The Peninsula was heavily represented among the delegates at last weekend’s California Democratic Party convention San Francisco, as was the Democratic field of presidential candidates. Of the 24 candidates now running, 14 put in some kind of appearance at the convention, most of them speaking in a parade of speeches that did not include a talent portion.
That this many candidates showed up for an off-year convention is a tribute to Assemblyman Kevin Mullin, who was the prime sponsor of the legislation that moved the California presidential primary to March of 2020, instead of its customary spot in June.
In addition to drawing the candidates to the convention, the early primary prompted a number of national news media stories talking about the key role California will play in sorting out the field early in the nomination process. In past cycles, California has been irrelevant to the nomination, except as a source of campaign money. Mullin also was interviewed a number of times by some major news outlets.
Two Peninsula attendees were Redwood City Councilwoman Giselle Hale and Palo Alto travel agent and online bon vivant Janice Hough, who offers witty comments about politics and sports. They sat through most of the speeches at the convention and posted their thoughts. Here are some excepts:
On California Sen. Kamala Harris:
Hale: “Her speech was too focused on Trump and lacked in energy.”
Hough: “Clearly popular but her speech, to me, felt like more Trump-bashing and less promoting herself and her ideas. She seemed a bit flat.”
On Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren:
Hale: Whoa energy! She got the crowd fired up and appeared very comfortable. She was specific in pointing to what needs fixing and what she would do (for a 7-min speech).”
Hough: “Woke everyone up. One of the most inspirational policy wonks since Bill Clinton, and she’s getting better. Lots of details packed in. Almost hard to keep up. But yes, whatever it is, she has a plan for that. Found myself thinking she will take a lot of Bernie voters.
On Former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke:
Hale: She edited her original post on the speeches “because I FORGOT HIM. Which sums up his speech. But it was in Spanish. That I remember.”
Hough: “Huge disappointment. Bilingual but boring.”
On New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand:
Hale: “Unremarkable. She didn’t answer ‘why should you give me the job.’ ”
Hough: “Kind of meh. Talked about winning in red districts but didn’t mention that she used to have a lot of more conservative positions.”
On Mayor Pete Buttigieg:
Hale: “Wowowow! Clearly answers ‘why vote for me’ and makes a damn good case for why playing it safe is a losing strategy. Only candidate who created a hush over the audience that was hanging on his every word.”
Hough: “He grabbed the crowd back. Clearly a favorite, although he (is) more moderate than the average delegate: ‘The economic normal has failed a working and middle class that powered America into a new era of growth, only to see the amazing wealth that we built go to a tiny few.’ “
On California Rep. Eric Swalwell:
Hale: “If your high school quarterback ran for president.”
Hough: “Not sure I remember anything on the speech except he seemed like a nice young man. But he’s no Mayor Pete.”
On Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar:
Hale: “Grit. Not sure if I’d vote for her but I’d have a drink with her. She would spice up the debates.”
Hough: “Impressive as hell. A bit hoarse maybe, but she was grounded, detail oriented and FUNNY. And you could definitely see delegates warming to her.”
On New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker:
Hough: “Best speech of the day. And getting the attention of thousands of people who’ve been sitting through six hours of speeches is almost impossible. He did that.”
Contact Mark Simon at firstname.lastname@example.org.
(Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images) Democratic presidental hopeful U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) speaks during the California Democrats 2019 State Convention at the Moscone Center on June 01, 2019 in San Francisco, California.