Kamala Harris

From RationalWiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Kamala Harris
God, guns, and freedom
U.S. Politics
Icon politics USA.svg
Starting arguments over Thanksgiving dinner
Persons of interest
My mother had many sayings. She would say, 'Kamala, you may be the first to do many things; make sure you’re not the last.' Which is why [in my victory speech], I said, 'I will be the first, but I will not be the last.' And that’s about legacy. That’s about creating a pathway. That’s about leaving the door more open than it was when you walked in.
—Harris in 2020[1]

Kamala Harris (1964–) (pronounced COMMA-la,[2] not COMMI-la[3]) is an American politician, attorney and member of the Democratic Party from California. She graduated from the University of California, Hastings, receiving a Juris Doctor.[4] She served as a Senator from 2017 to 2021. She has also served as the Attorney General of California and as the District Attorney of San Francisco. A Baptist,[5] she announced in January 2019 a plan to run for President in 2020;[6] she withdrew her candidacy in December 2019, then was chosen as Joe Biden's vice presidential candidate. She is the 49th Vice President of the United States,[7] and is the first woman and second person of color to hold the office (after Charles Curtis, a member of the Kaw Nation who served as Herbert Hoover's veep[8]).

Unfortunately, with this accomplished distinction comes with very ugly racist and sexist attacks on her, some from users, others from bot accounts.[9] For instance, Harris is often referred to as "ho" to rhyme with "Joe" (Joe Biden) (thus creepily sexualizing her and erasing her name to reduce her to a sexualized component of Biden) as part of exceptionally ugly bumper stickers during her campaign with Joe Biden. As with Obama, similar attacks on her viability to be vice president were levied on her, spread by Trump,[10] particularly stemming from a egregious Newsweek piece by John Eastman[11] that was so robustly criticized and blamed for the birther conspiracies for Harris that it prompted them to respond with an apology and an attempt at clarification.[12]

Policy positions and record[edit]

She is associated with the party moderates, but does lean left on a few issues. As a Senator, she was against the death penalty, is pro-choice, has co-sponsored California's Marijuana Justice Act and is pro-sanctuary cities.[4] During her presidential campaign she tried to run in between the moderate and progressive lanes, focusing on the shockingly high maternal mortality rate in the U.S., especially among black women, gun control, and even indicating that she supports Medicare For All.

Criminal justice[edit]

As the former top prosecutor of the largest state in the country, the most scrutiny into Harris's record has come from her actions as California Attorney General. In that capacity, she covered up information revealing that the police crime lab had been falsifying or tampering with evidence against over 600 defendants in criminal cases,[13] withheld evidence proving people's innocence during prosecutions then fought on numerous occasions to stop innocent people from being released after it was proven that they were falsely convicted,[14] kept a top aide in the office for months after he was ordered to pay $400,000 in a workplace sexual harassment lawsuit and falsely claimed to have no knowledge of the settlement,[15] tried to hold criminally liable the parents of chronically truant children,[16] and refused[note 1] to prosecute Steven Mnuchin's OneWest Bank for illegal foreclosure during the Great Recession (though non-prosecution and weak settlements were the national norm during that crisis and Harris was not exceptional).[17]

All of this is ironic given that she portrayed herself as a "progressive prosecutor" during her ill-fated campaign.[18]


Harris has said she would co-sponsor Bernie Sanders' Medicare for All bill, which would implement a single-payer universal healthcare system in the United States.[19]

Gun ownership[edit]

She has earned an "F" from the NRA for her gun control stance.[20] This grade, of course, translates into an "A" in Reality Land.

Trans rights[edit]

As Attorney General of California, Kamala Harris argued on behalf of the state to withhold reassignment surgeries from two transgender inmates who were prescribed those procedures while serving their sentences, stating in a court briefing that: "The essential test is one of medical necessity and not one simply of desirability."[21] In explaining her actions, Harris said, "When that case came up, I had clients, and one of them was the California Department of Corrections. It was their policy. When I learned about what they were doing, behind the scenes, I got them to change the policy."[22]

Notably, while she was San Francisco District Attorney, Harris organized a conference of 200 prosecutors in response to the murder of the transgender woman Gwen Araujo, on the topic of how to defeat the bogus trans panic/gay panic defense strategy.[22][23]

Israel and Palestine[edit]

Harris' rhetoric on the Israel and Palestine conflict has so far been pro-Israel, and quiet on Palestinian issues.[24] In 2020 Harris, like most Democratic candidates including Bernie Sanders, decided not to attend the AIPAC summit, after progressive advocacy group MoveOn urged candidates not to go.[25]


Harris "has a regressive record when it comes to sex-worker rights".[26] During her tenure as district attorney of San Francisco, she "opposed Proposition K — a measure that aimed to decriminalize sex work",[27] arguing that "[i]t would put a welcome mat out for pimps and prostitutes"[27] despite the fact that "the proposition grew out of years of advocacy and research."[27] While serving as Attorney General of California, she was "active in leading the charge against Backpage.com, a website that hosted classifieds ads and was used by many escorts — and, according to sex workers, a platform that was used as a resource for vetting clients and keeping themselves safe. In 2016, she filed numerous charges against the owners of the site, including money laundering, pimping, and conspiracy to commit pimping. Her argument was that it was a hub for sex trafficking, with some of the victims being children, even though the site was far more often used by escorts doing consensual sex work."[26] The pimping charges were dismissed by Superior Court Judge Lawrence Brown, who wrote that the "attempt to assign criminal liability to defendants who offered an online forum on which other people posted advertisements that led to prostitution [...] confuse moral obligations with legal ones and have been rejected in other jurisdictions".[28]

