Kamala Harris is the Face of the Democratic Party’s Protest Campaign against Bernie Sanders
Harris’ candidacy has since day one operated as a protest campaign against Bernie Sanders.
“Harris appears to be the elite’s most favored insurance policy.”
Thirteen presidential hopefuls spoke to a crowd of committed Democrats at the Democratic National Convention’s (DNC) summer meeting on August 22nd. Kamala Harris concluded her speech with a fiery declaration of “love” for her country.” When Harris stepped off the stage, her campaign staff walked out of the convention hall just as Bernie Sanders entered the stage. A modest crowd of Harris volunteers chanted “she’s smart, she’s strong, with Kamala you can’t go wrong” through much of Sanders’ speech. The Harris-aligned tabloid presss meared the journalist who took the original video even as her Twitter-hive rejoiced in the act of protesting Sanders on social media.
Harris’ candidacy has since day one operated as a protest campaign against Bernie Sanders. The current U.S. Senator and former Attorney General of California initially marketed herself as a “progressive” candidate by lending rhetorical support to Medicare for All. During the two Democratic Party debates, Harris came out with her own plan for “Medicare for All” which included a ten-year phase in period and a large role for corporate Medicare Advantage plans in administering coverage. She also attacked Joe Biden’s position on busing. Not too long after the debates, Harris was neither for Medicare for All nor able to muster a consistent position on desegregation.
“To Harris’ staffers, being ‘smart’ and ‘strong’ means opposing Medicare for All.”
Kamala Harris’ distasteful post-speech protest of Sanders reflects her function in this election cycle. Former Vice President Joe Biden is increasingly becoming a political liability. Not only does Biden possess an unsavory political record of service to the rich, but his campaign speeches also indicate a lapse in mental functioning and political tact that renders him vulnerable in a contest against Trump. The corporate oligarchs in charge of the Democratic Party have elicited the assistance of several corporate candidates to provide insurance for Biden’s almost inevitable collapse. Harris appears to be the elite’s most favored insurance policy.
This is evident in the fact that Harris has expressed the most direct opposition to Bernie Sanders’ proposals for a 21stcentury New Deal. Harris recently promised wealthy donors in the Hamptons that she “believed in capitalism.”There will be no single-payer healthcare or any other policy that disrupts the unmitigated plunder of the planet by a small group of oligarch under a Harris administration. Harris’ “discomfort” with Sanders’ healthcare plan is an obvious signal to the elites that the fortunes they have amassed from the insurance and pharmaceutical industries are safe with her. To Harris’ staffers, being “smart” and “strong” means opposing a policy that currently garners support from eighty percent of Democrats,
“Biden’s campaign speeches indicate a lapse in mental functioning and political tact.”
Unlike Biden, Harris is part of a class of Black elites that rely on political tact to advance their careers at the expense of poor Black Americans and the rest of the working class. Campaign rhetoric is nothing but an exercise for political power. Words are meaningless. The conditions of the masses are even less significant. Harris is attempting to position herself as the “strong” and “smart” candidate as opposed to Sanders’ “dumb” New Deal policies or Trump’s “weak” foreign policy. As Harris reminds us on her Twitter feed, her presidency would maintain the war machine by rejecting diplomacy with nations such as the DPRK.
The 2020 election has entered the “electability” circus whereby the entire Democratic Party apparatus has set its full attention to ensuring that Sanders’ 21stcentury New Deal is kept far away from the Oval Office. Silence has ensued across the entire establishment over Biden’s legacy as an architect of pro-Wall Street, pro-war, and pro-mass incarceration policies for two generations. Harris has yet to answer for her own role in the erection of the mass Black incarceration regime and the facilitation of the Great Heist of working people by Wall Street financiers. During her Senate campaign, Harris received a donation from executive Steve Minuchin of One West Bank after she failed to prosecute him for his many financial crimes against the people of California. Tulsi Gabbard’s summary of Harris’ role in incarcerating mostly Black Californians during her reign as District Attorney and Attorney General only skimmed the surface of her crimes, which include the conviction and punishment of mainly Black mothers and parents of truant children in the state of California.
