Column

Democrats Need to Prepare for the Racist Misogynist Attacks Coming for Kamala

Trump is already testing out bigoted ads against Biden’s new running mate

Jessica Valenti
GEN
Published in
3 min readAug 12, 2020

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President Trump speaks as a picture of Sen. Kamala Harris is on a screen during a news conference. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

When Joe Biden announced his running mate on Tuesday, I felt instantly relieved — Kamala Harris isn’t just a qualified, exciting pick, she’s the perfect young, dynamic foil to Mike Pence’s old white regressiveness. (And admit it: It will be an absolute pleasure to watch Harris wipe the debate floor with Pence — especially on issues like abortion.)

But be prepared: The attacks on Harris are going to be horrible. We’ve already seen how the country reacts when a woman runs for higher office, and the nastiness that surrounded Barack Obama’s presidency and campaigns — the next few months are going to see a flood of racism and sexism. (The Trump campaign has already released an attack ad against Harris, calling her a “phony.”)

The best thing that Democrats can do right now is prepare for the bigotry, be ready to defend Harris, and, most of all, not just dismiss the attacks, but own them.

When the Trump campaign uses racist or sexist dog whistles (though they’re more likely to be explicit rather than coded), the Biden campaign needs to call them out every single time. There can be no “rising above,” no giving anyone on the Trump team the benefit of the doubt — they are racist misogynists, and everything they say about Harris needs to be contextualized through that reality.

Harris represents the change that Trump and Pence are desperately trying to prevent.

In a press briefing shortly after Biden announced Harris as his running mate, Trump already called the California senator “extraordinarily nasty,” his trademark insult for women he doesn’t like. Any woman who speaks her mind or has the audacity to be smarter than Trump is just “nasty.”

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Jessica Valenti
GEN
Writer for

Feminist author & columnist. Native NYer, pasta enthusiast.