The Atlantic

Kamala Harris’s Political Memoir Is an Uneasy Fit for the Digital Era

The senator’s new book shows the difficulty of translating short-form virality into a substantive text.
Source: Chip Somodevilla / Getty / Katie Martin / The Atlantic

Depending on whom you ask, Kamala Harris is either a hip Hillary Clinton or a political Beyoncé. Since the election of Donald Trump, the 54-year-old California senator has emerged as one of the Democratic Party’s most visible, viral faces. In addition to speaking frequently about the ills of discrimination of any sort, the former prosecutor has of late courted a liberal fandom—and many retweets—with a series of anti-establishment displays.

In January 2017, immediately following news of the president’s travel ban, Harris the directive as anti-Muslim and circulated a petition against its adoption. That July, she was with then–Attorney General Jeff Sessions as part of the Senate’s probe into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. s of the weary-looking senator became a digital shorthand for women’s frustrations with workplace belittling. She was widely ed again in September 2018, after the Brett Kavanaugh during his Supreme Court confirmation hearing. In other words, Harris—the daughter of an Indian mother and a Jamaican father who met, as she often says, “in the civil-rights movement” while attending graduate school in Berkeley—is becoming central to the Democratic Party’s to woo young, hip voters, especially those of color. Like the 29-year-old Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Harris responds to the administration’s daily onslaughts with an energizing mix of frustration, , and determination. She is at once and really profitable. There have been campaign whispers, to be sure, but also , , and .

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