The Making of Kamala Harris, Willie Brown’s protégé. Remaking herself. A progressive populist

Another Snarky WSJ Editorial.  Check out the Picture with Senator Elizabeth Warren. Two Women who could be President and will definitely stick it to Trump. I’m sure Willie Brown will have something to say in his Sunday column in the San Francisco Chronicle.

Wall Street Journal Editorial 1.23.2019

Senator Kamala Harris smiles during a press conference at Howard University in Washington, D.C., Jan. 21. PHOTO: ZACH GIBSON/BLOOMBERG NEWS

California Senator Kamala Harris dove into the race for President on Monday, as everyone who knows her expected. Though she’s been a Senator for only two years, the victories by Barack Obama and Donald Trump have shown that ambition beats national experience as a qualification to get to the White House, if not necessarily to succeed as President.

“I love my country and this is a moment in time where I feel a sense of responsibility to fight for who we are,” Ms. Harris declared on Good Morning America. So professes every Democratic aspirant #metoo. Though a longtime member of the Democratic elite, the 54-year-old seems ready to run as a progressive populist.

But as progressives like to say, Ms. Harris grew up privileged. Her Indian-born mother was a breast cancer researcher at the University of California, Berkeley, and her Jamaican father was a Stanford economist. Amid the Democratic obsession with identity politics, Ms. Harris’s biracial background will be a selling point.

She was also raised politically by the Democratic machine. After law school, Ms. Harris went to work in the Alameda County district attorney’s office. Despite failing the state bar on the first try, she was allowed to continue working until she passed.

Her book jacket summarizes her rise: “She progressed rapidly to become the elected District Attorney for San Francisco, and then the chief law enforcement officer” of California. The longer version is that she dated Willie Brown, the longtime state Assembly Speaker who was three decades her senior. Mr. Brown appointed her to government sinecures and connected her to Democratic donors, though he isn’t mentioned in her book.

Ms. Harris also received substantial support from unions she repaid as Attorney General. At the Service Employees International Union’s urging, she blocked Prime Healthcare’s bid in 2015 to rescue an insolvent Catholic hospital network. Last year the over-leveraged hospitals declared bankruptcy, jeopardizing pensions for thousands of workers.

Ms. Harris also employed prosecutorial powers for political purposes such as her assaults on for-profit Corinthian Colleges and Exxon Mobil . She sought to force the disclosure of conservative donors but was blocked by a federal court. She is running as a criminal-justice reformer, but she declined to support two state referenda opposed by public-safety unions that aimed to reduce incarceration.

Her Senate career has been unremarkable, though she garnered publicity with her inquisition of Brett Kavanaugh. She’s now running on a redistributionist’s dream platform of Medicare for All, a $6,000 guaranteed income for households earning less than $100,000, and tax credits for renters who spend more than 30% of their income on rent.

While a prolific fundraiser—she raised $1.5 million within 24 hours of declaring for President—her financial jaunts to the Hamptons and penchant for first-class travel will draw criticism from rivals. But what makes Ms. Harris formidable is that she synthesizes all the varieties of current Democratic politics.

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