Dumb Question, Los Angeles Times: Is Kamala Harris ‘A Sequel to Ronald Reagan’?

From the Dumb Questions Department, there was this headline in the Los Angeles Times:

In Kamala Harris, a sequel to Ronald Reagan?

So they’re from the same state, but that’s about it. Obviously, a sequel suggests more of the same, not the exact opposite. It’s like asking if Green Book is a sequel to Star Wars. 

On Sunday, Times reporter Mark Z. Barabak noted the obvious – “The differences are stark” – but he’s theorizing that both ably represent what the state was and now is:

Reagan was a son of the American heartland, a California transplant, a Republican anointed by Southern California’s conservative establishment. Harris is a California native, the daughter of immigrants — her father from Jamaica, her mother from India — and a Democrat steeped in the liberalism of the San Francisco Bay Area.

Together, they bookend 40 years of dramatic political and demographic transformation in their home state (along with five more “Star Wars” sequels). In their own way, Reagan and Harris both embody the California of their time and, more broadly, changes across America.

Later, Barabak admits what should be obvious, that you can’t really compare President Reagan to a first-term Senator:

Harris, of course, has enjoyed nowhere near the political success of Reagan, who in addition to serving two terms as California governor twice captured the White House — the second time in a 1984 landslide of historic proportion.

But the point seems to be trying to give Harris a stature transplant as she runs for president for the first time:

Still, on paper at least, Harris’ profile — a biracial woman from a state at the beating heart of the anti-Trump resistance — appears well-tailored to the mold of the Democratic Party heading into 2020, much as Reagan reflected, and indeed hastened, the changes that transformed the GOP and the nation in 1980.

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