election, and I expect the top two to be Kevin de León and Cryptkeeper. (In 2016, there were only two Democrats on the ballot for U.S. Senator for California, Kamala Harris and a nut job who didn’t stand a chance against Harris.)
Some have posited that because Cryptkeeper is center-right — that is, Repugnican Lite — the state’s Repugnicans will vote for her, figuring (correctly) that she’s closer to their political orientation than is de León.
But I don’t know about that. I’d have to see a poll or polls of registered Repugnicans that asks whether or not in a de León-vs.-Cryptkeeper race they’d vote for Cryptkeeper or not vote at all. I surmise that most of the state’s Repugs wouldn’t vote for a Dem, not even DINO Cryptkeeper.
In any event, for de León to win, it’s going to take grassroots support. He doesn’t need as much money as Cryptkeeper does, but he does need those of us who are left of center to vote.