Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) can’t seem to escape her past as California’s attorney general. Despite all attempts to obscure her record as the state’s top prosecutor, Democratic voters are not quite warming up to this candidate. Indeed, despite her intersectional appeal, her numbers are slipping with a key Democratic voting bloc.
A recent Quinnipiac poll shows that black voters are choosing to support other Democratic candidates in large numbers. Perhaps the black community isn’t as concerned with intersectionality as it may have seemed.
Harris Losing Black Support
In the first Democratic debate, Harris lashed out at former Vice President Joe Biden for his opposition to federally mandated school busing initiatives. Her attack landed and her numbers rose. She managed to increase her support by engaging in the favorite pastime of the Democratic Party: race-baiting.
But in the most recent debates, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) took Harris down a peg. Gabbard brought up the senator’s record — which some state officials are attempting to hide — as attorney general. “She blocked evidence that would have freed an innocent man from death row until the courts forced her to do so,” Gabbard said. “She kept people in prison beyond their sentences to use them as cheap labor for the state of California.”
Well, that didn’t go so well for Harris; the California senator’s popularity plummeted after the debate. Quinnipiac revealed that 47% of black Democratic voters are supporting Biden, 16% favor Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), and 8% back Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA).
No Black Support?
At first glance, it might seem surprising that black voters are not flocking to Sen. Harris. After all, she is a progressive black woman, almost like a female Obama. But it appears they are not buying what Harris is selling. There can be no doubt that her record as the Golden State’s top cop has turned away a key constituency.
Under Harris, California’s justice department specifically targeted minorities and levied long sentences against nonviolent drug offenders. She also blocked evidence that may have exonerated a death row inmate. Put simply, she’s not exactly the type of candidate that blacks desire. How would it look if they voted for a prosecutor who locked up minorities over a president who signed a prison reform bill into law?
But that isn’t the only reason black voters don’t support Harris; the American Descendants of Slaves (ADOS) movement has also become a prominent cause in the black community. This group, some members of which support Trump, contend that there is a difference between black Americans whose ancestors were brought to the US as slaves and those whose families came to the country willingly. There is something of a rift between the two demographics, and Harris, whose parents are of Jamaican and Indian descent, does not fit into the ADOS movement. Therefore, many black Americans feel no sense of kinship with her.
The senator may still win the Democratic presidential nomination, as it is early in the process. But her record as a prosecutor will continue to dog her despite the best efforts of the media. If she wins the nomination, her chances for victory will boil down to one question: How much do Democratic voters hate Trump?
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