Just what you’d expect a newly elected president in the “honeymoon period” to do after another wrenching, bitter national election: Pick up the biggest culture-war grenade she can find, pull the pin, and roll it through the doors of the Capitol.
Odds aren’t terrible that the Harris presidency ends up being more divisive than the Trump presidency.
Or, alternate theory: Harris has no intention of following through on this but is fully committed to a primary strategy in which no pander is too great in the name of winning Democratic votes.
When elected president, I will give Congress 100 days to put a gun safety bill on my desk for signature. And if they don’t, I will take executive action. I’ve seen too many autopsy photos and hugged too many mothers of homicide victims to not take action. Enough.
— Kamala Harris (@KamalaHarris) July 1, 2019
She knows just what lefties want to hear and she’s telling them at every opportunity. Unilateral gun-grabbing by the executive? Sure, she’ll do that. Medicare for All, with “All” to include illegal aliens? You betcha. Implying that Joe Biden’s a racist and that busing was Actually Good? Already done. I’m frankly excited to see what other areas she’ll delve into in order to out-pander the rest of the field among progressives.
Flag-burning? Not just legal, but mandatory.
Transgendered troops? Also not just legal, but mandatory.
She’s floated this idea of a 100-day ultimatum on gun control before, you may remember. It’s the logical extension of Obama announcing DACA after deciding that Congress was taking too long on amnesty and of Trump threatening House Democrats with a decree of national emergency at the border this past winter if they refused to fund his border wall. Modern presidents have gotten it into their heads somehow that if the legislature doesn’t do what they want it to do, they magically acquire constitutional power to do that thing themselves. We’re hearing about this again now because, thanks to her debate performance, suddenly a lot of Dems who didn’t know Harris’s name last week are eager to hear more of her positions. David French thinks she’s kidding herself…
And within a week that executive action — if it meaningfully changes the law at all — will be enjoined by a federal court, the injunction will be upheld by the Supreme Court, and you’ll have to go back to Congress to make law. Just like the Constitution requires. https://t.co/HfQ0f3t7eM
— David French (@DavidAFrench) July 2, 2019
…but I don’t know. Harris has spoken previously about how she might use Trump’s precedent of declaring a border emergency. If he wins the court battle over his re-appropriation of Pentagon money to build the wall, would she win a legal fight after issuing some new executive regulations of guns? (Not even Harris believes she’d have carte blanche as president to regulate firearms, I assume. She’d have to tinker at the legal margins.) Not with a conservative majority on the Supreme Court, I assume.
But with John Roberts, you never know. All things are possible.
By the way, if you believe the Times, the White House is worried about Harris:
“I would be more worried about Kamala Harris than Joe Biden as the nominee,” Matt Schlapp, the chairman of the American Conservative Union, said after watching the debate. “The Joe Biden of last night is a candidate I would dream to run against. But she can put together the Obama coalition. She’s also a first, and Democrats like the tingles up the leg.”…
Privately, people close to the White House said they viewed Ms. Harris as “very dangerous” and the hands-down winner of the debate on Thursday. Others said they hoped the debate would serve as a warning for Republicans — including those in the president’s inner circle — who have been too dismissive of Mr. Biden’s less seasoned rivals…
Ms. Harris, who has demonstrated the natural political skills closer to those of President Barack Obama than those of Mrs. Clinton, would present Mr. Trump with an unfamiliar rival, and one whose race and gender are potential land mines for him in terms of his attacks. So far, he has struggled to land on a quick-hit way to undermine Ms. Harris’s candidacy. Aides said that was because her poll numbers had not been high enough to register with him.
Can she put together the Obama coalition, as Schlapp believes? Until last week, the conventional wisdom was that Biden was the candidate to do that. He’s got the “Joe from Scranton” thing working with Rust Belt whites and the “VP to the first black president” thing working with black voters. In fact, a theme heard intermittently in Dem primary coverage is that some voters believe only a white male nominee can claw back some of the votes lost to Trump in the midwest in 2016; nominating a minority or a woman might create a more tribalist outlook by voters of different races or genders, blunting the Democratic nominee’s potential appeal. If Harris is now the frontrunner, that logic is out the window in the starkest possible way.