Media spins Harris as a ‘moderate,’ while her voting record hides in plain sight
To greet the announcement of Sen. Kamala Harris as the Democratic Party’s presumptive vice presidential nominee, The New York Times proclaimed California’s junior senator was a “pragmatic moderate.”
Guffaws ensued on the right, and from anyone else who has been paying attention since she arrived in Washington.
But the Times was not alone.
ABC News’s George Stephanopoulos joined in the fun, as did lefty Washington Post columnist E.J. Dionne, who said Harris would cause “no ideological anxiety among middle-of-the-road voters” because “(l)ike Biden, she occupies the Democratic Party’s center ground.” The Associated Press called her “relatively centrist.”
They got the memo, certainly. But as Harris was basking in the adoring liberal media coverage, some on the right were pointing out the inconvenient truth about her by citing the analysis of GovTrack, an open government advocacy group.
GovTrack said its annual “ideology score” is based on lawmakers’ “legislative behavior by how similar the pattern of bills and resolutions they cosponsor are to other Members of Congress.”
The result: Harris was “ranked most liberal compared to all senators” for 2019. Yes, more liberal than Sens. Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Cory Booker, Kirsten Gillibrand and Mazie Hirono.
One measure was how much support senators garner for their legislation.
In one respect, Harris performed well. For example, she introduced the second-highest number of bills among the 10 Senate “sophomores,” and her bills gathered the most co-sponsors.
But when it came to working across the aisle, she found few takers, and refused to take any hands.
Harris “joined bipartisan bills the least often compared to (all) Senate Democrats,” GovTrack reported. “Of the 471 bills that Harris cosponsored, 15% were introduced by a legislator who was not a Democrat.”
Along that line, Harris “got bipartisan cosponsors on the 3rd fewest bills compared to Senate Democrats. In this era of partisanship, it is important to see Members of Congress working across the aisle.” Yet just “8 of Harris’s 54 bills and resolutions had a cosponsor from a different political party than the party Harris caucused within 2019.”
And it’s not just GovTrack. The website ProgressivePunch.com, which says it analyzes Senate voting records from the “progressive perspective,” gave Harris a lifetime score as the fifth-highest most progressive senator. Conversely, the conservative Heritage Foundation gave Harris a zero in its legislative scorecard.
Trump’s campaign didn’t miss an opportunity to portray Harris in her true colors: “Kamala Harris is a radical left-wing liberal, despite what the New York Times may say.”
And others followed.
New York Post columnist Miranda Devine said the moderate label was a “liberal dose of deception.”
Brad Polumbo of the Foundation for Economic Education, a free-market think tank, noted of Harris’s stances: “The takeaway here is clear: Harris’s economic policies are far to the left, and not centrist or moderate by any stretch.”
The Federalist’s Mollie Hemingway described Harris as “more liberal than all the other Democratic senators,” and added that it was “an extreme thing to say that Kamala Harris is a pragmatic moderate.”
Harris’s voting record is clear. But as shown by its tagging Harris a “moderate,” the left-wing media will spin that record to say what it thinks voters want to hear, just like the candidate herself.
PHOTO: Ethan Miller/Getty Images
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