American Consequences - October 2017

downright Republican. Hours before Harris’ event, “DiFi” stunned millions of liberals by saying that Donald Trump has the ability to be a “good president.” Harris disagrees and the crowd soaks it up. Change is in the air as younger Californians are looking for alternatives to the politics of Feinstein, who is perceived as a pro-war Wall Street finagler. In a much-criticized conflict of interest, companies owned by Feinstein’s husband, Richard C. Blum, sold more than a billion dollars in weapons and construction services to the U.S. military during the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan. The contracts were vetted by a subcommittee chaired by Feinstein. In 2014, the inspector general of the United States Postal Service pilloried Blum’s realty firm, CBRE, for violating its contracts to privatize post offices. And last year, the federal government shuttered a largely Blum-owned, for-profit college corporation, ITT Education, for misuse of federal funds. The family business plan relied on leveraging taxpayer money. As state attorney general, Harris closed down a similar for-profit college corporation, Corinthian Colleges. She negotiated a $20 billion homeowner payback by Wall Street banks who had gamed the foreclosure system. Unlike Feinstein, Harris owns few assets. Her husband, Douglas C. Emhoff, liquidated his stock portfolio in 2015 as she geared up for the senate race. That year, the couple paid $450,000 taxes on income of $1.7 million. Harris does not appear to care about money as much as she lusts for power.

At the top of the fight card is protecting the “Dreamers” who Trump has threatened to deport. Harris empathetically reminds us, as she often does, that she, too, is a woman of color, the daughter of a Jamaican economist and a scientist of East Indian ancestry. Her earliest memory is marching in the streets for civil rights alongside her parents. She has a mixture of protest and smarts encoded in her genes. Plus, a colloquial sense of humor. “We need a new word for trouble, Reverend” – she turns to Hames, laughing – “how about ‘hot mess’?” The crowd is angry, and Harris is on a roll: Will we continue to be governed by a science-denying, health care-killing, Jim Crow billionaire with his digit on the nuclear button? She unleashes the magic word that motivates liberals and terrifies conservatives: change! Change a la Harris means defanging immigration college programs, plugging oil-company tax loopholes, and chastising polluters. Harris talks about the bipartisanship of her bill to study the possibility of reforming the cash bail system, co-authored with Republican Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky. The audience clamors for more. Breaking with the anti-universal health care position of California Senator Dianne Feinstein, Harris extolls Bernie Sanders' “Medicare for All” legislation. Indeed, compared to Harris’ progressive-sounding rhetoric, Feinstein, 84, comes across as laws, protecting transgender soldiers and marriage equality, terminating the failed war on drugs, creating tuition-free

Harris is not exactly a working-class hero.

54 | October 2017

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