Cheers To You, Senator Harris
Earlier this week, I saw something that made me smile.
Shortly after Joe Biden announced his candidacy for President of the United States, Senator Kamala Harris sent an email to her followers that read:
“The more, the merrier!” How awesome is that?! No hostility. No mudslinging. No attacks. Just a simple acknowledgement that the Democratic Party is home to a litany of viable candidates and that the strongest candidates will naturally emerge over the course of the next year. Cheers to you, Senator Harris.
With more than 20 candidates now seeking the Democratic nomination for President of the United States, I think it is incumbent upon us to follow Senator Harris’s example. We must not succumb to slander and vitriol; instead, we must remember that we are all on the same team and that we all seek the same goal. As Benjamin Franklin wrote to his colleagues during the Constitutional Convention:
We are sent here to consult, not to contend, with each other; and declarations of a fixed opinion, and of determined resolution, never to change it, neither enlighten nor convince us.
In the days and weeks to come, let us conduct ourselves in the spirit of Kamala Harris and Benjamin Franklin. We are sent here to consult, not to contend, with each other. The collective goal of the Democratic Party must be to elevate the quality of life for all Americans by embracing a political message of hope and opportunity.
At the same time, so too must we remain open to new ideas. Senator Elizabeth Warren, for example, is running one of the most substantive presidential campaigns in modern American history. In the past week alone, she announced a plan to improve housing for military families as well as a plan to solve the student loan crisis. While folks can reasonably disagree on the merits of Senator Warren’s ideas, it cannot be disputed that her Platonic campaign is worthy of admiration and respect.
Other examples abound. To address America’s problem of radical inequality, Kamala Harris proposed the LIFT the Middle Class Act, a tax plan that would give families making less than $100,000 annually a credit of up to $500 a month. Cory Booker, meanwhile, is taking the lead on criminal justice reform. Eric Swalwell is running on the issue of gun safety. Kirsten Gillibrand wants to drastically reduce the racial wealth divide. Bernie Sanders has embraced Medicare for All as the best option for fixing America’s healthcare system. Amy Klobuchar introduced a detailed plan to update America’s roads, bridges and internet connectivity.
These are just a few examples. The point is that the Democratic field is replete with strong candidates and fresh ideas. We should not retreat from this luxury of riches; instead, we should be grateful for such a diverse, intelligent field.