Latest Polls Show Former Challenger, Kamala Harris, as Top Choice for Dems

In early October 2018, a Washington Post report asked if the Democrats had the wherewithal to rally behind a leader who could both unify the part and provide a clear message and platform for voters.

Since then, we have seen a growing list of women, particularly those of color, who have emerged as potential running mates for former Vice President Joe Biden — the party’s presumptive candidate — who could help the Democrats regain the White House.

And in a recent panel of Democratic primary voters, mostly in states that held early primaries, the results indicated that most citizens prefer seeing Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) as Biden’s running mate — refuting a more representative poll that had Warren leading although both polls showed majority support for a woman of color as VP.

Still, the Monmouth University study should not be viewed as representative of the larger population as it only queried a randomly sampled panel of voters, primarily from four states. The panel of 2,240 Democratic primary voters, conducted between June 1 and 9, found that 28 percent prefer Harris — the former challenger to Biden in the presidential primary who dropped out before Iowa and endorsed him in March.

Biden’s other primary opponents also held their own in the poll with Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) preferred by 13 percent and Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) preferred by 12 percent and who after her withdrawal from the race, said Biden should pick a woman of color.

How did other women of color fare? Ten percent chose former Georgia House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams, who has been openly campaigning for the job; 7 percent picked Rep. Val Demings (D-Fla.), former National Security Advisor Susan Rice and Atlanta Mayor Keisha Bottoms, both polling at 2 percent each. However, and perhaps more telling, 54 percent of Democrats collectively said they prefer a woman of color for the VP slot.

The poll points to a change from April and prior to the George Floyd protests, when Warren led as the favorite, suggesting a desire by voters for a progressive balance on the Democratic ticket. Results from the earlier Data For Progress poll, conducted by Civiqs, showed that 50 percent of Democrats leaned toward a woman of color for vice president with Warren a slight favorite over Harris, 27 and 21 percent, respectively.

However, other candidates have risen to the top as Biden continues to vet each woman — the results to be announced in early August including: Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), Asian-American, New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, Hispanic, Sen. Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.), Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo and the most recent addition, Congressional Black Caucus Chairperson, Rep. Karen Bass (D-Calif.).

In the individual profiles of the leading Black women who continue to be considered by Biden, written by WI reporters, we take a closer look at their backgrounds and views on the major issues for voters:

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Rep. Val Demings: Familiar with Breaking Ceilings

Val Demings
Val Demings

Valdez Venita Demings, 63, known by friends and colleagues as “Val,” brings 27 years of experience in law enforcement prior to being elected as representative for Florida’s 10th congressional district in 2017. After moving up the ranks, she took over as the chief of the Orlando Police Department from 2007 to 2011 — the first woman to lead the department.

Since joining Congress in 2016 after the State Supreme Court mandated the creation of a new, majority-minority Democratic district in Orlando, she found herself in the high-profile position as an impeachment manager in the Senate trial of President Donald Trump after being chosen by Speaker Nancy Pelosi in January 2020.

One of seven children born to hard-working parents, a janitor and maid, she grew up in a neighboring town near Jacksonville and attended segregated schools before graduating from Wolfson High School in the 1970s. She says she first became interested in a career in law enforcement while in junior high school — an interest that continued during her matriculation at Florida State University where she earned a degree in criminology in 1979. She worked as a state social worker in Jacksonville for 18 months, later earning a master’s degree in public administration at Webster University Orlando. Her career in the Orlando Police Department began in 1983 as a patrol officer.

Demings confirmed in May that she was on the Biden shortlist for his vice presidential nominee, noting that she’d accept the role if offered. However, she has faced criticism from some Blacks, including leaders from Black Lives Matter, because of her record while serving as Orlando’s police chief — one which some say she too often sided with officers accused of using excessive force.

Her perspective seems to have changed since her election to Congress as Demings has an ardent supporter of police reform, particularly in the wake of protests refuting racism following the death of George Floyd in late May.

In a May 29 Washington Post op-ed, “George Floyd Justice in Policing Act,” she began: “As a former woman in blue, let me begin with my brothers and sisters in blue: What in the hell are you doing?”

“When an officer engages in stupid, heartless and reckless behavior, their actions can either take a life or change a life forever,” she continued. “Bad decisions can bring irrevocable harm to the profession and tear down the relationships and trust between the police and the communities they serve. Remember, law enforcement needs that trust just as the public does. Think before you act!”

