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I’m Going with Kamala Harris

Nobody cares because not even my mother reads this blog, but I figured I’m going to piss off someone and they’re going to accuse me of being a shill for some candidate or other, so I figured I’d put my preference out there at the start so I can point to it later.

So, yeah, I’m going with Kamala Harris.

Where I’m Coming From

I believe we need to fundamentally transform American society. Currently, we fetishize the making of profit over being a decent human being and we’ve allowed the worst of us to dictate our laws.

Our society expects people to contribute to the economy. I believe the economy should support people.

Our healthcare system is broken. Everyone should have access to insurance and everyone should have access to care. I prefer a single-payer system, but I am not willing to sacrifice the goal of covering everyone on the altar of ideological purity. Rural America needs better access to doctors, hospitals, and ancillary providers.

Capital punishment is terrible public policy and utterly immoral.

It is obscene to me that people would even consider telling others that they are not allowed to end their lives.

Climate change is an existential threat and we have to make significant changes very soon or we’re all completely screwed.

The democratic parts of our democratic republic are under attack by right-wing authoritarianism. We have to stop it, reverse the damage they’ve done, and prevent them from doing it again by encoding our norms into laws wherever possible.

A robust social safety net isn’t socialism. Instead, it’s the best way to protect capitalism from itself.

How I See the Race

We have way too damn many people in this race. A bunch of them are going to drop out before there’s a single vote cast and even more of them are going to drop out without getting a single delegate.

Joe Biden is the Favorite

He pretty much has to be. He’s the best known, and was the VP for a President who was incredibly popular with primary voters. He’s got support from older, more reliable voters, can raise a bunch of money, and is at least palatable to a lot of people. In short, there are good reasons why he’s leading in the polls.

The thing is, those reasons include the fact that there are way too damn many people in the race, and that many of his opponents aren’t all that well known. By the time there are votes cast, those are going to be significantly less accurate than they are now.

I think a lot of Biden’s support is soft and will drift away to other candidates as the campaign progresses. I also think it’s relatively unlikely for Biden to win many votes from the candidates that do drop out.

Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe he’ll go into Iowa as the frontrunner, win there, win New Hampshire, and never be touched. That’s possible. I don’t think it’s likely.

Bernie Sanders is Next

Bernie Sanders is the second favorite, and for much the same reason. He carries name recognition and support over from the 2016 election, and he has pretty clearly won the ideological battle as most of the other candidates have adopted one or more of his 2016 ideas.

He has a significant base of support that nobody can rip away from him. He brought them into the political process and many of them would quite literally rather vote for President Trump than many of the Democrats in the field.

He’s got two problems though. He and his supporters pissed off a lot of people in 2016. He didn’t quit when it was clear he had lost—the same way Hillary Clinton didn’t quit when it was clear she had lost in 2008—and spent a disturbing amount of time and energy talking about how it was all rigged against him.

Folks, Bernie Sanders isn’t a Democrat. He has never been interested in being one for anything other than running for President, and somehow he and his followers expect people who have a legitimate and serious dedication to the party to abandon those principles and support him. It’s not going to happen. Nor are women and people of color going to hop in bed with the portion of his base that spewed racist and sexist rhetoric online with a facility usually reserved for the alt-right.

In short, while Sanders has a reasonably high floor of support, he has a relatively low ceiling of support and while other candidates drop out, more of their support will go to the other candidates in the race than will go to him.

Kamala Harris is My Pick

Harris doesn’t have the same support as Biden or Sanders at this point, but I think she has several things going for her.

She’s well positioned to be the alternative to Biden and Sanders.

There’s a pretty good chance that when we’re headed into Super Tuesday, that Biden and Sanders will still be seen as the favorites. That’s going to annoy some people who look at old white men as the source of many of our problems. If Harris has done well in the states before that, she’ll be seen as the most viable option by many.

She has a high floor

I think Harris has a built-in advantage because she’s a woman of color. That felt weird to type, but I think it’s true.

I’m not going to suggest that women, people of color, or women of color are a monolith, but that doesn’t mean they don’t form a natural consistency for Senator Harris.

And here’s the thing. Women of color have been the driving force behind Democratic activism for decades now. If Harris manages to reach that demographic, and if she pulls some support from Biden in the process, I think she’s going to have a reasonably high floor. That is, once you get outside the whitest states in the damn country that are somehow allowed to have an absurdly high impact on our electoral process, she’s going to do well just about everywhere.

At the same time, I think she’s got a relatively high ceiling. Sure, there are people who aren’t going to vote for her because her skin is brown, and there are people who aren’t going to vote for her because she’s a woman. Those people are mostly—but not exclusively—Republicans. If she demonstrates that she is not only electable, but will seriously take on Donald Trump, I think she’s going to garner a lot of support from a lot of people.

She has a bully pulpit

She serves on both the Judiciary and Intelligence committees so she’s going to be an active participant in the investigations into abuses by the President, his family, and his administration.

She has the prosecutorial experience and, so far as I can tell, the personal inclination to grill witnesses relentlessly. Her tenacity and focus have already been on display in the Kavanaugh Hearings and during the Barr Testimony. She will not back down and she’s likely going to be one of the brightest stars of a drama that lasts all summer.

Nobody Else Has a Chance

I don’t think anyone has a chance. Sure, someone will come up and surprise a bit, but look at Pete Buttigieg. Everyone’s been talking about him and his surge and he almost made it to 10%. Most of the people in the race are hoping that they have a really good moment that gets them a ton of publicity and the money that comes with it. That’s going to be hard to come by.

The only candidate that gives me a little pause here is Elizabeth Warren. I think in a slightly different circumstance, she could have emerged as the favorite in this race, and I think she’d be an excellent President.

Her problem seems to be that a significant chunk of her natural consistency are wedded to Bernie Sanders and they aren’t going to leave him. A significant minority of his support will, for whatever reason (it’s sexism) would prefer to vote for Donald Trump than Elizabeth Warren.

I think she’s going to end up finishing fourth in a lot of places and that’s not sustainable.

How Did I Choose?

My decision process wasn’t entirely scientific. I’ve been following the race. I looked into a bunch of the more popular candidates to see who I agreed with and who I didn’t. I even took one of those online quiz things that tell you who to support. It had Warren at 92%, Harris at 91%, most of the candidates at least at 88% and Joe Biden at 73%.

I made two lists, one of the candidates that I thought could win, and one of the candidates I wanted to win. There was only one name on both lists, so I chose her.

I’d be comfortable with just about everyone in the race and I’ll be voting for whoever the nominee is because Donald Trump is an astonishingly incompetent clown, but I’m going to do what I can to make sure Kamala Harris is our next President.