Senator Kamala Harris (D-California) recently held a fundraiser in the Hamptons, seeking donations from some of the wealthiest Americans for her 2020 campaign.
The California senator and presidential hopeful attracted several big-name donors to a series of events held over the weekend, including movie producer Jamie Patricof, shoe designer Steve Madden and Frank Baker — the managing partner of a private equity firm that invests in the technology sector. According to Bloomberg, Harris attempted to win over donations from the elite by expressing support for capitalism and by attacking Senator Bernie Sanders’ (D-Vermont) Medicare for All plan.
“I have not been comfortable with Bernie’s plan,” Harris said at a fundraiser at the Patricof home.
However, CNN’s Andrew Kaczynski pointed out that, as of Monday afternoon, there were still links on Harris’ Senate website showing her as a co-sponsor to Sanders’ Medicare for All bill in the Senate.
“Health care should be a right for everyone in this country, not a privilege for the few. No family should be forced to go into debt to pay for the medical treatment of a loved one or the prescription drugs they need to stay healthy,” Harris stated in a press release in early 2019. “Medicare is the most popular health plan in the country because it works. Medicare for All finally makes sure every American has affordable, comprehensive health care.”
— andrew kaczynski🤔 (@KFILE) August 19, 2019
Harris’ campaign explained the discrepancy by saying that while the candidate didn’t feel “comfortable” with Sanders’ proposal, she nonetheless signed onto it, calling it a “good idea.”
“I think almost every member of the United States Senate who’s running for President and many others, have signed on to a variety of plans in the Senate. And I have done the same,” the Harris campaign told The Daily Beast. “[A]ll of them are good ideas, which is why I support them. And I support Medicare for All. But as you may have noticed, over the course of the many months, I’ve not been comfortable with Bernie’s plan, the Medicare for all plan.”
In late July, however, Harris attempted to distance herself from Sanders’ proposed overhaul of the U.S. healthcare system by proposing a plan of her own that she also dubbed “Medicare for All.” However, while Sanders’ plan would eventually phase out for-profit, privately run health insurance companies once the Medicare eligibility age is expanded to all Americans over a four-year period, Harris’ phase-in period would be 10 years (more than enough time for another president or two to undo it before it goes into effect) and would grant private health insurers a permanent role in her system.
According to OpenSecrets‘ database of federal campaign contributions, Harris’ 2020 campaign has attracted more than $1 million in donations from contributors in the Finance, Insurance & Real Estate sector. As a senator, Harris has received more than $3 million in donations from that sector throughout her career dating back to 2015.
Bloomberg noted that while South Bend, Indiana mayor Pete Buttigieg is due to fundraise in the Hamptons over Labor Day weekend, and former Vice President Joe Biden is due in the area next weekend, neither Bernie Sanders nor Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts) — who have both rejected donations from the wealthy — have any plans to fundraise in the Hamptons.
(Featured image: Office of U.S. Senator Kamala Harris/Wikimedia Commons)
Carl Gibson is a politics contributor for Grit Post. His work has previously been published in The Guardian, The Washington Post, The Houston Chronicle, Al-Jazeera America, and NPR, among others. Follow him on Twitter @crgibs or send him an email at carl at gritpost dot com.