Steve Rhodes

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California’s Kamala Harris and the diverse race for president

March 27, 2019


Senator Kamala Harris was one of the first candidates to officially announce their bid for the presidential race of 2020, formally launching her campaign on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Jan. 21. According to The Guardian, 2020 has more Democratic candidates running than any presidential race in the recent ones past.

The diversity Harris represents has also inspired and encouraged sophomores Lena McEachern and Ember Sierra, the presidents of Female Empowerment Club to voice their own opinions. The race is poised to change norms throughout the country, encouraging more women to run for office following the historic amount of women currently in Congress.

“A woman running for president makes me feel like our society and political system is beginning to embrace different perspectives and diversity, which is a huge step forward,” McEachern said.

Harris was born in Oakland to immigrants originating from Jamaica and India. She has been involved in San Francisco’s legal departments since the 1990s, but it was in 2003 when she debuted as San Francisco’s first woman, an African-American woman and South Asian woman as district attorney.

“Having diverse candidates in the race for president incorporates a variety of perspectives into our country’s decision making, which more accurately reflects the true American people,” McEachern said. “I think that diverse candidates help individual citizens feel reflected in the government, which increases the effectiveness and cooperation in our society.”

Harris became the first woman of African American origin to represent California state in the Senate, but the fact that she is a woman and is bringing her minority status to the presidential race is important for our entire country, as well as voter turn-out for the elections. The United States still has one of the lowest voting turn outs of developed countries and diversity is one aspect that can improve that.

“I think that diverse candidates encourage more people to vote in elections,” McEachern said. “If people feel reflected and accurately represented in their government, they will feel empowered to make a difference and aim for more progress. If there are no diverse candidates [in the political field] people will likely feel as if they have a little voice in the government and disregard the importance of voting.”

Diversity has become a much more talked about subject than ever before and it is important that all the people of a country are represented in all areas of the government. Diverse candidates reflect the ideas of the entire nation, and voice issues that might otherwise be overlooked.

“When there is diversity, there is understanding, [and] this is especially important during a presidential race because during campaigns [candidates] call attention to issues that might otherwise be ignored,” Sierra said. “Having diversity ensures a multitude of issues that affect all classes, genders, races, are all acknowledged.”

Diverse candidates help individual citizens feel reflected in the government, which increases the effectiveness and cooperation in our society.”

— Lena McEachern, Co-President of Carlsbad High's Female Empowerment Club

It is important to include diversity in the nation’s politics, and especially in presidential campaigns where a candidate’s legislature blend in with their background, ethnicities and gender.

“All presidential candidates bring unique ideas and opinions to the table, usually heavily influenced by their past experiences in the world,” Sierra said. “In the case of Kamala Harris, as a multi-racial woman, she will surely bring up different issues and opinions during her presidential campaign. This diversity of opinion and idea is incredibly important because it allows the American people to gain insight on other perspectives.”

Sierra added to her thoughts on Kamala Harris’ campaign, as well as what it stands for in a nation that is still becoming more inclusive in its elections.

“[Kamala Harris’] campaign shows that no matter your race or gender you can have a successful political career and make an impact,” Sierra said. “Harris entering the race hopefully symbolizes a new time of diversity and positive change for the country.”

Sierra also added to her co-president’s comment. She highlights the importance of more women and diverse candidates running for president.

 “The lack of women in politics, in general, is concerning, but I think the fact that Kamala Harris is still among the first women really highlights the imbalance between the sexes in politics. One would expect that in 2019, female presidential candidates would be [a part of the] the norm, not an anomaly.”

Courtesy of Bill Clark/Co Roll Call/

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