In a June interview with Whoopi Goldberg on “The View,” she indicated why she remains interested in serving as vice president.

“Sometimes you don’t choose the situation — sometimes it chooses you. This is one of those moments. I started as a social worker out of college working with broken families and children. As a member of the Orlando Police Department, I enforced the law. Now, as a member of Congress, I make the laws.”

“In and out of the department, I fought against discrimination, racism and social injustices. I believe I have the experience, credibility and political will to get this done. Just imagine America having a president committed to dealing with [these various forms of injustice]? You can be a racist if you want but you shouldn’t be in the police department, or a teacher or a politician who decides jobs and wages.”

“In the wake of George Floyd’s death, we see America wanting to make this a Black versus white issue. It isn’t. Blacks want safe communities just like whites. This is an American issue. Our country is on fire and Trump is walking around with the gasoline. We need leaders who can take to the sacred podium and reassure America, unify America, heal and assure America that action will be taken to correct the wrongs. This president is incapable of doing that. So, you have two choices: to be part of the problem or the solution. I believe Trump is dangerous for America. And he’s leading the problem and fueling the fire.”

“Racism is the ghost in the room and we have a president who continues to divide our country when America is grieving and hurting. We need a consoler in chief.”

“I grew up in the South, poor and worked hard for everything I received. My parents saw me sworn in as chief of police and I knew they’d be beside themselves if they been here to see me sworn in as a member of Congress. The opportunities we’re working so hard to guarantee for all Americans include the opportunity I’ve been given to represent my community back home in Florida. I consider it an honor — just like even being considered as Biden’s choice for vice president is an honor.”

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Rep. Karen Bass ‘Focused’ During VP Vetting

Karen Bass
Karen Bass

By Stacy M. Brown
WI Senior Writer

Congresswoman and Congressional Black Caucus Chair Karen Bass (D-Calif.) has confirmed she’s the latest potential running mate for presumptive Democratic Presidential Nominee Joe Biden.

“Yes, I have been vetted,” Bass stated during a call with African-American journalists.

She demurred when asked to weigh in on the possibility that Biden would choose her over other candidates like Rep. Val Demings (D-Fla.), Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms and former U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice.

“I’ve focused on the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act,” Bass proclaimed.

The congresswoman spearheaded the crafting of the legislation named after Floyd, the African-American man killed by police officers in Minneapolis. The incident has sparked global protests and calls for reforming America’s police departments.

Many view the legislation as the first-ever bold, comprehensive approach to hold police accountable, end racial profiling, change the law enforcement culture, empower communities, and build trust between law enforcement and minority communities by addressing systemic racism and bias.

“I call it historic because this is the first time in many years that Congress has taken up a bill dealing with policing. I’m sure it is the first time that Congress has introduced such a bold, transformative piece of legislation,” Bass stated.

The George Floyd Justice in Policing Act would establish a national standard for the operation of police departments and mandate data collection on police encounters.

If it becomes law, the bill will reprogram existing funds to invest in transformative community-based policing programs, and streamline federal law to prosecute excessive force and establish independent prosecutors for police investigations.

It would also eliminate no-knock warrants and ban chokeholds.

“The idea that a chokehold is legal in one city and not the other, the idea that no-knock warrants are okay in one jurisdiction and not in another is very important. That must end,” Bass proclaimed.

Bass won election to her fifth term in 2018.

As a member of the House Judiciary Committee, Bass works to craft sound criminal justice reforms and protect intellectual property rights infringements that threaten Americans’ economic health.

While her accomplishments are plenty, there’s doubt that she could effectively serve as vice president and, if something were to happen to the president, as commander in chief.

“Her comments about Fidel Castro are troubling. It shows a lack of understanding of what the Castro regime was about. So, I have to learn more about her position and perspective on Fidel Castro,” Miami state Rep. Javier Fernandez, whose bid for an open state Senate seat could bring Democrats closer than ever to flipping control of the chamber, told the news site, Politico.

In 2016, after Castro’s death, Bass called him “comandante en jefe” (in Spanish, commander in chief).

“Praise like the one that was given by Bass at the time of Castro’s death is inconsistent with my family’s experience with what the regime did — and continues to do — to people on the island, which is to suppress human rights, keep people under a totalitarian thumb and stifle economic growth,” Fernandez noted.

