Rep. Karen Bass on Biden-Harris win, ‘cavemen conservatives,’ and 2022

Congressional Black Caucus Chairwoman Representative Karen Bass (D-CA) addresses reporters during a news conference to unveil police reform and racial injustice legislation at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) listens with Senators Kamala Harris (D-CA) and Cory Booker (D-NJ). June 8, 2020. Photo by REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

Kamala Harris will be the first woman – and first Black and first South Asian – vice president of the United States. President-elect Joe Biden said on the campaign trail that he hopes to have a close relationship with his vice president. Biden was famous for being one of President Barack Obama’s closest advisors.

KCRW talks about the role of California Democrats, like Vice President-elect Harris, with Congresswoman Karen Bass. She represents parts of West and South LA.

Bass says her first priority right now is addressing COVID-19 due to the disproportionate impact of the virus on Black, Latino and other communities of color. Her second priority is tackling police reform, and specifically, moving the George Floyd Justice and Policing Act in senate.

When Harris transitions to the office of Vice President, Governor Gavin Newsom must fill her Senate seat. When asked whether she would want to be appointed as senator, Bass says her focus lies on the Georgia Senate races, not on lobbying Newsom for a Senate seat.

“I want to see President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Harris have a successful administration, and they must have a Democratic-controlled Senate,” Bass says.

She says right now, it’s critical for Democrats to figure out what went wrong this election season. 

“It's important that we do a deep dive analysis right now to find out what happened, what worked and what didn't work. Where did we fall short? And then we need to get ready, because in a minute, it will be 2022, then we will be back at it.”

She notes that in the next four years, California politicians, especially House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, will play crucial supporting roles of a Biden administration. Bass says that’s due in part to Pelosi’s work to pass legislation and negotiations with the White House. 

“When the story is told on the Trump administration, her [Pelosi] role should really be examined. We should understand the role that a Californian, a woman, has played in essentially keeping the trains running over the last two years.”

In a Nov. 2 op-ed, Bass referred to the Republican party as “cavemen conservatives” in their response to COVID-19. Following the election, she stands by that statement.

“You have a party that is refusing to accept science. This is 2020, this is not 1720. And so when you have scientists unanimously saying that this virus can be contained, then anybody would understand that you follow the science, you don't follow politicians.”

— Written by Danielle Chiriguayo, produced by Brian Hardzinski

Credits

Guest:
Karen Bass - Congresswoman representing parts of West and South LA - @RepKarenBass

Host:
Madeleine Brand

Producers:
Sarah Sweeney, Michell Eloy, Amy Ta, Rosalie Atkinson, Brian Hardzinski, Angie Perrin, Nihar Patel