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How Dianne Feinstein’s re-election bid encapsulates the divide within the Democratic Party




Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) talks with reporters as she heads for her party's weekly policy luncheon at the U.S. Capitol May 16, 2017 in Washington, DC.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) talks with reporters as she heads for her party's weekly policy luncheon at the U.S. Capitol May 16, 2017 in Washington, DC.
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

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Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) has announced today that she will seek a sixth term in the U.S. Senate.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">I am running for reelection to the Senate. Lots more to do: ending gun violence, combating climate change, access to healthcare. I’m all in!</p>&mdash; Dianne Feinstein (@DianneFeinstein) <a href="https://twitter.com/DianneFeinstein/status/917389235145117696?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">October 9, 2017</a></blockquote>

She would be running for her fifth full term. She joined the Senate in 1992 after winning a special election. She had a serious challenge in 1994 from wealthy GOP Rep. Michael Huffington but has cruised since.

The 84-year-old’s announcement comes at a moment of soul searching for the Democratic Party, after the GOP swept both chambers of Congress and won the presidential election in November. Both in California and on a national level, progressives have wanted the Democratic Party to align its platform toward the agenda set forth by Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders.

Should Feinstein run again and is her age a concern? Is her political experience and bipartisan approach needed more than ever today? Or should younger blood be nurtured for the sustainability of the Democratic Party?

With files from the Associated Press

Guests:

Caroline Heldman, associate professor of politics at Occidental College and author of the book, “Protest Politics in the Marketplace: Consumer Activism in the Corporate Age” (Cornell University Press, 2017)

Larry Gerston, a professor emeritus of political science at San Jose State University and author of many books, including “Not So Golden After All: The Rise and Fall of California” (CRC Press, 2012)