Kamala Harris’ Record as Prosecutor Could Complicate Effort to Replace President Biden as Dem Nominee

As calls for President Joe Biden to be replaced in the 2024 presidential race increase, some legislators and far-left pundits believe Vice President Kamala Harris can challenge former President Donald Trump in November — despite questionable positions she took during her 2020 presidential campaign.

“The reality is if you’re even going to have a conversation about who’s next, if Kamala Harris, the sitting  vice president, is not the first and last name out of your mouth, then tell me how you’re going to get Black voters to engage when you change the rules to accommodate somebody other than her,” said political strategist Basil Smikle during a recent appearance on “MSNBC Reports.”

However, the possibility of VP Harris replacing Biden has led to questions about how successful she would be in a matchup during the general election against Donald Trump, who Biden has suggested is “determined to destroy American democracy.”

During her 2020 presidential campaign, which she launched in January 2019, the now-vice president faced intense scrutiny and criticism for her record as a prosecutor and as California’s attorney general.

University of San Francisco associate law professor Lara Bazelon suggested at the time that efforts to paint Harris as a “progressive prosecutor” didn’t match her actions as California’s attorney general or district attorney of San Francisco.

“Time after time, when progressives urged her to embrace criminal justice reforms as a district attorney and then the state’s attorney general, Ms. Harris opposed them or stayed silent,” wrote Bazelon for The New York Times amid Harris’ 2020 campaign launch.

“Most troubling, Ms. Harris fought tooth and nail to uphold wrongful convictions that had been secured through official misconduct that included evidence tampering, false testimony, and the suppression of crucial information by prosecutors,” added Bazelon.

Additionally, Bazelon listed several instances when the then-Democrat senator for California failed to embrace criminal justice reforms — either declining to state an opinion or opposing them.

VP Harris’ record as a prosecutor failed to impress many voters in her party, but she took center stage at the July 2019 Democratic presidential primary debate.

During the debate, then-candidate Democrat Representative Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii aimed at Harris and said she was “deeply concerned” about her record.

“Senator Harris says she’s proud of her record as a prosecutor and that she’ll be a prosecutor president, but I’m deeply concerned about this record,” said Gabbard, now an independent at the time. “There are too many examples to cite, but she put over 1,500 people in jail for marijuana violations and then laughed about it when she was asked if she ever smoked marijuana.”

“She blocked evidence that would have freed an innocent man from death row until the courts forced her to do so. She kept people in prison beyond their sentences to use them as cheap labor for the state of California. And she fought to keep a cash bail system in place that impacted poor people in the worst kind of way,” continued Gabbard.

When defending her record as attorney general for the Golden State, Harris said she was “proud of that work.” At the time, he insisted she “did the work of significantly reforming the criminal justice system of a state of 40 million people, which became a national model for the work that needs to be done.”

When responding to Harris, Gabbard said, “The bottom line is, Senator Harris, when you were in a position to make a difference and impact these people’s lives, you did not.”

Should the hypothetical situation of VP Harris replacing Biden become a reality for Dems, it is not clear how the positions she once held, some of which her party’s members didn’t favor, will come into election consideration.

Harris raised eyebrows during her 2020 campaign with her stances

During her 2020 campaign, Harris raised eyebrows regarding her health care plan, which she informed CNN’s Anderson Cooper would result in the removal of American citizens from their employers’ private plans.

Among the numerous other positions she took during her campaign, which ended in December 2019, Harris signaled her support for a fracking ban and plastic straws. She additionally insisted she would “get rid of the filibuster to pass a Green New Deal” and would institute a “carbon fee” if she were elected president.

During her campaign, Harris also pushed for a repeal of tax cuts offered during Donald Trump’s tenure in the White House and insisted, “We’ve got to increase the corporate tax rate.”

In addition, Harris said during her campaign that estate taxes “have to go up.”

Although many high-profile Democrats have been evasive since President Joe Biden’s diabolical debate performance last week, a few House Democrats have voiced their support for Harris stepping in to lead the party in the presidential contest.

“If our president decides this is not a pathway forward for him, we have to move very quickly. There’s not going to be time for a primary. That time is past,” said Democrat Representative Summer Lee of Pennsylvania, a member of the House’s progressive “Squad,” during a recent interview on the radio. “The vice president is the obvious choice. She’s sitting right there.”

Similarly, Democrat Representative Jim Clyburn of South Carolina recently told “MSNBC Reports”: “I want this ticket to continue to be Biden-Harris. This party should not, in any way, do anything to work around Ms. Harris. We should do everything we can to bolster her, whether she’s in second place or at the top of the ticket.”

The possible move has additionally received support from former Dem Representative Tim Ryan of Ohio, who challenged Joe Biden for the 2020 presidential nomination. In his recent op-ed for Newsweek, Ryan’s headline read, “Kamala Harris Should Be the Democratic Nominee for President in 2024.”

On the 4th of July, the president told a crowd of supporters he had no plans to withdraw from the election despite continuing gaffes and struggles during unscripted events.

Democrats will officially nominate a presidential and vice presidential candidate at next month’s Democratic National Convention, which will take place in Chicago from August 19-22.