Budowsky: Harris attacked Biden, helped Trump

The attack by Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisWarren goes local in race to build 2020 movement 2020 Dems put focus on stemming veteran suicides The Memo: Democrats confront prospect of long primary MORE (D-Calif.) against former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenGOP senators balk at lengthy impeachment trial 2020 Democrats make play for veterans' votes 2020 Dems put focus on stemming veteran suicides MORE over busing in the recent debate hurt her chances of winning a general election, and increases President TrumpDonald John TrumpGOP senators balk at lengthy impeachment trial Warren goes local in race to build 2020 movement 2020 Democrats make play for veterans' votes MORE’s chances of winning a second term.

I remain undecided about which Democrat to support for the nomination, after strongly supporting Sen. Sherrod BrownSherrod Campbell BrownSunday shows — New impeachment phase dominates Brown confirms he won't enter 2020 race: 'I think it's a good field' GM officially sells Ohio plant, months after Trump touted sale MORE (D-Ohio) who offers the gold standard for Democrats about how to champion progressive causes and win elections by uniting diverse voters across lines of race, gender and generations as Robert Kennedy did in the 1968 primaries and Brown has done repeatedly throughout his career in Ohio.

Biden is very high on my list though he should act bolder, sharpen his focus, toughen his act, and stop suggesting he could easily achieve bipartisan deals with the grim reapers of Republican leadership in Washington. Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenWarren goes local in race to build 2020 movement 2020 Democrats make play for veterans' votes 2020 Dems put focus on stemming veteran suicides MORE (D-Mass.) will remain very high on my list if she improves her mediocre performance against Trump in match-up polling. 


Harris remains on my list, but Democrats want a nominee to prosecute the case against Trump, not to prosecute a racially divisive issue like busing against Biden, who is the only Democrat that polls currently show would win a landslide against Trump, and whom former President Obama chose to be his vice president after a lifetime of support for civil rights, gay rights and equal rights for women. 

From the moment I first heard the Harris attack against Biden over busing, I felt a strong sense of outrage about an unfair attack by one Democratic candidate against another Democratic candidate that inherently divides many white and minority voters. 

Trump employs this tactic with his bitterly divisive race-baiting politics. Russian President Vladimir PutinVladimir Vladimirovich PutinAmid impeachment hearings, it's worth remembering why Ukraine matters Trump says he'll meet with dictators if it helps the US Biden expresses shock that Trump considers attending Russia May Day event MORE, who again supports Trump, employs this tactic in his attacks against American democracy by trying to depress black voters and divide white voters against black people and Democrats.

Does Kamala Harris believe Democrats win in 2020 by campaigning in Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and other critical states by vowing to use federally imposed busing to make children attend schools farther away from their homes? Which Democratic candidates for the House and Senate does she believe will benefit when she exploits this tactic?  

Here is a big truth about the 2020 elections. Those Democrats who argue that the strategy to win the 2020 elections is maximum mobilization and voter turnout from the Democratic base are right. Those Democrats who argue that the strategy to win the elections is to win support from blue collar workers from Pennsylvania through the Midwest and from suburban swing voters, especially women, are also right.

There are powerful common interests between black workers, Hispanic workers, white workers and female workers to provide affordable health care, equal pay and rising wages to all Americans.

The sweeping Democratic landslide that brought Democrats to power in the House after the 2018 midterm elections dramatized the electoral power of a strategy that unites diverse voters behind these common interests.  

Democrats who won in 2018 campaigned in support of equal rights and social justice. How many campaigned in favor of federally mandated busing?

Similarly, Democrats who won in 2018 campaigned in favor of saving and building on ObamaCare and many supported allowing every American the choice of buying into Medicare or a public option. How many Democrats won in 2018 by promising to force some 180 million voters to lose their current private insurance?

Democrats who won in 2018 attacked the crony capitalist corruption of the Trump presidency and promised economic fairness, dramatic oversight and far reaching reforms. How many Democrats won in 2018 by promising to bring socialism to power in Washington?

These issues — forced busing, terminating all private insurance policies and advocating socialism — are the three deadly political sins that create the only way the worst president in history, and the most unpopular president in history, could be reelected.

Democrats should champion a unifying, healing, uplifting, faith-based, patriotic, progressive and positive vision which is harmed, not helped, by a divisive and self-destructive debate about busing.

Budowsky was an aide to former Sen. Lloyd Bentsen (D-Texas) and former Rep. Bill Alexander (D-Ark.), who was chief deputy majority whip of the House of Representatives. He holds an LLM in international financial law from the London School of Economics.