Joe Bidens election of Kamala Harris as runner-up seals Trump's re-election
by Jacob Reimann
[This article published on 8/14/2020 is translated from the German on the Internet, https://www.nachdenkseiten.de/?p=63810.]
On Tuesday, Joe Biden announced that he will run for the presidential election in November with Senator Kamala Harris from California as his runner-up. Many liberals in particular are euphorically celebrating the election of the charismatic Harris with Indian-Jamaican roots. The lawyer likes to call herself a "progressive prosecutor", but her history as Californian Attorney General dismantles this persistent myth. Harris is a tough law-and-order politician and is at the heart of the party. Her election once again illustrates the Democratic establishment's pathological fear of anything that could even begin to smell left-wing - it seals Trump's re-election.
On Tuesday the Democratic presidential candidate designate Joe Biden announced that he would run in the November election together with Kamala Harris, who is thus in a historic step becoming the first black woman on a presidential ticket of the two major parties. The decision came as quite a surprise, as the Democratic presidential TV duels - Harris wanted to be president herself - repeatedly gave rise to heated arguments between the two. Joe Biden is four years older than Trump and, if elected, would be by far the oldest president in US history at 78 years of age at the time of his inauguration. Biden's mental decline in recent years is well documented and sad to watch.
At public events and in interviews he often stammers to himself, forgets the word "God" and Barack Obama's name several times, confuses his wife with his sister and Theresa May and Angela Merkel each with Maggi Thatcher. Biden should retire and enjoy his retirement, not strive for the most powerful political office in the world. In view of his dwindling constitution, Kamala Harris would occupy an unusually important and powerful position as Vice President - perhaps almost comparable to Dick Cheney under the presidency of George Bush, who was also mentally incapable of holding the office seriously. There is also a relatively high probability that Harris - let us hope not! - would have to take over the US presidency completely in the event of a total failure of Biden. It is therefore appropriate to take a closer look at the new vice candidate.
Harris, the tough law-and-order politician.
In 1999 the electrician George Gage was accused of having sexually abused his stepdaughter Marian several years earlier. The charge was based on Marian's testimony. Gage, who had no previous convictions, vehemently rejected the accusations and was finally sentenced by a jury to 70 years in prison. Following the trial, the judge in charge discovered that the prosecution had withheld unlawful exculpatory evidence, including medical reports documenting that Marian had told the untruth several times in the past before law enforcement authorities, as well as a statement by the mother, who stated that Marian was "a pathological liar" and "lives in her lies". An appeal judge subsequently overturned the verdict, but Gage remained behind bars.
Years later, the case ended up in the US Court of Appeals in San Francisco in 2015 - under the jurisdiction of the California Attorney General's Office. Its chairman at the time was Kamala Harris. Harris's team vehemently defended the verdict against the innocent man, but not on the basis of evidence, but because of an insignificant formality based on the fact that Gage had to defend himself without the right to a public defender. Gage is now 80 years old and continues to sit behind bars as an innocent man.
The anecdote is exemplary for other cases from Kamala Harris' work as a prosecutor and illustrates her character as an incorrigible law-and-order politician. Harris made a steep career in the US judicial system. She was admitted to the bar in 1990, was elected District Attorney in San Francisco in 2003, and finally was elected Attorney General of California in 2010, a powerful dual position of Attorney General and Attorney General. In 2017 she became Senator for California. In the 2019 Democratic Presidential TV Duels, Harris was energetic, eloquent, extremely charismatic and repeatedly thumped her current boss, Biden. But she failed relatively quickly due to poor polling results.
In some areas, Harris undoubtedly has positions worthy of support. In the past, she became embroiled in several conflicts with large energy companies. Although she is considered "moderate" on climate issues, she wants to work for a ban on fracking and supports the important Green New Deal of left-wing MEP Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. At least verbally, Harris is committed to the fight against racism and for women's rights. But the big problem, which also seriously damages her credibility overall, is her more than problematic past in the Californian justice system. Time and again she invokes the myth of the "progressive prosecutor" - nothing could be further from the truth. Just a few examples, compiled from three articles worth reading in the New York Times, Mother Jones and Left Voice.
Harris repeatedly refused demands for transparency in the context of police violence, resisting the nationwide introduction of body cams, for example. On several occasions, she campaigned against the rights of sex workers and against improving their safety and working conditions. The same applies to the rights of transgender people. Often she advocated repressive policies, the majority of which had a negative impact on black and Latina families as well as on poor people and those from the working class. She refused to prosecute Catholic priests accused of child abuse. In 2010, Harris boasted in a speech that she would begin prosecuting parents of children who occasionally skip school, up to and including prison sentences. When she threatened the parents, she giggled and laughed.
