Feinstein’s death throws wrench into Democrat’s fragile machinery – Longtime Democratic California Senator Dianne Feinstein, who served in the U.S. Senate for three decades, passed away recently, with her death putting Democrats – particularly California Governor Gavin Newsom – in the complicated situation of appointing her replacement.
The appointment – which many say should be done as early as possible – is significant given the Democrat’s fragile lead in the Senate, as well as the threat of a looming government shutdown as members of the House continue to disagree on issues on budgeting and spending that prevent even a temporary spending bill to pass and be approved by the Senate and the White House.
Feinstein’s health has been on the decline in the last few months, after a bout with shingles a few months ago triggered a host of other health complications, including encephalitis and facial paralysis known as Ramsay Hunt syndrome, which in turn saw the 90-year-old senator using a wheelchair when she returned to her duties in the senate in May.
Democratic Virginia Senator Tim Kaine emphasized the importance of a speedy decision from Newsom, who took five weeks before nominating Alex Padilla to take over then senator Kamala Harris’ seat after she became vice president in 2020.
“He, you know, wants to be respectful and not name somebody while folks are still grappling with their grief,” Kaine said, but “we cannot afford to be one down. We really can’t.”
“Dianne Feinstein was many things — a powerful, trailblazing US Senator; an early voice for gun control; a leader in times of tragedy and chaos,” Newsom said.
“Every race she won, she made history, but her story wasn’t just about being the first woman in a particular political office, it was what she did for California, and for America, with that power once she earned it. That’s what she should be remembered for,” he added.
The California governor is expected to appoint a Black woman to replace Feinstein in the senate, which could be California Representative Barbara Lee, the only Black woman who has tried to challenge Feinstein for the Senate in the past.
In addition to all of this, Feinstein’s death also further highlights the issue of President Joe Biden’s age, which recent polls have established to be a major concern for voters in general, even among Democratic voters.
While the president is 10 years younger than Feinstein, he is already 80 and is the oldest serving president in the U.S.’ history, and numerous flubs and gaffes have led many to question whether he is still qualified to serve a second term in the White House.
Tim Ramos has written for various publications, corporations, and organizations – covering everything from finance, politics, travel, entertainment, and sports – in Asia and the U.S. for more than 10 years.