Kamala Harris’ campaign takes off strong
The 2020 presidential candidate formally announced the launch of her campaign in front of 20,000 people in Oakland last weekend, putting herself at the forefront of a crowded, and growing, Democratic primary field.
Until 2018, Kamala Harris was known as the friendly senator from California, whose career in law enforcement earned her a seat on one of the most powerful committees in Congress.
The Trump era, however, seems to have been the push necessary for Harris, who was the first African-American woman to serve as California's Attorney General, and later, one of the state's two senators, to finally launch a Democratic candidacy for president in 2020.
Harris joined others such as Elizabeth Warren, Kirsten Gillibrand and Julián Castro, who have announced their respective explorations of a "possible candidacy," which has become essentially an informal campaign committee, ain anticipation of the most populous Democratic primaries since 1992.
However, as the days go by, all the attention seems to be fixated on Harris - and it's no wonder.
During the official launch of her candidacy last Sunday organized in her hometown on Sunday, Harris was received by a crowd comparable to the one pulled by Barack Obama in Springfield, Illinois in Feb. 2007 when he launched his bid for the presidency.
If Obama managed to gather an estimated 17,000 people when he announced his candidacy, Harris surpassed him by around 3,000 onlookers.
According to Rolling Stone, the mass of people murmured the possibility of a symbolic victory for the entire country: Harris could become not only the second U.S. president of color, but its first woman as well - the first African-American woman, the first president of South Asian origin, and the first president from Oakland.
In fact, one of the most important challenges for this 54-year-old senator is precisely the detachment from male figures that tend to tarnish her achievements.
Harris has not only been referred to as the "female Obama,” but she has also drawn attacks from all sides, including criticism of her track record as a prosecutor and the influence of former San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown, in her professional success.
For her part, Harris has pushed ahead with her chin up. She has shown that her femininity, good humor and intelligence are organic elements of her personality, independent of any political machinery that could lurk behind the scenes.
As Jamil Smith points out in his column for Rolling Stone, while "Obama often shied away from exhibiting the kind of anger for which black men are so often stigmatized," Harris has overturned the stereotypes attributed to her by providing "yet another example of a woman of color rising in politics because of – not despite - her intensity and intelligence.”
"Harris stands at the end of a road that was last tread by Michelle, not Barack," Smith added.
Harris debuted her first official campaign event reminding the country that "we are better than this," referring to racism, division and exclusion.
"In all my life, I've only had one client: the people,” she added.
Since then, the candidate has made public appearances in the media, and she organized her required visit to Iowa, from where she assured that her strategy to face Trump will be to "speak like a leader," instead of "inciting fear.”
She has also made public her views in favor of Medicare-for-all, a Green New Deal and a solution for young Dreamers.