Kamala Harris on the Issues.

The first debate changed the dynamics of the race, and Harris emerged as a front runner. Here’s where she stands on the policies.

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Photo via Kamala Harris on Instagram.

As many people on the left predicted, Joe Biden’s polling has tanked significantly after the first debate. Polls show that his numbers dropped as much as ten points in just a few days, Warren and Sander are now essentially tied, and Kamala Harris surged. In fact, she has leapfrogged in to second place in some polls, surpassing Warren and Sanders and narrowing Biden’s lead to a measly five points. While I am more than willing to give Kamala Harris all the credit in the world for almost singlehandedly bringing down Biden’s campaign, we also have to consider what this means for Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren moving forward.

Dynamics in this 2020 race have changed significantly, and clear front runners are solidifying their position. Now, it’s time to start viewing Kamala Harris as the Democratic Primary threat to Warren and Sanders that she is. Why? Well, she may be good at positioning herself to the left on a debate stage full of candidates who are mostly center right at best, but let’s take a look at where she actually stands.

Because money in politics, healthcare, and climate change are some of my most important issues when considering who to vote for, for the sake of the argument those are the issues I will chose to focus on when discussing Kamala Harris.

Money in Politics

According to The Intercept,

…“4.89 percent of Harris’s campaign fundraising has been through PACs; 41.07 percent of this total has been from business PACs. By contrast, 64.99 percent of her campaign funding has come from large donors. (Though the OpenSecrets analysis covered a five-year period, in Harris’s case, it only goes back to 2015, when she first ran for U.S. Senate.)”

Since the time at which this article was published Kamala Harris has sworn off donations from PACs. An important step, but largely symbolic. According to OpenSecrets.org, her large individual campaign donations total $13,148,307, whereas the total coming from small individual contributions totaled $7,935,969 and only accounted for 34.87% of the money she has raised between 2013–2018. While it is a nice gesture to swear off corporate PAC money, it means little if we don’t consider how big money donors are still able to buy influence through other means.

Healthcare

Perhaps the most frustrating part about Kamala Harris and her policies has to do with her continuous blatant politically savvy calculations when it comes to Medicare for All. She has shown the all too familiar tendency to act as though she’s in favor of the what appeals to the base in front of a crowd such as in a town hall setting, and then turns around and walk back her positions quietly to a group of reporters the next day.

In fact, that’s exactly what she did during and after the first debate.

According to NBC,

“Kamala Harris was one of two candidates who raised their hands when asked at Thursday night’s debate if they would get rid of private health insurance, but the California senator said Friday she’d misunderstood the question.

“No,” Harris told MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” when asked if she’d work to abolish private health insurance in favor of “Medicare for All” if elected president.”

I don’t believe her.

Knowing that she has done this exact same thing before during a CNN town hall, and given that the exact same question was asked the night before, I have trouble seeing how she could actually “misunderstand” the question. It was a calculated, well planned out attempt to mislead a base she absolutely knows has moved further to the left on healthcare, and then at the same time signal to the press and her larger donors she has no intention of pursuing universal coverage. This is nothing more than a politician’s attempt to have their cake, and eat it too.

Climate Change

Climate Change is probably one of Kamala’s weaker points. She was the first candidate on the debate stage to endorse the Green New Deal, which for a moment showed how seriously she might view the crisis at hand. And yet, she was quick to pivot away from actually using it as a way to address climate change. It was yet another instance where she claimed to have strong views on the topic, and then quickly walked back her support of policy proposals that address them.

An article on the topic her answer concerning climate change at the debates was published in the Atlantic, and says:

…But what kind of Green New Deal would she support? How much federal spending would she want to authorize? Does she, like Elizabeth Warren or Jay Inslee, want to turn the United States into a major exporter of green technology? She didn’t say. She quickly pivoted away from climate change as a topic. “You asked what is the greatest national-security threat to the United States. It’s Donald Trump,” she said. “You want to talk about North Korea, a real threat in terms of its nuclear arsenal. He embraces Kim Jong Un.” She mentioned Vladimir Putin before Todd regained control of the conversation.

It was not the strongest of her moments. Asked to describe her climate plan, Harris alluded to two policies — one of them more a brand than a specific agenda — and then started talking about Putin. The moment exemplified the awkwardness that basically all the candidates seem to feel when talking about climate change.”

When considering Kamala Harris as a candidate and as a potential President, all of this must boil down to: can she be trusted? Will she actually fight for us? While of course people’s hearts and minds can be changed and they can prove to be principled on an issue, there has to be a clear indication that that is the case, and I’m not sure Kamala has proved that. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren are going to have to treat her in the next round of debates as the clear strong front runner that she is, and begin to draw attention to her back and forth statements and corporate, centrist leanings if they hope to continue to make their case to the American people.

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