She’s is on a mission to topple Trump - and she’s doing it her own way
Hoping to become first woman of colour to be president, she begins campaign in highly unusual way
Most Democrats vying to take on Donald Trump at the 2020 elections are eyeing trips to Iowa and New Hampshire, the first states to vote in what are set to be crowded primaries.
But Kamala Harris, the 54-year-old California senator who became one of the Democrat favourites after announcing her candidacy last week, arrived on Friday 1,000km from either. On the first stop of her campaign, Harris visited South Carolina’s second-biggest city, Columbia, for the 37th Annual Pink Ice Gala, a black-tie bash organised by America’s oldest African-American sorority.
The symbolism was not lost on a candidate hoping to become the first woman of colour to be US president. “My mother taught us long ago. She would say to me: ‘Kamala, you may be the first to do many things, but make sure you’re not the last’,” Harris said from the stage. “And that is truly part of the essence of our sorority, which is to stand together as sisters with our heads up, challenging others to do like we do.”
Born to a Jamaican father and Indian mother, Harris has made history with her rise as a prosecutor and politician in California. She became the state’s first African-American attorney-general in 2011, serving six years, before becoming only the second African-American woman elected to the US Senate. The announcement last Monday of her candidacy for the Democratic nomination came on Martin Luther King jnr Day. Her first advert’s colour scheme matched that of Shirley Chisholm, the first African-American woman to run for the presidency in 1972.
In 2008, South Carolina marked a turning point for Barack Obama, who won twice as many votes as Hillary Clinton there. In 2016, it was Clinton’s turn to capitalise, beating rival Bernie Sanders, with almost 75% of the vote.
Harris was giving nothing away. “I’ve been invited to attend this event and it’s an event that really means a lot to a lot of people I know and care about,” she said.
And did she fancy her chances of victory here when polls open this time next year? “One day at a time, friend,” Harris said. “It’s early.”
Joe Biden, the former US vice-president, senators Elizabeth Warren and Cory Booker, Texas ex-congressman Beto O’Rourke and 2016 runner-up Sanders join Harris on short odds. But there was positivity at the Pink Ice Gala. “She doesn’t back down, she stands her ground,” said one female attendee. “She’ll stand up to the man.”
– © The Sunday Telegraph