Shaun King: Kamala Harris Is A Great Campaigner


I had a chance to meet so many of our listeners yesterday in San Antonio and always love seeing you all face to face. Listen, I was absolutely blown away by the King Day March there in San Antonio. Over 300,000 showed up and it was literally the largest King Day March in the nation. They’ve been doing that in San Antonio for over 30 years and it keeps getting bigger and bigger.

I’m super proud of San Antonio for literally electing it’s first three Black women judges in the entire history of the city – and I got a chance to meet each of them yesterday. I also got a chance to meet with the new District Attorney there, Joe Gonzalez, who we helped elect. Never in my life did I think I would be glad to see a District Attorney, because I’ve been fighting against them for years, but Joe Gonzalez is a compassionate and kind man and we are counting on him to help change the justice system there from the inside out.

Speaking of District Attorneys, I want to talk for a few minutes this morning about the big announcement that United States Senator Kamala Harris made yesterday. I said “speaking of District Attorneys” because before she was ever the Junior Senator from California, Kamala Harris was a career prosecutor, then served as the District Attorney of San Francisco, and then became the Attorney General of California.

In case you missed it, Senator Harris announced that she is indeed going to run for President – and it’s a huge, historic deal. Of course Shirley Chisholm ran for President before, so Senator Harris is not the first Black woman to ever run, but she’s the first Black woman from the Senate to run, and most people believe she probably has more of a chance to actually win than any Black woman that has ever run. Maybe because we are in such a difficult time in our country right now, with Trump as President, and the government being shut down for the longest time in our nation’s history, maybe it’s easy to gloss over how big of a deal it is that Kamala Harris is running for President, but it’s a huge deal.

I think she’s a serious candidate. Yes, I think she could defeat Trump. She’s actually a great campaigner. She’s never lost an election – and she’s been in some tough ones – she’s fought for every job she’s ever had. And in every election before now I would say that being from California wasn’t really an advantage in the Democratic primary, but this year I’d say it’s actually a huge advantage. California smartly moved it’s primary up from June, where it almost doesn’t matter, because the primaries are normally decided before they even get there, California moved their primaries up from June to March – right in the thick of things – so whoever wins California will be competitive no matter what. And she’d be hard to beat there. She’s won multiple statewide elections there – several by a landslide.

I do want to keep it all the way real this morning, because I think you’re going to hear some of this in the days ahead and I want to prepare you for it.

In criminal justice reform circles, including many of the teams that I am a part of, we have always had a deep skepticism of Senator Harris when it comes to criminal justice. Some of my friends in the space would probably give her an F for much of her time as a District Attorney and Attorney General of California, and she did make some truly awful decisions that I think she will have to address over the course of her campaign, but I think she was more like a C-, and not an F, during those years. It was not all bad, and anybody saying so is lying, but it wasn’t great – and that was for a good twenty years of her professional life. But these are things that all come out in the primaries.

So that’s me keeping it real on her time before she was a Senator.

But I also have to keep it real on the fact that since she has been a Senator, on issues of criminal justice reform, she has really changed and evolved to be one of the 2-3 most progressive people in all of the Senate. She has co-sponsored many of the best bills on justice reform, and I do think it’s authentic. Again, we’re going to have 18 months to evaluate her and every other candidate – and we should give them all a chance.

I’ll close with this thought. She did pass my first personal test. I’ve said this on the show several times. I’m looking at the senior campaign staff hires for all of the presidential candidates and she hired a brilliant, diverse staff from Day 1. And that’s great news because that really hasn’t been the case for Democrats, but things are changing, and these first candidates are clearly hearing our demands that they hire staffs that look like America.


Shaun King: Kamala Harris Is A Great Campaigner  was originally published on blackamericaweb.com