Who is Kamala Harris?
Current job: US Senator from California. Running for president of the United States as a Democratic candidate.
Family: Harris is married to lawyer Douglas Emhoff.
Hometown: Oakland, California
Political party: Democratic
Previous jobs: Attorney General of California from 2011 to 2017. San Francisco District Attorney from 2004 to 2011.
Who is Kamala Harris’ direct competition for the nomination?
Based on a recurring series of national surveys we conduct, we can figure out who the other candidates competing in Kamala Harris’ lane are, and who the broader opponents are within the party.
- Former V.P. Joe Biden: Biden is a strong candidate overall, and 71 percent of likely Democratic voters who would be satisfied with Kamala Harris as nominee would also be satisfied with Joe Biden as the nominee. Not only is that quite high, it’s even 5.6 percentage points higher than the general percentage of Democrats satisfied with Joe Biden as the nominee. That means Harris voters are predisposed towards the former Vice President and they’ll be competing for many of the same voters.
- Sen. Elizabeth Warren:While 44 percent of Democrats said they would be satisfied with Warren as nominee, nearly 54 percent of Harris fans would be satisfied with the Senator from Massachusetts atop the ticket. That 9.3 percentage point bump is the largest of any other candidate, meaning that the two will be competing early for many of the same voters.
- Sen. Cory Booker: While many of Harris’ fellow senators overlap with her considerably, only Warren and Booker see broader support among Harris voters specifically than Democrats as a whole. While Harris fans were, for instance, 12 percentage points less likely to favor Sen. Amy Klobuchar than your typical half of Harris voters would also be satisfied with Booker as nominee, teeing up an early rivalry.
INSIDER has been conducting a recurring poll through SurveyMonkey Audience on a national sample to find out how different candidate’s constituencies overlap. We ask people whether they are familiar with a candidate, whether they would be satisfied or unsatisfied with that candidate as nominee, and sometimes we also ask whether they think that person would win or lose in a general election against President Donald Trump.
What are Kamala Harris’ policy positions?
- On healthcare:
- Harris supports Sen. Bernie Sanders’ Medicare for All bill, which would provide every American with health insurance through Medicare while eliminating private insurers and virtually eliminating co-pays and deductibles.
- She has also said she’d be open to a public option, rather than a single-payer system. Harris has introduced legislation to expand mental health care and to reduce racial disparities in maternal mortality.
- On immigration:
- Harris wants to "reexamine" and potentially overhaul the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE). But while serving as San Francisco’s DA, she supported a city policy that turned undocumented immigrant minors over to ICE if they were arrested or believed to have committed a felony.
- Harris supports the Obama administration’s "Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals" (DACA) program, which protects young people who come to the US illegally as children.
- Harris co-sponsored the REUNITE Act to reunify separated migrant families, and has introduced legislation to increase oversight at immigrant detention centers and end the construction of new facilities. She’s also introduced a bill that would limit ICE’s ability to take actions harmful to unaccompanied migrant children.
- She opposes Trump’s border wall, which she’s called a "medieval vanity project."
- On climate change:
- In February 2019, Harris signed on to the Green New Deal resolution, which aims to transition the US to 100% clean and renewable energy in 10 years, and stimulate the economy with millions of new jobs and an expanded social safety net.
- As attorney general, she investigated whether Exxon Mobil lied about its research on climate change. She has a 100% lifetime score, based on her voting record, from the League of Conservation Voters.
- On campaign finance:
- Like a growing number of Democrats, Harris no longer takes donations from corporate political action committees, as of April 2018. Nearly 65% of Harris’ campaign funding between 2015 and 2018 came from individual donors who gave more than $200, according to OpenSecrets, a project of the Center for Responsive Politics. Just under 5% has come from corporate PACs.
- On abortion:
- On LGBTQ rights:
- Harris supports legalized same-sex marriage and did not defend California’s law that prohibited gay marriage while she was the state’s attorney general.
- She supported transgender individuals’ right to use the bathroom of their choice during her time as attorney general. But she requested that the government not move forward with providing a prison inmate a gender reassignment surgery.
- As DA, she created a Hate Crimes unit to prosecute crimes against LGBTQ youth.
- On education:
- Harris has signed on to Sen. Bernie Sanders’ College For All Act, which would waive tuition for all students attending public colleges and universities whose families make $125,000 a year or less.
- She supports expanding some early childhood education programs and implementing national universal pre-kindergarten.
