The Kamala Harris Moment Has Arrived

One of Kamala Harris’s most memorable moments during the 2020 presidential election cycle was when, during a Democratic primary debate, she sharply criticized Joe Biden for working with segregationists in the Senate in their shared opposition to busing.

She personalized her criticism, saying: “There was a little girl in California who was a part of the second class to integrate her public schools, and she was bused to school every day. And that little girl was me.”

The power in the attack was not only the point being made but that she — a person affected from a group affected — was making it. Although some of Biden’s defenders saw her remark as a gratuitous broadside, there was an authenticity to the way she confronted the issue.

The verbal jab also aligned with the national zeitgeist at a time when calls for racial justice and the Black Lives Matter movement were ascendant.

She ticked up in the polls, and donations poured in. Ultimately, her candidacy didn’t catch fire, but the following summer, Biden, the eventual nominee, made a historic offer to Harris to join his ticket, leading to her becoming the first woman, first Black person and first Asian American to be vice president.

Fast-forward to now, when Vice President Harris has served nearly a full term alongside President Biden, and she is moving into another moment when the political stars are aligned for her as the perfect messenger on a subject that has fixed Americans’ attention and is central in the 2024 presidential campaign: reproductive rights.

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