Three weeks isn’t that long in real time, but in the 24-hour news cycle it’s an eternity.
I returned to California in early December after spending three weeks on the east coast after the election to do some family bonding with my wife and newborn baby. We saw family, went to Shenandoah National Park, went to Gettysburg, went to the Smithsonian, went to the Museum of the Bible and did many other things that had nothing to do with the daily avalanche of news.
It turns out I don’t need to know everything right away and big news apparently stays big for at least a few days. Though I missed a million tweets and hot takes on cable news, I survived.
Here are some of the highlights of what I missed:
Nancy Pelosi steps down as House Democratic leader
I don’t care for her politics, but I tip my hat to anyone who can stay in power that long. She always found a way to fight off challenges to her leadership to stay atop the caucus.
As a Republican, I know I’m not supposed to say anything nice about her, but I think it’s ok to give credit where it’s due. As a diehard Celtics fan, I don’t like Lebron, but I can admit he’s one of the best basketball players ever, behind Jordan, Kobe, Magic, Bird, Bill Russell, Kareem, Paul Pierce (fight me) and maybe even Steph Curry.
Trump announces for president
As expected, former President Donald Trump continued his quest to prove he’s not a politician by running for office yet again.
Or maybe it’s just to sell merch, either way, there’s something very sad about people who claim to loathe politics but can’t seem to let it go.
Trump’s toxicity wrecked Republican chances throughout the country and another run will only make that worse, especially in California. Republicans here still have not recovered from the 2018 midterms when he was president and he still hangs over the party like a fumigation tent.
Vote counting is still going on
Several races in California still had not been called, with new vote totals trickling out of country registrars. California has a lot of voters and it takes a long time to count those votes, especially the mail in ballots of which I devotedly send in each election.
Critics, like me, complain that the slow voting erodes trust in our electoral process and is unnecessary. But there’s apparently no appetite among the ruling Democrats to change anything.
Sen. Steve Glazer, who chairs the California Senate committee overseeing elections, told Calmatters that “Democracies are not meant to be efficient, they’re built on a foundation that every person’s vote matters.”
Every vote does matter, but they don’t matter any less if they are counted quicker.
The slow pace potentially has bigger problems. This cycle had many close races, including a Central Valley Senate seat that was decided by 20 votes. The winner has already been sworn into office, but the loser has called for a recount, which is his right and also makes sense considering the closeness of the election.
A faster count would decide these things before members are sworn in.
The state created this problem by trying to expand the electorate with a greater focus on voting by mail. Mailed-in ballots require extra steps to try to prevent fraud, which is great, but it takes longer to count.
New Corona Republican Assemblymember Bill Essayli introduced legislation that would return to mail-in voting by request, which would encourage more people to vote in person. His bill would also make Election Day a state holiday so that voters wouldn’t need to worry about taking time off from work.
Seems reasonable enough.
Kevin de Leon (still) resists calls to resign
One more thing I missed was that disgraced Los Angeles City Councilman Kevin de Leon still has not resigned from office after audio recordings of extremely racist conversations he participated in with other councilmembers (who have resigned or otherwise left office) became public.
It’s gotten so bad that de Leon can’t show up to a city council meeting with it being shut down by protestors, and he either attacked or was attacked by a protester, and there is apparently no limit to what he’s willing to endure just to stay on the city’s payroll.
It’s astounding that he is still in office, but he seems to think it’ll blow over. My prediction is that he won’t resign, at least until he finds a soft landing spot.
It’s worth pointing out that previously de Leon served as elected President of the Senate by his Democratic peers, while Nury Martinez, a former city councilmember who was also on the racist recording with de Leon, had been elected President of the City Council by her Democratic peers.
In other words, two lawmakers who activists and other city councilmembers have deemed too racist to be allowed in City Hall were chosen by their peers to be leaders – seems there are some unanswered (unasked?) questions here.
All things considered
Anyway, as interesting as all of this is, it was just as interesting reading about it after the fact and spending time with my family instead.
Follow Matt on Twitter @FlemingWords