Kamala Harris is standing her ground against some recent chatter about who can actually beat President Trump in the 2020 election.
The California senator and 2020 Democratic hopeful believes the media narrative taking shape in the presidential race is wrong. The talk is that essentially only certain voters will back certain candidates, regardless of where they stand on issues.
Harris made clear during a two-day swing through urban and suburban Detroit that she thinks the talking heads who draw conclusions from their desks in Washington and New York are ill-informed at best.
“There has been a lot of conversation by pundits about ‘electability’ and ‘who can speak to the Midwest?’ But when they say that, they usually put the Midwest in a simplistic box and a narrow narrative, and too often their definition of the Midwest leaves people out,” Harris said. “It leaves out people in this room who helped build cities like Detroit. It leaves out working women who are on their feet all day—many of them working without equal pay.”
This isn’t the first time Harris has taken on the D.C. talking heads.
Last fall, the California senator accused critics of “identity politics,” of weaponizing the term to minimize issues of race, gender and sexual orientation.
In a speech she gave to a Netroots Nation convention in August, Harris said the term “identity politics” is often used to divide and distract.
“Its purpose is to minimize and marginalize issues that impact all of us. It is used to try and shut us up,” she told the progressive gathering. “We’re talking about those issues and we won’t be shut up and we won’t be silenced.”
Harris’ latest comments come amid growing perception reflected in media that it will take a white man—perhaps former Vice President Joe Biden or Sen. Bernie Sanders—to defeat Trump in battleground states where he beat Hillary Clinton in 2016.
“This ‘electability’ argument is bullshit,” said Bakari Sellers, a former South Carolina state representatives who appears on CNN and supports Harris. “It’s the biggest faux pas that Democrats are making this election cycle. It disregards the fact that the only Democratic candidate to win the presidency in the last two decades was a black guy. And, second, we’ve allowed ‘working class’ to enter our lexicon and only mean white working class — and totally disregard a whole other swath of voters.
“What we saw in Milwaukee, in Detroit and Philadelphia, we lost the presidency where we probably could have focused on those working-class voters of color just a little bit more” in 2016, Sellers added.
“I think it’s really important that we give the American public more credit,” Harris said. “And understand that they, at the bottom line, are going to make decisions based on who speaks to their issues, and the things that keep them up at night.”
“Our party is not white or black, Hispanic or Asian, immigrant or indigenous,” she said in Detroit. “As a party, we cannot let ourselves be drawn into thinking in those boxes or falling into those assumptions. We cannot get dragged into simplistic narratives.”