“She’s the real deal with a level of civil rights movement bona fides that few vice presidential nominees have ever had,” former Los Angeles mayor and Assembly Speaker Antonio Villaraigosa told the Los Angeles Times.

Villaraigosa has known Bass since the early 1970s. “She’s had a leadership voice wherever she’s gone,” he proclaimed.

Stephen J. Newman, a partner at the Stroock law firm in Century City, told the Washington Informer that among Bass’ notable qualities is her forward-thinking use of new technologies to communicate with voters.

“She routinely conducts telephone town halls on major issues of the day, both to explain what is happening in Washington and to get voters’ views in the district,” Newman explained.

“In my experience, she has been a highly-effective communicator with these technologies, and this could make her an extremely powerful campaigner even when social distancing rules limit traditional political gatherings. That experience similarly could help a campaign with its outreach to younger voters.”

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The Case for and Against Barbara Lee for Vice President

Barbara Lee
Barbara Lee

By Stacy M. Brown
WI Senior Writer

U.S. Congresswoman Barbara Lee has proudly represented California’s 13th Congressional District for parts of four decades.

She serves on the Budget Committee and the powerful Appropriations Committee, which oversees all federal government spending.

As the only African-American woman in Democratic Leadership, serving as co-chair of the Policy and Steering Committee, Lee has said it’s essential that the Black community feels safe and represented in the political arena.

However, the big question facing presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden is whether Lee would make an ideal running mate in the all-important November election.

“Representative Lee would make a great vice president, but probably not a great addition to the 2020 Democratic ticket,” stated Michael Montgomery, a Detroit-based consultant to nonprofit organizations who once served as a U.S. diplomat with assignments in Washington and Bogota, Colombia.

“The pluses that Representative Lee presents would be her experience, clarity, and commitment to Democratic principles,” Montgomery opined. “The fact that she comes from the safest of safe Democratic House seats and so would certainly be succeeded in the U.S. House by a Democrat is likely also to be appealing.”

However, Montgomery believes the 73-year-old Lee isn’t “young enough to counterbalance Biden’s 77. “Nor, as a California Democrat, is she likely to tip a closely-contested state into the Democratic column in November,” Montgomery declared.

“If a California Democrat does get the nod, I think it is much more likely to be Senator Kamala Harris, who has more national visibility as a result of her presidential campaign,” Montgomery added.

“[Harris] is significantly younger, and as a former-prosecutor could immunize any Democratic ticket from claims that is might be ‘soft on crime.’”

Donald E. Petersen, an Orlando, Florida attorney and activist, championed Lee’s candidacy because of her “impeccable credentials to hold any office.”

“Representative Lee cast the lone vote against the war on Iraq. If Representative Lee were the Democratic party’s presidential nominee, it would mark the end of 28 years of neoliberal control of the party,” Peterson stated.

“There are several other women of color who Biden can nominate and trust to follow his pro-status quo agenda. I would vote for Barbara Lee for president in a heartbeat.”

Jennifer Willy, an editor at the travel and education-related website, Etia.com, believes the tipping point is Lee’s experience as the only African-American woman in Democratic Leadership.

“Last month, she introduced a bill for a national commission that would examine the effects of slavery, institutional racism, and discrimination against people of color,” Willy wrote in an email echoing Lee’s official biography.

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Stacey Abrams, A Formidable VP Pick But a Long Shot
Losing Steam as Decision Time Draws Nears

Stacey Abrams
Stacey Abrams

By Sarafina Wright
WI Contributing Writer

Political experts and insiders agree that Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden will likely choose a woman, particularly an African-American woman as his running mate for November’s election.

One of the names that’s been floated for the position is Stacey Abrams, a 46-year-old politician, voting rights advocate and best-selling author.

Abrams rose to national prominence in 2018 when she secured the Democratic ticket for Georgia’s gubernatorial race. She made history becoming the first Black woman in the U.S. to be a major party’s nominee for governor.

Prior to her bid for governor, she was elected to Georgia’s legislature in 2007, becoming the House minority leader in 2011 where she served until 2017.

Often referred to as a history maker, Abrams was also the first African-American woman to deliver a response to the State of the Union address in 2019.

Robert Y. Shapiro, author and professor of political science at Columbia University in New York, says it’s not surprising that Abrams is in the vice president conversation. She’s a formidable candidate with a lot of strengths.

