Goddammit. I wanted to write about Kamala Harris but not like this. I had this whole essay idea about Warren and Harris and how they remind me of who I am and the women I know and how stupidly cool it is to keep seeing them in the primaries.
Well, now that’s only half true.
There are a million political dudebros out there prepared to do an autopsy of Harris’s campaign and tell us all the ways she failed but I’m here to remind you that she is the exact opposite of a failure. Think about the numbers:
There have been 52 women Senators in the history of America.
There have been 10 Black Senators in the history of America.
There have been two Black women Senators in the history of America.
One of them is Kamala Harris.
She is still a duly elected Senator who has seat on the Senate Committee on the Judiciary as well as a seat on the Select Committee on Intelligence. Also, she sits on the Budget and Homeland Security Committees.
Kamala Harris will not get elected president in 2020 but she is still one of the most powerful women in America and don’t you ever forget it. And based on the tweet I posted above? She sure as hell hasn’t forgotten it.
Now that we have established that Kamala Harris is still ideally placed to do the work of feminists in the legislature, let’s talk about the work we the grassroots of the feminist movement still have to do.
You think I’m going to say we have to dismantle the patriarchy, don’t you? Ha! Wrong*. We have to dismantle the Democratic Party’s primary system.
The primary calendar that both parties use is patently unfair. This staggered calendar turns primaries into a series of elimination rounds and cheats millions of voters out of the opportunity to vote on the complete slate of candidates. Instead, residents of Iowa and New Hampshire get the full slate of candidates and they decide who the top tier are for the rest of us.
Um, why? Why is that happening? How is that fair?
The short answer is that it’s not fair, just from a strictly numeric standpoint. Two low-population states shouldn’t be getting this much power over the 48 other states out there. But if you take the argument into the realm of demographics then WHOA FUCKIN’ NELLY this is wrong. Iowa and New Hampshire don’t look like the rest of America demographically speaking. Much less diverse, much less representative of the concerns of urban voters.
But these are the judges in what has become the audition round of American Primary Idol. It’s stupid and we need to make it stop.
There is literally no reason apart from tradition to have a staggered primary process and it’s beyond time to change it. The party should adopt a single primary date so all Democratic voters choose among all the candidates at once. Period, end of rant.
Would a system like that have saved Kamala Harris’s campaign? I don’t know. But I do know that her spending all her time at the Iowa State Fair and the diners that litter the New Hampshire landscape meant that people in 48 other states weren’t getting to meet her. And those people missed out on meeting one incredible public servant.
*We do still have the dismantle the patriarchy but dismantling the primary system is good, too.