Kamala Harris' major policy stands:
Many political observers believe that Kamala's centrist political career has actually contributed in Biden selecting her as his running mate. Some of the major political stands of Kamala Harris includes:
- Harris wants to abolish capital punishment or death sentence.
- She advocates for $15/hour federal minimum wage.
- She supports several months of broad paid leave.
- Harris advocates for expanding or fixing the existing student debt-relief programs.
- She campaigns for increasing teachers' pay.
- Harris favours reforming and reducing of cash bail.
- She advocates for eliminating the mandatory minimum sentences.
- She favours eliminating private prisons.
- Harris advocates for mandating paper ballots for election security.
- She advocates for subsidies for renters and homeowners for affordable housing.
- She wants to expand tax benefits for middle-class and low-income Americans to fight inequality.
Kamala Devi Harris, the first African-American woman of Indian descent, has been announced as the Democratic Vice-Presidential candidate and running mate of Joe Biden for 2020 US presidential election on August 11, 2020. Harris has been known as a barrier breaker all through her political career.
Kamala Harris was the first black woman elected as California's attorney general back in 2016. She is also the first woman of South Asian heritage to be elected to the US Senate.
Harris was born in Oakland, California, to two immigrants parents. Her mother, Shyamala Gopalan is from India while her father, Donald Harris is from Jamaica.
Her father Donald Harris, a celebrated economist, taught in distinguished universities like Yale, Cambridge, and served as Emeritus Professor of Economics at Stanford University from 1998.
According to a BBC report, after her parents divorced, Kamala was raised primarily by her Hindu single mother. As a result, she engaged with her Indian heritage a lot, joining her mother on visits to India, but she also adopted Oakland's black culture within herself.
In her autobiography, 'The Truths We Hold', Harris mentioned, "My mother understood very well that she was raising two black daughters. She knew that her adopted homeland would see Maya and me as black girls and she was determined to make sure we would grow into confident, proud black women."
Harris made history in 2016 when she became the first black woman elected to the US Senate from California.
She has since pushed back against critics of 'identity politics'. "My point was: I am who I am. I'm good with it. You might need to figure it out, but I'm fine with it," Harris told Washington Post back in 2019.
Kamala was one of the earliest congressional critics of Trump's immigration policies. She pushed hard for a deal to protect the immigrants – who came to the country without documents as children – from deportation, a group known as the Dreamers, reported the Al Jazeera.
Since her election to the US Senate, Kamala gained favour among progressives for her acerbic questioning of then Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh and Attorney General William Barr in key Senate hearings.
She questioned about Kavanaugh's views on abortion and on the special counsel probe into potential Russian meddling in the 2016 election.
Harris was the San Francisco district attorney from 2004 to 2011, and the California attorney general from 2011 to 2017.
According to Indian Express, she described herself as a 'progressive prosecutor' and argued that it is possible to be tough on crime while also confronting the deep inequities of the criminal justice system. She believed she could best change the system from being within it.
The key part of her pitch as a presidential candidate was that voters could trust her to overhaul the justice system because she knew it "from the inside out."
But Kamala has also produced controversies in her career and has been a source of criticism, especially from the left.
Even though she described herself as a progressive prosecutor, she faced repeated attacks from progressives for not being progressive enough.
She rarely prosecuted police officers who killed civilians during her time as attorney general. According to Indian Express, Kamala was widely criticised for refusing to allow advanced DNA testing that might have exonerated Kevin Cooper, a black man on death row.
She refused to seek the death penalty when a police officer was killed in San Francisco in 2004 – which drew protests at that time. She had pointed to the incident as an example of her commitment to a fairer criminal justice system. Ten years later, the death penalty was declared unconstitutional, and she appealed against the decision.
Al Jazeera reports that many have criticised her record including her reluctant approach to criminal justice reform and her fighting against lawsuits brought by sex workers and opponents of solitary confinement in prisons.
Kamala had actually entered the Democratic presidential nomination race as a frontrunner in early 2019. She launched her candidacy for president to a crowd of more than 20,000 in Oakland, California, at the beginning of last year.
Her 2020 bid was met with initial enthusiasm. But the senator failed to articulate a clear rationale for her campaign, and gave muddled answers to questions in key policy areas like healthcare. Kamala even fell out with Joe Biden on her race during a June 2019 debate.
Penned at the start of Harris' campaign, Emily Bazelon of The New York Times Magazine wrote that Kamala Harris has largely dodged progressive fights involving issues like police reform, drug reform and wrongful convictions.
By the end of 2019, her campaign was dead, only to have a rebirth through the selection as Joe Biden's vice presidential running mate.
According to Indian Express, the progressive left, including some supporters of Sanders, will most likely be disappointed in Harris' selection. And her long career in law enforcement could be off-putting to some voters, especially younger voters, who are eager to see a police-reform movement with unqualified backing from the White House.
Kamala Devi Harris could, however, get a chance to represent those on the margins now that Mr Biden has named her as his running mate. She may also be able to change the system now from inside the White House.