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Kamala Harris: Proof Democrats Still Don’t Understand Progressives

Ignoring the Needs of Marginalized People

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - JULY 11: California Attorney General Kamala Harris looks on after California Governor Jerry Brown signed the California Homeowner Bill of Rights (AB 278 and SB 900) on July 11, 2012 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Kamala Harris has been rubber stamped, signed, sealed, and delivered to us as the most recent Democratic “Rising Star” and on the short list for a presidential run in 2020. The term rising star is thrown around a lot and it seems to be little more than the Spaghetti Method of dealing with possible candidates, throwing the chosen one at voters to see if they will stick. If you want to know what it’s like being a “rising star” in the Democratic Party, you can ask the former rising star Representative Tulsi Gabbard, who is American Samoan. She felt that she had a progressive stance that was so different from the Democrats that she chose to resign from the DNC and decided to support Sen. Bernie Sanders in his Presidential run in 2016. Take a look back at how a former Democrat rising star Donna Edwards, who is now doing a podcast from an RV, was forced out of the party when she fought for more progressive stances within the Democratic party.

We continue to hear about the same practices over and over again by the DNC and it’s time we pay attention to the habit they have of blacklisting those who fight for real change.

Pay attention to how eagerly Dems attack a woman of color who fights for Progressive values and doesn’t toe the party line as seen in how they treat Nina Turner, here and here. Given these are all Women of Color it is interesting that any critique of Sen. Harris has been met with cries of racism and/or sexism, overlooking the fact that the junior Senator Harris has issues on her record that don’t line up with progressive goals.

In 2010, Superior Court Judge Anne-Christine Massullo called out Harris, who was San Francisco’s District Attorney at the time, for hiding information about Deborah Madden, a lab technician who was accused of stealing and using cocaine evidence. Initially, after being alerted to a possible problem with the technician, it took them two months to investigate the matter. Madden pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor count in July 2013, but the situation resulted in at least 90 cases being dismissed.

Getting money out of politics has been one of the major issues driving the progressive movement. In January of 2017, Harris defended a decision not to charge Steven Mnuchin for violation of state foreclosure laws by stating:

“We went and we followed the facts and the evidence, and it’s a decision my office made. We pursued it just like any other case. We go and we take a case wherever the facts lead us.”

Steven Mnuchin is a former Goldman Sachs banker who is the Treasury Secretary in the Trump administration. Mnuchin’s hedge fund bought out IndyMac in 2008 and renamed it OneWest. OneWest was accused of “widespread misconduct” and there was a memo leaked in which Harris’s office suggested that the next step would be for the Attorney General to authorize the filing of a civil enforcement action against OneWest, but this didn’t happen. CounterPunch reports that Mnuchin’s only Democratic donation was to Sen. Harris.

As tensions continue to escalate between law enforcement and People of Color, one of the most startling issues that happened while Sen. Kamala Harris was San Francisco District Attorney is the huge increase in racial disparity in the number of African-American arrest rates for drug felonies. A report from the Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice (CJCJ) in April of 2012 states that:

African Americans experienced felony drug arrest rates 19 times higher than other races in San Francisco, and 7.3 times higher than African Americans elsewhere in California.

San Francisco’s explosion in drug felony arrest of African Americans during the 1995-2009 period did not occur elsewhere in the state, nor for other racial categories in the city.

The city’s African American female youth account for over 40% of the felony drug arrests of African American female youths in California and have arrest rates 50 times higher than their counterparts in other countries.

More than half of all youth drug felonies involved African Americans, who constitute 9% of the city’s youth; and one-third Latino males, who comprise 11% of the city’s youth.

Despite disproportionately high drug arrest rates among young African Americans in San Francisco, of the more than 2,00 residents and nonresidents in the city who have died from abuse of illicit drugs in the last decade 6 in 10 were non-Latino Whites, and more than 7 in 10 were age 40 and older.

Harris supports a great program to reduce recidivism but she also stopped short of supporting body cameras for all police officers stating concerns over a “one-size-fits-all” approach.

Progressives are not just left-leaning Democrats. Progressives are changing the political landscape and to earn the progressive vote, it is no longer sufficient to simply have a marginalized person who is capable repeat support for the same failed policies. Progressives want to know what a candidate’s track record shows about what they have stood for in the past. We are not fixated on religious based moralism, and we don’t look for it to shape our government. We are not interested in candidates who have flip-flopped on their positions when it became politically expedient. We are not interested in being courted during elections, but never seeing our needs addressed in policy.

We ARE interested in candidates who sincerely believe in progressive objectives. We are people of color, we are women, we are people with disabilities, we are the LGBTQI community, we are the underpaid customer service workers. We are a growing, separate political party that is the convergence of the diversity of America and we will continue to vet the politicians presented to us until we have a government that represents all of us, including those of us who are not served or are underserved in our current political climate. It is insulting to ignore valid concerns from marginalized people and demand our vote simply based on gender or ancestry.

It is not racist to hold candidates of color to the same standards we have for other candidates, it is not sexist to hold women candidates to the same standards we have for other candidates, and it is not a purity test, to have ethics that we stand by no matter what a candidate looks like or where they are from. Ethics is what our government needs and it is what progressives demand.

Written by Pamela Getz

Writer and Activist. Follow Pamela on Twitter @goddesspamela.

Pamela Getz is Editor of International Affairs for Progressive Army and a member of its Editorial Board.

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Kamala Harris: Proof Democrats Still Don’t Understand Progressives