Harris was also a "cosponsor"[29] and supporter of FOSTA-SESTA (the Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act (SESTA) and Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act (FOSTA)),[30] a set of bills signed into law under President Donald Trump which were intended to tackle sex trafficking, but which also conflate "consensual sex work with nonconsensual sex work by doing nothing to differentiate between various kinds of sex work and related content — even if the workers and content are all legally protected by local law."[31] FOSTA-SESTA has been described as a "complete disaster"[32] which "has only put sex workers in danger and wasted taxpayer money".[33]

More recently, Harris has indicated that she supports the decriminalization of sex work, at least partially.[34] However, she "appears to still support criminalizing purchasing sex",[35] despite the fact that doing so "harms sex workers and causes violence",[36] according to advocacy groups.

See also[edit]


  1. Against the recommendation of state's Justice Department.


  1. Kamala Harris on Joe Biden, Being a ‘First’ and Restoring the Soul of the Nation: The 2020 TIME Person of the Year Interview by Madeleine Carlisle (December 10, 2020 10:52 PM EST) Time.
  2. Tucker Carlson can't pronounce her name
  3. Our good friends at Conservapedia
  4. 4.0 4.1 https://www.nytimes.com/2016/05/29/magazine/kamala-harris-a-top-cop-in-the-era-of-black-lives-matter.html?_r=0
  5. https://votesmart.org/candidate/biography/120012/kamala-harris#.XGeNYOhKhPY
  6. https://www.cnn.com/2019/01/27/politics/kamala-harris-2020-presidential-campaign/index.html
  7. https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/11/03/us/elections/results-president.html/
  8. https://www.theonefeather.com/2014/02/charles-curtis-americas-indian-vice-president/
  9. Bidar, M. (June 9, 2022). "Twitter slow to remove racist and sexist tweets targeting Vice President Kamala Harris, report finds" CBS News. Accessed November 2, 2022.
  10. Haberman, Z. (August 13, 2020). "Trump echoes fringe birther attack on Harris". NBC News. Accessed November 2, 2022.
  11. Eastman, J. (August 12, 2020). "Some Questions for Kamala Harris About Eligibility". Newsweek. Accessed November 2022.
  12. Cooper, N.; Hammer, J. (August 13, 2020). "Editor's Note: Eastman's Newsweek Column Has Nothing to Do With Racist Birtherism". Newsweek. Accessed November 2, 2022.
  13. Judge rips Harris' office for hiding problems’, by Jaxon Van Derbeken, SF Gate, 21 May 2010
  14. Kamala Harris Was Not a ‘Progressive Prosecutor’, by Lara Bazelon, The New York Times, 17 January 2019
  15. Misconduct claim involving Kamala Harris aide came to agency months before she left office, by ALEXEI KOSEFF, The Sacramento Bee, 18 December 2018
  16. The Two Faces of Kamala Harris by Branko Marcetic (08.10.2017) Jaocbin.
  17. The Left’s Misguided Debate Over Kamala Harris by David Dayen (August 8, 2017) The New Republic.
  18. Kamala Harris’ Presidential Run Will Force Democrats to Decide Where They Really Stand on Criminal Justice by Jamilah King (January 9, 2019) Mother Jones.
  19. Weigel, David (August 30, 2017). "Sen. Kamala Harris backs Bernie Sanders's single-payer bill". Retrieved August 31, 2017. 
  20. http://www.ontheissues.org/Domestic/Kamala_Harris_Gun_Control.htm
  21. Johnson, Chris (October 25, 2017). "Kamala Harris emerges as LGBT favorite for 2020 — there’s just one thing". 
  22. 22.0 22.1 Kamala Harris on Denying Gender Affirmation Surgery to Trans Inmates by Tracy E. Gilchrist (September 20 2019 10:38 PM EDT) The Advocate.
  23. 'Gay panic' defense tactic under scrutiny at conference by Wyatt (4:00 am PDT, Wednesday, July 19, 2006) The San Francisco Chronicle.
  24. http://www.policyconference.org/article/transcripts/2017/harris.asp
  25. https://www.timesofisrael.com/multiple-2020-democrats-say-they-wont-attend-aipac-summit/
  26. 26.0 26.1 https://www.rollingstone.com/politics/politics-news/kamala-harris-sex-workers-joe-biden-vice-president-1043941/
  27. 27.0 27.1 27.2 https://www.them.us/story/kamala-harriss-record-on-trans-and-sex-work-issues
  28. https://blog.ericgoldman.org/archives/2017/08/backpage-executives-must-face-money-laundering-charges-despite-section-230-people-v-ferrer.htm
  29. https://filtermag.org/presidential-hopeful-kamala-harris-made-sex-workers-lives-more-dangerous/
  30. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stop_Enabling_Sex_Traffickers_Act
  31. https://www.vox.com/culture/2018/4/13/17172762/fosta-sesta-backpage-230-internet-freedom
  32. https://www.dailydot.com/debug/fosta-sesta-gao-report-complete-disaster/
  33. https://www.businessinsider.com/fosta-sesta-anti-sex-trafficking-law-has-been-failure-opinion-2019-7?r=US&IR=T
  34. https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/kamala-harris-legalize-prostitution/
  35. https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2019/03/02/kamala-harris-brought-sex-work-into-spotlight-heres-what-she-should-do-next/
  36. https://www.swarmcollective.org/blog/the-swedish-model