California Dems Reject Sen. Feinstein, Open Path for Progressive Candidate

It’s The Real News Network. I’m Sharmini Peries coming to you from Baltimore. The California Democratic Party failed to
endorse Senator Dianne Feinstein for a fifth Senate term on Sunday. She got only 37% of the 2,775 delegates that
voted. Her challenger, State Senator President pro
Tem Kevin de León got 54 % of the vote. Neither ended up with the party’s endorsement
because candidates need at least 60% of the delegates to vote for an endorsement. This is a major blow to Senator Feinstein,
one of the most senior senators in the US Senate. Californians will hold their primaries on
June 5th, and joining me now to discuss the decision and what this means for California
and for the Democratic Party as a whole, is Don Nielsen. Don Nielsen is Director of Government Relations
for the California Nurses Association. I thank you for joining us, Don. Thank you. So Don, let’s begin with what this means for
California, for such a senior senator as Dianne Feinstein who has been in the Senate for 26
years, to be rejected in this way. Well, it’s an indication of the direction
of the party in California and of the grassroots. Everybody, there was, common wisdom was that
she was going to get the endorsement easily because she’s out-polling Kevin de León or
has been up until recently. But the party delegates, the people who come
to these things are overwhelmingly more progressive and more left leaning than the party leadership. We’ve seen that for a long time, but we’ve
never seen anything quite like this, where they voted so overwhelmingly not to endorse
her and to endorse, to come very close to endorsing Kevin de León. He only fell about 147 votes short of actually
getting the 60% threshold. Right. Now, let’s talk about Kevin de León in a
minute, but let’s back up a little bit here to Dianne Feinstein. Why was she rejected politically? What was her positions in the past that the
Democrats as a whole in California just didn’t endorse any longer? Well, I think there’s a lot of different reasons. From positions on war, positions on fiscal
matters, making statements like giving Donald Trump a chance and so forth. But I think the biggest reason is her rejection
of the overwhelming momentum out there in the land for guaranteed healthcare for all,
Medicare for All at the federal level. Here in California, SB 562 guaranteed healthcare
for all. Bernie Sanders has this bill, S-1804 and people
are jumping on board to coauthor it, yet Senator Feinstein specifically refused, notwithstanding
the fact that others have endorsed it and cosponsored it, coauthored it. So, I’d say that’s probably the single largest
thing that has caused people to want to reject her here at the party convention. All right. Now, who is Kevin de León? And why was he able to mount such a serious
challenge to Feinstein? Well, he is the Senate pro Tem, meaning he’s
the head of the California Senate, the President, the leader of the California Senate. He played a very instrumental role in getting
our bill, SB 562 through the Senate and over to the assembly. Party activists, the grassroots, everyone
recognizes that. We in particular, California Nurses Association,
the main sponsor of that bill, have always been appreciative of the work that he and
other members of the Senate have done in supporting that bill and overwhelmingly passing it through
the Senate. We endorsed him just a few weeks ago, and
up to that point, there hadn’t been any major labor unions jumping on board to endorse him. After we did that, within a day or two after
that, others also endorsed him. So, in effect broke the logjam in that. And I think you’re going to see more and more
support for his candidacy. The main reason we endorsed him, the main
reason that our nurse leadership overwhelmingly endorsed him was because of his integral role
in getting our SB 562 bill through the Senate. All right, Don. So, what does this mean now, for both candidates,
Feinstein and de León? What happens leading up to the primaries if
you’re not endorsed by the party? Well, the lack of a party endorsement means
that you can’t put that on your literature, you can’t cite yourself as being endorsed
by the party. It has an effect on, it can have an effect
on support, on fundraising. But the real, the bigger litmus test, the
bigger, the more important item I would argue for candidates going forward is whether they
support guaranteed healthcare for all, Medicare for All. In California, that means SB 562. For Senator Feinstein to have specifically
refused to endorse these concepts while Senator de León has embraced them, I think you’re
going to see that become the major factor that will play such a huge role in the primary. And so, I think it’s going to be the case
for all Democratic candidates going forward. The grassroots, the overwhelming majority
of registered Democrats and the overwhelming majority of the population at large want to
see real, meaningful reform in healthcare. What’s going on at the national level is a
terrible thing. Here in California, the Democrats control
all branches of government, right? So, at the national level, it’s the opposite
