The Stew Reporting on government and politics

Biden’s VP choice expected—but not safe

Politics | Kamala Harris pushes the ticket farther left on abortion and religious liberty
by Harvest Prude
Posted 8/11/20, 08:03 pm

Joe Biden’s selection of Kamala Harris as his running mate makes the 2020 Democratic presidential ticket “the most pro-abortion in history,” the Susan B. Anthony List and March for Life said after Tuesday’s announcement.

Harris has held the titles of district attorney for the city of San Francisco and attorney general and now U.S. senator for the state of California, but she has the lesser-known distinction of being the defendant in a lawsuit brought by pro-life activists from the Center for Medical Progress.

In May, David Daleiden and CMP sued Harris, Planned Parenthood, and current California Attorney General Xavier Becerra. The lawsuit alleges that Harris, while serving as attorney general, conspired with Planned Parenthood to violate Daleiden’s rights to free speech and equal protection under the law.

Daleiden argues that Harris singled him out for prosecution because his undercover videos found evidence that Planned Parenthood was profiting from the sale of body parts from aborted babies.

The Democratic establishment is calling Harris the safe choice for Biden, but unborn babies and religious Americans would hardly be secure if she ever became president.

If elected, Harris would become the first woman and first non-white person—she has Jamaican and Indian heritage—to hold the office of vice president. At age 55, she helps balance the Democratic ticket generationally, too. Biden, at 77, would be the oldest person elected president in U.S. history if he defeats President Donald Trump in November.

“She’s a woman of color, she’s got a law enforcement background,” said Henry Olsen, a senior fellow at the Ethics & Public Policy Center. “In the post–[George Floyd] era, she’s got a foot in both camps as far as law and order and racial justice.”

That law-and-order background has drawn criticism from the progressive wing of the Democratic Party. While serving as a prosecutor in the district attorney’s office in Alameda County and San Francisco and as California’s attorney general, Harris defended the state’s death penalty and prosecuted many marijuana-related infractions, something that her fellow Democrats used against her in one of the debates she participated in before dropping out of the presidential race in December 2019. She also has endorsed several progressive proposals, including “Medicare for All.”

As a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Harris gained attention with her antagonistic questioning of Brett Kavanaugh during his Supreme Court confirmation hearing. A few months later, she questioned a judicial nominee about whether his involvement in the Catholic service group Knights of Columbus would affect his impartiality on the bench.

During one of last year’s debates, she challenged Biden about his cooperation with Southern segregationists in the U.S. Senate. But Harris could not make a compelling case for why voters should pick her from the crowded field. Three months after she suspended her campaign, she endorsed Biden after his surge on Super Tuesday.

Ryan Burge, an assistant professor of political science at Eastern Illinois University, said he doubts the choice of Harris will significantly reshape the race: “I think Biden did the smart thing here in that he’s playing for boring. … She’s not without her controversies but they’re not overwhelming.”

He described Harris’ policies as to the left of Biden but not as far left as Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt.

Last year, Harris tweeted that the “freedom to worship” should “never be used to discriminate or undermine other Americans’ civil rights” in reference to religious employers’ ability to let their faith inform their hiring and firing decisions. She also supports repealing the Hyde Amendment, which keeps federal taxpayer dollars from paying for abortion.

The Trump campaign reacted to the news with a statement calling Harris’ selection “proof that Joe Biden is an empty shell being filled with the extreme agenda of the radicals on the left.”

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., continued that theme, saying Harris “wants to turn America into San Francisco. As her policy stances in Washington show, she would take away private health plans, make energy more expensive, and ‘reimagine policing.’”

Biden and Harris are expected to give speeches Wednesday in Wilmington, Del. Harris tweeted on Tuesday that she will “do what it takes to make [Biden] our Commander-in-Chief.”

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Harvest Prude

Harvest is a political reporter for WORLD's Washington Bureau. She is a World Journalism Institute and Patrick Henry College graduate. Harvest resides in Washington, D.C. Follow her on Twitter @HarvestPrude.

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    Posted: Wed, 08/12/2020 10:04 am

    I talked with a very prolife person the other day ... someone who has participated in prolife events, contributes to crisis pregnancy centers, helps single moms, and is raising two children with her husband. She's supporting Biden/Harris this fall, because she feels like the Trump administration has taken the life issue off the table by its mishandling of the COVID-19 pandemic. She's hearing Trump minimize COVID-19, even though she knows people who have died from it. She's hearing conservatives argue that it's okay for grandma, overweight people, (or a 26-year old friend!) to die because, "the economy" and "the election."

    If the GOP wants to defeat Biden/Harris, they would do well to recover George W. Bush's "culture of life" rhetoric and principles.

    Posted: Wed, 08/12/2020 07:40 pm

    Thank you for sharing. Letting the woman vent is one way to help while she's hurting from the death of her friend. Such pain is so deep and agonizing with COVID isolating us from those we love -- when they suffer and die. May other women friends simply be there to listen.

    If you have the opportunity, please find and let her know about the nearest GriefShare support group. Also, this Bible-based, Christ-centered ministry provides daily emails of comfort, answers, and hope

  • Spock
    Posted: Thu, 08/13/2020 08:30 am

    Unfortunately, the GOP as we knew it (the one that stood up for principles such as the sanctity of life, fiscal restraint, and limited government) is dead.  I don't think it can be revived (can't put new wine in old wineskins).  It's time for conservatives, Christians, and those who believe in the principles of the Constitution to find a new party.  We haven't always had the same two parties, and hopefully we won't for much longer because the two we have are thoroughly corrupt and broken.

  • JimVC
    Posted: Thu, 08/13/2020 11:30 am

    Two things that Kamala Harris needs to be made aware of:
    The First Amendment guarantees free exercise of religion, not merely "freedom to worship."
    The president is commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces, not of the entire population.

  • Janet B
    Posted: Thu, 08/13/2020 12:05 pm

    Tim, I will be praying for this woman, that she would be comforted in the grief after the deaths of people she knew.  And also that she would realize that being angry that the President has not been perfect in his handling of this pandemic, and thus maybe not so life-oriented, is not really a good reason to support two people for whom the death of innocents is a "right."