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does kamala harris have a shot at the presidency?

December 3, 2018
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Let’s get one thing clear: Black women have always showed up to do the work, often unacknowledged for our efforts but doing it anyway for the sake of the greater good. 2018 has been a watershed year for Black women but the key factor left out of that realization is how long Black women worked to get to this place. Kamala Harris is no different.

The prospect of a Harris presidential run has grown from a murmur to full-blown buzz during the midterm election but it’s still only a possibility as the Senator told MSNBC’s Morning Joe co-host Mike Brzezinksi that she would make a decision over the Christmas break. “It will ultimately be a family decision,” Harris said. “Over the holiday, I will make that decision with my family.” It’s understandable that Harris would be hesitant about jumping into the fray considering the treatment Hillary received, which might seem mild compared to what a Black woman candidate will face.

The half-Indian, half Jamaican Senator from California has grown a national profile by virtue of her being the only Black woman to sit on the House of Representatives. Her position and placement amplified her bold and outspoken reproach towards the ingrained misogyny displayed by Kavanaugh’s appointment process and the bigotry-bingo that is 45’s policy-making and Twitter feed. Harris’ profile has landed her in the pool of candidates that make up the Democratic presidential hopefuls, and according to a POLITICO/Morning Consult poll conducted after the elections, Harris placed 5th behind former Vice President Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, Beto O’Rourke and Elizabeth Warren, in that order.

Harris isn’t just a name and face meant to represent the anti-establishment (to the white, male establishment in both parties), but a politician that has played a part (visible and otherwise) in ushering in a new generation of politicians that are women and people of color who wouldn’t be welcomed let alone courted by the political establishment. She’s already made history back in 2016 as the first African-American to represent California in the Senate as well as being the first Indian-American Senator in the country. She represents a club of Black women in government who were doing the work in the face of being a stark minority.

Harris, alongside notable Black woman politicians like everyone’s favorite auntie Representative Maxine Waters, paved the way for the new guard that includes Somali-American Ilhan Omar (one of the first Muslim Congresswomen) and Jahana Hayes who was the 2016 National Teacher of the Year turned newly-elected Congresswoman for Connecticut. The rise of the progressive candidates like Stacey Abrams, Andrew Gillum and Ayanna Pressley was proof enough that the building being done by Black women behind the scenes was being met with a growing desire to reject the politics that prioritizes straight white men. People are tired and no one can relate quite like Black women, so should we immediately find an equal an opposing white man to go against Trump when there is a hunger for more? A hunger for someone different?

Trump has the Democratic establishment shook and huddling around liberal white men that they hope will defeat the tragicomedy in the White House. Change is in the air because people want more than someone who isn’t Trump – they want a political landscape that will never allow something like him to happen again. Whether Harris runs or not, it’s important to remember that the midterms were the beginning of a fight that goes beyond 2020. It would be nice to have Harris lead that fight, but that will remain to be seen.

 

 

 

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