If you've been following our words here at Slixa, you know that we've never been big fans of snake-in-the-grass Kamala Harris. Back in January, we published an article detailing all of the ways that her policies surrounding sex work, and her stance on FOSTA/SESTA, ultimately harm and even sometime kill the most disenfranchised among us.
"To this end, Harris has not only been negligent of sex workers, she’s also been an active antagonist. She is a proud proponent of FOSTA/SESTA; she advocated for the anti-trafficking bill publicly. Equating sex trafficking with sex work, she stated that “victims of sex trafficking should be protected and have the ability to seek justice. That’s why, from my earliest days as a prosecutor, I’ve led the fight against Backpage and other sex trafficking platforms. And I am proud to support the Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act, which will make it possible for victims and state prosecutors to hold online sex traffickers accountable.”
– On the Topic of Sex Worker Rights, Kamala Harris May As Well Be Trump.
So when Harris announced on Tuesday that she's stepping down from the 2020 race, we couldn't have been happier to say good riddance.
Furthermore – and though we recognize that this may be optimistic given the lackluster response to FOSTA/SESTA given by all of the other 2020 Democratic candidates – it is entirely possible that Harris' resignation could signal to other politicians the dangers of being law-enforcement heavy in these political times.
The reasons for her resignation appear to be due to lacking a concentrated platform; her message is harmfully fragmented in a way that voters find disconcerting. From the Los Angeles Times: "After an initially dazzling debut, the charismatic former prosecutor had fallen hard from the top tier of Democratic candidates in recent months. Her campaign flailed as funds dwindled, and reports of internal team discord kept making their way into the media. The freshman senator had quickly become one of the highest-profile members of Congress, but it seemed that many voters still struggled to ascertain what, exactly, Harris stood for."
Arguably, liberal American citizens seem to be striving for a strong, concrete voice that will serve to effectively dismantle Trump-era policies and clean up the very large mess that walking, talking tantrum of a human has created. But Harris, despite her background as a prosecutor and her strong talk of justice, just couldn't cut the mustard.
In fact, her prosecutor background seems to be hindering her path forward. After all, Harris has been criticized for her deep involvement with a broken justice system –especially insofar as it has impacted and harmed escorts, queer people, and people of color.
One could venture to say that now, more than ever, we need political leaders who will go out swinging for marginalized communities, rather than the wishy-washy 'will I won't I' attitudes of Harris and her people. And while mixing with law enforcement has historically been dangerous, even deadly, for all of the aforementioned communities, the one gleaming hope that Harris did seem to offer was the prospect of being able to change the system from inside the system. In the end, she didn't give voters enough confidence that this would be the direction she'd take, if elected.
There is much discussion about what actual routes Democratic politicians could take in order to be successful; after all, this is a time in which, while faced with a populist extremist, one must proceed with caution in order to avoid four more years. Moderate and/or centrist-leaning voters appear to hold a good deal of weight for this particular election, and many media outlets are reporting that this is the direction Dem candidates may need to go in if they hope to secure the vote.
From the New York Times: "As the Democratic Party has moved to the left, moderate voters have followed the trend on issues like gun control, climate change and wealth inequality. But on other questions, such as military spending and abortion rights, they tend to hold decidedly less progressive views than their liberal counterparts."
This moderate-leaning trend (or necessity, depending on where you fall in your personal viewpoints) could explain why there are currently no 2020 Democratic candidates who openly support sex workers. At the moment, all except Pete Buttigieg have expressed their clear support for FOSTA/SESTA, and the only reason Buttigieg's platform remains unclear is because he appears to have no actual clue what it is.
About FOSTA/SESTA: “It doesn’t sound like a good idea,” he told Out in February. “But I need to get more educated on it.”
As much as we'd like to creatively consider the ways candidates and politicians alike could support decrim and legalization in these moderate times, it appears that being pro FOSTA/SESTA is considered to be centrist way to go. To dive deeply into tackling the differences between trafficking and consenting work would be to swing too radical, and risk losing the vote.
Despite the fact that there doesn't seem to be a better alternative – at least in terms of policies around sex work – we're personally not sorry to see Kamala Harris go. Let's hope her newfound free time allows her to be a better Senator than she was a presidential candidate – and that she can learn from her mistakes.