but here in California they control all branches of government. So, they in effect own the fix. They have no excuse for not implementing real,
meaningful reform in the area of healthcare and that, right now, there’s only one single-payer
bill out there in California and that’s our bill SB 562. Again, Senator de León embraced it, and others
have not. In particular Senator Feinstein has not embraced
the concept of Medicare for All, and I think that is the issue. That’s the item that has separated the two
at the convention that we just saw this last weekend. Now, some of this Democratic Party establishment
challengers are lingering from the last convention and the last presidential election and the
struggle over Bernie Sanders’ candidacy and so forth. How is the party establishment reacting to
these challenges? Well, it’s interesting to watch them because
much of the establishment is trying very hard to resist that type of message, a Bernie Sanders
type message in the area of healthcare and in many other areas as well. But we’re also starting to see a division
among that leadership beginning to take place, where the smarter ones are seeing that if
they want to continue to lead the party, if they want to continue to enjoy the support
of the grassroots and win elections, they’re going to have to get on board with this issue. Guaranteed healthcare for all is the issue
right now that, at least the party faithful care about and I think the population at large
cares about as well because it’s a broken system. Our healthcare system is a broken system that
is in need of drastic repair and there’s really only one solution. That is guaranteed healthcare for all. All right. Don, in what ways are the party establishment
blocking the Healthcare for All bill? Well, back in June of last year, June 23 of
last year, the Speaker of the Assembly, Anthony Rendon, out of nowhere said he was going to
hold up the bill in the rules committee and not assign it to a policy committee for further
consideration. You remember, a few minutes ago, I mentioned
how Senator de León, the head of the Senate played such an integral role in getting that
bill through the Senate and passing it over to the Assembly for them to vote on it. And instead of embracing it, and working with
us and others who support this concept, Speaker Rendon, without any heads up, without any
communication with us or anyone else that cares about this bill, decided to hold it
up, to freeze it in effect. Now, the bill is not dead. The bill can still be assigned to a committee. We still have this entire legislative year
to the end of August for that bill to go forward. And we’re hopeful that he’ll allow it to go
forward. He was called on by various speakers and activists
at the convention to do just that, but right now he’s standing in the way of that. It’s not a winning solution for him and for
others who are supporting him because the grassroots, the majority of the population,
the vast majority of registered Democrats want to see this bill allowed to go through
the normal hearing procedure and voted on, right? I mean, that’s why we elect these people,
is to vote and to take and to be accountable. What the Speaker’s trying to do is to “protect”
those more moderate members of the Democratic Party from having to go on record and having
to answer to their constituents as to why they do or do not support SB 562. Don, I understand that the California Nurses
Association is supporting a candidate for governor and you’re about to go on a campaign,
unveiling a bus. Tell us more about that. Right. We, the nurses, democratically and overwhelming
voted back in December of 2015 to endorse Gavin Newsom for governor. We’re doing, we’ve got a whole bunch of things
planned in supporting him for his candidacy. We just, at the party convention in San Diego
over this weekend, rolled out our Nurses for Newsom bus. It’s quite impressive. That bus will be traveling around the state
to various activities, appearing at, from town halls to rallies to you name it. And also serving as sort of a mobile billboard
for the governor traveling around the state. It’s very impressive and it shows the level
of dedication and support we have for his campaign because he is the frontrunner and
as the frontrunner, and I believe a direct result of being the frontrunner is the fact
that he has come out in strong support of single-payer, our bill SB 562, guaranteed
healthcare for all, is committed to signing a single-payer bill when it gets to his desk,
when elected governor. These are the things that have entered into
our overall decision to support him overwhelmingly and you’re going to see a whole slew of activities
designed to promote his candidacy because he is serious about the bill, serious about
the concept, and fortunately is the frontrunner, and the favorite in the race at this point. All right. Don, I thank you so much for joining us here
on The Real News Network and I wish you all the best with the upcoming campaign. All right. Well, thank you very much. We appreciate all your attention to this. And thank you for joining us here on The Real
News Network.

