[guest post by Dana]
Fixed this for you, ABC News:
Is Kamala Harris proof that America isn't ready for a woman of color as president? https://t.co/WV0BY3JBYK
— ABC News (@ABC) November 16, 2019
Maybe Democrats really aren’t ready for a woman of color to lead. I don’t know, I’m not a Democrat, but I’m not impressed with Harris in the exact same way I’m not impressed with any of the other 312 Democratic candidates running for office: their policies suck.
With that, however, it’s not really difficult to understand that Democratic voters may not favor Kamala Harris because her policy positions don’t fully reflect their own, or maybe her past history as a public official hasn’t inspired trust in her, or perhaps it’s because her continual pandering doesn’t convey any real sense of leadership. The lazy, default assumption by ABC News – that it must be an issue of gender/color keeping Harris from the top-tier – not only insults American voters but it also insults the candidate as well. And by assigning Harris victim status, ABC News is essentially claiming that Democrats are judging Harris on the color of her skin and her gender, and not on the content of her character, the quality of her work, the principles upon which she stands, nor the policies that she is promoting. Reducing Harris’s poor showing to designations beyond her control does not reflect any valuation of her as a determined American who is undertaking a massively difficult task, and instead reflects a blatant stereotyping that should be beneath any serious news organization. If Democrats don’t want Kamala Harris as their nominee, and judging from the polling data they don’t, then why assume it’s because she’s a woman of color? Why not give Democratic voters more credit than that, and why not give a woman of color more credit than that as well? Enough with the projection. After all, if another Democratic candidate, who also happens to be a woman of color, is willing to judge Harris strictly on her merits, how much more so should an allegedly serious and impartial news outlet:
In the July debate, fellow 2020 contender Rep. Tulsi Gabbard took aim at Harris’ record as attorney general of California. Gabbard, the only other woman of color in the race, said Harris “put over 1,500 people in jail for marijuana violations and then laughed about it when she was asked if she ever smoked marijuana. She blocked evidence that would have freed an innocent man from death row until the courts forced her to do so.” The moment helped elevate Gabbard in the polls, and by fall she was outpolling Harris in some battleground states.
P.S. It must come as a shock to ABC News to learn that Democratic voters – including women of color – actually prioritize other things over gender and skin color when making their decisions about which candidate to support:
At the Essence Festival, one of the largest African American events in the country, Harris would double down on her pitch to black voters. But not all black women were on board with Harris. Alicia Jones, a Howard University alumna, told ABC News at the time, “I think that what she did was dirty. And I think she’s way beyond and way above what she did.”
“I felt like it was politicizing,” Jones, an African American, added. “And so at that point, that took the smart person who I thought she was and took it down a couple of notches.”
Jones, who hasn’t finalized her choice for the Democratic primary, told ABC News that race doesn’t play a factor in how she chooses to vote.
“Don’t think that I’m a vote for you just because you’re black,” she said. “I didn’t vote for Barack Obama just because he was black. I voted for him because he was smart. I voted for him because he had a record that showed me the things that he did. It didn’t matter that he was only a senator for five minutes.”
(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)