Should Kamala Harris run for president? | The Tylt
Should Kamala Harris run for president?
After a testy exchange with Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Kamala Harris immediately shot to the top of the Democratic shortlist. The junior senator from California is only the second black women to ever serve in the Senate, and her presence thus far has been met with overwhelming excitement. Many believe Harris is the Democrat's best hope for a victory against Trump in 2020. Harris is young, black and female, in stark contrast to the older party leadership, and many have been urging the Democrats to embrace new blood.
Criminal justice reform is one of her cornerstone issues, and as a former prosecutor, she has painted herself as a "smart on crime" candidate.
Harris is a comparative unknown on the national stage – one recent poll found that 53% of voters had never heard of her. But she offers an interesting solution to the problem facing the party. She is a leader whose success inspires young women of colour. At the same time, Harris’s rhetoric and positions are often scrupulously centrist. She likes to talk about how her civil rights activist family were appalled when she decided to become a prosecutor. Rather than try to challenge America’s love of law-and-order politics, Harris is trying to reshape that instinct, pivoting from “tough on crime” to “smart on crime”, the title of her 2009 book.
Michael Starr Hopkins argues in The Hill that Kamala Harris and fellow Democratic Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand are the Democrats best hope because they are both capable of leading a movement.
If Democrats have any hope of winning back the White House in 2020, we have to do more than just run a candidate, we must run a movement... Whoever runs for the Democratic nomination in 2020 must be able to tell Americans why Democratic policies will help keep them healthy. Democrats must be able to explain how Democratic policies will help keep them safe, help keep food on their table and help keep a job for them to go to every day. Democrats must have simple answers to complex problems. Kamala Harris and Kirsten Gillibrand appear equipped to answer these questions.
But not everyone believes a Kamala Harris presidential run is such a good idea. Walker Bragman argues in Paste Magazine that Harris is too "corporate" to woo the progressive wing of the party.
Democrats would do well to avoid what is sure to be a disaster, should Harris decide to run. Already her name inspires rumblings of dissatisfaction from the progressive wing of the party, which does not bode well considering what it meant for Hillary Clinton and Jon Ossoff. Harris’ biggest problem is that she is seen as a corporate Democrat. That image probably has something to do with the large sums of industry money she accepted last election.
Harris received $41,900 from telecommunications companies (calculated by adding “telecom services” and “telephone utilities), $26,783 from commercial banks, and a whopping $626,869 from securities and investment interests. She even took $12,991 from oil and gas!
Bragman believes Harris, while capable and competent, is just too "conventional" and "comfortable with the party's status quo" to unite a party still deeply divided by the 2016 primary.