by G. Brown
On Tuesday, in a post that was almost the equivalent of a whisper, Presidential Candidate Kamala Harris shattered the dream of many of her supporters with what she called “one of the hardest decisions of my life”.
Kamala’s humble retreat from the race ignited anger surprisingly amongst both friend and foe…
Fox News “The Five” host Greg Gutfeld said of Harris “Screw you. You are a big jerk” for Kamala questioning if America was ready for a “woman of color” to be president.
Fellow Democratic contender Senator Cory Booker is also angry. Not at Harris but at a system that makes it tough for people without major money to even run a real campaign. Booker told Buzzfeed News, “It’s a damn shame frankly that Kamala Harris’ voice is no longer in this race“. Booker’s frustration seems to lie in the DNC rules of what is a “legitimate campaign” to remain in the running.
“We just don’t understand how we’ve gotten to a point now that there’s more billionaires in the 2020 race than there are black people.” @CoryBooker responds to Sen. Kamala Harris dropping out of the race pic.twitter.com/QrgEoM5dio
— AM2DM by BuzzFeed News (@AM2DM) December 4, 2019
. The junior Senator from California defied the odds almost from the onset of her campaign in January of this year. She garnered media attention immediately and was considered by many to be a high profile candidate. More than 20 thousand people showed up for her campaign kickoff and in the first 24 hours of her campaign, Harris raised over $1.5 million. With a slogan of “For the People”, Harris promised to fight for the little guy, go after social media platforms that allowed racial hatred to threaten democracy and was one of the few Democratic voices willing to call out the current President as “…divisive and …a racist.” In the Democratic debates, Harris was smart, quick-witted and often memorable. She knocked the wind out of former Vice President Joe Biden and left him floundering for words on his opposition to school bussing. Often ranked among the top 5 in national polls, political pundits thought Harris had a strong edge heading into the fast-approaching Iowa caucuses in February. By October, Harris had reportedly raised an impressive $11.6 in the third quarter of her campaign.
Still, it wasn’t enough for Harris to win.
The NY Times said Harris’ campaign was marred with rifts between “competing factions eager to belittle one another”. But Harris made it clear, money or rather the lack of enough of it was forcing her out.
She and Booker both did amazingly well at a time when the country is more openly polarized than in recent memory. Harris’ performance is particularly commendable since she dares tread where few Black women have gone before granting her inclusion to a small club alongside pioneers like Shirley Chisolm in 1972 and Carol Mosely Braun in 2004.
The fact that such a popular candidate had to pull out shines a light on the whole process. The only people who can afford to run are millionaires and billionaires and as we’ve seen with the current occupant of the White House the rich aren’t exactly in touch with issues facing the common man.
Harris’ campaign shows us what Booker was saying, that our political system is better suited for billionaires than people of color. Progressive candidates like Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders are already campaigning to get big money out of politics. Harris as a casualty of that unfair system will hopefully keep the push against big money alive.
But perhaps the biggest benefit of Harris’ shortlived campaign is that it puts her in a better position for future political battles. Her name recognition is through the roof which might appeal to the actual democratic nominee in search of a running mate if he’s not fairing well with the Black community. Others have said with her sharp mind and legal prowess, Harris could be in line for a position like Attorney General.
Whether you supported her candidacy or not, there’s no denying that Harris’s campaign pushed through ceilings and broke away barriers for women of color.