Can Senators Kamala Harris And Cory Booker Be Trusted By Black America?

Written by Dana Sanchez


Democratic 2020 hopefuls Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) and Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) are front and center in the race for control of the Democratic Party. Can they be trusted by Black America?

The perception is that both are being groomed by the same big-money donors that clustered around Hillary Clinton.

Harris is mistrusted by the left mostly because of her roots as a prosecutor, according to The Week:

“The Black Lives Matter movement has put anyone with law enforcement history under close scrutiny… Harris has sometimes displayed a rather Hillary Clinton-esque tendency to say the right thing but not follow through in a vigorous way. Most notoriously, she refused to prosecute Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin’s old company OneWest for numerous instances of almost certain illegal foreclosure. (She was also the only Senate Democratic candidate to get a donation from Mnuchin himself in 2016.)”

Booker is mistrusted because of his ties to Wall Street.

“Most notoriously, when President Barack Obama attacked Mitt Romney during the 2012 campaign for his long career as a bloodsucking financial parasite, buying up companies only to strip their assets and drive them into bankruptcy, Booker defended Bain Capital on ‘Meet the Press.’ Why? Because New Jersey is just across the river from Manhattan and both parties are drowning in Wall Street cash.”

trusted by Black America
Sen. Kamala Harris D-Calif., accompanied by Sen. Cory Booker D-N.J., questions Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen during a hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill, Tuesday, Jan. 16, 2018, in Washington. ( AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)

Moguldom asked economist-educator-entrepreneur Dr. Boyce Watkins and lawyer-activist Karen Fleshman whether they think Senators Harris and Booker can be trusted by Black America. Both Watkins and Fleshman were interviewed on GHOGH podcasts with Jamarlin Martin.

Fleshman works as an activist, advocating for police accountability in San Francisco. She said has had interactions with Harris around police accountability that were “extremely frustrating.” In the trenches, Fleshman said she is hearing that Black people in the Bay area do not give Harris a lot of credibility with police reform:

“We tried to pressure (Harris) to come in and do a pattern-or-practice investigation of the San Francisco Police Department. (The Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division has employed this process in communities across the nation to reform serious patterns and practices of excessive force, biased policing and other unconstitutional practices by law enforcement). (Harris) said ‘I’m gonna wait for the Department of Justice to issue its recommendations and if they don’t implement them, then I’ll decide whether or not I’m going to act,’ knowing full well that by the time the recommendations came out, she would already be in Washington,” Fleshman said.

Fleshman added that she admires Booker and Harris, and would love for Harris to become the president of the U.S.

“I don’t see who the alternative is,” Fleshman said. “I don’t see another leader emerging that’s going to be running against Bernie Sanders. I would definitely go for Kamala Harris … I just don’t like angry white guys running things, especially whose supporters are largely angry white guys.”

We asked Dr. Watkins why he thinks Black Democrats haven’t demanded that the Democratic Party prioritize the entire continent of Africa over Israel.

“Because the members of the Congressional Black Caucus aren’t really there to represent the interests of even the Black people who voted for them,” Watkins said. “I think they see their base as being relatively unsophisticated, incapable of seeing the big picture. So if I’m a congressman or senator and I was elected by Black people, I can go back and I can make them happy by just putting a statue up in the park or opening up a Little League football team. They’re not going to really necessarily be concerned about the weight of global politics … There will always be fewer Black people listening to me that there are who will listen to Cardi B … I think the educators have to fight the good fight and elevate the community’s consciousness level. But it’s going to take a while.”

Jamarlin asked Dr. Watkins if, in the current scenario of how the Democratic Party works, he thinks the cheapest way to get Black voter turnout is to run a Black candidate.

Watkins replied, “I do think there’s a tradeoff. There is a tradeoff in the sense that if you look at the Obama presidency for example … we gave up something for the fact that we got the chance to look at somebody in office who looks like us … the politician (is) trying to send a message to you that ‘I’m on your side and I deserve your vote’. So if it’s a white guy, he’s actually got to deliver something, a policy, some money or whatever. If he’s Black, (all he’s got) to do is say, ‘Well look, I’m Black.'”

Jamarlin asked Dr. Watkins why he thinks Booker and Harris failed to condemn the Israeli government for the recent killings of Palestinians.

“We know that they’re owned, they’re bought and paid for,” Watkins replied. “The Anti-Defamation League and these Jewish organizations pretty much control a lot of politics. I think Black people can learn a lot from the Jewish community in terms of how to have a lot of power that’s disproportionate to your representation in the population.”

Hear more on GHOGH podcasts with Jamarlin Martin.