On a radio show in early 2019, Harris admitted to smoking pot in college, but as Attorney General in California she was later responsible for putting at least 1,560 people away in connection with marijuana. In 2014, an Orange County court ruled that the death penalty was unconstitutional. Harris appealed and overturned the verdict, and today 740 men and women are still waiting for their state-ordered execution. Time and again, she campaigned for unlawful sentences to be upheld and for innocent people to remain behind bars. She also intensified the prosecution of crimes such as begging, graffiti spraying and sleeping in homeless camps - a "progressive prosecution" definitely looks different. Kamala Harris is still a tough law and order politician - not for nothing she calls herself California's "Top Cop".
In foreign policy Harris is more or less in line with the positions of the party establishment: back to the Iran deal, aggressive action against Russia, China and also Venezuela and North Korea, one-sidedness for Israel in the conflict with Palestine, continuation of the war in Afghanistan. But one aspect in particular refutes the often propagated point that it tends towards the left wing of the party, and rather proves that it is firmly anchored in the center.
Harris' relationship with the Israeli government
As is well known, the USA's relations with Israel have for decades been regarded in Washington as a holy cow on a non-partisan basis. For the Republican Party, which is drifting further and further into deep brown fields, this continues to be true - for the Democrats, however, not quite so much. The Netanyahu government is now openly and vociferously criticized, above all in the left-wing camp around Bernie Sanders, and partly also Elizabeth Warren, but especially in the squad of young female left-wing members of parliament around Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, and Rashida Tlaib, known as "The Squad"; the latter two are even the first members of Congress to support the BDS campaign.
But even in the traditionally unconditionally pro-Israeli camp in the center of the Democratic Party, it is precisely this unconditionality that is slowly and timidly being questioned by some actors. The position on the Israeli government has become a surrogate, a litmus test to determine where a party member should be placed in the Democratic left-right continuum. And while the party is shifting to the left on this issue - sometimes timidly, sometimes radically - Kamala Harris stands faithfully as ever on the side of the extreme right-wing Netanyahu government; quite literally, too, as at a cordial meeting of the two in Israel in November 2017.
Most Democratic candidates for the US presidency in 2020 did not accept the invitation to the 2018 annual congress of AIPAC, the far right and most influential group within the pro-Israeli lobby in the US. But Kamala Harris attended and spoke on a confidential, non-public panel. A year earlier, she had already given a public speech at the AIPAC Congress, in which she literally pandered to the audience and which was peppered with all kinds of patriotic gayness and kitschy glorifications of the US-Israel relationship.
"Because of our shared values, which are so fundamental to the founding of our two nations, I stand by Israel's side," Harris said. The young states of the United States and Israel did not have much in common in terms of their characteristics and social orientation, but they were united above all by the central fact that both began as settler-colonialist ventures and that the foundations Harris is talking about were inextricably linked to the ethnic cleansing and expulsion of their respective indigenous populations. So the legitimate question is what common, fundamental values Harris is talking about here.
Harris's first ever legislative proposal also condemned a UN resolution that affirmed the illegality of the illegal Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories - Harris is thus actively opposing international law here. Parallel to political content, it is extremely fruitful to take a closer look at the dynamics in the Biden Camp that finally led to Harris's election.
Identity politics as the Holy Grail
Joe Biden is, in a way, the prototype of the "old white man" who for some time now has been a liberal enemy image in the Western media. In US society, and especially in the liberal metropolises, diversity and equal representation in office are playing an increasingly important role, and so it would have been impossible for the Democratic base to obtain a purely male or purely white presidential ticket - the hope of some left-wingers to get Bernie Sanders into the White House at least as a vice president was thus ruled out. It was set that it would have to be a woman. At the beginning of the selection process, even liberal and black voters were still by a majority convinced that skin colour should not play a role in Biden's decision. But then came the brutal murder of George Floyd in Minnesota at the end of May and the subsequent nationwide protests and the political wind turned quickly. The pressure on Biden from politicians and the street that it should not be just any woman but a black woman increased. Bad luck also for the left-wing Elizabeth Warren.
