Democratic Senator Kamala Harris made it official today: she’s running for president in the 2020 race. This has been widely expected, and widely anticipated, as she’s one of the smartest and savviest of the numerous current and/or rumored candidates. But it’s the negative responses to her campaign kickoff that might tell us more about just how strong her candidacy truly is.
If you’ve watched Kamala Harris during public Senate hearings these past couple years, you’re aware that she typically comes off as one of the smartest people in the room. If you’re familiar with her history in California, you know how dominantly she rose through the ranks as a prosecutor and then as state Attorney General. But if you didn’t know anything else about her you’ve only read the troll section on social media today, on the right and on the fringe left, you’d think she’s the devil.
Conservatives promptly did to Kamala Harris today what they always do to strong liberal politicians, and to women, and to people of color, and to anyone who threatens their convenient delusions about the world: they made up every lie they could think of about her. These lies are easily disproven, but as always, it’ll come down to whether the moderates in the middle end up deciding to believe these lies. But the telling part was on the other side of the fence.
Kamala Harris has a track record that makes clear she’s one of the most liberal candidates in the 2020 Democratic field, along with Elizabeth Warren. For instance, the legal work Harris did on gay marriage in California is one of the driving reasons it’s now the law of the land nationwide. But don’t tell any of that to a certain niche of online political activists who call themselves “progressives” as they have an entirely different story to tell about her.
These “progressives” have decided that Kamala Harris’ record as a prosecutor is bad enough to disqualify her, because – gasp – she put guilty people in prison. It’s literally what prosecutors do. But this fringe left segment has decided that it means Harris is “not a progressive” and therefore she must be destroyed.
This same segment never seems to take shots at other former prosecutors like Adam Schiff and Ted Lieu and Eric Swalwell, even though they also put a whole lot of guilty people in prison. The difference, you see, is that none of them are running for president. Kamala Harris is running, and that means she’s a threat to their pipe dream of gifting the 2020 nomination to whichever cult candidate they end up deciding to support. So they’re attacking her by whatever dishonest means necessary. Hopefully this so called “progressive” cult can end up being ignored, but for now, it’s vital to set the record straight about Harris, whether she’s your first choice for 2020 or not.
As a candidate for president, Kamala Harris still has a lot to spell out. We know her record on numerous social issues. We know she’s politically savvy. We know she’s an expert on the law. And we know that she has no hesitation to take on the likes of Donald Trump. Harris will have to tell us how savvy she is about things like foreign policy and fiscal policy, and other presidential prerequisites. But for now, today’s reactions to her candidacy – both positive and negative – suggest that out of all the candidates who have formally entered the race thus far, Harris is (for the moment) the de facto frontrunner. And yes, Joe Biden could probably change this overnight.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report