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Kamala Harris has been on her way to a Biden Showdown

MIAMI – The early stages of the Kamala Harris presidential campaign have been defined by peaks and plateaus, strengthening moments that have inspired followers and others who have confused even their closest allies.

But in her first democratic presidential debate this week, Mrs Harris, the barrier California California senator seeking to become the first black women-elected president, formed her biggest breakthrough yet – an inspired achievement in front of millions of viewers who could give her the campaign clear moment it has long sought.

Ms. Harris's debate day was a "game changer", said Aimee Allison, founder and president of She the People, a political lawyer focused on women of color.

While Mrs Harris has been criticized for being too cautious, her performance in Miami on Thursday night was anything but. She stopped the debate when she directly challenged the early front runner in the race, former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., over his story of opposing school integration through bushing. And a hush fell over the room when she said it was "hurting" that Mr. Biden had warmly revoked his work with segregationist senators in remarks last week.

"Her words were a breathtaking recognition of the significance and strength of color quality, which has long been dismissed, and our rights and protections are traded away even by them in the same party," said Allison. "She drew attention to the personal wounds and political tragedies of racism, a message that every American needs to hear."

Ms. Harris's debating moment was symbolic of the promise of his entire campaign, which started on a rally in her hometown, Oakland, California, which drew more than 20,000 people. Although her poll numbers have been stuck in the single digits since she entered the race, she has been moving towards a confrontation with Mr. Bitten during the last month, which made an ever more open-minded one for the moderate voters and especially older black voters [] Sign up for our policy newsletter and join the conversation around 2020 presidential competition.]

In recent times the campaign stops in Detroit and South Carolina, both hosted by the NAACP, Mrs Harris has put more focus on attacking Mr. Trump and advocate of pragmatic change that looks more like Mr. The bite and less as the progressive democrats she was originally compared to, such as Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont or Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts.

Her shift came after inner campaign tensions arose in May, when Mrs Harris wished to appease her progressive critics created several small controversies. On several occasions she seemed to express openness to liberal political attitudes – such as the prospect of imprisoned persons voting from prison and the abolition of private health insurance under a "Medicare for All" proposal – and then quickly withdrawn.

Privately, Mrs. Harris's critics and rivals wondered if she was being pulled in opposite directions by the progressive wing of the party seeking a candidate who openly embraces structural changes and by its more natural instinct as a pragmatist. They also questioned her organization strength in Iowa and New Hampshire, two important early-voting states.

Ms. Harris has struggled to turn past memorable moments into a sustained vote and political observers once again said Friday that her challenge was not to attract voter interest – as she already had – but to translate that interest into sustained support.

Frk. Harris's team has underlined that her shift in recent months to more trump-centered rhetoric was not a panic reset of her campaign, but part of a natural evolution. They have thrown Miami's debut as an attempt to show voters that she could take over Mr. Trump without fear.

In recent weeks, Mrs Harris has also collected several new entries from members of the Congressional Black Caucus, including Representative William Lacy Clay of Missouri, representative of Al Green of Texas, and Florida's Alcee L. Hastings representative. On Friday, the campaign issued statements by influential democrats in the early primary states, which Rev. Dr. Ralph Brown, a priest in Orangeburg, SC

. "Having seen her performance in the debate phase, I know she can take over Donald Trump and win back to the White House for work families," Brown says.

But even in the demand for her debates, questions still remain about Mrs Harris's political core. Following her exchange with Mr Biden on Thursday night, a Harris spokesman said she supported bushing as a school integration method, but the campaign declined to provide additional information. For decades, Busning has been a controversial education policy that has been blown by white voters, even in liberal urban centers.

The debate also did little to clarify Mrs Harris's plans to improve the nation's health system. When the candidates were asked to raise their hands if they supported getting rid of private health insurance to create a single payment system, Mrs Harris was one of two candidates along with Sanders, who did so. Later, Mrs Harris said she had misunderstood the question. It was the second time this year she had to clarify her attitude to single payer health care, which has become an important dividing line among Democrats.

"Do you think private insurance should be eliminated in this country?" She was asked in a follow-up interview at MSNBC Friday morning.

"No, I don't." Mrs. Harris replied. "The question was," Will you give up on your private insurance for this opportunity? "And I said" yes. ""

On Mrs Harris' campaign events, voters are rarely raising such political issues. At this early stage of the race, when people often come to events for an initial introduction to a candidate, there is a reliable sense of expectation that surrounds Mrs. Harris when Democrats arrive and hope to see the black woman who could discuss Mr. Trump.

But Mrs Harris can still be uncomfortable talking about herself in these settings, said Rashad Robinson, president of the Civil Rights Advocacy Group Color of Change, who is close to the senator and her inner circle.

Ms. Harris has to "share more of why," he said. "Why is she running? Who is she? I think people are in need of connection."

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