Kamala Harris we can do better

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.

Women candidates in the 2020 race are definitely drawing female voters interested in making history with their vote.

During her second campaign swing through New Hampshire in late April, Harris stressed the need to tell the truth about the issues facing the country, which include, in her view; an assault on the rule of law by President Trump, gun violence, education, the environment, job creation and foreign policy.

In each of these areas Harris argues the president is failing to lead and failing to tell the truth. And in each case she says she has a plan to address the challenge.

Harris and her team closely manage how she interacts with voters.

An event at Keene State College, was carefully orchestrated. The candidate was very much protected from the press and too much interaction with real people. A production company was in charge of the staging. Yes, Harris mingled briefly with people packed into an overflow room, but she was also spirited away into a tent and entered and exited the stage through a curtain as a means of according her plenty of physical distance.

This approach stands in contrast to candidates like Cory Booker (the senator from New Jersey) and former Congressman Beto O'Rourke of Texas. O'Rourke held a rally a month earlier at Keene State during which he seemed only moments away from body surfing through the crowd.

In an era which demands authenticity from candidates, the difference is obvious and might be critical to success.

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."

Harris embraces her ability to inspire.

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.

Clockwise: Staff huddles behind a curtain during Harris' talk at Keene State; A clock tells the senator how much time she has until the end of the event; Harris walks the stage; posing for selfies; the stage is set.

Campaigns are not won based on position papers.

Campaigns are about communicating with and connecting with voters. When deciding who to support in such a large field of candidates the first choices are often made based on superficial questions.

Do I like this person? Would I want to have a beer with her? Can I imagine her on the debate stage with Donald Trump? Can I imagine her in the Oval Office? Do I want to live with her in my living room for the next four to eight years?

Harris is polished as a communicator. She connects. As one local Democrat told the Keene Sentinel, "She's the whole package...she's just a natural."

She also has the spirit of a competitor who sees 2020 in historic terms. She sees the country as being under assault from the White House itself. She asks the crowd; what are we going to say to our children and grand-children when they ask us what we did during this challenging time in U.S. history? Did we stand by and watch, or did we take action?

Referring to her own campaign Harris said, our answer will be "We won!"

For collaborations:

Dean@DeanPagani.com I DeanPagani.com I ThisDecisiveMoment.com

© Dean Pagani 2019


© Dean Pagani 2019

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