Here Are 5 Things That Kamala Harris Should Say During the Vice Presidential of Debate Tonight

October 7, 2020


By Terrance Woodbury and Roshni Nedungadi

Kamala Harris “For the People.” As a young attorney Harris would introduce herself in a court room with this tagline. When Kamala enters the debate stage she must rise to the occasion and reassert this mission by showing America what a future that’s for the people can look like. Like we’ve noted before on this blog, the swing voters this year are predominately young voters and people of color who still haven’t made up their mind on if they will vote. Harris has a unique opportunity tonight to stand for people in this country that are often not represented on this stage – young people, people of color and women. 

Last week’s first Presidential debate was filled with chaos and interruptions and left many swing voters disappointed that their policy concerns were not addressed. This means the stakes for this week are even higher. Because of what Biden and Trump didn’t cover, Harris now has the higher burden of presenting Democrat’s vision for America – what does the next America after this chaos look like?  

Misinformation surrounding Kamala’s history as a prosecutor has been used to define Harris’s profile and therefore discredit Biden. Our research has picked up signs of a targeted disinformation campaign portraying Harris’ prosecutor record as anti-Black to deter young Black voters from Biden. A survey we conducted from August 27 – September 7 with Black Futures Lab of 1000 national Black voters found that Biden’s pick of Harris for VP made 60% of Black voters more likely to vote for him, but it was concerning that 14% of young Black voters under 35 responded they were less likely to vote for Biden because of his VP pick.  

Here are 5 things Harris sho say during the debate tonight to prove to young voters and people of color she is “For the People”:  

  1. Lean into racism and race relations – As an Indian-American and Black woman, Harris is in a unique position to honestly discuss where America has gotten race wrong and what we still must get right. She must acknowledge the frustration and weariness of young and Black voters with the political system and demand accountability and reform. Harris needs to present a vision for race relations in America that touches on where we’ve been and looks forward to where we can go under a Biden/Harris administration.  
  1. Represent the UNITY in the diversity of America. As the synthesis of many marginalized identities – Black, Asian American, Female – Harris is the antithesis of the Trump and Pence candidacy. Harris should connect her story to the story of America and contrast herself to the exclusionary vision of America Trump has promoted.  
  1. Prosecute the Trump administration on behalf of America. As a former district attorney and current Senator with a reputation for grilling key Trump administration officials, Harris is the most uniquely qualified person in America to tell America why it’s time for them to fire this administration. From COVID-19 to racism, Harris should disqualify Trump by connecting his racism to specific policies enacted under his administration that have adversely targeted Black, Latino and AAPI communities.  
  1. Indict Pence for the Trump Administration’s complete failure to handle COVID-19. 
  1. Take control of her own narrative by setting the record straight as the most progressive district attorney in California to combat misinformation of her prosecutor record and show young Black voters that she will be an effective advocate of criminal justice reform.  

Black Youth Vote Join HIT and Gen Forward to discuss young Black voters in 2020.