Re-post of my thoughts on Kamala Harris.
It took me about a week to figure out what to say about Kamala Harris, because I’m still not really sure what they are.
It was a great venue, because it was in South Church, the UU congregation that I attend. I showed up early to take advantage of the two pews of seats reserved for South Church members and was able to get a good seat. Kamala Harris was able to draw an overflow crowd and then some. The capacity is 802, and it might have been more than that got in, and many were turned away.
I understand why she is one of the top candidates in the race. She can match the passion and intensity that Elizabeth Warren brings to politicking, and she also is able to bring out your feelings. Those that know me well know that it isn’t that hard to get me to tear up, but Kamala Harris proved the best at that of those I’ve observed.
The thrust of her presentation was truth and trust, two timely and important characteristics to highlight I believe. In particular, she spoke about how speaking truth is a key to developing trust, even when the truth is uncomfortable. For example, we need to acknowledge the truth of changing job markets, of climate change, etc. In terms of policy she wasn’t very specific about details or methodology, but she did hit on most of the progressive issues being discussed. Q&A established she supports changing Columbus Day to Indigenous Peoples Day, she supports paths to citizenship for all individuals in the USA, is in favor of strong unions and reestablishing the moral of federal employees, reversing the voter suppression efforts taking place, and on-demand mental health and substance use counseling.
I don’t want to knock Kamala Harris too much, because I think most of my reticence to jump on board a hype train has to do with actions that are very typical of successful politicians and say more about me than the job she would do as a president. With that caveat, I found that she has the attitude of a front runner. To many people the confidence that evokes may be viewed as a benefit. I felt like she responded to questions like she already knew the answers and just need to share them or actualize them. Which makes the other aspect of her frontrunner behavior more problematic for my review.
Kamala Harris did shake some hands and pose for some selfies (apologies to those wanting pictures, but I want information from the candidates, not digital art), and presumably answered some questions, but only in 5-10 minutes as she made her way from stage to the door. So, I didn’t get a chance to ask her my decision-making question and will update my response once I she her again and get a chance to do so. Given the venue I can understand her quick departure, but of those I’ve seen so far, she is the only one who hasn’t taken the time to speak with everyone who wanted to.
Summarizing: Impressive speaker and fighter. Where the main strategy of others may be to listen and build policy I get the impression she will get things done by bringing her ideas and working through them. Her ideas are good ones and address the problems not all politicians are willing to talk about. Without talking with her directly I’ll place her in the tier 2-3 range for now and will try to find out more to be more sure.
Ranking of those I’ve meet so far:
- Tier 1: Andrew Yang
- Tier 2: Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders*
- Kamala Harris
- Tier 3: Cory Booker
- Tier 4: Tulsi Gabbard
- Tier 5: tbd
- Tier Nope: tbd
- *(Based on past meetings, not 2020 events, and w/o the decision-making question response)
Expected distribution of candidates is:
- Tier 1: 1 or 2
- Tier 2: ~3
- Tier 3: ~1/4 of remaining
- Tier 4: ~1/4 of remaining
- Tier 5: ~1/4 of remaining
- Tier Nope: ~1/4 of remaining