Dianne Feinstein Dead at 90

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The Democrat was the longest serving US female senator.

Dianne Feinstein, the five-time senator from California, has died, according to multiple reports. She was 90.

A towering figure in both California and US politics, Feinstein was the longest-serving female senator in US history. Our 2017 feature on the trailblazing Democrat:

People who know Feinstein say the [2016] election has been transformative for her. “Trump injects an entirely new level of outrage,” Orville Schell, director of the Center on US-China Relations at the Asia Society and a longtime Feinstein friend, told me. With the president going after institutions that Feinstein has historically been aligned with—chief among them the intelligence establishment—Schell believes she will find a middle-of-the-road position increasingly untenable.

“Dianne is like the canary in the mine shaft,” he says. “The last bastion of bridge building in the Senate may be giving up.”

But burning a few bridges may also be the only way for Feinstein to survive politically. Nearly a quarter century into her Senate career, she has remained popular with voters, who reelected her in 2012 with a 62.5 percent majority. But progressive Democrats have been frustrated with her old-school style and steadfast defense of the security state. 

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