After Feinstein’s too-kind comments about Trump, top California Democrat doesn’t rule out challenge

[ Originally published on this site as post ]

This is very interesting indeed. Longtime Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein is an institution in California, but she’s often made liberals’ teeth ache. The most recent trip to the dentist became necessary just the other day, when Feinstein rather startlingly declared she believes Trump “can be a good president,” something it’s hard to believe any mainstream Democratic politician would ever think, let alone say aloud. Feinstein’s full remarks were even worse:

“I think we have to have some patience. I do. It’s eight months into the tenure of the presidency … We’ll have to see if he can forget himself and his feeling about himself enough to be able to really have the kind of empathy and the kind of direction that this country needs. The question is whether he can learn and change. If so, I believe he can be a good president.”

Feinstein thinks it’s possible Trump can learn and change? Forget himself? Show empathy? Seriously? Which Donald Trump has Feinstein been watching these last few terrifying years? Any hypothesis that involves Trump doing something you’d want him to do is automatically null and void. These are not open questions, because we already have the answers.

Feinstein’s comments provoked a hot response from California Democrats, particularly state Senate President Kevin De León, who fired back in lacerating terms:

“I don’t think children who breathe dirty air can afford patience. The LGBT worker or woman losing their rights by the day or the black student who could be assaulted on the street—they can’t afford patience. DREAMers who are unsure of their fate in this country can’t afford patience. Even a Trump voter who is still out of work can’t afford to be patient.

“We don’t have much patience for Donald Trump here in California. This president has not shown any capacity to learn and proven he is not fit for office. It is the responsibility of Congress to hold him accountable—especially Democrats—not be complicit in his reckless behavior.”

On this one, it’s safe to say that De León speaks for progressives everywhere, while Feinstein is wildly out of step. But electorally speaking—because that’s what we care about at Daily Kos Elections—does any of it matter? It just might.