My Wild Prediction: The ‘Arc of History’ Will Decide Senator Feinstein’s Successor

by on February 6, 2023 · 5 comments

in Election, History, Ocean Beach, Women's Rights

By Colleen O’Connor

First, that history.

“In a letter dated March 31, 1776, Abigail Adams writes to her husband, John Adams, urging him and the other members of the Continental Congress not to forget about the nation’s women when fighting for America’s independence from Great Britain.

‘I desire you would remember the ladies and be more generous and favorable to them than your ancestors.

‘Remember, all men would be tyrants if they could. If particular care and attention is not paid to the ladies, we are determined to foment a rebellion, and will not hold ourselves bound by any laws in which we have no voice or representation.”

That was written almost 260 years before the overturning of Roe v. Wade.  And over 100 years before women finally won the right to vote.

Senator Feinstein, a trailblazer for women in politics, is set to announce her retirement decision this Spring. Perhaps on her 90th birthday, June 22nd.

She told Bloomberg News, the decision will come “in the spring sometime.  Not in the winter. I don’t announce in the winter.”

Feinstein, 89, has occupied her office for 30 years — the longest Senate tenure in California history and is the oldest sitting U.S. senator.

That is “a long way from the days of Harvey Milk” or the “year of the woman” when she and Barbara Boxer became the first female duo elected to the Senate from California in 1992.”

The only such feminist pairing in U.S. History, and one not likely to be repeated.  Gov. Newsom quickly appointed his friend, Alex Padilla, to fill Kamala Harris’ vacant post (without an election) and has promised to name a “black woman” to any vacancy (again, without a special election).

So, who has what it takes to win and hold Feinstein’s seat?  Follow the money, the message, and the “arc of history.”

The Democrats’ top-notch congressional contenders, thus far, in alphabetical order:

Barbara Lee, Oakland.  Strengths: Woman. Black. Friend of Speaker Pelosi.  Possibly Gov. Newsom’s pick to fill a vacancy.  He has already done three of these non-election appointments, but the blowback is coming. U.C. Berkeley.  Age 76.

As George Skelton of the LA Times argues: “Enough is enough. Those three selections may have been fine. But that’s too much one-man rule. Enable the electorate.”

Ro Khanna of Fremont, Silicon Valley. Tech creds, AI/Chat GPT, onshoring, etc. Largely unknown statewide. Yale. Age 46.

Katie Porter of Irvine, Orange County. Harvard law, Sen. Elizabeth Warren endorsement, high name id with corporate take downs, wins in Republican district (formerly Richard Nixon’s seat).  $7 million in bank.

“Porter, with her whiteboards out, raised over $1 million in first 24 hrs,” after announcing her candidacy and “at her first campaign event, in Northern California last month, she told the crowd it’s time for ‘a fresh new voice” in the Senate.’”  Get the drift.  Age 47.

Adam Schiff, Burbank.  Anti-Trump credentials during impeachment and Jan. 6th hearings.  Speaker Pelosi set to endorse Schiff (if Feinstein does retire). High name recognition.  Holding $25 million in bank.  Harvard Law. Age: 62

Shorthand for the themes each has chosen:

Schiff               Anti-Trump.                             Save Democracy

Porter              Anti-Corporate Greed             Women’s Rights

Lee                  Minority creds                        Black Voters matter

Khanna            Tech is future                          Invest onshoring

Most likely to win the seat?

#1.  Schiff.  With Pelosi’s endorsement, and legendary fundraising, plus the still smoldering anti-Trump factor, Schiff is the prohibitive favorite for now.

#2.  Lee:  Scenario where Pelosi ushers Feinstein into retirement and Newsom appoints Lee, (as promised).  Still in play.

#3.  Porter: Makes it through the March primary and wins in the General Election if the Supreme Court leaked memo takes sharper focus (anti-abortion, anti-gay rights, no morning-after meds, etc.) and the economy craters (Mega scandals; Adani, FTX, bitcoin, etc.)

#4.  Khanna:  Thinking about entering the race.  Yale.   Age 46.

My wild prediction. #3 Katie Porter will ride the “Arc of History” that revealed itself in the 2022 elections with Democratic women (and  GOP women’s help) quietly took over entire statehouses and held back the predicted “red wave tsunami.”

The reason: “Roe v. Wade” reversal and the leaked opinion outlining the serious threats regarding women in future Supreme Court cases.

In Justice Clarence Thomas’ concurring opinion, he writes that the court’s contraception, same-sex intimacy, and same-sex marriage decisions are “demonstrably erroneous” and that “we have a duty to ‘correct the error’ established in those precedents.”

Another reason that, California’s storied history of two women in the U.S. Senate cannot collapse into zero.

The “Arc of History’ that may lift Porter over her competitors is not just women, but a possible financial meltdown like the Lehman debacle.  She, alone, owns those finance creds.

Finally, TRUMP-ism is history past.  Nothing but fatigue, and lawsuits remain.  Even the Koch brothers have decided “it is time to move on.”

The Arc of History is now bending toward young, bold, imaginative, and honest talent, aka California’s women.





{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Geoff Page February 6, 2023 at 11:18 am

Good piece, Colleen, very informative. I’ve been watching the Porter story too, this was helpful.


Gravitas February 6, 2023 at 11:28 am

New Pew Poll 75% of Americans say economy is TOP priority! And the scandals are just starting.


Gravitas February 6, 2023 at 11:40 am

New Pew Poll 75% now rate economy #1 concern. News headline lead tonight? Chinese Balloon? Turkey’s earthquake? Biden’s State of Union?


Gravitas February 23, 2023 at 7:22 am

already a tie..Porter/Schiff. Not so wild a prediction now.


Gravitas March 12, 2023 at 7:09 pm

Porter moves fast again. “On Sunday, California Democratic Rep. Katie Porter said she was writing legislation to reverse the 2018 bill.”


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