Tags: 2020 Elections | Joe Biden | Kamala Harris | Unions | independent | teachers | uber

Harris's Personal Story Won't Rally Black Women

senator kamala harris vice presidential nominee of the democratic party

Senator from California and Democratic vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris speaks during the third day of the Democratic National Convention, at the Chase Center in Wilmington, Delaware - Aug. 19, 2020. (Olivier Douliery/AFP via Getty Images) 

By Thursday, 20 August 2020 04:15 PM Current | Bio | Archive

On the third night of the Democratic National Convention, Kamala Harris basked in the spotlight. She debuted as the other half of the Democratic ticket and formally accepted the nomination for Vice President of the United States.

Lauded for being the first black woman and Asian-American on a presidential ticket, Harris gave a sentimental and inspirational introduction to the nation. She aimed to endear herself to Americans unfamiliar with her background and whip up support among key demographics.

However, inspiration will not wipe away her tainted political career or endear black women to her corrosive policies.

Black women are the backbone of the Democratic Party.

But, as I have written previously in this column, they have been taken for granted for years by Democrats and this reliable voting base is cracking.

Black women are increasingly embracing an Independent affiliation.

To win their admiration, Harris spoke of standing on the shoulders of noted black women in history, such as the first black female Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm and educator Mary McLeod Bethune. She boasted of attending Howard University, a Historically Black College, and pledging the storied black sorority, Alpha Kappa Alpha.

Harris detailed growing up in a single-parent household and the challenges her mother faced balancing work and family. These are experiences that appeal to women and working mothers.

Senator Harris painted herself as one of us fighting for us.

But Blacks have heard much of this before, and are unlikely to vote for her and Joe Biden based on the historical significance of their ticket.

They did that with President Obama, and many had buyers’ remorse sitting out the 2012 and 2016 elections.

Instead, they will consider her record and her policy positions both of which are deeply problematic.

In her speech, Harris touted her time as a prosecutor fighting for children, survivors of sexual assault, and students at for-profit colleges.

Criminal justice issues rank high among black women and young people, but some find her record indefensible. Tulsi Gabbard exposed that "she put over 1,500 people in jail for marijuana violations, and then laughed about it when she was asked if she’d ever smoked marijuana."

She refused to test DNA evidence that could have exonerated death-row inmate Kevin Cooper.

To reduce truancy, she threatened parents of truant students with high fines and up to a year of jail time, a policy that disproportionately targeted minority parents.

A few politically-motivated apologies while running for president may not be enough to restore trust in her on this issue.

Harris would also decriminalize illegal border crossings and provide free healthcare to illegal immigrants.

Illegal immigration concerns many blacks because unrestricted immigration depresses the wages of black workers, particularly men, by increasing the supply of low-skilled, low-wage labor.

Kamala Harris’s employment policies would harm women in the workforce. She says she intends to end the gender pay gap by forcing corporations to certify that they pay men and women the same or face stiff financial penalties.

Nevermind that the difference between men’s and women’s earnings is largely due to choices they make such as how many hours to work, occupation, industry, seniority, education, time out of the workforce, and more.

But these policies will backfire on women who value flexible work options.

Flexibility--which often involves trading higher pay for reduced hours — allows women to balance employment with competing priorities such as caregiving for kids and aging parents. Harris’s proposals wouldn’t eliminate the pay gap so much as leave women with fewer flexible opportunities.

Harris also supported another flexibility-ending and job-killing law: her home state’s AB 5. California has forced independent contractors — such as event planners, transcribers, salespeople, Uber drivers, and writers — to become W-2 employees of those who contract their labor even if those companies cannot afford to bring them on.

Many of these workers don’t want to be employees but value the independence of being their own boss and working on their own terms. Harris would make AB 5 the standard for the 57 million freelancers nationwide leading to more unemployed workers for years to come.

This would especially be detrimental to black women who are among the fastest-growing demographic of entrepreneurs who rely on freelance work and the opportunity to engage independent contractors themselves.

Black women are also setting records for gun ownership. According to a recent study, concealed-carry permits increased most rapidly among this group even prior to the racial unrest of 2020 that, anecdotally, has prompted more blacks to exercise their second amendment right. Kamala Harris’s mandatory gun buyback program would undermine those protected rights.

In addition, education is a key issue for black women.

They want their children to have access to the best educational opportunities possible regardless of their zip code or income bracket. School choice puts control back in the hands of all parents making it wildly popular and supported by two out of three blacks.

As the revered film "Waiting for Superman" (2010) reminds us, black mothers are the face of school choice. Yet, Harris opposes school choice siding with teachers’ unions over students’ success. The hypocrisy of a woman, who benefitted from a form of school choice when she was in school. denying that opportunity to other minorities is not lost on them.

An inspiring personal story is not the rallying cry that the left thinks it will be for black women. They care about opportunity, a good education for their kids, and safety. On these issues, Kamala Harris’s positions are a net negative.

Patrice Lee Onwuka is a Senior Policy Analyst at the Independent Women’s Forum and a senior fellow with the Alliance for Charitable Excellence, a project of The Philanthropy Roundtable. She is also a Tony Blankley Fellow at The Steamboat Institute. She has worked in policy, advocacy, and communications roles in Washington, D.C. for more than a decade on issues related to the economy, employment, technology, and the criminal justice system. Prior to moving to Washington, Patrice served as a speechwriter for a United Nations spokesman. Onwuka is a regular guest on Fox News, Fox Business News, MSNBC, and PBS programs. Her writing has appeared in The Washington Post, The Hill, Bloomberg, The Washington Times, the New York Post, the Christian Science Monitor, and other outlets. She holds a bachelor’s degree in economics and political science from Tufts University and a master’s degree in international relations from Boston College. Follow her on Twitter @PatricePinkFile. Read Patrice Lee Onwuka's Reports — More Here

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An inspiring personal story is not the rallying cry that the left thinks it will be for black women. They care about opportunity, a good education for their kids, and safety. On these issues, Kamala Harris’s positions are a net negative.
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2020-15-20
Thursday, 20 August 2020 04:15 PM
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