Barbara Lee endorses Kamala Harris for president; progressive heads explode

Rep. Barbara Lee is endorsing Democrat Kamala Harris for president, it was announced Thursday. But the declaration was swiftly condemned by Lee’s fervent base of progressive supporters, who label Harris, a former prosecutor, as a tool of law enforcement and predisposed to centrist policies.

Acknowledging the 1972 presidential campaign of Shirley Chisholm, the first African American women to run for president, and a figure inspiring Harris’s campaign, Lee said, “Shirley set us on a path toward progress, and now Senator Kamala Harris picks up the baton.”

“As just the third African American woman from a major party to run for President, I am so proud to endorse her candidacy as she continues this fight for equality, fairness, and dignity for all Americans.”

Harris, a former Alameda County prosecutor before becoming San Francisco district attorney and later state attorney general, announced her candidacy on Jan. 27 to a throng of more than 20,000 people at a campaign kickoff in Oakland.

The excitement attached to Harris’s bid for president apparently does not include some members of Lee’s deep progressive base, who reacted with a mixture of surprise and scorn toward Lee, one of the most progressive member of Congress, endorsing a candidate expected to run a moderate to left wing campaign for president.

But not all were as contemptuous of Lee’s endorsement.

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