Democratic 2020 candidate and California Sen. Kamala Harris was widely declared to be the winner of Thursday night’s debate, and while she certainly had a moment or two to shine, she also committed a major blunder that needed to be walked back the next day.
Harris raised her hand in the affirmative to a question about whether she would eliminate private health insurance, only to claim the next day that she misheard the question, in the lastest in a series of significant flip-flops on major issues.
On second thought…
During the debate, NBC moderator Lester Holt asked, “Many people watching at home have health insurance through their employer. Who here would abolish their private health insurance in favor of a government-run plan?” Harris, as well as Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, raised their hands in agreement.
But the very next morning, in an appearance on CBS, Harris said she misunderstood the question and thought it pertained only to her own private insurance, which she was willing to give up herself, maintaining that everybody else would be able to keep their private health insurance under her version of Medicare for All.
This actually was not the first time Harris flip-flopped on this particular issue, implying during a January CNN town hall that her plan would eliminate private health insurance, only to later walk that back and claim in subsequent interviews.
Ambivalence on ICE
Though that may be the most recent flip-flop by Harris, it is not the only big reversal she has made in this campaign season from positions she has held in years past.
Harris has come out strongly against in the past year against the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, comparing agents to the KKK and supporting the idea that local authorities should refuse to cooperate with ICE or turn over illegal aliens to the agency’s custody.
But when Harris served as San Francisco’s district attorney in 2008, she supported a policy that forced local law enforcement to cooperate and hand over to ICE any illegal aliens suspected of criminal activity, even if they were minors.
Growing list of reversals
Harris recently came out in favor of decriminalizing marijuana, but again as district attorney, she fought against legalization efforts in California and scoffed at the idea of decriminalized recreational marijuana usage as recently as 2014.
Similarly, Harris has issued strong calls this year for more criminal justice reform, but as the former attorney general of California, she was responsible for the “mass incarceration” of “black and brown Americans” that she now rails against.
Likewise, while Harris now portrays herself as a friend fighting hard on behalf of the LGBT community, she as attorney general stood against efforts to provide gender reassignment surgery to transgender inmates in California prisons.
The bottom line is that, like most other politicians — though arguably much more cynically — Harris has shifted positions on numerous issues, depending upon the prevailing political winds and the latest poll numbers, and that is simply unacceptable to a great many Americans.