“A Harris presidency would maintain the war machine.”
Luckily, the cheering and sloganeering for Harris doesn’t extend far beyond her small band of supporters. Harris has received donations from seventeen billionaire donors but still trails far behind Sanders, Warren, and Biden in the polls. Biden and Harris’ stock has dropped as of late while Sanders and Warren continue to rise in popularity. Still, early polls mean little at this stage of the corporate duopoly’s electoral circus. Kamala Harris and the older, more accomplished imperialist pig, Joe Biden, are not seeking to win the Democratic nomination through popular support but rather by the good graces and dollars of the corporate elite that controls the DNC. Elizabeth Warren doesn’t veer too far from Harris or Biden in this regard and has demonstrated that she is more than willing to play the game. According to the New York Times, Warren has promised prominent Democratic Party elites that her principle goal is to rejuvenate the corporate-owned party, not inspire a Sanders-like “political revolution.”
What this means is that the entire Democratic Party apparatus is waging a protest campaign against Bernie Sanders’ 21stcentury New Deal. Kamala Harris is the face of this campaign—a job that would have been reserved for Biden were it not for the lack of confidence that the bourgeoisie possesses in the former Vice President and Delaware Senator. Harris’ lack of popular support is not a problem for the ruling class. The ruling class prefers a candidate who is not afraid to openly denounce the left when it calls for fewer prisons and more schools as she did in 2013. However, DNC elites are beginning to hedge their bets on the “progressive” sounding Warren, who considers rejecting corporate donors in the general election as “unilateral disarmament.” Warren received praise from Clinton and Cuomo advisors for her “inside-outside” game at the DNC’s summer session.This is a clear sign that the elites believe that Warren is valued for her potential to defeat Sanders’ New Deal.
“Warren received praise from Clinton and Cuomo advisors for her ‘inside-outside’ game.”
The 2020 election is a tribute to just how far to the right the Democratic Party has gone amid the reemergence of leftish ideas among its base. A 21stcentury New Deal is on top of the wish list of most Democratic Party voters. But Bernie Sanders’ style of socialism, which is merely a reproduction of welfare-state capitalism, will not be tolerated by a party whose politicians receive direct orders and financial sustenance from Wall Street. The continued momentum of Bernie Sanders’ campaign indeed allows for a wider debate about a leftish domestic agenda in the United States but offers little guidance on the broader international struggle against U.S. imperialism. The Vermont Senator’s foreign policy veers to the “left” by calling for diplomacy rather than military hostilities. However, Sanders still sits firmly in the anti-China and anti-Russia camp due to the limitations of the two-party electoral duopoly and his own “class-first” political prejudices.
Thus, the future of humanity remains in imminent danger from the predations of U.S. imperialism and the outcome of the 2020 elections will not change this fact. What can stall and perhaps interrupt the drive to endless war is a crisis in the mainland of imperialism. This makes the confrontation between the Sandernistas and the corporate Democratic Party over the course of the rest of the election more important, however limited the corporately owned U.S. electoral system may be. The capitalists have made it explicitly clear: a 21stcentury New Deal is a reprehensible project that threatens their very existence as a class. That’s because U.S. imperialism has entered the age of decline. Corporate profits are subsidized not only by the state but also by the super exploitation of half of the world’s precarious labor. The left should not sit back as the corporate Democrats wage a protest campaign against New Deal politics, even if we actualsocialists understand that the capitalist class must be removed from power to truly transform society. Intensified class struggle at home has the potential to sew more instability in the U.S. military state’s regime of terror abroad. If a mass movement is to truly challenge the military state, however, it will have to tackle white supremacy, austerity, and war head on in one struggle. This is the only version of class struggle that can reverse the catastrophe wrought on the planet by an “America first” imperialist system.
Danny Haiphong is an activist and journalist in the New York City area. He and Roberto Sirvent are co-authors of the book entitled American Exceptionalism and American Innocence: A People’s History of Fake News--From the Revolutionary War to the War on Terror (Skyhorse Publishing).He can be reached at [email protected], on Instagram at danny_haiphong, and on Twitter at @SpiritofHo.
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