Author Since: Mar 11, 2019

  1. I wish Sharmini Peries didn't sound so bored when doing these interviews. I'm all against news anchors injecting emotional bias into their reporting but you can go too far the other way.

  2. OMG, Gavin Newsom? You know he is related to Dianne Feinstein, right? What a disaster he is going to be. Career poseur, par excellence!

  3. Can't stand the Demon-RATS or the Reprobate-cans. But I'm happy to see that Die-hard Fein-STAIN, has been given her walking papers. Next, John "traitor" McShame.
    Can she take Ruth Ginsburgh, Graham and all remaining ZioNazis home with her?

  4. Feinstein might still be able to be a use to us if she would be able to wear an explosive vest or something to the next meeting with leading members of the GOP and POTUS; then I could forgive her.

  5. Good! This should scare the corporate Dems that are not for universal healthcare! Bye bye!
    If anyone does not completely understand Bernie's Single Payer, PLEASE, watch this fantastic film!

  6. Again, as many others have pointed out the exclusion of Alison Harrison in this video was extremely disappointing.  You can do better.

  7. go god please put sharmeini Sheires in the back somewhere so I can watch the show again. She is SO IRRITATING> Im sorry but she sucks as a interviewer and speaker. PLEASE for the love of all thats holy, bring someone else in!!! I cannot watch this show until you do.

  8. Healthcare reform is a good idea. Campaign finance reform is better. Get bribery out of politics and everything else gets easier.

    Medicare for all is a decent idea, but it will prevent some independents and all conservatives from supporting those candidates. Ending bribery appeals to nearly everyone. Do that first. It's the central issue. Nothing much can be done without it.

  9. I wouldn't vote for a Democrat if there is a 3rd party candidate in the race, but so glad to see this Right-Wing corporate donations magnet out of the way.

  10. The Democrats supporting this guy over Alison Hartson GUARANTEES he will not support Medicare for All if he makes it to the U.S. Senate.

  11. Diane Zombie Feinstein already got her free government healthcare, but she does not want anyone else to have it. Good riddance to Zombie Feinstein.

  12. I surprised theRealNews didn't talk at all about the more progressive candidates in the race Alison Hartson, David Hilderbrand and Pat Harris. I understand they are polling low right now but not giving them coverage will not help them get more popular.

  13. She is 84 years old, enough already. She and her heirs will benefit from her graft for years to come. Time to give a younger politician a chance to get some bribes!

  14. Why were neither David Hildebrand nor Alison Hartson considered and Kevin de Leon and Pat Harris were?  That seems important "Real News".

  15. I am glad shes out of power, butI do not gloat. I pity her ehe was so defeated walking down that hall.

  16. Feinstein tell you something as to how she thinks and what direction she is going hopefully it's straight to hell

  17. Kevin De Leon took corporate money. By endorsing Kevin on your network "realnews", you actually lose credibility with progressives.

  18. "…SB 562, senator De Leon embraced it…" "…that is the item that has separated the two ( De Leon and Feinstein) at the convention…" *embrace*? What does embrace mean? I understand the bill hasn't come to a vote yet but does he publicly endorse the bill? He doesn't mention supporting single payer or medicare for all anywhere in his platform, from what I can tell he's just as substanceless as Feinstein.

  19. The shocking part is not that 60% didn’t endorse her. It’s that 37% did. How out of touch or bought off can CA delegates be to believe that Feinstein gives a damn about there wants and needs.

  20. 26 years!?!?! Term. Limits! Forget the medicare-for-all nonsense too. A negative income tax should have been implemented generations ago. Abolish the corrupt welfare system. Nurses, of course, endorse more customers for their practice… after having their own little monopoly on occupational licensure, just like the AMA does for physicians.

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