Harris’s comments about cash bail—and their inconsistency with her record as a prosecutor—are the most recent example of a troubling trend in which Harris seems to gloss over criticism of her work as a prosecutor by touting her movement on these issues. In certain cases, like that of Kevin Cooper, a death row prisoner who could have been exonerated by thorough DNA testing, Harris appears to genuinely regret her past decisions.

Harris’s response to the recording of her talking about raising bail—she did not comment to the Free Beacon, but a spokesperson commented to CNN—is exactly what I’m talking about. There is some nuance to Harris’s aggressive push—she said it was intended to combat gun-related crime—but note the tone her spokesperson Ian Sams takes in his rebuttal:

Harris’ presidential campaign spokesman Ian Sams told CNN’s KFile that Harris was responding to an increase in gun homicides and illegal guns in the city and that her efforts today still take into account the threat a defendant poses when considering bail.

“Fifteen years ago, as gun homicides were reaching record proportions in San Francisco, Kamala Harris took action to ensure illegal guns or gun crimes were prosecuted and that those arrested for perpetrating these crimes were not able to easily endanger city residents,” Sams told CNN in an email. “Harris remains firmly committed to curbing gun violence, and her bill to reform the money bail system takes into consideration whether the defendant poses a threat to the safety of the community.


Harris, then and now, was right to push for stricter legal solutions to gun violence. But the solution to this complicated issue was the wrong one, so when her campaign attempted to spin her support of punitive bail measures as a positive thing because she was policing guns, her current plan to reform the cash bail system falls completely flat. Empowering an oppressive system is still bad, even if you do it with good intentions.