OAKLAND, Calif. ― Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) formally launched her 2020 presidential marketing campaign Sunday, framing her prosecutorial profession as one outlined by combating for the individuals.
Chatting with a big crowd, which her press secretary estimated to be 20,000 individuals, Harris stated her resume — which incorporates serving as district legal professional of San Francisco and legal professional common of California — was constructed on the “profound affect legislation enforcement has on peoples’ lives.” She stated she obtained into legislation to “shield individuals,” and that combating “for the individuals meant combating for a extra honest felony justice system.”
“In my entire life, I’ve solely had one consumer: the individuals,” she stated.
Within the week since saying her intention to run, Harris has confronted intense scrutiny from the left.
A scathing New York Occasions op-ed revealed a couple of days forward of Harris’ announcement questioned the previous prosecutor’s status as a progressive, pointing to her function in wrongful convictions in addition to her document on felony justice points corresponding to police physique cameras, sentencing reform and the loss of life penalty. Harris’ marketing campaign disputed the characterization of her prosecutorial document.
She’s additionally confronted questions over whether or not she did not go after Wall Avenue onerous sufficient after the 2007-08 mortgage disaster, in addition to criticism from intercourse staff and advocates who say Harris’ efforts to struggle intercourse trafficking has solely damage them.
Harris herself appeared to nod to that criticism throughout her remarks on the rally.
“If I’ve the distinction of being your president, I’ll let you know this: I’m not good. Lord is aware of, I’m not good,” she stated. “However I’ll all the time converse with decency and ethical readability and deal with all individuals with dignity and respect. I’ll lead with integrity. And I’ll converse the reality.”
Harris’ speech was additionally a forceful condemnation of the established order underneath President Donald Trump. She outlined the methods by which America underneath his management isn’t “our America,” itemizing examples together with the separation of migrant kids from their dad and mom on the border, the killings of black women and men and the inaccessibility of well being care.
“America, we’re higher than this,” she informed the group. “Individuals in energy try to persuade us that the villain in our American story is one another. However that’s not our story. That isn’t who we’re. That’s not our America.”
Harris spoke at Frank Ogawa Plaza in downtown Oakland, her hometown and one of many most various cities in America. The general public sq., named for the civil rights chief who was the primary Japanese-American to serve on Oakland’s metropolis council, has been the location of many protests, together with 2011′s Occupy Oakland demonstrations. It’s additionally the place former President Barack Obama ― then the junior senator from Illinois ― drew 10,000 individuals within the early phases of his personal presidential bid, in March 2007.
Along with acknowledging Harris’ roots, the marketing campaign’s choice to launch in Oakland additionally has political benefits. With California’s major moved up to March 2020, Golden State voters may have a big say in who turns into the Democratic nominee — a reversal from years previous, when Californians had been an afterthought in most presidential races. Harris, up to now the one Californian within the race, may achieve an early benefit with long-ignored voters there by making them central to her marketing campaign.
Throughout her remarks, Harris repeatedly emphasised her marketing campaign slogan, “for the individuals,” highlighting a few of the extra progressive planks of her platform: “Medicare for all,” common preschool, elevating working households’ incomes through a brand new tax credit score, and felony justice reforms. She additionally underscored the pressing have to struggle local weather change.
“The individuals in energy are not any match for the facility of the individuals,” she stated.
Harris additionally criticized the Trump administration for fostering division.
“As People, now we have way more in widespread than what separates us,” she stated. “So, let’s not purchase into these things that they’re making an attempt to hawk, these highly effective voices which are making an attempt to sow hate and division. Let’s maintain onto the truth that we all know on the elemental points, all of us have a lot extra in widespread than what separates us.”
The road of Harris supporters and native residents focused on listening to extra about her candidacy weaved across the buildings of downtown Oakland hours earlier than the rally. Many wore shirts emblazoned together with her marketing campaign emblem — a tribute to Shirley Chisholm, the primary black girl to hunt a significant occasion’s presidential nomination; others donned pins emblazoned with Harris’ picture and the phrase “Madame President.”
A number of attendees spoke of the symbolic significance of Harris’ candidacy.
“I’m from Oakland, I graduated from Howard College, and I’m an [Alpha Kappa Alpha] like she is,” stated Svonne Underwood, who now lives in close by Pittsburg. “I by no means thought I’d see somebody from Oakland, that graduated from Howard, run for president, to essentially have an opportunity. And I believe she has a great probability.”
Latrece Seneca, who lives in Santa Barbara County, stated Harris’ candidacy may encourage different girls of shade to hunt increased workplace.
“There all the time needs to be a primary for there to be somebody to observe and to do those self same issues, and even assume, ‘Oh I may truly do this,’” she stated.
Harris’ marketing campaign launch comes lower than every week after she introduced her intention to run in an interview on ABC’s “Good Morning America.” With an ever-expanding group of Democrats coming into the 2020 race — together with Sen. Elizabeth Warren (Mass.), Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (N.Y.) and former San Antonio Mayor Julián Castro ― Harris has wasted no time, with an obvious technique of outpacing the remainder of the sphere. She raised $1.5 million within the first 24 hours of her marketing campaign, and visited South Carolina on Friday to talk at a fundraiser hosted by her sorority, Alpha Kappa Alpha. And after Sunday’s rally, she was set to instantly depart to attend a CNN city corridor in Iowa.