On Martin Luther King Junior Day, Kamala Harris announced she’ll be running against Donald Trump in the 2020 US Presidential election. Aside from her announcement making history, is she America’s saving grace?
Kamala Harris, Californian Democratic Senator, announced that she would be running for the 2020 presidential election, essentially making history by being the first African-American woman to enter the race for the presidential seat at the White House; cleverly making this announcement on Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
Who is Kamala Harris?
Kamala Harris has been serving as the junior US Senator for California since 2017. Between 2004 and 2010, she served as District Attorney of San Francisco, then between 2011 and 2017, she served as the 32nd Attorney General in California. Harris, who is currently the only black woman in Senate, conjured popularity throughout her peers for her rigid interrogation of Trump nominees, including Brett Kavanaugh, Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, and Jeff Sessions, former Attorney General. “She’s also known as being a tough critic of President Trump’s immigration policies and has pushed for policies to protect immigrants from deportation”. Currently being the only black female with a seat in the upper chamber.
According to Politico, a recent poll showed that 53% of voters had never previously heard of Kamala Harris, yet she proposes compelling solutions to issues facing the Democratic Party. Harris’ positions are often anti-extremist. She enjoys the chance to discuss how her “civil rights activist” family were shocked when she chose become a prosecutor. As opposed to attempt to resist America’s affection for law and government. Harris is attempting to reshape that intuition, turning from ‘tough on crime” to “smart on crime”, the title of her 2009 book. The Guardian however, reports Harris as a leader “whose success inspires young women of colour”, which brings rise to the first criticism of her nomination: society is excited because she is black.
Many people hold the view that Harris will be the next Barack Obama – whether that’s even a good things a whole other discussion. Holly Thomas at CNN reports: “There are similarities between Harris and Obama, to be sure. Both are Democrats, both have a background in law, both have a mixed-race background. There is an obvious convenience to the comparison. It neatly captures the public imagination at a time when Harris is yet to be world famous, but is charismatic, on the rise and prepared to challenge President Donald Trump, while Obama’s name continues to conjure a nostalgic, anti-Trump emotion.” Thomas calls for people to look beyond the “superficial” for advocating Kamala and identify with the differences between Obama and Harris as political beings. Taking the prison system for example: though Obama was against mass incarceration, he did not prioritise prison reform, to Harris, it is of the greatest concern.
In addition, a few Democrats are sceptical of Harris due to her previous record as a prosecutor. After Democrats grasped “tough on crime” strategies that inflated jail populations, progressive activists are pushing to make the criminal equity framework “less punitive and racist”. Though she argues that her “views align with the new progressive movement”, according to Vox.com, her record in California, where she was a prosecutor, district attorney, and state attorney general before representing the state in the US Senate, is likely to come in for harsh scrutiny and debate in the coming months. Harris argues that she’s “fought to reverse incarceration, scale back the war on drugs, and address racial disparities in the criminal justice system.”
Either way, it’s too soon to make a concrete decision on whether Harris is America’s saving grace or whether she’ll dig a deeper hole for and already socio-politically sensitive country.