2026 and All That

Joe Biden is running in 2024 and Gavin Newsom will not challenge the 80-year-old Delaware Democrat. Newsom is also termed out as California’s governor, and Lt. Governor Eleni Kounalakis has announced a run for the post in 2026. 

I will fight fiercely to build a future where everyone—regardless of race, class, or immigration status—has the same opportunity that my family and I had,” Kounalakis proclaimed on social media. Sounds good, but as she revealed last year, California’s white lieutenant governor has a problem with black Supreme Court justices

“Who is Clarence Thomas? Is he my Saudi Arabian father who’s going to tell me what I can and cannot do with my body, with my life?” That was Kounalakis after the Supreme Court’s 6-3 takedown of Roe v. Wade. She added: “Be prepared to live in defiance of these six people who think that they have the right to tell you what you can do with their [sic] bodies.” 

As Californians might note, of the six justices voting in the majority, Kounalakis named only Thomas, the sole African American on the High Court, and compared only him a “Saudi Arabian father.” People of all nations, faiths and races might wonder what California’s lieutenant governor is all about. 

Eleni Kounalakis is the daughter of real-estate tycoon Angelo Tsakopoulos. According to Greek USA Reporter, Angelo is a “top political donor to the Clintons as well as the Democratic Party,” whose “donations to former President Bill Clinton were rewarded with a night in the prestigious Lincoln Bedroom.” In 2013, Tsakopoulos “confirmed that Hillary Clinton will seek the Democratic nomination in the next Presidential election.”

Angelo’s daughter Eleni, a protégé of Nancy Pelosi and Barbara Boxer, raised more than $1 million for Hillary Clinton in 2008, and that money found its reward. On January 7, 2010, Clinton, as Barack Obama’s secretary of state, swore in Kounalakis as U.S. ambassador to Hungary. She served until 2013, and, like Hillary, she forms a two-for-one package with her husband.

According to the lieutenant governor’s website, Dr. Markos Kounalakis is “an award-winning, nationally syndicated foreign affairs columnist, author, and scholar.” A political scientist, “Markos is currently a Visiting Fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution. Markos earned his Ph.D. from Central European University.” That’s the outfit founded by billionaire George Soros in 1991.

According to the Hoover Institution website, Dr. Kounalakis is a “Senior Fellow at the Center on Media, Data, and Society at Central European University in Budapest, Hungary.” Eleni’s husband is also the author of “Putin’s Powerful Playbook,” first published in the October 30, 2016 Sacramento Bee, days before the November 8 election.

As Dr. Markos explained, “Presidential debates between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton included a third participant: Vladimir Putin, standing in the background, stealthily inserting himself in the process.” Putin’s Russia “uses deniable cyber-hooliganism to actively prank the American political system. And it’s taking a toll . . . This is the Putin Playbook. Steal, cheat, attack, disrupt, mislead, confuse. If caught, lie and deny.”

And so on, a slavish rehash of Clinton campaign propaganda, all proven false by Robert Mueller and his team. The Central European University alumnus kept the faith and moved on.

In October 2019, U.S. Special Forces, accompanied by a Belgian Malinois named Conan, took down Islamic State terrorist Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. Kounalakis didn’t see it as a victory over terrorism. “Humans may use animals for war, but we mustn’t abuse them,” wrote Dr. Markos, who quickly identified his true target.

“The Trump administration accepts the killing of journalists as the strategic cost of doing business. Given this indifference to human suffering, perhaps U.S. lawmakers should condemn Jeddah’s animal cruelty to focus the American public’s mind on how the kingdom mistreats not only its domestic animals but its humans too.”  That done, Dr. Markos duly revived the Russia hoax.

“Vladimir Putin is on the ballot this November,” wrote Kounalakis in the August 2020 issue of Washington Monthly. “You won’t see his name or watch his ads. But make no mistake, Putin has a lot riding on this election and he’s counting on your vote.”

As Dr. Markos spun it, “A successful outcome—meaning President Trump is re-elected—means his Russia will be able to wantonly throw its weight around globally.” And “Putin’s victory would usher in a world that would be unimaginable to those Americans who endured the Cold War.” 

In a worshipful Washington Monthly piece on Kamala Harris, Dr. Kounalakis writes, “Disclosure: My wife and I are Harris’ longtime friends,” without mentioning that his wife happened to be California’s second-highest elected officer. That connection is seldom acknowledged by publications, so the Soros scholar enjoys excellent camouflage.

