The buzz surrounding California Sen. Kamala Harris seemed to be at a fever pitch in the hours following her town hall event on MSNBC Tuesday night in Spartanburg, South Carolina. #KamalaHarrisTownHall remained a top trending topic on Twitter Wednesday morning after the Democratic candidate for president waxed poetic on everything from current events to her prosecutorial past to women’s reproductive rights to immigration, solidifying and making clear her stances on those and other topics surrounding the 2020 elections.
Harris was tied for second place in the most recent national poll of presidential candidates, a rank that has risen in recent weeks and lent even more credence to her White House run as the dates for the first caucuses and primaries get closer. Fresh off of rolling out her plan earlier Tuesday to counter what she called “states and localities with a history of unconstitutionally restricting access to abortion,” Harris seemed totally in control of every moment during her town hall which was moderated by MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell.
If you missed watching the town hall, scroll down to see all the ways that Harris made her presence felt in South Carolina, and the 2020 field of Democratic candidates.
She defended Joe Biden from Trump’s attacks overseas
Less than two weeks after offering some very slick talk on what she implied were the very remote prospects of her running as Joe Biden’s No. 2 on the Democratic ticket in 2020, Harris stood up for her fellow Party member and defended the former vice president from the president’s disparaging remarks about him while he was overseas negotiating with suspected terrorist and North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un.
On impeaching Trump
The world knew this already, but Harris offered her strongest words yet in support of the impeachment process as well as criminally prosecuting the president. “The evidence supports the prosecution of that case,” she told an audience member who asked her about her support for impeaching Trump.
She went even further when talking to another audience member about Trump, saying in part that “We need to get rid of him.”
Harris seemed to be one of only a small handful of candidates with concrete plans for her presidency. She spoke at length about immigration and making clear that changing the nation’s policies at the border, such as separating children from their families, would be a priority for her in the White House. “That was a human rights abuse being committed by the United States government,” Harris said, “and it’s against the moral and values of who we are as a nation.”
She also touched on how the president has been using the politics of fear to stoke the flames of xenophobic Americans worrying about losing their jobs to immigrants.
On the recent wave of anti-abortion laws
It should come as no surprise to anyone following the 2020 race that Harris also has a plan to counter the recent wave of restrictive abortion laws sweeping through the state legislatures of Republican-led states, telling the audience that women’s reproductive health is under attack.
That attack also targets doctors, she said, adding that she has a “real problem” with health professionals facing the prospects of prison for performing the medical procedures.
Healthcare? Harris has a plan for that, too. While her campaign website goes into depth on her Medicare for all position, she put a personal touch in explaining her position to the South Carolina audience on Tuesday night.
Why unions matter
Harris broke down the importance of unions to the average American worker, a topic she has spoken passionately about many times. But on Tuesday night she broke the topic down into the most simple and relatable of terms.
Unions, she said, also can play a vital role in addressing pay equity and closing the wage gap that exists along racial and gender lines.
On the 2020’s “other” elections
Harris made it clear that she was in the presidential race to win it, but she also stressed how her presidency wouldn’t be as strong without Democrats winning the Senate elections.
Harris touched on the student debt crisis when discussing her plan for how to properly prepare the nation’s youth for the workplaces of the future, which are expected to be dominated by occupations that are in their relative infancies now.
On her prosecutorial past
Harris made sure to shout out her HBCU law school education while expressing her pride for being elected district attorney in San Francisco, where she was responsible for a small handful of controversial policies that were being framed by her opponents as adversely affecting minorities. “I’m proud of the work I did,” she said.
She is a patriot
Harris, who said she puts “country before Party,” expressed “optimism” as well as “concern” for Democracy in America, framing the conversation around impeaching Trump as a way to pay respects to the country’s forefathers who put the checks and balances system in place for a reason.