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Book Deal Has Kamala Harris Sounding Very Much Like White House Contestant

Can she live up to the hype?

By Evan Gahr

Senator Kamala Harris (official portrait)

California Senator Kamala Harris is burnishing her credentials as a possible 2020 Democratic presidential candidate with a new book deal announced Tuesday, joining other prospective candidates, who either have recently published books or have them in the works.

The book, The Truths We Hold: An American Journey, is expected to couple her life story with policy prescriptions and is slated for January 2019 publication by Penguin Press.

Penguin describes the book as “reckoning with the big challenges we face together, drawing on the hard-won wisdom and insight from her own career and the work of those who have most inspired her.”

“Through the arc of her own life, on into the great work of our day, she communicates a vision of shared struggle, shared purpose, and shared values.”

The daughter of immigrants, Harris, who served as California Attorney General and San Francisco District Attorney, grew up in Oakland. Her father hailed from Jamaica, her mother India. Both were civil rights movement activists as Berkeley graduate students.

Harris is constantly described in press accounts as a Democratic Party “rising star.”

But it’s unclear what precisely she has done to earn that moniker, other than being black, female and relatively young.

Once upon a time, before the internet sent journalistic standards down the toilet, reporters needed to attribute such strong descriptors to somebody with authority or power and influence. Now they simply assert it under their own byline.

The reality is that Harris has gotten attention lately for a series of pointed conflicts with President Donald Trump. But then so do lots of other prominent Democrats, such as Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), another prospective Democratic candidate. (Sen. Warren’s own book, This Fight Is Our Fight: The Battle to Save America’s Middle Class, hit No. 1 when it was released last year.)

On the other hand, Harris has been particularly strident—obnoxious is a less charitable way of putting it—in her criticism of Trump.

Last month, after visiting a San Diego-area detention facility where migrant mothers separated from their children were being held, Harris accused the Trump Administration of “crimes against humanity”–the classic term for war crimes , dating to the Nuremberg Trials for Nazi leaders after World War 2.

Armed with a BA from Howard University and law degree from the Hastings College of Law, Harris presumably understood the full import of her words.

And on comedian Ellen DeGeneres’s show this April,  Harris sounded like she was joking about killing Trump.

DeGeneres asked,  “If you had to be stuck in an elevator with either President Trump, Mike Pence or Jeff Sessions who would it be?”

She replied, “Does one of us have to come out alive?”, drawing laughter from the audience.

On the same show,  Harris refused to say if she planned to run for president.

Pressed by the host, Harris weaved and dodged and even said outright, “I’m not going to answer.”

Donna Brazile, the former Democratic Party acting chair and longtime Party official, gave a diplomatic response when asked if Harris is truly a rising Dem star and, if so, why?

“As a newly elected member of U.S. Senate, [there] is plenty of speculation about Senator Harris’ future,” Brazile told CaliforniaGlobe.com. “The stars are aligned, but timing is everything.”

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