And so Kamala Harris, the daughter of an immigrant from India and an immigrant from Jamaica, became the perfect candidate and threw several other women out of the race. Her skin colour became a decisive factor and the self-proclaimed liberals of the world - also and especially in the press, from the New York Times to the BBC to Spiegel - were delighted with Harris's nomination because of her identity. It was quickly forgotten that as Attorney General she put thousands of black and Latin American people in California behind bars or otherwise made life difficult. Don't get me wrong, I'm a proponent of identity politics and of the demand for equal representation, but when in doubt, identity must not be allowed to outdo content. A left-wing Warren would have been a far better and more promising occupation than a centrist Harris.
Unimpressed by the current polls, which show Biden clearly in the lead, my prognosis is that Trump will win the election in November. The Biden-Harris couple is too moderate and interchangeable in content. Too weak is the promise of a mere return to the pre-trump era, which Biden stands for. And Harris is far too little progressive to seriously inspire and mobilize people.
Joe Biden - "the Trojan horse of the radical left"?
In the past, President Trump has tried several times to portray Joe Biden as "the Trojan horse of the radical left", through whom, in a sense, communism in the US is being introduced through the back door. From a market-radical, paranoid right-wing perspective, according to which it is quasi-communist for people to receive medical treatment regardless of income and not have to pay off student loans for half their working lives, this thesis made perfect sense for a while. With a vice candidate Warren or even a Sanders - who by European standards are classically social democratic, but who are far to the far left on the American spectrum - Trump could have exploited the Trojan horse narrative at will and built his entire campaign around the Red Fear. With the centrist Kamala Harris as Biden's vice-president, this narrative is absurd, but - after all, she is dark-skinned and female, which is already understood at the right base as code for "left-wing radical" - Trump does it anyway.
Only a short time after the news was announced, the Trump campaign published a short propaganda video on Twitter about Harris and Biden, in which the fear term "radical left" appears several times. In the following press statement with the pathetic title "Joe Biden and Kamala Harris would destroy America" Trump then explains that "Joe Biden has completely capitulated to his left base" and is therefore "nothing more than a Trojan horse for the extreme agenda of the radical left". About "Phony Kamala" Trump says that she has "given up her own morality to appease the socialist mob that wants to destroy America. The ultra-conservative Republican Marsha Blackburn from Tennessee agrees with Trump in an angry phone call: "This concludes the party's takeover of the left and its radical agenda" - what an unworldly perception.
At the height of the Republican Presidential TV duels, in which a handful of men fought a duel over who could block out the far-right positions, world-famous dissident Noam Chomsky declared in an interview in 2016 that "the Republican Party basically gave up any semblance of being a normal political party some 20 years ago. "[Throughout the entire neoliberal period, both parties have moved to the right," Chomsky continued, "but the Republicans have completely drifted out of the spectrum. In the Trump era, this shift of the party system to the right, which thus also shifts parts of the center and right base, takes on such grotesque features that the narrative of the "Trojan horse of the radical left" seems to work even with a pure establishment pair like Biden/Harris, on whom there is absolutely nothing left.
But basically, we can read more about the thought processes within the Democratic Party than about the extremism of the Republican Party. Bernie Sanders would have won the 2016 election against Trump, but there is little reason to doubt that. However, it is well known that the conservative leadership of the Democratic Party conspired against Sanders to make Hillary Clinton a candidate - the infamous 20,000 emails published by WikiLeaks from the heart of the party leadership that uncovered this conspiracy. The conservative party establishment, instead of relying on left-wing Sanders - the most popular politician in the U.S. - preferred to rely on the widely hated right-wing Empire candidate Hillary: the obsession of the corrupt party elite with the "always on" - not once trying the left option. We all know the consequences of this historical stupidity: not a quirky left-wing socialist in the Oval Office, but a self-absorbed would-be despot.
And the appointment of Kamala Harris as Biden's vice candidate is now the result of the Democratic establishment's pathological fear of anything that could even begin to smell left. The cause of this pathology lies in the historical shift to the right of the US party system described by Chomsky. From a progressive perspective, I recognize without any irony the historical dimension of a woman with Indian-Jamaican roots as a possible US vice president with the greatest goodwill. But the consequence of this fear of the left is once again the systematic nipping in the bud of all leftist ideas and thus the choice of a content-wise unacceptable to catastrophic center-right couple - the next historical mistake that seals Trump's re-election.
Biden Vice Candidate:
Five things you should know about Kamala Harris
Kamala Harris as a girl. Around the time this photo was taken, she was being taken by bus to a school in a white neighborhood every day. (Photo: AP/AP)
The Democrat hosted her own cooking show on YouTube, enjoys listening to hip-hop and rap - and gave Biden a painful chin thrust in the Democratic pre-election campaign.
