Ms. Harris began her career at a time when many African-American law enforcement officials were joining, even amplifying, law-and-order calls for stricter prosecution, to stop the drugs and violence victimizing their communities. When she became attorney general in 2011, crime was falling and the debate was evolving. Now, in the era of Black Lives Matter, many in the black community argue that the biggest law-enforcement problem is law enforcement itself, and her record is being assessed against calls for a wholesale reimagination of the criminal justice system — who should go to prison and for how long; indeed, should any but the most heinous criminals go to prison at all?
At the other end of the political spectrum, President Trump has sought to frame the immigration debate around fear of rising crime, teeing it up as a campaign issue for 2020. In the waning days of the partial government shutdown over his demand for a border wall, he tweeted what he called a new Republican theme for the next two years: “BUILD A WALL & CRIME WILL FALL!”
Ms. Harris scorns what she calls false choices, and says her critics are imposing them on her record. Those who have worked for her call her disciplined, a characterization she prefers to “cautious.” She describes her thinking — about criminal justice, but also about the other issues animating her presidential candidacy, like health care and economic inequality — as scientific. “It’s a hypothesis; this is how we can do things better,” she said in a recent interview. “You have to inform it with: Where’s the empirical evidence? Where is the data? Where is the detail?”
She does not like to be boxed in.
“The thing that drives Kamala Harris crazy above all other things is to get reduced to a demographic archetype,” said Sean Clegg, a longtime strategist for Ms. Harris and other California Democrats. “‘You are XYZ because you are a black woman; you are XYZ because you’re from San Francisco.’ She’s a complex person like all of us. She’s also been the first. That’s a lot more difficult than it looks.”
A ‘1999 Version of Olivia Pope’
Ms. Harris, now 54, confounded expectations just by becoming a prosecutor.
She is the daughter of immigrants — her mother from India, her father from Jamaica — who met as civil-rights activists in graduate school at Berkeley and gave Ms. Harris what she calls a stroller’s-eye view of the demonstrations of the 1960s.
Source : https://www.nytimes.com/2019/02/11/us/kamala-harris-progressive-prosecutor.html