Columnist calls on Sen. Feinstein ‘to step down early’ so Newsom can appoint replacement

Progressives have given Democrat Sen. Dianne Feinstein (CA) notice: It’s time for her to call her political career quits.

Los Angeles Times columnist Erika D. Smith argued in a column published Thursday that California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) should urge Feinstein “to step down early — preferably before the next Congress — so that California will have two open seats in the U.S. Senate instead of just one.”

Newsom is already said to be weighing names to replace California Democrat Kamala Harris in the Senate. With two seats available, Smith argued, the governor could name both a Black senator and a Latino senator to represent California.

“While it’s not the easiest solution to Newsom’s political problem, it is the right solution,” Smith wrote. “Representation does matter, and the more I listen to Black and Latino leaders demand it on behalf of a state that is becoming more diverse every year, the less I understand why our senior senator is still in office, blocking progress.”

Feinstein in hot water

The column from Smith comes as Feinstein is taking heat in the wake of a New Yorker report that suggested she may be experiencing “cognitive decline.” At 87, the California lawmaker has been serving in the U.S. Senate for nearly three decades.

She’s “the oldest member of the Senate,” the New Yorker‘s Jane Mayer reported, and according to those “familiar” with her “situation,” Feinstein’s “short-term memory has grown so poor that she often forgets she has been briefed on a topic, accusing her staff of failing to do so just after they have.”

“The staff is in such a bad position,” one of her former Senate aides reportedly told Mayer. “They have to defend her and make her seem normal.”

In her own piece, Smith argued that Feinstein just doesn’t represent Californians’ values anymore. “Certainly not after the year we’ve had, with racial reckonings over white supremacy, an economic upheaval that has devastated poor and middle-class Californians alike and a pandemic that continues to disproportionately claim Latino and Black lives,” she opined.

The bottom line

But does Smith think Feinstein will resign? Not that easily.

“What’s far more likely to happen is that Feinstein will serve until her term ends in January of 2025,” she wrote Thursday.

Still, the California lawmaker has already stepped down from her position as the top Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee amid what The New York Times described as “fire by progressives.”

If those on the far left have their way, Feinstein may be enjoying retirement sooner than she anticipated.

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