“In my opinion I think Stacey Abrams has sufficient gravitas so to speak,” Shapiro said. “She’s for one perceived as and is very capable. I also think she will make a formidable candidate and debater against Mike Pence on the national stage.”

Shapiro says he also believes Abrams could mobilize a new generation of voters.

“One of her big platform issues is voter suppression and voter’s rights and things of that sort. And that’s something very important in the current election,” he said.

“I think that will play well with the base of the Democratic Party especially the left-leaning base, younger generations and African Americans.”

Although Abrams has a certain cachet, Shapiro says there are significant barriers between her and the vice presidency.

“Her level of service in government has been limited to the Georgia state legislature although she was a leader in the minority party there. She was also an unsuccessful governor candidate and being an unsuccessful governor candidate is more of a negative than a positive in this context.”

Shapiro says another hurdle in front of Abrams is that the competition is steep.

“Stacey Abrams is a long shot only because she was vetted early on and hasn’t been talked about much these days,” he said. “The ones that are being talked about are Kamala Harris, Elizabeth Warren, Val Demings, Keisha Bottoms, who kind of rose because of Atlanta, Susan Rice and Gina Raimondo, governor of Rhode Island was talked about for a while.”

“Gretchen Whitmer, governor of Michigan, Michelle Grisham, governor of New Mexico and Tammy Duckworth have gotten a lot of play, and Karen Bass, congresswoman from California.”

These women have what Shapiro refers to as “stature.” A resume that consist of serving as governors, senators and as leading figures on national security in previous administrations.

Although many agree that Abrams has a stellar background that boasts Spelman College, Yale Law, several business ventures, leadership in Georgia’s legislature and spearheading voting rights advocacy organizations — some say it’s probably not enough.

“The one who’s gotten the most traction is Kamala Harris especially because she was visible as a presidential candidate,” he said. “Stacey Abrams is kind of lower on the radar only because the word is from the press that she’s getting less attention and Susan Rice and Tammy Duckworth have kind of risen.”

Shapiro says Rice is really appealing as the vice presidential pick because she’s stood toe to toe with foreign leaders on foreign policy during the Obama administration.

Polls have shown that Americans are divided on the topic. Shapiro says Democratic voters will likely take their cues from Biden on which way to go as he is expected to announce his choice in early August.

In March, he vowed to pick a woman as his running mate and progressives have held the former vice president to his word. Shapiro says it’s likely Biden will do just that, but if he doesn’t the backlash will be sharp.

“It’s a whole lot of things at work here not just Black Lives Matter but the #MeToo movement that’s been permeating in society,” Shapiro said. “And the fact that the U.S. is one of the major democracies in the world that has not had a woman in high-level executive leadership.”

“Promoting a woman in this case is very important symbolically. And if he doesn’t do that there will be a backlash against him.”

Biden’s pick will be historical as there have only been two women in U.S. history as a running mate for a presidential election. Geraldine Ferraro in 1984 and Sarah Palin in 2008, both unsuccessful.

“Sarah Palin is interesting – when she was nominated there was a lot of positive vibe about that. But then that quickly fell apart after the interview she did,” Shapiro said.

“Palin obviously didn’t help the ticket, although given the financial crisis that occurred that really nailed the coffin for the Republicans in that particular race.”

Shapiro explains that while Palin had a negative effect on the Republican ticket with John McCain that’s usually not the case for most vice presidential picks.

“It’s important for the presidential candidate to nominate a plausible vice presidential candidate. Someone who can do the ticket no harm especially,” Shapiro said. “Someone who could plausibly fill in should something happen to the president-elect. But in general, the vice president pick tends to not make much of a difference for the campaign.”

Andrew Gelman, author of “Red State, Blue State, Rich State, Poor State: Why Americans Vote the Way They Do,” agrees.

“I don’t think that there’s evidence that choice of the vice presidential candidate has electoral benefit,” he said. “There is potentially some home-state effect, but that will probably be pretty small.”

Shapiro says for Abrams that “home state effect” could help her case for the vice presidency.

“With her on the ticket democrats will have a better shot of taking Georgia which is a long shot but they could conceivably have a shot, and she could play well in other southern states where African-American voters are very important for the democrats.”

Shapiro and other politicos contend that Biden’s pick regardless of race and gender will not be the tipping point for this election. A lot is up in the air as the coronavirus pandemic, racial injustice protests and the economy cause major angst for voters.

