A case has been made that Harris is anything but progressive, is terrible on civil rights and has a particularly nasty track record when it comes to blacks. Harris needs to respond.
Let’s preface this with one important thing. On Election Day 2020 I’ll be voting for whoever runs against Donald Trump. Period. No matter how tightly I have to hold my nose.
In the meantime, it’s my responsibility – and yours – to pay attention and do what can be done to assure that person is the best possible candidate. I’m not going to slander and slur, but these people (most of them, anyway) have actual records, and if you want to know what a pol will do in the future looking at what they’ve done in the past is usually a good place to start. If they’ve done things that are problematic we should ask questions, talk frankly about them and reach the best possible conclusion.
Got it? Good.
A few days ago I tripped across a disheartening Twitter thread on presidential hopeful Kamala Harris. I haven’t done enough research on her yet to have an informed opinion, although some people I trust really, really have issues with her tracing to her stints as a DA, AG and senator in California. So the thread was a welcome chance to learn a bit about one of the campaign’s rising stars.
Let me summarize it a bit.
1. She supported a law that forces schools to turn undocumented students over to ICE, separating them from their parents.
2. Supported and funded a bill that would criminalize truancy, disproportionately harming single parent households, the poor, families of color and homeless mothers.
3. Declined to prosecute Steven Mnuchin after his bank’s predatory lending and foreclosure fraud broke the law “over a thousand” times and ruined the lives of thousands of homeowners.
4. She spent years jailing disproportionately black nonviolent cannabis users.
5. Stopped the release of a man serving 27 years-to-life after being wrongfully convicted of possession of a knife under the three-strikes law she supported.
6. Opposed reforming California’s three-strikes law, which is the only one in the country to impose life sentences for minor felonies and incarcerates black people at 12x the rate as white people.
7. Protected serial child rapists by refusing to prosecute in the Catholic Church sex abuse scandal.
8. Tried to deny a transgender inmate healthcare and endangered trans women by forcing them into mens prisons.
9. Stood by silently as $730 million was spent on moving inmates to for-profit private prisons.
10. Voted two different times to block federal funding for abortions.
11. She supports Trump escalating war in Syria.
12. Voted to give Trump increased military spending.
13. Mocks the activist call to “build more schools, less jails.”
14. Accepted thousands of dollars of campaign funds from Donald and Ivanka Trump multiple times.
15. Opposed legalization of sex work.
16. Refused to investigate Herbalife’s exploitation and fraud.
17. Refused to prosecute PG&E for its massive gas pipeline explosion.
18. Is a latecomer in endorsing Medicare for All and already appears to be backtracking on it.
19. Supports foreign right-wing influences Netanyahu and AIPAC.
20. Systematically violated defendants’ civil and constitutional rights” in crime lab scandal.
21. Co-sponsored the bill that let Trump impose sanctions on Iran.
The claims are all sourced, and you’re encouraged to have a look and make your own determination on their credibility. I’m not dumb enough to promise all the allegations are slam dunks, nor will I say Harris supporters might not have valid defenses in some cases (because sometimes stories are more than they initially appear to be).
The charges mesh with what my friends have said about Harris, and if this list accurately reflects who she is as a public official she has no business being a Democrat, let alone a Dem presidential candidate. The picture painted here history is every bit as ugly as what we saw with Clinton four years ago.
I’ll also note that sometimes Democratic voters confuse charisma with substance. I’ve spent years listening to good people telling me how liberal Obama and Clinton were when the official record shows they were no such thing. Harris feels like that same dynamic taking hold in the collective unconscious.
As the headline indicates, I think if Harris were white we’d be accusing her of racism. In fact, we’ve accused Republicans of racism for less.
Does it matter that she’s black? If a person inflicts harm on you it doesn’t really matter if they’re friend or foe, if it was intentional or an accident or what race or gender they are. The harm is still there and it’s still very real.
This is a candidate who needs to answer some important questions. Too bad she won’t be asked any of them in the coming “debates.”