Senator Kamala Harris is seemingly positioning herself for a role in the Democratic primary for the White House in 2020.
The former attorney general, who is entering her second year in the Senate, is appearing to take positions on hot topics that could attract the Democratic base. Earlier this month, Harris voted against the Senate's immigration bill that was supported by centrists from both parties. She waited until the last minute to break from this stance.
On that topic, she argued that the while bill would provide a pathway to citizenship for immigrants who entered the country illegally, it would still fund the president's Mexican border wall. She claimed that because of this, she could not support the bill in good conscience.
“While this bill would put Dreamers on a pathway toward citizenship, the appropriation of $25 billion for a border wall is a waste of taxpayer money,” she said. “A wall will not secure our border and I remain concerned those billions of dollars may also be used to implement this Administration’s anti-immigrant agenda — one that targets California and its residents.”
Harris has also been emphasizing her position on gun control, depicting herself as a strong critic of the National Rifle Association. On Thursday, she reported an attack by the NRA's chief during the Conservative Political Action Conference.
She posted on Twitter, “I am not going to be silenced by attacks from the NRA or anyone else — and neither will my Senate colleagues or the students from Stoneman Douglas. It's time to stand up to the gun lobby and keep our communities safe.”
I am not going to be silenced by attacks from the NRA or anyone else — and neither will my Senate colleagues or the students from Stoneman Douglas. It's time to stand up to the gun lobby and keep our communities safe. #NeverAgain
— Kamala Harris (@KamalaHarris) February 22, 2018
After the Parkland shooting, Harris became a strong voice on the gun control issue.
In a viral video, she stated: “we cannot tolerate a society and live in a country with any level of pride when our babies are being slaughtered.”
While some are arguing that her positions are clearly strategic moves to position herself for a competitive role in the Democratic primary, those who are close to Harris claim that these issues are ones that she has been passionate about for years. They say that protecting the Dreamers, or undocumented immigrants brought to the United States as children, has been her priority since she was elected to the Senate.
Chris Lehane, a Democratic strategist, said Harris “feels a responsibility and an obligation to stand up on issues she has long been involved with.”
“It’s a natural position for any progressive Democrat from California because they have a record to point to of having engaged on those issues,” Lehane said. “She’s obviously an incredibly effective communicator and has enormous energy, but these are also issues she has rolled her sleeves up on.”
H/T: The Hill