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Analysis: Gavin Newsom just tried to shove Dianne Feinstein out the door

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Asked Monday night about his thoughts on a possible replacement for Feinstein, Newsom decided not to dodge, as most politicians would. Here’s the exchange between MSNBC’s Newsom and Joy Reid:

Reid: If, in fact, Dianne Feinstein retired, would you appoint an African-American woman to restore the seat that Kamala Harris is no longer in the U.S. Senate? And do you have a name in mind?

Newsom: I have several names in mind.

Reid: It can be yes: answer yes or no.

Newsom: We have several names in mind and the answer is yes.

If you’re Feinstein, Newsom’s comments should make you very, very unhappy. Because what Reid is proposing here is not a retirement of Feinstein, but a resignation of Feinstein or the 87-year-old California Democratic senator who leaves office before his term ends.

Look, if Feinstein simply decides not to run again in 2024, Newsom would have no role in replacing her. There would simply be an open seat race. But if the post became vacant before 2024, Newsom, I suppose survives a likely memory effort this year and may be re-elected in 2022: she would be able to appoint a replacement. (Newsom appointed Senator Alex Padilla in the seat left vacant by current Vice President Kamala Harris in late 2020).

The fact is that Feinstein has not given any indication that he plans to leave before the end of his term. “The senator has no plans to step down,” a Feinstein aide told CNN’s Ted Barrett on Tuesday, following Newsom’s comments.

Newsom’s willingness to relate to a question about the appointment of a replacement to Feinstein amounts to a not-so-subtle push from the governor to the senator to step aside.

It’s the last one Feinstein wants to deal with after his last few months. As early as September 2020, Democrats in Washington were expressing his skepticism that Feinstein, then the ranking Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, was up to the challenge of running in opposition to Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett.

“Feinstein is sometimes confused with journalists’ questions or will offer different answers to the same question depending on where or when he is asked. His appearance is fragile. And Feinstein’s elegant demeanor, which seems to belong to a Senate era, it can lead to problems with an increasingly harsh democratic base that is disinterested in collegiality or bipartisan platitudes. “

These fears among the Liberals were confirmed by the confirmation hearings. “This has been one of the best audiences I’ve been in,” Feinstein said at the end of the proceedings. “It leaves one with a lot of hope, a lot of questions and even some ideas, perhaps, of good bipartisan legislation that we can put together.” He then went and hugged Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Lindsey Graham.
The Liberals immediately asked him to step aside from his placement on the Judicial Committee. Less than three weeks after the 2020 election, Feinstein did just that: yielding his opportunity to preside over the panel when Democrats regained control of the Senate in the January runoff in Georgia.

But in that same announcement, Feinstein seemed to state that he had no plans to leave the Senate prematurely. I will continue to do my best to achieve positive changes in the coming years, ”he said.

So what does Newsom play? Well, and stop me if you’ve ever heard of him, he’s looking for his personal policy.

Newsom pulled off some heat to choose Padilla to replace Harris instead of another African American. And now Newsom faces the likely to fight for his political life later this year – Because the organizers of an effort to remember him insist that they have gathered the necessary signatures to get it on the ballot this fall.
To defeat the retreat, Newsom firmly needs the Democratic Party base. And there is no bigger pillar on this base than African American voters. (Just ask Joe Biden!) So, hoping to consolidate his support among this crucial bloc, Newsom pushed Feinstein under the bus Monday night.
Politics, it has been famously said: it’s not a bag of beans. But even by that rule, Newsom’s move was tough.

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