Black people should be very concerned that Sen. Kamala Harris ended her presidential campaign primary bid journey. With her sudden and decisive announcement Tuesday evening, came the crushing blow and that disappointing fact that, as of right now, there is no chance a Black woman will be president of the U.S. in 2020.
What is alarming right now is that only white candidates are qualified for the Dec. 19 debate, which will be led by PBS NewsHour and Politico in Los Angeles. Six of them to be exact. Only two, Amy Klobuchar and Elizabeth Warren, are women.
The only Black candidates left in the race are Sen. Cory Booker and Deval Patrick, a late arrival, who did not make the November debate and has yet to qualify for the December debate. Booker is now shut out for the first time since the presidential primary debates began in June in Ohio.
Harris bemoaned the need to have personal wealth to run for president. The Democratic National Committee has a complicated formula for qualifying candidates to speak to the Americans who have the weighty responsibility to choose someone to face off against Donald Trump. The DNC wants candidates to poll at a certain level and they want to see fundraising goals. Polls are unreliable. They did not pick Trump to win the election in 2016 – not by a long shot. Meeting fundraising goals is burdensome, too. But without money to travel to the places where the voters are in the early states or to buy political advertising, candidates end up in a conundrum. Or not on the stage. Or, like Harris, throwing in the towel.
We were going along with Harris as she made us revisit busing of Black children, called for criminal justice reform and told us she had the chops to go up against incumbent Donald Trump. We wanted to like her. We wanted to love her, even. We wanted her to be our leader.
But it difficult to know her because she ended up in the trap of politics – trying to have separate messages for too many different publics. She became one of the pick me because I am better and smarter and more ready. The media were not kind all the time. It rarely is to smart, ambitious women.
Harris said she is not a millionaire, which contributed to her failed presidential bid. Neither was Barack Obama. But he was affable, intelligent and hopeful.
How valuable are the debates, anyway?
The debate questions are bogus and mostly waste American people’s time. The proposals on health care and foreign policy, for instance that, are being tossed around are pointless if you don’t have a House and Senate who are buying what you are selling. So, at best, the debates are testing quick mental reflexes, wit and composure under fire.
The remaining Black candidates need to find a slogan, play some music at rallies and kiss some babies. While there, talk about unifying America. Talk about the topics that you know everyone can agree on. Everyone wants a safer country, less poverty, more jobs, an end to police brutality and more regulations on acquiring firearms.
Stop talking about Black people and people of color as if we are special species that need to be claimed. We are Americans. We live in America. We want to belong to America.