'Kamala Harris: For the People' is a killer 2020 message
I’ve been waiting to see a 2020 Democrat put forth a message with broad-enough appeal that they had room to grow support underneath it, and Sen. Kamala Harris offered the first glimpse of just such a message last Sunday in Oakland, California, when she launched her 2020 “For the People” campaign.
First off, this is not an endorsement—it’s an acknowledgment of a Democratic presidential candidate nailing a key ingredient to prevailing in the coming cycle. To me, the 2020 cycle will be less about a checklist of policy stances, because I trust that anyone who manages to prevail in the Democratic primary will be sufficiently liberal (not to mention better than Trump). Rather, Democratic candidates will rise and fall based on the reach of their message and whether that message is a natural outgrowth of their personal narrative and can therefore be driven by it. In other words, whether the narrative they are building feels both big enough to be broadly inclusive and authentic enough to buy into.
Harris’s rollout comes the closest of anything I’ve seen. Standing in her hometown amid a crowd about 20,000, Harris recalled the first time she prosecuted a case as a public official. “It was just a couple blocks from this very spot that nearly 30 years ago as a young district attorney I walked into the courtroom for the very first time and said the five words that would guide my life’s work: “Kamala Harris, for the people.”
Harris immediately acknowledged the downside of leaning heavily into a criminal justice system that’s “deeply flawed,” as she put it. Working as a prosecutor in a system that many Americans view as inherently unjust will be somewhat of an uphill battle for her. But as a female woman of color, no one will be able to accuse her of not knowing the sting of discrimination.
Harris then explained why cases aren’t filed under the victim’s name. “In our system of justice, we believe that a harm against any one of us is a harm against all of us,” she said. That’s why “it reads, ‘The People.'”