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Katie Porter Announces Senate Bid, Instantly Becomes Controversial Among the Left

BREAKING: the whiteboard has officially endorsed her.

Katie Porter speaks in front of her fellow Congresswomen.

Yesterday, Representative Katie Porter announced her bid for the 2024 Senate race. If elected, Porter will oust longtime California senator Diane Feinstein.

As always, the Internet is bursting with takes.

For years, leftists have seen Katie Porter as a folk hero, speaking truth to power with her trusty whiteboard. Porter has grilled pharmaceutical executives on exorbitant drug costs. She got the CDC to commit to free Covid testing. She publicly eviscerated Mitch McConnell for stalling a Covid relief bill.

Now that she’s running for senate, though, it seems she’s become a villain overnight.

What exactly did Porter do wrong? Why are people mad? Here are some of the takes that have emerged so far.

The worst take: Katie Porter is “forcing” Dianne Feinstein to retire “early.”

Yes, this is a thing people are saying. How dare Porter come after Feinstein’s job? How dare she try to kick our beloved senator out of office?

It’s not hard to break down why the logic for this argument doesn’t work. Feinstein is an elected official, not a monarch. Her current term ends in 2025, and if she wants to serve another term, she has to get herself elected. If Porter gets more votes than Feinstein, then the job rightfully goes to her.

As for retiring—well, Feinstein is 89 years old and has, according to multiple credible sources, severe cognitive impairment. Her handling of the Amy Coney Barrett judicial confirmation, at which she hugged and praised Lindsey Graham after he handed Barrett a stolen Supreme Court seat, was atrocious. She can’t do the job anymore and she needs to go.

A take I’m personally on the fence about: Katie Porter has bad timing.

Another emerging criticism of Porter is that the timing of her campaign announcement, which she released while California was battered by severe storms and flooding, was insensitive and unwise. Critics say she should have publicly focused her efforts on disaster relief instead.

And I get it. I respect this critique. She probably should have waited a couple of days (although more storms are expected this weekend). At the same time, though, I’ve struggled to find many fellow Californians who really cared about her timing.

Of course, I was too busy bailing out the water that was streaming in through my windowpanes to have any deep or nuanced discussions about it.

A take we need more information to evaluate, but should take seriously: Porter allegedly abuses her staff.

According to the Instagram account Dear White Staffers, in which Capitol Hill staff members anonymously share details about toxic work environments, Porter has a history of abusing her staff members. “I love her, but I’ve never hated my life more than when I worked for her,” one former staffer said. “Unable to cope with basic demands of being a member so she takes it out on staff,” said another. “Says rude/racist things (anti-black esp) and tries to mask it as edgy humor.”

Katie Porter’s whole PR strategy is flamboyant stunts, so revelations that she has some toxic personality traits aren’t all that shocking. Plus, Dear White Staffers will destroy your heroes. The anonymous stories posted on the account call out Porter’s presumptive opponents Ro Khanna and Barbara Lee, too. And don’t use Dear White Staffers as a reason to vote for Feinstein—the account shares plenty of stories devoted to her toxicity.

So there you have it: the emerging controversies around Katie Porter. And now, if you’ll excuse me, I have water damage to clean up.

(featured image: Alex Wong/Getty Images)

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Julia Glassman (she/her) holds an MFA from the Iowa Writers' Workshop, and she consumes massive amounts of Marvel media, folk horror, science fiction, fantasy, and nature writing. She lives in Los Angeles, where she reads tarot and makes yarn on her spinning wheel. You can check out more of her writing at https://juliaglassman.carrd.co/, or find her on Twitter at @juliaglassman.