Wife Eleni currently serves under Gavin Newsom, the nation’s most pro-China governor in the most pro-China state. Should that be doubted, consider the seismic shift on the state’s bridges.

California is famous for the Golden Gate Bridge and spans such as the Alfred Zampa Memorial Bridge over the Carquinez Strait, named after an iron worker. For the new span of the Bay Bridge, a major infrastructure project, California hired a Chinese company and used Chinese steel and Chinese labor.   

The bridge came in 10 years late, $5 billion over budget, and riddled with safety issues from brittle steel, cracked welds, corrosion and such. When he got word of the problems, recurring governor Jerry Brown famously said, “I mean, look, shit happens.” 

American companies are fully capable of manufacturing masks but in April 2020, Newsom announced a $1 billion deal for masks with Build Your Dreams (BYD), a Chinese company not known for manufacturing protective equipment. 

Like Gavin Newsom, Kounalakis is quite fond of the People’s Republic of China. 

“China and California were destined to become close partners,” she said at an August 24, 2019 U.S.- China Relationship Summit. After World War II, “the Communist government of the People’s Republic of China was an adversary with political and economic ideologies that were radically different from our own.” In time, Kounalakis explained, “encouraged by a less economically rigid leadership in China, commercial relationships were developed, nurtured, and expanded.”

As the lieutenant governor noted, “fully nine percent of students at our University of California campuses are from China. And an even larger percentage are Californians of Chinese descent. These are our—and China’s—business and government and academic leaders of tomorrow. This is where the bridges, not the walls, are built” (emphasis added).

Like Lincoln Steffens, the Kounalakis has seen the future, and it works. In the meantime, the power couple are building bridges close to home.

As the Asia Foundation notes, Eleni and Markos “have two Mandarin-speaking teenaged sons, Neo and Eon.” USC student Eon, “fluent in Chinese,” is majoring in International Relations and East Asian Language and Cultures. The January 17, 2022 post does not identify Eon as the son of California’s lieutenant governor.

In 2019, Neo Kounalakis served as master of ceremonies for a dance event celebrating the Chinese new year. “We are extremely fortunate to have a good relationship with the Chinese consulate here in San Francisco,” said Neo, whose high-ranking mother once again went unmentioned.

There are approximately 10.5 million Spanish speakers in California, far more than the Golden State’s 1.2 million Chinese speakers. In her video message on the 2020 Census, Kounalakis appears with son Neo interpreting in fluent Chinese.

Where Neo gained his Chinese fluency is not explained, but a Facebook page shows him next to a Chinese sign bearing the hammer and sickle logo of the Chinese Communist Party. For its part, the CCP has kept busy in California. 

According to a December 8, 2020 Axios reportChina’s Ministry of State Security (MSS) maintains a special unit to target California politicians on the rise. A prime target was Bay Area Democrat Eric Swalwell, who ran for president in 2020. 

According to the report, Chinese spy Fang Fang, “took part in fundraising activity for Swalwell’s 2014 re-election campaign,” and “helped place at least one intern in Swalwell’s office.” The MSS operative also “interacted with Swalwell at multiple events over the course of several years.” As the report notes, China’s MSS also recruited a staffer in the office of Senator Dianne Feinstein. 

Considerable collusion is going on, but it’s hard to find articles by the award-winning Dr. Markos showing how China is tampering with the American political system. Likewise, it’s hard to find articles by Dr. Markos warning what might happen if partisans of China’s Communist dictatorship were to gain power in the United States.   

If China ever did anything with which Eleni Kounalakis disagreed, it’s hard to know what it might be. On that score, California’s lieutenant governor is hardly alone. For example, Joe Biden is on record that the Chinese are “not bad folks,” and not even competition for the United States of America. 

Joe Biden is running for president in 2024. Dr. Markos’ wife, Eleni Kounalakis, is running for governor of California in 2026. As Donald Trump likes to say, we’ll have to see what happens.

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About Lloyd Billingsley

Lloyd Billingsley is the author of Hollywood Party and other books including Bill of Writes and Barack ‘em Up: A Literary Investigation. His journalism has appeared in the Wall Street Journal, the Spectator (London) and many other publications. Billingsley serves as a policy fellow with the Independent Institute.

Photo: Gilbert Flores/Variety via Getty Images

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