Senator Kamala Harris, the California Democrat and barrier-breaking prosecutor who became the second black woman to serve in the United States Senate, declared her candidacy for president on Monday, joining an increasingly crowded and diverse field in what promises to be a wide-open nomination process.
The announcement was bathed in symbolism: Ms. Harris chose to enter the race on the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, an overt nod to the historic nature of her candidacy, and her timing was also meant to evoke Shirley Chisholm, the New York congresswoman who became the first woman to seek the Democratic Party’s nomination for president 47 years ago this week.
In addition, Ms. Harris will hold her first campaign event on Friday in South Carolina, where black voters are the dominant force in the Democratic primary, rather than start off by visiting Iowa and New Hampshire, the two predominantly white states that hold their nomination contests first. She will hold a kickoff rally Sunday in Oakland, Calif., her hometown.
For the first time, the Democratic presidential race now includes several high-profile women, with Ms. Harris joining two other prominent senators who have announced candidacies, Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Kirsten Gillibrand of New York. Representative Tulsi Gabbard, a Hawaii Democrat, has also said she is running, and more women could enter the race in the coming weeks.
Ms. Harris made her announcement on “Good Morning America” and also released a video aimed at supporters and other Democrats.
Here's the announcement video:
Harris is I think the largest threat of the field that did not run in 2016. Former VP Joe Biden remains the favorite, although I certainly wouldn't call his lead prohibitive considering the already large field and the fact that Biden hasn't announced yet either.
But Harris does have some baggage to deal with from her days as California's Attorney General. Just a few days ago, Harris was blasted in the NY Times by criminal justice activist and law professor Lara Bazelon over her record, and while Bazelon made some pretty good points, the fact of the matter is Harris worked for change from inside the system ir order to achieve reform, and did make some serious changes.
The gripping hand on that is the fact that in a post-Trump era, we need a lot more than incremental change with a new president in 2020. Harris seems ready, and she's certainly a better choice than Tulsi Gabbard.
We'll see. Harris is very smart heading to SC first to win over black voters and especially black women, because believe me when I say black women will decide the 2020 Democratic candidate.