But talking to people who worked with her over the years in San Francisco, in Sacramento and in Washington, there is this sense that she’s somebody who is comfortable in the role of an executive who is making judgment calls on a case-by-case basis as policy challenges come before her. But not somebody who is going to have some expansive integrated tapestry of all her policies and how they are supposed to feed into the moment.
From your conversations with her, what is your sense of how Senator Harris thinks about her barrier-breaking role?
HERNDON This is someone who has broken barriers throughout her life and throughout her political career, and so there is somewhat of a comfort with that. She views herself as a trailblazer, she is a trailblazer, and kind of thinks of herself as creating a pathway for others.
When you think about race particularly with her, it comes first from a place of empathy. She talks about the way that representation and being in the room can create a space and a vision to see others who may not have been viewed otherwise, and she talks about that as the origin story of how she got into being a prosecutor.
I remember when she wrote out her criminal justice plan and asking her about the criticisms that, no matter how much empathy one has, that she was still taking part in the system that people are currently viewing as opposed to marginalized groups. And she was saying that we should want people of color in every position, and that that could be something that created better outcomes.
But she also admitted that she was acting within the kind of political constraints of the moment, and I remember she used the phrase, she’s “changed with the winds” that have come since then. And I think that is a kind of insight into how she views her political philosophy, somewhere in the middle, the center left of where Democratic Party politics is.
The next installment in the Election 2020 event series is Sept. 15.
Article source: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/08/14/insider/kamala-harris-background.html