Presidential Hopeful: Kamala Harris

Two weeks ago I explored Senator Elizabeth Warren’s policies and what her presidential bid could look like, and this week I’ll be discussing Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA).

Senator Harris, along with nearly every other Democratic Presidential candidate are in support of bold, ambitious domestic policies that expand the safety net in this country. She supports Medicare-For-All, a Green New Deal, and higher taxes on the wealthy in the country. This isn’t anything that could differentiate her from the rest of the field, every serious nominee with the exception of Joe Biden will most likely support these proposals. So what sets her apart? Her prior experience in criminal justice will most likely be a crux of her campaign.

The now Senator was the District Attorney for the city of San Francisco and the first woman of color to be California’s Attorney General. Thus, by having a strong background in being a prosecutor she is heavily involved in and cares a lot about criminal justice reform. She co-wrote a bill with Rand Paul (R-KY) in 2017 to address the bail issue in America. The bill calls for a shift from “bail toward personalized risk assessments that analyze factors such as criminal history and substance abuse”.  She consistently talks about the inequity and injustice in criminal justice.

That being said, she has taken some heat from the left for her record as a prosecutor in California. She defended California’s death penalty when she was the Attorney General of the state, a stance that is not in line with most democrats. However, she also was ahead of her time in opposing and going against various laws that required people with three or more crimes to spend life in prison, even if they didn’t commit a violent or serious offense. The topic surrounding her record is fuzzy, and will certainly be hashed out in debates and during the next year or so, but her candidacy is still very strong and she will likely be able to build a broad coalition within the party.

FiveThirtEight has an interesting model in which they divide the Democratic Party into five constituencies, and show how much they think each candidate will appeal to that group. The model is very favorable to Senator Harris, and for good reason. She is a woman of color, in a very diverse and female dominated party. She is also quite progressive, not as much as Senator Warren or Sanders, but enough to pull some of that vote as well.

Senator Harris is, and will be, one of the favorites to win the nomination in the end, and justifiably so because of the groups she appeals to and her record over her entire career.

Next week I will be discussing a very intriguing, unknown, and unlikely candidate for President; Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Indiana. (Go Irish!)

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