By Thorsten Denkler, New York
[This article published on 8/12/2020 is translated from the German on the Internet, https://www.sueddeutsche.de/politik/us-wahl-2020-kamala-harris-1.4996982?utm_source=pocket-newtab-global-de-DE.]
First attorney general, senator and soon to be vice president?
If all goes well, Kamala Harris, 55, will have served four years in the U.S. Senate by the end of January. And then bam: Vice President of the United States of America. In 2017, she took over the Senate seat that had become vacant for California. Prior to that, she was Attorney General of California for six years.
Politics USA Trump calls Harris "mean" and "disrespectful"
Reactions to Biden nomination
Trump calls Harris "mean" and "disrespectful."
While ex-President Obama praises the black Democrat as the "ideal partner" for Biden, Trump and his campaign team shoot up Harris.
No sooner had she been in the Senate than she sat on the most important committees, including those for intelligence and homeland security, for the budget and for justice. Her tough questions earned her national notoriety. In early 2019, she announced she would run for president. She made it into every TV debate, but stopped her campaign before the first primary election at the end of December 2019 due to continued failure in the polls and lack of donations. Since then, she has been repeatedly named as a favorite for the office of potential vice president on the Democratic side. She would be the first woman, and - as the daughter of an Indian-born mother and a Jamaican-born father - the first Person of Color in the office.
2. apples, fried in bacon
Cut the red half of the onion crosswise and then slice it off - the perfect onion cubes for a tuna fish sandwich. If you follow Kamala Harris in the social media, you will receive such tips in addition to political messages. Harris is considered an excellent and passionate cook. On Instagram you can find videos and photos with home-roasted turkey or casseroles, with Indian or Mediterranean influences. On YouTube there was her own cooking show with her. If you want to cook VP-style: Bacon-baked apples on pancakes à la Kamala Harris. Cooking is stress management for her, she once said. "I love going to markets, reading cookbooks and cooking for people. And thank God, my family loves to eat," she explained in 2011 Harper's Bazaar.
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3. chin hook for Biden
It happened in late June 2019 in one of the TV debates of the democratic presidential candidates. It was not a good day for Joe Biden anyway. Everybody was gunning for the poll king. But Kamala Harris dealt him probably the hardest blow in his entire candidacy. Biden had not distanced himself from two of his former senatorial colleagues who once advocated segregation, Harris accused him. "That hurts," she said. The issue was about the bus transport organized by some states in the 1970s by students from black neighborhoods to schools in white neighborhoods and vice versa. An attempt to overcome racial segregation.
At that time, Biden was against making so-called busing mandatory nationwide. At that time he worked closely with two senators who were known as advocates of racial segregation. Just a few days before the debate in summer 2019, Biden praised the two men for their collegiality. Harris took it personally: there had been a young girl who was one of the first to be taken by bus every day to a school with predominantly white students. "And that girl was me." Biden's main argument, that he was the only one who could win the black vote as former vice president of Barack Obama, had lost a lot of traction for a while after that.
4. Hip-hop and marijuana
Acting Vice President Mike Pence has written to his musical taste that he likes contemporary Christian music, country, classical music and everything from the band Earth, Wind and Fire. Should Kamala Harris move into the vice president's office at the Number One Observatory Circle in Washington at the end of January, potential neighbors should be prepared for new sounds. Hip-hop and rap instead of Christian lard pop and violin sounds. In 2017, she released a playlist on Spotify that included "Love on Top" by Beyoncé, "Waterfalls" by TLC, "Juicy" by The Notorious B.I.G. and "Humble" by Kendrick Lamar.
One time, however, she leaned a little too far out of the window. Shortly after the announcement of her presidential candidacy, she announced on a radio show that she had smoked marijuana while studying at Howard University in Washington and listened to rap stars like Snoop Dogg and Tupac. Later it turned out that this could not be true. Snoop Dogg and Tupac didn't release their first albums until after Harris had graduated. Which shows again: nothing in the US election campaign is apolitical, not even musical taste.
5. the husband, a Harris fan
The man watching Kamala Harris' back is Douglas Emhoff, a lawyer who grew up in Brooklyn, New York. His initial reaction on Twitter about Biden's decision to put his wife forward as a candidate for Vice President was terse: "America, let's do this!" Below is a picture of Harris and Biden. Harris and Emhoff have only been married since 2014. They met on a blind date set up by a friend of Harris's. Emhoff brought two now grown-up children into the marriage. Harris says about him: "He is funny. He's nice. He's patient. He loves my cooking. He's a great guy."