Is Kamala Harris the Democrats' best shot at the White House in 2020? | The Tylt

Is Kamala Harris the Democrats' best shot at the White House in 2020?

California Sen. Kamala Harris started her Martin Luther King Day by announcing her intention to run for president in 2020. Harris, the first African American woman to serve as California's Attorney General, has positioned herself as a champion of the liberal wing of the Democratic Party during her time in the Senate. Some left-leaning critics note her long history as a hardline law and order prosecutor will be hard to overcome. What do you think?

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Is Kamala Harris the Democrats' best shot at the White House in 2020?
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Is Kamala Harris the Democrats' best shot at the White House in 2020?
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Harris announced her intention to run for president on Good Morning America.

"On all of those points, I feel very confident about my ability to lead," she said. "I feel very confident about my ability to listen and to work on behalf of the American public. The American public wants a fighter, and they want someone that is going to fight like heck for them and not fight based on self-interests. I'm prepared to do that."
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FiveThirtyEight's Perry Bacon Jr. notes that Harris' professional and personal background could set her up as a uniquely popular candidate. 

Her biography and record make it easy to imagine Harris doing well with African-Americans, who likely will represent about one-in-five primary voters in the Democratic primary electorate, as well as Asian-Americans...The way Harris is likely to position herself on policy issues during the campaign — liberal as any candidate on noneconomic issues but not as liberal on economic issues as, say, Bernie Sanders — echoes Hillary Clinton’s platform in 2016 (Harris’ sister Maya was Clinton’s policy director.) So I’m sure party loyalists, particularly black voters and older women, who backed Clinton will give serious consideration to Harris. The California senator is not particularly young (54), but you could imagine millennials galvanizing around electing the first Asian and first female president in the same way they embraced Obama in 2008.
#NoKamala

Harris is an appealing candidate and has been a rising star in the Senate since winning her seat in 2017, but that doesn't necessarily mean she has national popularity. Vox points out Harris is currently one of the least known potential candidates for president.

Cory Booker? Never heard of him. Kamala Harris? Doesn’t ring a bell. Elizabeth Warren? Yeah, I guess, maybe on the news.
A few potential candidates enjoy household name recognition, of course. Former Vice President Joe Biden. Presidential nominee runner-up Bernie Sanders.
...The others have a lot of getting-to-know-you to do...Roughly half of Americans have never heard of Harris or Booker; Warren fares a little better, but one-third say they haven’t heard of her either.
#NoKamala

Some in mainstream party leadership have said Harris is too junior a Senator and too new on a national stage to win their support. When the LA Times asked Harris' fellow California Senator, Dianne Feinstein, who she would support for president, Feinstein gave her full-throated to former Vice President Joe Biden. 

When asked whether she would support Harris, Feinstein said: “I’m a big fan of Sen. Harris, and I work with her. But she’s brand-new here, so it takes a little bit of time to get to know somebody.”
#NoKamala

Harris has also been facing sharp criticism of her prosecutorial record. While she currently claims a history as a "progressive prosecutor," some argue she was unfairly biased towards law enforcement during her time as Attorney General of California. Lara Bazelon, the former director of the Loyola Law School Project for the Innocent in Los Angeles, wrote in a New York Times op-ed that Harris frequently fought to uphold unjust convictions.

Time after time, when progressives urged her to embrace criminal justice reforms as a district attorney and then the state’s attorney general, Ms. Harris opposed them or stayed silent. Most troubling, Ms. Harris fought tooth and nail to uphold wrongful convictions that had been secured through official misconduct that included evidence tampering, false testimony and the suppression of crucial information by prosecutors.
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CNN reports that Harris' team strongly disputed these claims, saying many were taken out of context. 

"Kamala Harris has spent her career fighting for reforms in the criminal justice system and pushing the envelope to keep everyone safer by bringing fairness and accountability," said Lily Adams, Harris' spokeswoman, said in a statement.
"In 2004, when most prosecutors were using a tough on crime approach, Senator Harris was starting Back on Track in 2004 which diverted young people charged with first time drug offenses into apprenticeship and training programs instead of decades long prison sentences. When she was Attorney General, she brought accountability to the system with the first statewide training on implicit bias and procedural justice in the country, body cameras to the agents at DOJ, launched multiple pattern and practice investigations and demanded data on in-custody deaths and police shooting be made available to the public."
FINAL RESULTS
Politics
Is Kamala Harris the Democrats' best shot at the White House in 2020?
#RunKamalaRun
A festive crown for the winner
#NoKamala