Laphonza Butler, a senator-appointee, has been criticized for being a corporate union-buster and lacking a connection to California, despite being appointed as a replacement for the late Senator Dianne Feinstein. Feinstein, the longest-serving female senator in American history, passed away on September 29, leaving California Governor Gavin Newsom with the responsibility of appointing a new senator.
Newsom had promised to appoint a black woman to fill the role, and he delivered on that promise by appointing Laphonza Butler. However, critics argue that Newsom never specified that the appointee had to be from California, and it turns out that Butler resides in Maryland. This lack of connection to the state has raised concerns about her familiarity with important local issues and her ability to effectively represent California’s citizens.
Additionally, critics have raised questions about Butler’s credentials. She is described as a “veteran organizer” who has worked extensively in labor unions. However, she was also involved in Uber’s labor relations, which has led some to accuse her of being a union-buster. Furthermore, since 2021, Butler has served as the president of Emily’s List, a Democratic Party donor network that raises money for women candidates who support abortion rights.
Critics argue that Butler’s appointment is another example of corporate identitarianism. They believe that her selection as a black lesbian woman is merely token diversity and that her lack of familiarity with California’s issues is a significant flaw. They point out that her appointment follows over three decades of representation from Feinstein, who was not known for being loved by organized labor or the working class.
The criticism of Butler’s appointment extends beyond her lack of connection to California. Some argue that her political careerism and lack of authenticity make her an undesirable choice for senator. They point to examples of politicians, such as former Governor Matt Bevin in Kentucky, who were seen as “carpetbaggers” for seeking office in states where they had no connection or familiarity. This type of opportunism is viewed with contempt by many Americans.
Moreover, critics note that being a senator involves more than just supporting the national party on major issues. It requires familiarity with local politics and the ability to advocate for the needs and concerns of one’s constituents. Butler’s lack of familiarity with Californian politics may hinder her ability to effectively serve the state.
Overall, critics argue that Butler’s appointment is a missed opportunity for California to have a solid senator who understands the state’s issues. They believe that her lack of connection to California, her history as a labor friend-turned-pro-employer stooge, and her token identity as an LGBTQ black woman all contribute to her appointment being seen as paper-thin corporate identitarianism. They assert that politics should not be about opportunism but should instead focus on effectively representing the interests of the people.
It remains to be seen how Butler will navigate her position as senator and whether she will be able to overcome the criticism surrounding her appointment. Only time will tell if she can effectively advocate for Californian issues and gain the support of her constituents.