- On guns:
- On criminal justice reform:
- Harris introduced the 2018 "Access to Counsel Act," which would guarantee detained migrants access to an attorney.
- She co-sponsored the 2018 Marijuana Justice Act, which would end the federal prohibition on marijuana. She supports clearing nonviolent marijuana-related charges from individuals’ records.
- Harris supports a moratorium on the death penalty under federal law, calling executions "immoral, discriminatory, ineffective, and a gross misuse of taxpayer dollars." But as president, Harris would have no authority over the vast majority of executions, which are carried out by states.
- Harris introduced a bill to encourage states to reform or replace their bail system. She also co-sponsored a federal anti-lynching bill that passed the Senate in 2018.
- Some of the most impactful and controversial actions Harris took as a district attorney and attorney general:
- Pursued state legislation that threatened to prosecute parents of habitually truant elementary school kids.
- Did not pursue the death penalty for the man who killed a California police officer, and appealed a federal judge’s ruling that California’s death penalty was unconstitutional.
- Opposed the legalization of recreational marijuana before reversing course in 2018. (In 2015, she called for an end to the federal ban on medical marijuana, but she did not support legalization of recreational use until 2018.)
- Defended the convictions of dozens of individuals even after they were proven innocent.
- Fought prison releases after a federal court found unconstitutional overcrowding in California’s prisons.
- On trade:
- Harris opposed the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which Trump withdrew the US from in 2017, arguing that the deal wasn’t transparent and would have hurt California’s environmental protection efforts.
- Harris is opposed to Trump’s trade war with China and his tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from the EU, Canada, and Mexico. But she has accused China of engaging in "unfair industrial policies and outright theft of American intellectual property."
- On foreign policy:
- She supports a "political solution" to the war in Afghanistan and wants to end US military involvement in the country. She voted against a Senate resolution condemning Trump’s withdrawal of US troops from Syria.
- She opposed Trump’s withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal.
- She is opposed to US support for the Saudi-led war in Yemen because Congress never approved American involvement in the conflict.
- Harris is a strong supporter of the Israeli government’s close ties to the US, calling the bond between the two countries "unbreakable." She told a 2017 gathering of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee that she would "do everything in my power to ensure broad and bipartisan support for Israel’s security and right to self-defense."
- On taxes:
- Harris has introduced her LIFT the Middle Class Act, which would give a $3,000 refundable tax credit to individuals making $50,000 or less, and a $6,000 credit to couples making $100,000 or less. She would get rid of some cuts in Trump’s Tax Cuts and Jobs Act to help pay for it.
- She criticized the GOP tax cuts of 2017 as a "middle-class tax hike to line the pockets of already wealthy corporations and the 1%."
What are Kamala Harris’ political successes?
- She extracted $25 billion from Wall Street to compensate California homeowners following the financial crisis.
- She won a $1.1 billion settlement against a for-profit college chain for their predatory and illegal practices.
- She’s become well-known as voice of the anti-Trump resistance. She’s endorsed a host of progressive policies, including Medicare for All and overhauling the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency.
- As AG, Harris prioritized the prosecution of transnational gangs and weapons, drugs, and human traffickers.
How much money has Kamala Harris raised?
Could Kamala Harris beat President Trump?
Referring back to INSIDER’s recurring poll, Kamala Harris overall is believed to be a stronger candidate in a general election against Donald Trump than your typical Democrat.
While it’s still quite early and many remain unsure about the general election, about 45 percent of voting Democrats think Harris would win in the general election, while 13 percent think she would lose, which is higher than the average Democratic nominee according to INSIDER’s survey (35 percent win, 15 percent lose).
Among all respondents, Harris again does better than the average Democrat, winning 31 percent of the time compared to the 27 percent generic average.
Read more of our best stories on Kamala Harris:
- Kamala Harris’ record as a ‘progressive prosecutor’ is facing renewed scrutiny
- Kamala Harris kicks off her 2020 campaign with a massive rally in Oakland
- What you need to know about Kamala Harris and her 2020 presidential bid
- Chris Hayes says Kamala Harris is ‘underpriced’ for 2020 and no candidate is too far-left to be president
- Beto O’Rourke is running for president in 2020. Here’s everything we know about the candidate and how he stacks up against the competition.
- Kamala Harris once pushed for steeper cash bail costs, saying ‘people come to San Francisco to commit crimes because it’s cheaper to do it’
- Kamala Harris just unveiled a bold new plan to give US teachers a 23% pay raise