It is painfully obvious that Kamala Harris is unprepared for the scrutiny that comes with waging a presidential campaign. But it is equally obvious that her lack of gravitas may not matter at all. The fix is in as the old saying goes. She is the choice of the Democratic Party leadership, the black misleaders, and their partners in corporate media. They will give her cover whenever she needs help. Gaffes and comical pandering at the expense of black voters may not hurt her chances at all.
Kamala Harris has no natural constituency. She is a relative newcomer on the national political scene and is known only for somewhat close questioning of Trump appointees during Senate hearings. Her record as a prosecutor and California attorney general ought to make her persona non grata with the black voters whom she sought to lock up as often as possible. But she is being foisted upon voters because the party and their rich backers have made her their choice.
The Democrats are hoping that having another biracial black person on the ticket can make up for their lack of substance and hers. All Harris knows how to do is pander, and she doesn’t even do that very well. On The Breakfast Club radio show she was asked if she opposed marijuana legalization. “That’s not true. Look, I joke about it, I have joked about it. Half my family is from Jamaica. Are you kidding me?” The promotion of a stereotype didn’t go over very well, including with her own father, who was angry enough to call her out in public. Donald Harris said that his ancestors “…must be turning in their grave right now to see their family’s name, reputation and proud Jamaican identity being connected, in any way, jokingly or not with the fraudulent stereotype of a pot-smoking joy seeker and in the pursuit of identity politics.” Not only had she offended her father but she was also lying. As attorney she opposed a 2010 proposition that would have legalized recreational use. She opposed it as late as 2015.
Not content to offend her own father she followed Hillary Clinton with another reference meant to make herself appealing to people she doesn’t respect. Hillary Clinton famously sought to ingratiate herself with black voters with cultural connections. She claimed, also on The Breakfast Club radio show, that she carried hot sauce in her purse at all times. Harris can now be seen putting hot sauce on her collard greens, too, but the absurd mimicry isn’t hurting her any. The endorsements are already coming her way.
Congresswoman Barbara Lee has long ago dispensed with the progressive stances that put her on the political map, but the old reputation still matters. Her endorsement of Harris is significant as is the fact that her position as an elected official makes her a super delegate at the 2020 Democratic Party convention. Lee’s endorsement was followed by Dolores Huerta’s, who may also have an undeserved progressive credentials. This process will go on with a new heavy hitter who can provide her with cover coming on board every week.
Harris would be a bad joke were it not for the fact that the right people are behind her. Not only did she needlessly include every person of Jamaican ancestry in her bad joke, but she claimed to have gotten high while listening to artists like Tupac and Snoop Dogg who weren’t even recording when she was a young student. She ought to be a laughing stock, but the misleaders and their patrons are serious. They have made their choice and they won’t allow her own foolish words to take her out of the running.
Conversely, Bernie Sanders, the true front runner, is scrutinized over minor issues and must fend off bald faced lies. He can expect a repeat of the treatment he received from the Democratic Party leadership and corporate media in 2016. While the hollow woman Harris can do no wrong, Sanders will get bad press no matter what he does.
As always, black people are caught in the racist bind which makes one of the major parties the de facto white party and the other the black party. The understandable desire to keep the white party Republicans out of office twists authentically progressive political leanings. If Harris prevails in early primaries and caucuses and looks like a winner, she will become a black voter favorite, just as Barack Obama did in 2008 after his Iowa caucus victory. Legitimate questions about her record in public office will disappear and she will have a good chance of winning the party’s nomination.
Her silly lies are already being defended. The Breakfast Club hosts ran to her aid when the proof of her stupid fib became apparent. Host Charlemagne the God gave a sad previewof the foolishness still to come. “I want everybody to know they’re doing the work of Fox News. The black Twitter people you see that are going in on Kamala because of this, y’all are doing the work of Fox News.”
After the Democratic Party debacle that put Donald Trump in office black voters are worse off than ever. Their enemies get the stamp of approval and what looks like a political victory will in fact be another disaster. Harris could be Obama 2.0 and we know how well that turned out. Happiness over representation would be nothing but a tremendous defeat.
Margaret Kimberley’s Freedom Rider column appears weekly in BAR, and is widely reprinted elsewhere. She maintains a frequently updated blog as well at freedomrider.blogspot.com. Ms. Kimberley lives in New York City, and can be reached via e-Mail at Margaret.Kimberley(at)BlackAgendaReport.com.