Kamala Harris deserves premature hymns – and immediate racist and sexist attacks. How a personality is heating up the American election campaign in record time.
Washington became heavily intoxicated this week after a long period of sobriety. You will have noticed: Kamala Harris is the star of the hour.
The first black woman to appear on the ballot as a candidate for vice president. For the announcement of her personality, the senator received thunderous cheers from the liberal public and real hymns in the media both here in the US and in Germany. A hype that made me a bit dizzy for a while.
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On the one hand, this is all true of course: the staff is important. Historically, because that has never happened before: a black woman who can become vice president. In 231 years of American history, there has been no vice president, regardless of skin color and ethnicity.
The personality is also memorable as the candidate Joe Biden has good chances, but there are more doubts about him than his predecessors and because of this, the vice-candidate not only has more weight than usual, but the chance of succeeding in the Oval Office seems more tangible. US President Harris, by 2024 at the latest, some already think so.
I see Harris get up now for two years. A faithful reader reminded me that in one of the first columns I told you to remember your name – like this: “KA-ma-la, emphasis on the first syllable, Sanskrit for lotus flower.”
When Harris became a national celebrity, I took her ride. It was the fall of 2018. She had just interviewed Brett Kavanaugh at a spectacular Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Donald Trump’s Constitutional Court nominee charged with sexual assault. Now was the break, and I was just about to ask her about her tactics when a young woman jumped in between us and started screaming. She looked at her idol.
“Hello, my name is Michelle, you are my heroine, it is my dream to do an internship with you”. Harris promptly hugged her. “Hi, I’m Kamala.” Unfortunately, I don’t know what happened to Michelle’s internship or enthusiasm, but it was my first hunch of the Kamala hype these days.
Now you can read that Harris is the perfect candidate. In fact, the 55-year-old gives 77-year-old Biden, who seems even older, the element of the new, the freshness. It gives Biden’s election campaign meaning beyond what it is so far: not Trump. They will inspire blacks, women and young people, it is said, absorb the drive for justice and bring about generational change.
But what is being sold as security today is more hope. It is not clear who will really reach or even inspire Harris. Too often she has dodged instead of positioning herself. Her past as a tough prosecutor bothers leftist activists. It’s not even clear how many black voters it will electrify. Harris is black, but to many not a true African American – not a descendant of the slaves kidnapped from Africa to the US, but was born in California to the daughter of an economics professor from Jamaica and a doctor from India.
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When Harris tried to run for president herself in 2019, I was out with her in Iowa. Harris was initially considered a favorite, but her election campaign never took off, especially among the down-to-earth residents of Iowa. She could harshly attack Trump back then and spoke a lot about the concerns people would have if they woke up at three in the morning. But you didn’t understand what she really wanted to achieve. That way, the spark didn’t jump in the hot August days in Iowa and she gave up in the winter.
In terms of content, it resembles Biden: pragmatic, non-ideological, at home in the middle. With her, Biden wants Trump’s attacks, which portray him as a hostage to radical left-wing forces, to come to nothing.
Two important things are actually clear after the initial hype. Biden and Harris want to catch Trump on the Corona issue. This is evident from the photos, the punchlines of their first appearance. They live on the canals and enter a school gym side by side with cloth masks over their mouths and noses. Wearing a mask is political and the message is: we do it differently from Trump.
Harris directly attacked Trump as the person responsible for the Corona economic crisis, with Trump’s 160,000 dead and Trump’s 16 million unemployed. Even the rather devious Biden came to a head when he performed together. He once vividly ridiculed Trump as a “wail.” The campaign sound becomes clearer and more toxic.
What is also clear: how the other side will attack the black woman. It took Trump and his team just minutes to launch the first fragrance markets: Harris was wrong and mean. Do you look familiar? Right, everything has already been tried out on Hillary Clinton.
As for the political attacks, we are still in the all-and-see-what-stick phase. But those attacks that work with sexism and racism are ready immediately.
While presenter Tucker Carlson on Fox News is clearly happy to mispronounce the name Kamala, and the president’s son, Eric Trump, likes a tweet describing Harris as a whore, an opinion piece appears on Newsweek (once a serious magazine, now more an online run-up), who falsely claims that California-born Harris may not qualify for office because of her foreign parents. And of course the president in the White House will not hear of this text. He had “heard something today”, you have to look at it. That was Harris’ first 48 hours as a candidate.
Do you also look familiar? Right, everything has already been tested extensively on the last candidate who was not white: Barack Obama. And the man who got the most out of this conspiracy theory about Obama’s hometown was called Donald Trump.
Anyone who finds it unreasonable for a black woman to want to go to the White House is certainly open to it. But if you’re in the middle this fall as a voter, and aren’t trapped deep in the left or right echo chambers, you should be less concerned about Kamala Harris’s birth certificate when you wake up at 3 AM, but more about the 160,000 dead, 16 Millions unemployed and the question of when America will finally get this virus under control.