California Democrats got a glimpse Saturday of four up-and-comers considered potential contenders for the White House in 2020, each of whom talked of ending what they described as the dark era of President Trump.
Three were California’s own, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, Sen. Kamala Harris and billionaire political activist Tom Steyer. The fourth, Oregon Sen. Jeff Merkley, lives a state away.
Just back from a trip to the early presidential primary state of South Carolina, Garcetti was the first of the group to address the California Democratic Party convention in San Diego.
Two of the biggest names in California Democratic circles implored party faithful to fight to win in the midterms as Democrats try to seize back control of the U.S. House.
“Standing in the way of the American Dream are Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell, Donald Trump and Mike Pence,” said House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. “They are in the way of equality of opportunity, public education and debt-free college. They are in the way of affordable healthcare.”
Despite intractability on issues such as gun control, immigration and sexual harassment, “We don’t agonize, we organize!” Pelosi said. The same slogan was plastered on posters that bore her name and likeness imposed on the classic image of Rosie the Riveter.
Antonio Villaraigosa was endorsed by the United Farm Workers at the California Democratic Convention on Saturday, a counterpoint to claims the previous night that he is not a friend to labor unions.
“Antonio has consistently stood with and worked with farmworkers in good times and tough times over the course of many years,” said Arturo Rodriguez, president of the union, saying Villaraigosa’s efforts stretched from picketing on behalf of striking grape pickers as a teenager to his days as an elected leader and beyond. “He made calls to legislators, he walked picket lines and he sought to use his influence to help farmworkers get better lives.”
Villaraigosa noted that while he had never worked in the fields, he felt a responsibility to stand up for farmworkers and other Californians to have rewarding work that allows them to provide for their families.