Where does Abrams stand on being Biden’s running mate? In April, she told ELLE magazine she would be honored.

“I would be an excellent running mate. I have the capacity to attract voters by motivating typically ignored communities. I have a strong history of executive and management experience in the private, public, and nonprofit sectors,” Abrams said.

“I’ve spent 25 years in independent study of foreign policy. I am ready to help advance an agenda of restoring America’s place in the world. If I am selected, I am prepared and excited to serve.”

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Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms on Biden’s List for VP

Keisha Lance Bottoms
Keisha Lance Bottoms

By Sam P.K. Collins
WI Contributing Writer

Though she lacks federal-level experience, Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms’ criticism of Georgia Governor Brian Kemp’s coronavirus response and the manner in which she addressed residents’ response to Rayshard Brooks’ police-involved death have reportedly placed her among Vice President Joe Biden’s top picks for a Democratic running mate.

Long before U.S. Rep. Jim Clyburn of South Carolina, perhaps one of the most powerful Black men in congressional politics, floated her name as a viable candidate, Bottoms, in her first term as mayor, fashioned herself as an ardent Biden supporter with a strong endorsement last July.

Earlier this year, she stood before Iowa caucus voters on behalf of Biden, and later countered blowback he faced about past policy decisions and comments while on the campaign trail in South Carolina and Texas. Bottoms also spoke on Biden’s behalf in the spin room after each Democratic presidential debate.

In June, while on ABC’s The View, Bottoms reaffirmed her support for Biden, not necessarily as a Democrat, but as a force that can instill confidence in voters seeking a return to normalcy.

“What’s most important is that we have a restoration of moral leadership in the nation’s capital. It impacts everything how we view our country and how we view our future with our children,” Bottoms, 50, told “The View” host Meghan McCain on June 17.

“I’m confident that Vice President Joe Biden will make the choice to help him lead our country, but there’s a lot of healing that has to happen in our country,” she added. “It’s important that the person who governs alongside Biden can bring some integrity, compassion and empathy for our communities who are hurting in so many ways.”

Bottoms, the daughter of late R&B singer-songwriter Major Lance, was elected mayor in 2017 after serving as a council member representing Southwest Atlanta, and as a judge. Notable accomplishments include her declaration of Atlanta as a sanctuary city when President Donald Trump (R) revved up efforts to detain undocumented immigrants and refugees. Bottoms later signed an executive order against the city jails holding ICE detainees.

Throughout much of the anti-police brutality protests, she has condemned Trump as an instigator of racial tension, while working to instill hope in protesters that their actions will bring about change.

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The Pros and Cons of Susan Rice as Biden’s VP

Susan RIce
Susan Rice

By Stacy M. Brown
WI Senior Writer

Susan Rice brings “a high skill set knowledge base” that can only boost the candidacy of presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden.

Rice is an “interesting choice for vice president, but while extremely qualified and knowledgeable on matters of foreign affairs, she carries too much political baggage.”

The two statements – one from a national expert on race relations who heads top civil rights enforcing agency in Pennsylvania, and the other from an attorney – present the problem faced by Biden as he seeks a running mate for November’s crucial election.

“Her vast expertise on global policy and security, along with the ability to be a unifying force in a moment where our diseased democracy could use a strategic thinker should give all of us concerned with the future of our democracy hope,” said Chad Dion Lassiter, the MSW President of Black Men at Penn University of the Pennsylvania School of Social Policy and Practice.

Countering that is attorney David Reischer, the CEO of LegalAdvice.com.

“The controversy surrounding Rice’s comments on all the Sunday talk shows following the 2012 attack on Benghazi consulate will likely continue to haunt her on the campaign trail,” Reischer stated.

Jeb Edmondson, an Atlanta-based political consultant who has worked on campaigns for former Sen. Luther Strange, and current Sen. David Perdue, sided with Reischer.

“I believe that Susan Rice would frankly be a poor choice for Vice President. She played a minor role in the Benghazi disaster which could bring conservatives who are considering sitting this election out back into the fold and give President Donald Trump’s team an opportunity to wave the bloody shirt and claim Biden will plunge us into a global war,” Edmonson noted, adding that Rice’s involvement with the Iran nuclear deal could also cause similar problems, allowing Republicans another line of attack against the Biden campaign, resurrecting fears of a nuclearized Iran.

