What it Means if Kamala Harris is a “Pragmatic Moderate”

Joseph Backholm is Senior Fellow for Biblical Worldview and Strategic Engagement at Family Research Council Action. This article appeared on Townhall.com on August 18, 2020.

When Joe Biden chose Kamala Harris to be his running mate, the New York Times referred to Harris as a “pragmatic moderate” and ABC News personality George Stephanopoulos said, “Kamala Harris comes from the middle of the road, moderate wing of the Democratic Party.”

Of course, this is exactly how Uncle Joe wants himself and his ticket to be seen, but for some these descriptions probably felt a bit like the time the Washington Post described ISIS terror leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi as an “austere Islamic scholar.” Sometimes the description says more about the one making the description than the one being described.

According to Progressive Punch, Harris is the fifth most progressive senator in the U.S. Senate, ahead of Bernie Standers. The GovTrack 2019 report card said she was the most progressive member of the U.S. Senate—beating Sanders by one spot. If one of the most progressive members of the U.S. Senate is a moderate then everyone is a moderate. Does anyone believe that’s true? Her record is not one of moderation.

During her time as attorney general of California, Planned Parenthood and the abortion industry were exposed by David Daleiden and the Center for Medical Progress for trafficking in baby body parts in violation of the law. Instead of investigating the abortion industry for apparent illegal activities, she raided Daleiden’s home and brought charges against him for exposing their conspiracy.

She refused to defend California’s constitutional amendment that defined marriage as a relationship between a man and a woman despite the fact that defending California’s laws in court is a primary duty of the attorney general.

In the Senate, she has a one hundred percent rating with Planned Parenthood and a zero percent rating with Family Research Council. She voted against the Born Alive Protection Act, a law that simply said if a child survived an attempted abortion it should receive medical care rather than being left to cry itself to death. She was an early adopter of the Green New Deal, supports Medicare for All, and supports forgiving student loans. During the primary debates, even Joe Biden criticized her health care proposals as unrealistic. “You have to find $30 to $40 trillion somewhere. How are you going to do it?” Biden quipped.

If Kamala Harris is a moderate, what does it take to be a progressive these days? But it would be easy to miss the real problem here. The problem is not that the New York Times was being dishonest when they referred to Harris as a “pragmatic moderate,” the problem is that they weren’t. They were telling anyone who would listen that there’s a lot of room between where Kamala Harris is and where they want to go, and the New York Times knows what it means to be true progressives because that’s what they are. After all, they just ran off their editor for publishing an opinion they disagreed with. Silly boomer should have known that free speech is no longer a progressive value—but submission is.

In the same way, taxpayer funded abortion, late-term abortion, the belief that boys can be girls, are no longer defining progressive principles. That’s so 2017. Real progressives these days are calling for an end to history classes, tearing down statutes, defending theft and looting as a form of reparationsdemanding the white people give their homes to black people, and defunding police departments. They aren’t just moving the goalpost, they’re moving the whole field.

Recall that in 2008 Barack Obama was elected to office publicly stating his belief that marriage was a relationship between a man and a woman. Twelve years later, not only does the left believe this position is an automatic disqualification from public office, they’ll try to shut down your private sector business for that particular heresy.

Next time you hear someone describe Kamala Harris as a moderate, remember that they’re not lying. They really believe it and they’re telling you something worth remembering. They have ambitions far beyond anything the “moderate” Biden/Harris ticket is willing to publicly support but they’re confident the Biden/Harris ticket is the way to get there. That’s why they’re going to work so hard to get them elected.