On Tuesday, Democratic presidential contender and California Senator Kamala Harris announced she was dropping out of the 2020 race.
At one point, Harris was one of the front runners in the Democratic contest. But her lead withered, and financial support dried up. The question is: Why?
Did race play a role? Did gender? And what’s to be made of the strong criticism of Harris for the work she did as a prosecutor? Back in the 1990s and early 2000s, it was considered crucial for candidates of color to prove that they were tough on crime, but that reputation is precisely what seemed to drive Democratic voters away from Harris in the 2020 contest.
Detroit Today host Stephen Henderson talks about the various political and social factors that played into the downfall of Kamala Harris’ run with Ida B Wells Fellow and Senior Writer for Gen, Andrea Gonzalez-Ramirez. Henderson and Gonzalez-Ramirez discuss how changing cultural and social values affected Harris and whether or not it’s fair to hold someone accountable for collective changes to our social and cultural ideologies.
“I definitely think the gender and racial implications did have an impact on her campaign,” says Gonzalez-Ramirez, who also notes that Harris had a turnout of some 20,000 people at her campaign launch, but never managed to capture that level of enthusiasm later in her presidential bid.
Additionally, “women and women of color are usually held up to a higher standard but that should be up for voters to decide,” explains Gonzalez-Ramirez of the fact that Harris represented an important minority that now doesn’t have representation in the current pool of Democratic presidential candidates.