Is L.A. Councilmember Kevin de León a political useless man strolling?


Kevin de León by no means lacked for ambition.

He ignored lengthy odds and waged an uphill bid to dislodge fellow Democrat Dianne Feinstein from the U.S. Senate.

He barely warmed his seat on the Los Angeles Metropolis Council earlier than throwing himself into the race for mayor.

Each efforts proved unavailing. However till De León was caught yukking it up on a recording stuffed with racist, homophobic, merciless and chopping remarks, neither setback appeared to have accomplished him any nice hurt.

Few — a lot much less De León — seen the council because the zenith of his public profession. There was discuss of one other statewide run, maybe for lieutenant governor, a job that has been a stepping stone for 2 of California’s current governors, together with Gavin Newsom.

Now, shorn of energy at Metropolis Corridor and going through protesters camped out in his Eagle Rock neighborhood, the query is whether or not De León’s once-bright political future has gone the way in which of the Dodgers’ dashed World Collection goals.

On Wednesday, the 55-year-old councilmember broke a prolonged silence to reiterate his intention to remain in workplace. “No, I cannot resign, as a result of there’s quite a lot of work forward,” De León mentioned in a Noticiero Univision interview.

That stubbornness doesn’t bode nicely for his future.

By brazening it out and refusing to give up, De León could also be hoping not simply to hold onto his council seat for an additional two years however protect his probabilities for larger and brighter issues past Metropolis Corridor.

Good luck with that.

“I don’t assume something is unimaginable in politics,” mentioned Invoice Carrick, a longtime Democratic strategist and Feinstein adviser. “However it will be very, very tough.”

There are many politicians who’ve weathered knee-buckling scandals and, after righting themselves, gone on to prosper. Invoice Clinton. John McCain. And, not least, Donald Trump.

As San Francisco mayor, Newsom was reelected after a notably sordid episode involving an extramarital affair with the spouse of a good friend and longtime aide. Newsom — months away from looking for a second time period — acknowledged his wrongdoing, apologized and mentioned he would search counseling for alcohol abuse.

“By no means underestimate the general public’s capability to forgive in case you ask for that forgiveness they usually consider you’re honest about it,” mentioned Roger Salazar, a Democratic guide who served as spokesman for De León’s Senate marketing campaign.

After all, not all political scandals are the identical. Some contain private lapses, which can be salved with a present of humility and contrition. Others stem from a misuse of public belongings, a breach of belief or an act of hypocrisy — although, actually, is all of it that stunning for a politician to say one factor and do one other?

The scandal darkening Los Angeles Metropolis Corridor is of a unique order.

The bigotry and informal venom surreptitiously captured on tape, which led to the resignations of Council President Nury Martinez and labor chief Ron Herrera and which shredded the reputations of De León and fellow Councilmember Gil Cedillo, was uglier and extra damaging than some mere private transgression.

“This was an assault on a complete neighborhood,” Carrick mentioned.

Like a poisoned smorgasbord, there was one thing on the recording to show each abdomen. There was additionally loads to offend members of a number of key Democratic constituencies, amongst them Latinos, ladies, Jews and, particularly, Black voters.

The what-about refrain will deliver up former President Trump, who withstood numerous controversies to win the White Home and has, on varied event, emitted one thing to offend to just about each man, girl and little one on Earth.

“We’re Democrats. We’re alleged to be higher than that,” mentioned a celebration strategist in Sacramento, who wished to not be recognized so her political shoppers wouldn’t be dragged into the Metropolis Corridor muck. “For those who’re going to name out individuals regularly, you’ll be able to’t settle for that sort of racist dialog and conduct from one in every of our personal.”

A number of of the state’s main political practitioners supplied De León some free, unsolicited recommendation: Stop the council, now. Apologize.

“Folks consider in redemption,” mentioned a former state legislative chief who labored intently with De León in Sacramento and requested to not be named to protect their private relationship. “However in case you’re making an attempt to journey it out… it’s arduous to get redemption when there’s no significant effort or apology.”

On Wednesday, De León did say he was sorry.

“I apologize to all my individuals, to my total neighborhood, for the harm attributable to the painful phrases that had been carried out that day final yr,” De León mentioned within the interview with Noticiero Univision anchor León Krauze.

However that was so far as he went, which fell nicely in need of what many prescribed.

As soon as he give up and apologized, political operatives agreed, De León ought to disappear for awhile. Do good work for a few of these within the communities he offended. Maintain out of the general public eye, and overlook about mounting a political comeback anytime quickly.

“Don’t resign from the council in the future after which three days later announce you’re working for one thing else,” mentioned Democratic guide Garry South.

Proper now De León’s political designs must be the least of his concerns.

When he launched his Senate bid in 2017, De León attacked Feinstein for suggesting early in Trump’s time period that possibly the petulant and mean-spirited president would develop and turn into a greater man.

“We are able to’t cross our fingers and hope that Trump can be taught and alter,” De León mentioned, chiding Feinstein for harboring false hopes.

He was proper. Trump by no means did be taught and alter.

Perhaps De León can do higher.

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