The June 6–19 issue of New York Magazine’s cover story is an in-depth feature profile of California senator Dianne Feinstein by writer-at-large Rebecca Traister, examining a career spanning more than five decades. Traister explores Feinstein’s institutionalist approach to governance and whether the times demand more urgent reforms. The feature includes an interview with Senator Feinstein conducted soon after the shooting in Uvalde, Texas.
“I wanted to profile the senior-most woman in the United States Senate with an eye towards a generation of Democratic politicians who came to power in the wake of the social and political upheaval of the 20th century, and who remain in power as many of the victories won during that period are being rolled back,” said Traister.
The feature spotlights Feinstein’s remarkable rise in San Francisco politics — including her assuming the mayorship after the assasinations of Harvey Milk and George Moscone — the historic nature of her election to the United States Senate in 1992 during the “Year of the Woman,” and some of her most notable victories, including the now-defunct assault-weapons ban and her damning report on the CIA’s role in torturing terrorism suspects.
Feinstein, who turns 89 this month, has not signaled any interest in retiring. Nor does she, in her interview with Traister, express anything but optimism that American politics is up to the task of expanding civil rights, protecting access to abortion, and delivering meaningful gun control. “In exploring her approach to governance,” said Traister, “I examined the ways in which Feinstein is often blind to the way that institutions she holds dear are eroding as they are taken over by an increasingly radical right wing.”