No Buts: Harris The Most Liberal Senator


“Is Kamala Harris really the most liberal senator…” well yes…

“But… how can something be true… but also not feel right?”

“Harris has tendencies that lean left, [but] she doesn’t seem to always act on them.”

“[GovTrack.us] rankings… found Harris the most liberal senator in 2019, [according to] bills sponsored and co-sponsored by each lawmaker.”

“So by the picture of legislation she signed her name onto in Congress during this period, yes, Harris was pretty liberal in 2019.” No not “pretty” Harris was in fact the most liberal.

But… “When you look at Harris more holistically… it doesn’t make sense to call her the most liberal senator.”

And besides “Now that they’re on the same presidential ticket, Biden and Harris are probably going to be on the same page about policy.” Whose page?

Is Kamala Harris really the most liberal senator, as Trump claims?

On one data point, yes. But that misses the holistic picture.

By Amber Phillips – August 13, 2020

The Trump campaign has launched an attack against Sen. Kamala D. Harris (D-Calif.) that doesn’t quite ring true to most ears, but is also technically backed up by data: In 2019, she was ranked the most liberal U.S. senator. That’s according to the nonpartisan, independent congressional tracker GovTrack.us.

It’s an attack President Trump has latched onto as Republicans try to find something to stick Harris with. Here he is Thursday morning with Fox Business Network talking about Joe Biden’s vice-presidential pick: “Well, she’s radical left, now she tries to pretend she’s not, but she is the most liberal person in the U.S. Senate, acknowledged to be.”

But wait, how can something be true according to the data but also not feel right? Could Harris really be more liberal than Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) or Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.)?

[snip]

Politicians are more than the legislation they co-sponsor or even vote on. The positions they take outside the halls of Congress also reflect how they would make decisions. And while Harris has tendencies that lean left, she doesn’t seem to always act on them.

To get their rankings that found Harris the most liberal senator in 2019, GovTrack.us tracked bills sponsored and co-sponsored by each lawmaker.

[snip]

One of the most prominent bills Harris signed onto was also arguably one of the Senate’s most liberal proposals, Sanders’s Medicare-for-all legislation.

So by the picture of legislation she signed her name onto in Congress during this period, yes, Harris was pretty liberal in 2019.

[snip]

The point is, there are a number of ways to look at a politician’s ideology. When you look at Harris more holistically than the legislation she’s co-sponsored, it doesn’t make sense to call her the most liberal senator.

[snip]

Now that they’re on the same presidential ticket, Biden and Harris are probably going to be on the same page about policy. That could bring Harris even further to the center of her party, in a way that tracking her legislation in Congress wouldn’t reflect.

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