Is Kamala Harris The Next Progressive Champion?

Senator Harris' official Senate portrait.

In this weekly series I focus on one potential Democratic candidate and analyze whether or not they would be a good candidate to face Trump.

As a biracial woman, Kamala Harris made history as the first Indian-American, and just the second African American woman to serve in the Senate. As one of the more popular potential candidates for the 2020 race, will she also become the first woman president? 

In an interview on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, Harris said that she’d make the decision on whether or not to run over the holidays. She is expected to announce her intentions before the end of the year. 

Harris stumped for Democratic candidates during the midterm election in Iowa, and she gave $25,000 to the Democratic Parties in Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Nevada, all states that are considered essential to any presidential hopeful. 

Harris started her career as San Francisco District Attorney. In this role, she made her positions on the environment clear when she created the Environmental Justice Unit and prosecuted several industries and individuals for pollution. In 2018, she also cosponsored the Climate Risk Disclosure Act, which would require public companies to disclose information on their involvement with climate-related risks. 

On healthcare, Harris is an avid proponent of Medicare-for-all, having run her Senate campaign on the issue, and she even co-sponsored a Medicare-for-all bill introduced by Sen. Bernie Sanders.

Among other policy positions, Harris has a 100% rating by the pro-choice Planned Parenthood Action Fund. She is a strong advocate of legalizing recreational marijuana, and she supports “common sense” gun reform. 

She also advocates for campaign finance reform, tweeting, “Reason #13 why you should vote: campaign finance reform. Special interests and large corporations have spent millions to buy elections. It’s time to get big money out of politics.” She is also one of the few sitting Senators to have vowed not to take corporate PAC donations.

Because she is rather new to the national stage, having only been a Senator since 2017, Harris has not been the subject of extreme demonization by the GOP and hasn’t been involved in any political scandals, making her a fairly squeaky-clean candidate. This is one issue that may have cost Hillary Clinton the presidency in 2016. 

Additionally, being a biracial woman, Harris would bring a fresh perspective to the executive branch, and her diversity would be a great asset during the primaries. 

And similar to Rep. Beto O’Rourke, Harris has qualities that could mend the fractured Democratic Party. She supports policies that the progressive wing of the party advocate for, yet she is not as far left as Bernie Sanders. 

The role of Sanders in the Democratic Party has been a subject of debate between Democrats, as he isn’t officially a member of the party and he is often criticized for not being a “real” Democrat. Harris does not have this problem as she embraces the party label.

Harris’ promise to not take corporate PAC money could prove incredibly influential in a race against President Trump. A poll conducted in 2015 found that 84% of Americans think money has too much influence in politics. 

Kamala has Harris would be a fantastic candidate for president. She’s a fighter for deep progressive values while also appealing to the centrists of the party. Additionally, as a charismatic speaker, and a woman with a diverse background, she has the ability to capture the attention of the nation.

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