California Democratic Leaders: Still Palely After All These Years

Jerry Brown gets down and raps with the community. (We all had more hair in 1974.)

In Politico, Alexander Burns notes that the top five Democratic Party politicians in California average 77 years old.

“You know, Linda, back in the Fifties when my Dad was governor, it was a way different scene.”

Jerry Brown, California’s 76-year-old governor, is running for reelection this year to a post he first won in 1974. The two senators — Barbara Boxer, 73, and Dianne Feinstein, 81 — have held their jobs since the early 1990s.

The most prominent member of the congressional delegation, 74-year-old House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, started out as chairwoman of the California Democratic Party when Ronald Reagan was president. The current party chairman, 81-year-old John Burton, is a former congressman who first went to Washington in the 1974 post-Watergate revolution.

One of the secrets of why California Democratic elites are so mellow about massive immigration, why it seems like such a bitchin’ primo idea to them is because it really hasn’t offered them all that much competition. They’re still here, so what’s your thing, man? All we’ve got to do is keep on truckin’. That’s a 10-4, good buddy.

If the upper echelons of Democratic leadership here are unrepresentative in terms of age and race, they also come disproportionately from the San Francisco area.

The New Face of California Democrats in 2015-2019

About 20 percent of the state’s population lives in the San Francisco-San Jose region, according to the U.S. Census. But fully half of California’s people are in the greater Los Angeles area, which has produced only one major Democratic statewide officeholder — recalled ex-Gov. Gray Davis — in a quarter-century. The last U.S. senator from L.A. was John Tunney, who left office before Jimmy Carter was sworn in as president. …

Geography, however, is only one of the many ways in which California’s leadership is out of line with a state that has a median age of 35. Its under-45 population is larger by 3 percent than the nation’s as a whole; California’s Latino population is double that of the rest of the country, and its Asian population is nearly triple.

A young John Burton: “Do I look more like Redford or Hoffman in All the President’s Men“?

Burton, the [81-year-old Democratic] party chairman, called talk of leadership turnover still several years premature: “It’s not something on my radar.”

He said he hadn’t yet heard rumblings from candidates laying the groundwork to succeed Brown or the two senators.

“What are they gonna say? ‘I’m thinking of running’? Fine. Call me in four years,” he said. “I’m sure they’re all salivating.”

Burton went on to say that in recent decades he’s come to realize that the Democrats need candidates with experience, familiar faces who have been putting themselves out in front of the public for years, individuals who have the maturity to say what’s on their minds. To follow Jerry Brown in 2019, therefore, he’s leaning toward Donald Sterling.