Ever since the 2008 candidacy of Barack Obama there has been a noticeable increase in the number of younger politicians deciding their time is now. No matter the office and no matter the amount of experience - candidates are choosing to strike when they feel they are most popular - in the early stages of their careers.
The field of Democratic presidential candidates has been near 20 since the start of the year and several of the contenders fall into the category of "I better run now, because any advantage I have could slip away by 2024."
Kamala Harris, two years into her first term in the U.S. Senate, certainly fits the pattern. Her primary reason for running: "We can do better than this," is an unambiguous reference to the standards set - or she might say lowered - by President Donald Trump. As a woman, she along with candidates like Kirsten Gillibrand and Elizabeth Warren, represent an important group of voters who can claim particular offense with the current administration.
Harris presents herself as competent and confident. She has firm beliefs on most issues and when asked a question she hadn't previously considered you can see her mind work in real time.
There is a pause. She weighs the issue and gives a gut level response she is willing to live with and stick by. If providing medical coverage to everyone means an end to the private health insurance industry - she's fine with that. There's no equivocation. It's time to move on from the current system.
At Keene State she was asked whether she would support adding a third gender option on federal forms and ID's. Pause. Think. "Sure," she confidently answered nodding her head as the crowd broke into soft applause.
Her willingness to accept the criticism that comes with the positions she takes is winning her praise from the national news media as a straight-talker. As one local reporter pointed out, she was willing to argue for stronger gun control laws in a state whose motto is "Live Free or Die."
There are some Democrats who question her background as a prosecutor in the context of the current trend toward alternatives to incarceration. She answers those critics in what does sound like a focus group tested political response. She says she wanted to fight the injustices she saw from inside the system.
© Dean Pagani 2019