John Cavanaugh, a social scientist, and public affairs consultant, offered his assessment of Rice and Biden’s other potential choices.

“Given the rapidly unfolding events of the Black Lives Matters movement and the increasing pressure to name a woman of color to the ticket, it is no surprise that Ambassador Rice is under serious consideration,” Cavanaugh noted.

“With her foreign policy and national security experience, Rice meets the most important criteria of being well prepared to step into the role of commander-in-chief should anything happen to Biden.

“What she lacks is the experience in electoral politics. Biden has publicly stated that former competitors may have an edge as the national press has vetted them.

“Plus, he prefers someone who is personally ‘simpatico,’ much like Biden himself was with President Obama. Thus, I concur that Senator Kamala Harris remains the front runner at this point. Her close relationship with Beau Biden may seal the deal.

“I would not be surprised if others undergoing intense scrutiny ended up in the cabinet.

“For example, Rice might be selected for Secretary of State. Elizabeth Warren could become Treasury Secretary. Rep. Val Demings with her law enforcement background might be nominated for Secretary of Homeland Security.”

According to her official biography, Rice served President Obama as National Security Advisor and U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations.

In her role as National Security Advisor from July 1, 2013, to January 20, 2017, Ambassador Rice led the National Security Council Staff and chaired the Cabinet-level National Security Principals Committee.

She provided the President with daily national security briefings.

She was responsible for coordinating the formulation and implementation of all aspects of the Administration’s foreign and national security policy, intelligence, and military efforts.

As U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations and a member of President Obama’s Cabinet, Rice worked to advance U.S. interests, defend universal values, strengthen the world’s security and prosperity, and promote respect for human rights.

“Loved by Democrats and independents alike, Ambassador Rice brings to the table the hope to restore America’s standing in the world,” said Macarena Rabanedo, a Miami-based political consultant.

“A Black woman with vast knowledge in international relations and foreign policy, saving the world from the travesty that was Trump’s doctrine would be one for the books.”

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Kamala Harris’ Past a Hindrance?

Kamala Harris
Kamala Harris

By Dorothy Rowley
WI Staff Writer

Sen. Kamala Harris, who served as California’s attorney general from 2011 to 2017 before winning election to the Senate, was born on Oct. 20, 1964, in Oakland, Calif., but maintains residences in San Francisco and D.C.

She has been married to attorney Douglas Emhoff since 2014.

Harris, 55, whose father is Jamaican and mother of Indian descent, is a graduate of Howard University and University of California, Hastings College of the Law. She passed the bar and began working in the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office before being recruited to the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office and later the City Attorney of San Francisco’s office.

Harris, the mother of two children from a previous marriage and a member of the prominent Black sorority Alpha Kappa Alpha, announced her bid as a Democratic candidate for the 2020 presidential race on Jan. 21, 2019. She dropped out of the race on Dec. 3, 2019, citing lack of finances.

Three months later in early March, Harris announced her support of former Vice President Joe Biden.

Prior to dropping out of the presidential race, Harris, with her sharp debating skills and affable personality, pitched herself as a history-making candidate who could appeal to both progressives and moderates. She also promoted herself as a pragmatic problem-solver.

However, had she remained in the race, her record in California as prosecutor would likely have come under harsh scrutiny and debate over the way she argued to reverse incarceration, scale back the war on drugs, and address racial disparities in the criminal justice system.

Also, rather than trying to topple the economy, her policies sought incremental, targeted results, that particularly focused on traditionally marginalized groups that included women, people of color and low-income Americans.

At times, Harris has also created confusion by fluctuating between policy positions.

She’s held several positions on health care. For example, when she was an initial sponsor of Bernie Sanders’ Medicare for All bill, aimed at creating a single-payer system and eliminate private health insurance. Until Harris released her own proposal, she appeared to regularly to have changed her position on aspects of the bill. Yet, unlike Sanders’ legislation, while her plan would have retained a limited role for private insurers, it would have also sought to pay for costs without raising taxes on the middle class.

With Harris having described herself as a progressive prosecutor during her time as a district attorney and attorney general in California, she also pushed left on issues such as gay marriage and the death penalty.

Harris once said in an interview during her presidential campaign that her agenda was a realistic array of promises that would help ordinary people, adding that she was not trying to “restructure society, but just trying to take care of the issues that wake people up in the middle of the night.”

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