News, Views and More From Chairman Mark Vafiades
Even allowing for after-Christmas sales, online New Year bargains and in-store mall discounts, Republicans received a terrifically welcome gift last week: Barbara Boxer is leaving the U.S. Senate.
Before we turn our attention to the campaign next year, let’s take a moment and offer a few thoughts about our soon-to-be former junior Senator.
First of all, even though she has been in office a full 22 years, she has almost no concrete achievements to show for it. I make this point not because she has no conservative accomplishments; that’s to be expected. It is that her career was essentially a waste of time and money and votes.
Here’s what I mean: Casting votes on the Senate floor is only part of what a Senator does. More often, their time is spent representing their state and, quite frankly, doing the routine work of constituent services. Barbara Boxer manifestly refused to do this.
Her time was almost entirely spent harshly criticizing those who politically disagreed with her and, worse, refusing to represent any but her chosen industries and constituencies. Everyone else will tell you privately (and some publicly) that if you are a Californian and want to get anything done in the Senate, you’d better call Diane Feinstein’s office every time. This has allowed a liberal like Feinstein to appear much more moderate than she really is.
No Majority, No Boxer?
One reason why I believe Boxer is leaving the Senate is the political reality that she and her fellow Democrats may well have concluded they will be in the minority for a long time. After the second Republican landslide in four years finally delivered a GOP majority in the U.S. Senate and our current number of 54 Senators, I believe Boxer didn’t much feel like losing the power she’s held for years in the majority.
What This Means for 2016
There hasn’t been a new U.S. Senator from California since 1992, so this election is not just timely, it could have an impact for many years. So far, the only announced candidate is state Attorney General Kamala Harris. Also weighing the race is billionaire environmental activist Tom Steyer. Also rumored to be considering the race is former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.
While Republicans have had our troubles in statewide elections, one question must be asked: How can this be a field we can’t compete against?
- An underperforming state official who has not impressed in winning her two elections
- The failed and controversial former mayor of L.A.
- And someone who reportedly spent roughly $70 million in 2014 to make “climate change” a major campaign issue.
This is an election crying out for Republicans to get involved and hopefully make a decisive difference. While there are several Republicans I would like to see give the race a look, at this point, we should be in planning mode. Because our Republican Party of Los Angeles County (RPLAC) is the state’s largest county party, we will have a large and loud voice in determining our candidate this year.