Gov. Gavin Newsom has been smart to attack his fellow Democrats for being wimps in culture wars, including the fight for abortion rights — whether he’s all wet or not. It was good party politics.
That harsh rhetoric and more can propel him onto the national political stage, appeal to progressive Democrats who are impatient with the Biden administration and Congress — and begin to position themselves for a future race for the White House.
Newsom and his advisers, of course, insist that there hasn’t been a whisper of discussion about his running for president and that he isn’t even thinking about it.
OK, but come on: for a governor of California to look in the mirror and not see a future president would be unhuman.
It doesn’t matter that a California Democrat has never been nominated for president and that the odds of only one being elected are higher than Rich Strike winning the Kentucky Derby 80 to 1. So yeah, anything is possible in the races of horses and political marathons.
“But don’t bet your nest egg on it at any of the Indian casinos in the state,” veteran Democratic strategist Garry South wrote in a recent opinion piece for The Hill.
For one thing, as South points out, Californians aren’t falling in love with their Democratic political leaders. Never had. Candidates therefore cannot rely on the state’s huge block of nominal or electoral votes.
Second, much of the country thinks California is ruled by Left Coast lunatics. Applicants here are at a disadvantage.
And the logistics of competing in primaries across the continent while governing the country’s most populous and diverse state is nearly impossible.
But that doesn’t mean Newsom wouldn’t be tempted to give it a try if he had a half chance. As if President Biden is not running for re-election in 2024.
More likely, he could wait while maintaining another high office, such as that of US Senator Dianne Feinstein. She will surely retire when her term expires in 2024, if not sooner. Newsom is only 54 years old.
To advance in national and state politics, you must stand out in your own party – not just attacking the other side, but outshining your teammates while pointing out their flaws. You cannot sit obediently.
When Newsom asked rhetorically at a press conference last week, “Where the hell is my party?” on the culture wars, he was probably opening the ears and eyes of grassroots liberal voters across the country. “Why don’t we stand up more firmly?” he stated.
“[Republicans] always have these culture wars. Where is the counter-offensive within the Democratic Party? Why don’t we wake up? »
Newsom was referring not only to the fact that the Supreme Court was set to overturn Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision that allowed women nationwide to terminate a pregnancy. He was talking about all the states that have passed laws to strictly restrict — if not virtually ban — abortions pending court rulings.
And he was referring to “all these other bills that are just cookie-cutter bills that are being thrown around in the states…across an array of issues. Where’s the Democratic Party? ?
Nice touch. Newsom is trying to be seen as a national warrior in the culture wars, especially over abortion rights. But it shouldn’t stop there.
I have another suggestion for him: start a campaign to impose term limits on the justices of the Supreme Court of the United States – in fact, all federal judges. They are now nominated by the President and confirmed by the Senate for lifetime jobs. No liability to voters or anyone.
That would likely require a constitutional amendment, though some legal scholars believe Congress could accomplish this by passing a bill. The Constitution does not specify “for life”. It was only interpreted that way. It simply says that judges “must perform their duties while in good conduct”.
Either way – constitutional amendment or statute – that won’t happen. An amendment would require a two-thirds vote by each house of Congress and ratification by three-fourths of the states. And any bill would have to survive a filibuster from the Senate in an institution that fears term limits for itself.
But that doesn’t mean the idea shouldn’t be promoted. I guess the concept would appeal to many voters, especially as the court strikes down national abortion rights.
And think of the fun – the paradoxes and the hypocrisies.
Right-wingers who constantly howl about the need for term limits for Congress and laws would instantly oppose the idea of a conservative court.
I have always been against term limits for elected officials. That’s because term limits indiscriminately weed out the good guys and the bad guys. That should be decided by the voters.
Elected politicians have real terms – two, four or six years – and voters can limit them. You don’t like their performance, throw them out.
California State Supreme Court and appellate judges also serve 12-year terms. Then they must pass in front of voters to be retained for another term. Local judges serve a six-year term.
Justices of the United States Supreme Court sit on the bench as long as they choose or until they die.
I would impose an 18-year term. And the dismissed judge could not be reappointed by the president. I wouldn’t want a justice to solicit favors from the White House on decisions.
If there was currently an 18-year limit, Tory Clarence Thomas would be long gone. He has served on the court for 30 years and is the poster judge for term limits. No other member would be affected.
Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr.
– who penned Roe’s stunning draft opinion – is expected to leave in two years.
Newsom might find a Democratic audience attentive to that prospect.