Kamala Harris Is Working In a Great American Tradition

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Jim Geraghty thinks that Kamala Harris is vulnerable:

The soft underbelly of the Harris campaign is her flip-flops and the general sense that she’ll say whatever she needs to say to please the audience in front of her. She hit Joe Biden for opposing a federal mandate for bussing but later said she herself wouldn’t support a federal mandate. In a January town hall, she said she supported eliminating private insurance but then backtracked a few days later. At the first debate, she raised her hand indicating she would eliminate private insurance, then said afterwards she misunderstood the question. She said she wouldn’t raise middle-class taxes to pay for Medicare for All, a stance that Jeff Weaver of the Sanders campaign amounts to “unicorns and magic wands.”

She’s flipped positions on some parts of immigration enforcement policy as well. She now says she supports independent investigations of police shootings, when she opposed them as a Senate candidate in 2016.

I don’t think Geraghty is wrong, precisely, but I do think he’s drawing the wrong conclusion here. As much as we all hate to believe it, vagueness and pandering on the campaign trail are generally helpful. It certainly helped Trump, who flip-flopped on so many things it was hard to tell if he was even the same person as he was a few years before. It helped Bill Clinton and it helped George Bush. Conversely, candidates like Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren are the ones who will probably get into trouble eventually for being too stubborn to water down proposals that turn out to be albatrosses.

There’s a case to be made that this is fine: as president we want someone who’s flexible and willing to make deals, not a rigid ideologue. There’s an equally obvious case to be made that it shows a lack of firm character. Take your pick. But as long as it doesn’t get out of hand, I don’t think there’s much of a case to be made that it’s an electoral weakness. In fact, it’s practically a great American tradition.

SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

payment methods

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