SWA #4: Kamala Harris & Cory Booker

Kamala Harris uses a broad form of rhetoric in slogans and details that use veiled language to contrast her with current President Donald Trump. A banner slogan emphasizes the decency of those in power before fading out to her main page. Kamala Harris generally views her efforts as “fights” and emphasizes her commitment to justice, particularly for those who may be seen as oppressed in America. She is described as an “advocate for the voiceless,” and believes in fighting injustice through economic means as well. Both Harris and Cory Booker are people of color, and this is emphasized on their websites as parts of their backgrounds that give credence to their efforts to ameliorate gaps in society. For his part, Booker has stated on Twitter that he is not a fan of grandiose slogans, but his current slogan is “Together, America, we will rise.” This is a testament to his belief in overcoming racial divides, and the first information block on his site is dedicated to criticizing President Trump in veiled language regarding the divisions in the country. Just like Harris, he is using this to differentiate himself from Trump and appeal to the large portion of people dissatisfied with the current presidency. That is not to say that Harris does not wish to bring the country together, but she is more focused on exacting justice in American society for the underdogs, which is in line with her previous role as an Attorney General in California. Her slogan is, fittingly, “For the People.” Also of interest is that both candidates’ pages clearly state that they rely entirely on voter support, having refused to accept donations from corporations, political action committees, or lobbyists. This makes sense for Democratic candidates, who advocate against such practices for the most part.

Kamala Harris presents herself as someone who will take massive action for minorities and in the large schematics of government, almost like a prosecutor. To do so, she seems more issue-oriented. Her site under “Meet Kamala” immediately lists her accomplishments and ‘battles’ she waged in her political career. She would appeal to voters who see the current administration as complacent regarding the large but downtrodden echelons of society in the U.S. Still, though, she uses a picture of her with a smiling black child to ensure that she does not come across as just a policy wonk. While Booker certainly mentions his fights against injustice on his page, he is definitely a person-to-person candidate. This is difficult in presidential campaigning, but he features pictures of him walking and meeting with everyday people. It also describes how he opted not to join a large law firm after graduating, and instead fought against unfair landlord practices. His “about” section also speaks about how he “still lives in Newark’s Central Ward,” a historically urban and black section of New Jersey stricken with post-industrial poverty. This is definitely an appeal made by a person-to-person candidate.

News sources seem to follow the fairly new trend of Democratic presidential candidates joining a movement to reject PAC or lobbyist donations. Both Harris and Booker have received attention from news outlets for being parts of this movement. At a time when donations are crucial, both pages make it clear near the “donate now” sections that voters, not corporations, are responsible for their campaigns to generate funds.

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